A lot of people think Trump's down, with the messed-up AHCA vote Thursday. But I'm not so sure.
First of all, this failure is the GOP's, not his. Trump's connection with the Republicans is purely opportunistic. As I've been saying all along, the deal is that Trump signs anything Ryan and his Republican death cultists send him, and in return they look away while he loots and grifts. The GOP is holding up their end -- hell, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is basically a Russian safe house, Trump's exploiting his office like a motherfucker and so are his kids, but with few exceptions the Republican Congressional majorities are like huh what do you mean sorry I can't hear you.
Will Trump hold up his end? We can't tell because lately the Republicans have been tripping on their dicks -- which makes sense, because they haven't been this hard since 2005. In a normal executive-House-Senate GOP three-way, the White House would work with the leadership to craft and smooth passage of any big bill, the way Obama, Pelosi and Reid did with the ACA. Does anyone here think it's worked that way with Ryan and Trump? Given the barely coherent palaver Trump dispenses to the general public, I doubt he even speaks English when he talks to Ryan -- he probably just goes "rhubarb, rhubarb," like an old-fashioned stage crowd, and maybe masturbates. And Ryan, ever the apple-cheeked suck-up, probably nods politely and goes back to the committee rooms, where them Freedom Caucus boys are screaming AH WANNA 'MENDMENT MAKE BITCHES CARRY MAH SEED! and WHA I GOTTA PAY FOR IN-SURANCE I HAIN'T NEVER GONE BE SICK! No wonder the bill had to be delayed.
Be not deceived; if these monkeys can be brought into anything resembling regular order, they'll find a way to push something through the House. It may not have every horror that's been floated but it will still be pretty bad. And I wouldn't count on The World's Greatest Deliberative Body making it appreciably better -- for the Senate is where McCain takes the grandstand but McConnell takes the bandstand, and he keeps his baton by picking tunes the boys like to play. Now try and imagine Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Tom Cotton letting anything that isn't stuffed with dominionist lunacy come to a vote. What they add might be worse than what comes out of the House.
Then, assuming the stuff about the Senate Parliamentarian being fixed is bullshit (and since Mike Lee and Deroy Murdock are pushing it I assume it is), it becomes a question of whether the Republicans want to go berserker and pass extra-budgetary reforms with 51 votes. Again, these boys hate Black President's Big Law with a passion, they're not honorable or especially bright, and things could get out of hand. So don't relax -- as some wiseguy on Twitter said, this lull could just be the false relief that comes after the horror movie villain looks like he's dead the first time.
But notice I haven't mentioned Trump for a few grafs. Recently his usual alpha bellows on the subject suggest that he's willing to wash his hands of the thing -- which works great for him, since the rubes who voted for him are just as likely to blame the Republican pencil-necks for his failure as they've been willing to blame the Democratic pencil-necks (andblackpeopleandMexicans) for their own. It's like every terrible thing he's revealed to have done -- it just bonds them tighter to him. They're locked into the political version of a shame spiral -- except Trump feels no shame. Speaking of spirals, Trump's already fucking up Obamacare, so he can just wait for it to collapse and rule over the ruins.
Thus we remain, nearly alone among nations rich enough to have it, without universal health care. It's not so much an indictment of Trump, Congress, or even our politics as it is of our national character at the moment. America's like all those normal-seeming guys you read about in newspaper crime stories who take their savings and hire a hit man to kill their wife or boss or father-in-law. They think if they can just get this one insane, immoral thing done, everything will work out great. But they can't do it themselves so they need to hire this insane, immoral guy. And things always go wrong because the hit man winds up blackmailing them or trying to kill them or kidnapping a member of their family. These guys always seem to assume, against all evidence and experience, that for some reason the hit man won't turn on them. That's us now. We're a nation of Jerry Lundegaards.