I thought it couldn’t get any worse…
I didn’t think Washington, DC, could be any more dysfunctional than during the last couple of Congresses when almost nothing was accomplished, but I’ve been proven wrong, both by Congress and the sitting Administration.
I’m tired of a bunch of Democrats and a big chunk of the media knee jerking in opposition to any Republican proposal while trying to destroy the Administration before President Trump has been in office six months. I’m tired of Republicans who say all the right things and then do all the stupid things. I’m tired of a White House which isn’t sure whether it’s the center of global democracy and the home of the duly elected leader of the Free World, or the Washington, DC, office of Trump Enterprises.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R, WI) is trying to make lemonade out of various policy lemons, talking the good talk, but not so much fighting the good fight. The first repeal/replace play on Obamacare failed because the man didn’t follow procedure and get consensus when getting the bill to the floor, and now the son of repeal/replace has passed the House by the narrowest of margins, but hasn’t been conveyed to the Senate because Ryan and the boys are awaiting word from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on how much it costs. That number may force Ryan into round three of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Ryan also likes to talk about tax reform – a lot. However, that message rings hollow when you know that half his own caucus doesn’t like the direction he’s taking. Leaving the public in the dark relative to policy and process is not a good idea.
Thet noise in the Senate is all Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D, NY), with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY) opting to keep his head down and his mouth shut. Certainly that strategy is politically safe, but not the best leadership move. There’s the odd squeak at times from Sen. Lindsay Graham (R, SC) or Sen. John McCain (R, AZ), but their comments/opinions/reactions to various developments are so predictable their voices are the equivalent of political white noise.
The White House from a policy perspective is starting to look a whole lot more like Chuck E Cheese’s and a worn out whack-a-mole game. The media likes to say the White House is “under siege.” Not so much really; the White House suffers from a serious case of “who’s on first?” No one seems to be the voice, not even President Trump when his support, opposition, indifference, what have you, shift at a moment’s notice, particularly in the wee hours of the morning.
Goodness knows, presidential press maven Sean Spicer is the biggest victim in all of this given he’s sent to confront the White House press corps – think starving hyenas (full disclosure – I was one of those hyenas back in the day) – on a daily basis and he has no meat to throw, nothing to satisfy the blood thirst that is a press gang trying to fill a 24/7 news hole. If left to their own devices, media moves to fill the void of solid information. We then get “news” that is shared by unnamed Administration sources, or a the product of a “source close to the situation who asked for anonymity because he didn’t have permission to talk about the situation.” My question is usually, “So what does he really know about the situation?”
Missing in all of this is even the appearance of deep thinking and certainly the absence of any kind of cogent communication from anyone on Capitol Hill, anyone in either party, anyone in the White House.
There are islands of sanity, like Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, CEA Chair Gary Cohn and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. However, there are so many loud and strident voices, voices without substance to communicate that the noise simply leads to misconstruction, misunderstanding and misinterpretation of what the government on any level is trying to do. It leads to inertia and it leads to a whole slew of missed opportunities.
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