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March 24, 2017

TrumpRyanCare Vote: Paul Ryan Says We Don't Have the Numbers

Going down, bigly.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is at the White House to brief President Donald Trump on the GOP health care bill, and it is not to deliver good news, a Republican source tells CNN.

Efforts on Capitol Hill to sway members are ongoing, but things aren't heading in the right direction.

"Not good. Not good at all," the source said.

Ryan is showing Trump the numbers, and asking what he wants the speaker to do because the votes aren't there, a GOP source said.

An idea that floats around a lot is the idea of political momentum, and that it's important for Trump to "win" on this to have "momentum" for his next agenda item. Otherwise, the king is wounded, and weakened. But if he wins, he has the high ground and the wind at his back and whatever martial metaphor you like.

I don't think I buy that. A presidential term is like a very long baseball season. You win some, you lose some, you have streaks going both ways. There is no such thing as a perfect season. You just try to get enough wins to make the playoffs.

I especially don't buy it now, given that the "newscycle" is now about six minutes long.

This was done too quickly with too little genuine persuasion or argumentation. I think a good part of populism is that people want to be consulted on these big moves, and do not just want our cadre of leaders telling us what they have decided on our behalf.

I want more time to debate. Maybe this actually is a damn fine bill. Might well be. But I really would like more information and more debate.

Remember the NAFTA debate? We had months of national debate on that. There was a famous televised debate on CNN (I think) between Ross Perot, taking the anti-NAFTA position, and Al Gore, taking the pro-NAFTA position. I had reservations, but I thought Gore won (certainly the pro-Clinton media thought he'd won).

I think maybe Gore won, but Perot's position was still right.

But that's besides the point I'm making. The point is that the public felt that it had had the major issue aired. The public felt as if it had been "checked in" with, at least.

Our current culture is of #HotTakes and pushing things quickly to make them #Viral, before anyone has a chance to think about them much.

Hasty thinking is bad thinking, or, usually, non-thinking.

While I'm open to the possibility that this bill is as good as we can get (keeping in mind the four RINO squishes in the Senate JackStraw always mentions), I'd sure appreciate more time to get this right.

Like Tom Cotton said: We don't need to get it fast, we need to get it right.

And if it's necessary to make some compromises we all don't necessarily like, we need a little time to get comfortable with those.

I like test-driving a car two or three times before I buy it. It's a psychologically important thing to feel like you've made the best decision possible under the circumstances, rather than having doubts linger with you for years as you wonder, "Did I really make the right major consumer purchase that I'm still paying for each and every month...?"

There's no need for all this stage-managing and conflict avoidance and top-down black box policy making. Conflict and argument are good. Broken bones heal stronger. Let's not be afraid to get into a rumble about something pretty important.

This isn't a Viking Saga. There are no epic heroes, there are no Valkyries sweeping the dead up to Valhalla. This isn't high drama.

This is the political process. Let's just work through the once-normal political process of dueling op-eds, televised debates, and exchanges of white papers.

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posted by Ace at 01:07 PM

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