Coming Back from the Health-Care Debacle

“Debacle” is a bit strong — but here is Conrad Black writing at National Review:

Mr. Trump is far from a lame duck.

The health-care-reform fiasco illustrates perfectly why the United States has been an ineffectual, gridlocked failure at legislative self-government for over 20 years. It is not only not a system with two parties ready to govern; it is not a system with one party ready to govern. The Cruz Right took 30 percent of the vote in the Republican primaries and the Sanders Left took almost 50 percent of the vote in the Democratic primaries.

The Clinton-Obama Democrats are chasing pathetically after the itinerant base of their party as it has scurried to the left like a frightened lobster, and the Republican Right has cooled down to some degree, but shows no disposition to take one for the team. There is little point in assessing blame for how the Trump administration and the Democratic congressional leadership have reached such a lamentable state of vituperative hostility, but deescalating it will take time, work, and a will that is not now visible.

This crisis has been a long time ripening. George H. W. Bush inherited from Ronald Reagan a strong party, a reasonably serene Congress, and a happy country victorious in the Cold War, but he raised taxes and allowed the charlatan Ross Perot to steal enough Republicans to elect Bill Clinton. Clinton was adequately competent (as Bush had been), but lost the Congress after the first health-care fiasco, and was amused the rest of his term being a naughty, southern, corn-fed boy; and there was no consensus for anything except welfare reform.

George W. Bush counter-attacked international terrorism well but mired the country in ill-considered wars and compounded Clinton’s inflation of the housing bubble until the worst international financial crisis since the 1930s erupted underneath him.

Read more: National Review

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