Friday, December 15, 2017
Opinion

Ruth: Trump blames everyone but himself

Perhaps in his forthcoming memoir, "The Art of the Schlemiel," President Donald Trump will explain why, since only he can fix things, the American Health Care Act, otherwise known as the Tumors Are Actually Quite Becoming Act, had the political lifespan of a mayfly.

Trump wasted no time doling out blame for the implosion of the Gushing Blood, What Gushing Blood? Act, as if it was mail call time at Parris Island.

The Republican House Freedom Caucus? Bad dudes. The Heritage Foundation? They're the ones you want. Democrats? You can never go wrong pointing the finger at those commie conspirators.

By the time dust settles, the president will also single out the Visiting Nurse Association, Alec Baldwin, former Vietnam prisoners of war, Pope Francis, Mexico, Rosie O'Donnell and the nuclear triad, whatever that is.

Does the president of the United States find any room to rebuke himself? Please. That whole antiquated Trumanesque blather about the buck stopping at the Oval Office is so highly overrated. And sad, too.

Besides, that's what minions are for, to be tossed under the bus when things go south.

Really now, Trump was even reportedly upset that while the Just Put a Heating Pad on That Gangrene-Infected Leg Act was blowing up, Jared Kushner was away on a ski vacation in Colorado, as if his son-in-law could have persuaded recalcitrant Republicans to vote on a repeal of Obamacare that would have endangered their own political prospects.

Trump was quite rightly belittled when he proclaimed with great amazement that health care was "complicated." Apparently the inner complexities of reforming a program that represents about 20 percent of the nation's economy was also lost on House Speaker Paul Ryan and his gang that couldn't demagogue straight.

For seven years, the political mantra has been "repeal and replace Obamacare." Republicans had nearly a decade to craft a replacement that would address the Affordable Care Act's many acknowledged shortcomings.

Yet, the Limping Isn't So Bad Once You Get Used To It Act was crafted as if it was the last-minute handiwork of a junior high schooler slapping together a Cliff's Notes book report on Huckleberry Finn the night before class.

And what was the result? A piece of legislation that would have stymied 24 million Americans (including presumably many Trump supporters — brilliant) from being able to obtain health insurance; draconian premiums, especially on older Americans; and (to borrow a phrase) huuuuuge deductibles.

This wasn't a health care proposal. It was a health care pogrom on the American people. It was Trump Scare.

Despite all the finger-pointing and Trump's efforts to blame the United Nations, the Brownies, the Peace Corps, Saturday Night Live and Ted Cruz's father for the failure of the Think of Dead as Just a Chronic Condition Act, the measure was supported by only 17 percent of the public. And that was probably the membership at the Mar-a-Lago Golf Club.

By all accounts, this is a president who recoils at immersing himself in the fine points of public policy. Having health care plop on his desk had to be like contemplating a plate of cold lima beans. Paying attention to details is intrinsic to the job description of being the president of the land. It's not just all fawning political rallies, tweeting about fake wiretaps and depending on Breitbart News for national security briefings.

But what happened when the Chicken Soup Is Just as Effective as Chemotherapy Act went down in flames? Trump ran away, changed the subject and castigated everyone but himself for the bill's demise. All this from a chap whose sole argument for his election was his superb negotiating skills, unique ability to close a deal and unequaled genius for bringing opponents to their knees begging for mercy in any transaction.

Instead, even the president's most ardent fellow travelers must be wondering if they didn't elect the Willy Loman of the West Wing.

Presidents of all parties aspire to lead. The good ones realize in a political life there are setbacks, disasters and failures. The good ones dust themselves off and move forward. They compromise. They find a way to make things work.

Stewing like a 4-year-old denied a pacifier is not exactly Lincolnesque.

What happens when Vladimir Putin tells Donald Trump to stuff it? And he will.

Pouting is not an option. And Jared Kushner better not be on vacation.

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