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Promises made, promises kept.

March 10, 2017

In a cover article in Time Magazine this week,  author Massimo Calabresi seems at times to equate democracy with bureaucracy, although that clearly was not the main intent of the article.

In truth that seems to be one of the underlying themes of a large number of complaints against President Trump.

Somehow, the institutions of government, i.e. Congress and the various departments and offices it oversees, are deemed to be so sacrosanct as to be immune from either reform or criticism.

It seems that 62 million voters disagreed with that premise in November 2016.

It is a fair assessment to say that it is those 62 million people to whom President Trump is committing his first year in office, if not his entire term.

One thing is for sure, it wasn’t candidate Trump who instilled the deep contempt for the Washington establishment and it’s business as usual climate that got him elected. That one is all on D.C.

We all know now that what the President did was to recognize that only an outsider had any chance of distilling that contempt into change.

Whether they or even he realized at that time how many eggs would have to be broken to scramble the bureaucracy into a tasty omelet of accountability remains to be seen.

The one thing that united Trump supporters was a deep and abiding faith that if elected, President Donald Trump would not forget his promises.

If that were the only criteria for judging a successful President, he would win hands down.

Of course it isn’t that simple.

While a lot of the hot air from the campaign was, as the phrase goes, “just politics” there comes a time when you have to put up or shut up.

The President’s opposition seems to be banking on the fact that as this change has to be backed up with action, the results will be so painful that his supporters will fall away.

The first real test of their theory is happening as Congress struggles to make good on his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Some people are going to lose under the three-part AHCA plan now being shepherded through the House and later the Senate.

One of the biggest gripes against the so-called Phase One is that it relies on states setting up risk pools to provide a safety net for people that now receive at least policy documents that say they can access care under Medicaid.

Some states may not want to or even be able to do that, preferring instead to hope that Washington will still handle it for them.

Given the number of states whose party apparatus violently opposes the President at every turn, that’s a legitimate fly in the ointment.

For instance, if the states that have sued to stop his very minimal attempt to control who enters the country for a meager and possibly even ineffective 90 days  band together and refuse to set up those risk pools, real people will indeed suffer. We know that at least 16 state AG’s sued to stop that effort the first time around. That’s one-third of the nation’s states.

That’s the danger in reforming the top of the heap. Success depends on enemies as well as friends.

The President is keeping his promises, or at least he is setting in motion the means to do so.

That may not be enough, unless voters can give him a more solid base in state governments.

Because you see, whether they knew it then or not, 62 million people also made him and the country a promise as well. They promised to accept the lumps and bumps that change would require.

It’s to be hoped they keep their promise as well as he has his.

From → op-ed

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