In 2004 in a Townhall meeting former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was quoted as saying “You go to war with the army you have, not that army you might want.” Rumsfeld’s sentiments ring true for anyone who has had to take on a difficult task with limited resources, and I think those sentiments are relevant to the position many Republicans find themselves in today.
Republicans have to find a way to govern with the President they have and maybe not with the President that they might want. While I am sure there are many in Congress who would have preferred President Rubio, President Kasich, President Paul, President Cruz, or even President Jeb Bush, but the man who currently resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave is Donald J. Trump, and those in Congress have an obligation to make conservative change happen with President Trump in office.
By failing to pass a bill that repeals and replaces the Affordable Care Act the Republicans in Congress are failing to live up to their end of the bargain. Republicans were more than willing to do over 50 show votes repealing Obamacare, but when those votes actually had consequence and there was a President in the White House willing to sign a repeal bill they revealed their true nature. Maybe the Graham-Cassidy bill wasn’t perfect, but my greater fear is that Republican’s inability to live up to their promises of repealing Obamacare will lead to the establishment of a government-run Single-Payer health care system as soon as the political pendulum swings back in the Democrats favor.
In a way, Donald Trump is the first Independent President we have had in the modern era. While he may have run as a Republican he had to overcome the Republican establishment just as much as he had to overcome the Democratic establishment on his way to the White House. In that vein, he is not beholden to his political party in the same way that any other President would normally be. So when the Republicans in Congress fail to deliver and give the President a win on repealing Obamacare, he will find a way to govern without them. While as a fiscal conservative I do not like that President Trump is striking debt ceiling deals with Democrats “Chuck and Nancy” I can hardly blame him for looking for ways to govern without solely relying on the Republicans in Congress, who so far have let us down.
So my advice to Congress is this: Give Trump a win. Whether it be on Tax Reform or infrastructure so that this government is capable of moving major bills through the legislative process. After eight years we finally have a President who is willing to sign the conservative legislation into law. Sure we won’t get big-ticket items like Social Security reforms that Trump has spoken out against, but there are more than enough issues that we should already have gotten wins on.
Congressional Republicans dropped the ball on Health Care and the result has been to drive the President into making deals with Democrats. If Congress drops the ball again on real conservative tax reform I fear it will only push the President closer to his friends “Chuck and Nancy” and I don’t believe that is good for any of us. There are some real opportunities for President Trump to be a mechanism to enact real conservative change, but Congressional Republicans have to start treating him like the President Trump that he is and not the President Trump that they want him to be.