Doug Smith: The Loyal Opposition?

27 Mar


Doug Smith: Author, historian and political, historical and social editor for Free State Patriot.


March 27, 2017


That is what the party out of power is supposed to be. However, that is not what the current Democrat party will be, ever. But more on that later. The Dems and the Left will only oppose Trump in the most vicious, “un” Democratic way possible.

The Loyal Opposition from come from within the President’s own party. The Freedom Caucus. The Heritage Foundation.


So, here goes. No, Mr. President, the Freedom Caucus was not to blame for the failure of the Ryan Health Care bill to get the required votes. But they did help, and for that, kudos to them.

The Democrats, as you should know (you are not stupid, but impulsive in the extreme, and for God’s sake give your phone to Reince Preibus and enough with the 2 am tweets!) will never support anything you say or do. You never were going to get any vote to touch a hair on the head of Obamacare, or Planned Parenthood from the Left side of the aisle. Well, maybe Joe Manchin, but he is fighting for survival in a WV that is getting redder every day. And he doesn’t want to come back to Morgantown and practice law.

But I think you already knew all this, and so did Paul Ryan.

Not everything is the art of the deal. There is also the value of rigorous honesty.

Paul Ryan seems, from one perspective, to be angling for the GOP to repeat a hat trick they have done successfully over and over. We need more!

Give us the House, and we will repeal Obamacare.  So, the get the House. Then, to avoid a government shutdown caused by Obama and Reid, but blamed in the press on the GOP (have you figured this out yet? EVERYTHING is going to be the fault of you and the GOP. Get used to it, and just do the right, and smart, thing.)  the GOP House caved on funding, where they did have power, then voted for a “clean bill” to repeal, and sent it to the Senate, where they did not have power, to die.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Give us the Senate.

We did.

Same routine.

Give us the White House.

We did, well, sort of. You are not what the GOP had in mind, and it is somewhat amusing to find them in this state.

But as we got closer over the last 6 years to giving the GOP everything relating to power in DC, a curious rot has set in. We need to repeal it, root and branch, thundered Mitch McConnell. We need to fix the parts that are broken, whimpered Jeb Bush, with all the passion of an artichoke.


We need to repeal and replace it, as we have been promising the American people, sang the GOP in DC, in 216-part harmony. Wait a minute, now, just wait one doggone minute. What is this, trying for a soft landing.

It just doesn’t work like that. You sign a contract, or make a promise, and then as it gets close to time to deliver, you start to change the words, and alter the terms.  You start to wax eloquent about the terms of the deal that only you are party to, and how you feel obligated to keep that promise.

And you know what?  The folks who were promised a Mercedes, and now hear about the Prius you say you promised them, are going to feel betrayed, and suspicious. We are also going to wonder, if you didn’t keep the first promise, why would we expect you to keep the second one when the going gets tough?

We need to fix the parts that are broken? Yes. And it is all broken. As any big government takeover of a business necessarily will become. The bigger, the worse, and quicker it will break.

One argument is the phased repeal: keep Obamacare in place for a while so Secretary Price can reverse the many discretionary rules and changes of Secretary Sibelius.

Anyone see the problems there? Anyone? Beuhler?

Ok, first, if that is what the GOP, or you, Mr. President, want to do, Secretary Price is in office right now. He can busily spend his day reversing every move that Kathleen Sibelius took to try and prop up Obamacare, including eliminating the Cornhusker Kickback, and have it done right now. He has a staff. They can pull up every move she made and right a simple change: this is eliminated, and Tom Price can sign it.

Secondly, and one of the major flaws of Obamacare: what the Secretary giveth the Secretary, or a future one, can take. The law is so nebulous the Secretary of HHS can do whatever they want at any time. Forever. Uncertainty is deadly for a business. And this provision inserts it into the entire industry.

So, use the power you inherited now (after all, if you don’t, why would we think you will after the next bill is passed?)  and do it.

Secondly, it has not been that long since we had an administration and Congress force feed us a bill in record time, without giving a clear picture of what was in it. Pelosi s famous “We have to pass the bill, to see what’s in the bill. “You did, we have, and we don’t like it. Furthermore, we don’t want bills passed like that again.
A lesson for you from Obama, one which he did not learn: POTUS is not a king, and must often persuade and negotiate, rather than rule, bully, and bluster.

You and Ryan have told us this is the best you get. Ignore the previous promises, just be grateful we are giving you something. We are at a crisis, and if you don’t pass it right now (this sounds so very much like 2009 all over again) the seas will rise, buildings will crumble, and you will be stuck with Obamacare till it crashes and burns, and we will blame it on the Democrats, and any of you, our own folks, who did not go along.

But that is not going to work this time. The common sense, conservative core of the Republican voting base has been lied to by our leadership far too many times to let it happen again without consequences. You, Mr. President, are one of those consequences, and the reasons Jeb or Marco are not planning the Easter Egg hunt.

Ryan is playing by the old boy rules. He is trying to craft a bill which would pass the old Senate rules. But of course, Harry Reid blew up long standing convention, so all bets are off in that august body.  And if anything, his first bill should be WAY over to the other side, leaving room to negotiate back to the center. You never make a deal by starting out with all you want and saying That’s it, no negotiating.

Have you ever read “The Art of the Deal, “by Donald Trump?

If the GOP passes, and you sign, a bill which leaves most of Obamacare intact and just paints the walls in a house on fire, the folks who voted for you, and them, will feel, correctly, that they have been betrayed.

The Democrats were and are never going to support anything you do. The loyal opposition is not going to chant your name and give you a rubber stamp. We are going to support you when you are right (well done with Gorsuch and extreme vetting, nice start with the EPA) and when you are wrong, let you know.

The last real journalist I can remember speaking the truth to power when it came to POTUS was Sam Donaldson. He did a nice job of keeping Carter and Reagan’s feet to the fire.  I can still hear him now.

Hold On, Mr. President.

That is the title of HIS book. It might be good reading for you, Mr. President. At 2 am. Instead of tweeting.

As I’m sure you have discovered, you are sitting in the hottest seat around.  There are some of us around who will loyally support you, but still hold your feet to the fire when your misstep and try to urge you back on the right path.

I expect you will make missteps. You are human, after all.  Smart humans learn from their mistakes and don’t repeat them. That is my hope for you.

So, to summarize, here, from the loyal opposition, Hold On, Mr. President.

That is not what we sent you there to do. Take a breath. Have a steak, well done, with ketchup, and try again.

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