The GOP is at the inflection point promised by Trump on the campaign trail -- to scrap the Affordable Care Act and cancel health coverage for tens of millions -- and it finds itself wanting to think things over for a little while. Trump is now talking about years instead of weeks:
In a brief aside in an interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News broadcast before the Super Bowl on Sunday, Mr. Trump went further than he ever has in acknowledging the reality that any hope of quickly replacing the Affordable Care Act has been dashed.
“Yes, I would like to say by the end of the year, at least the rudiments, but we should have something within the year and the following year,” the president said.Buyer's remorse is bound to settle in with the Trumpian base. Tomahawking Obamacare was litmus test number one.
Realignment in foreign policy was also right up there. There has to be buyer's remorse there too as Trump bends over backwards to satisfy the Gulf Arab monarchies. Trump's decision to list the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization is driven by the Saudis et al. According to Peter Baker in "White House Weighs Terrorist Designation for Muslim Brotherhood":
In his short time in office, Mr. Trump has already come under pressure from Arab allies eager for such a designation. He had phone conversations with Mr. Sisi; Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi; and King Salman of Saudi Arabia. But he also spoke with Mr. Erdogan on Tuesday.
A top Arab official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity according to diplomatic protocol, declined to discuss what was said on the calls, but added, “It’s safe to assume since U.A.E., Saudi and Egypt have all designated the M.B. as a terrorist organization, that decision would be welcome by those countries and several others in the region.”Soon it will become apparent to white rural America that Trump is really no change agent; rather, he is the Second Coming of George W. Bush. And George W. Bush was extremely unpopular.
The approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline is also a litmus test, but one that is a huge opportunity for the left to counterattack. If the left proves supine and easily rolled, Trump will be able to make his transition to a W.-like presidency of incoherence and ineffectiveness, settling in for four years of more of the same. But if the left's counterattack is robust and victorious, that's more alienation for the Trumpian base.