The Art of the Deal & the First 100 Days
Matthew JAMISON | 31.03.2017 | WORLD / Americas

The Art of the Deal & the First 100 Days

In President Donald Trump's best selling memoir and «self-help book» The Art of The Deal written with the help of journalist Tony Schwartz in 1987, the penultimate chapter is entitled «Deliver the Goods». A very big plank of Mr. Trump's campaign platform for running for President was that he was not a politician, with no experience of politics and government, but rather a businessman who could get «great deals» and «beautiful things» done in Washington DC for the American people where previous «do nothing» politicians had failed before him. One of the biggest deals of all would be to repeal and replace the Affordable Healthcare Act, colloquially known as Obamacare. For the last seven years ever since President Obama and then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi passed the healthcare overhaul reform the Republican Party has banged on and on like a cracked record that the first thing they would do once in control of both the White House and Congress would be to immediately replace Obamacare. They campaigned vociferously on the issue in the 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016 Congressional and Presidential elections. They passed more than 50 symbolic votes in the House of Representatives indicating that they would do just that. 

With the election of a Republican «Art of the Deal» businessman President in November 2016 and the Congress firmly in control of the GOP it seemed that they were unstoppable and would do just that. Until they came up against themselves. Like ferrets in a sack the spectacular and hilarious implosion of the Republican Party's seven year crusade to repeal and replace Obamacare highlighted that when the Republican Party is not busy fighting the Democrats and being the Party of No, they cannot even agree among themselves to get their own policy promises passed. President Trump, like any narcissist, has trumpeted his own «genius». He has taken that most vulgar and tedious aspect of the American character, the bragging self promoting boastfulness and lack of humility, to an extraordinary new level. During the campaign Mr. Trump said of Obamacare: «One thing we have to do: repeal and replace the disaster known as Obamacare. It's destroying our country. It's destroying our businesses». And this: «I would absolutely get rid of Obamacare», along with this: «The one thing we have to do is repeal and replace ObamaCare. It is a disaster. People's premiums are going up 35%t, 45%, 55%» and the coup de grace: « Obamacare can't be reformed, salvaged, or fixed. It's that bad. Obamacare has to be killed now before it grows into an even bigger mess, as it inevitably will». 

One must ask the question. If a Republican President so committed to replacing a law passed by his predecessor with a party wildly intent on doing the same and in full control of all the branches of the US Government cannot even get this achieved, what precisely will they be able to achieve over the next four years? Presidential historians may well look back on Trump's first 100 days and conclude it has been the most chaotic and dysfunctional 100 days in modern American Presidential history. We now have had two executive order «Travel» or «Muslim» bans struck down by the Federal Courts; a National Security Advisor lost within the space of three weeks; a war raging within the US intelligence community regarding the precise nature of the relationship between the Trump Campaign and Russian officials; a reversal over the One China Policy; outlandish claims from the President himself that his predecessor wiretapped him and now the sight of a Republican President and Republican Congress unable to pass their own legislative agenda. Mr. Trump and his Republican Party have shown once again, in that splendid Texan saying, they are all hat and no cattle, full of bluster and hot air and completely incompetent and inept, even when they are in control. The Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, is clearly out of his depth, completely naive to believe that such a controversial and complex piece of legislation could be passed lock, stock and barrel in a matter of weeks. After all, it took President Obama and Speaker Pelosi over a year to get Obamacare passed. Perhaps President Trump is starting to realise that Government and politics - running a country - are very different matters from inking real estate deals or running those most insufferably boring bourgeois creations - golf clubs.

The tragedy in all this is I simply cannot find within myself any sympathy for Trump's supporters and voters. They, unfortunately will have to be taught a harsh lesson and experience a rude awakening, and sadly deserve everything that is coming to them over the next four years. The election of Donald Trump represented the fact that roughly half of the American population who voted for such a man have experienced a collective nervous breakdown. Anyone of any sound, rational mind who closely observed Mr. Trump's performance during the 2016 campaign could not come to any other conclusion that Donald Trump was a con artist and someone who was not of sound, stable mind, who despite his hyperbolic promises and over the top rhetoric, would be unable to deliver. Those who could not understand this, were probably as deranged as he is. So, with the failure of the «Art of the Deal» President to deliver on one of his and his party's central campaign promises of repealing and replacing Obamacare, what can Trump voters expect of the other Trump/Republican policy promises? 

President Trump said: «I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words». So far no construction has started on this wall and no funds have been forthcoming from Mexico. During the campaign Mr. Trump remarked that: «I know more about ISIS than the Generals do». Right, and how is that working out in Mosul at the moment? President Trump has repeatedly promised to bring back American manufacturing jobs that have been outsourced overseas under various free trade agreements, yet if he cant even get his party to pass healthcare reform, I would not hold my breath if I were an unemployed American manufacturing worker trapped in the Rust Belt. On foreign affairs, President Trump has promised to fashion a new relationship with Russia, yet he seems incapable of holding on to his National Security Advisor in the face of a concerted internal intelligence war for conducting routine communications with the Russian Ambassador. Trump has publicly asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to slow down on construction of illegal colonialist settlement activity in the West Bank, yet no such signs are evident of a slow down. If I were a Trump voter I think the words «buyers remorse» would spring to mind.