• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

A Remarkable Legislative Debacle

Capitol DaytimeWhen I first heard that House Leadership was going to go to the floor with the AHCA without knowing if they had the votes or not I was more than a bit surprised.  Either, I thought, the report is wrong in some way or Speaker Ryan was taking an insane (and bush league) gamble.  Turns out its bush league on Capitol Hill.

It has to be underscored:  the way the House operates is that major legislation of this type (i.e., not the result of an emergency or because of a legal deadline) only makes it to the floor if leadership wants it there.  This is a key power of the Speaker through his influence over the Rules Committee, as well as other factors that accrue to the majority party.  As such, the only reason that the Republicans and the Trump administration suffered the major defeat that they did was because they loaded the legislative gun, pointed it at their own heads, and pulled the trigger themselves.

It is one thing for the Trump administration to be acting like amateurs, because for the most part that is exactly what they are.  It is, however, surprising that Ryan and and House leadership was this, well, stupid (I tried to find a more elegant term, but the mind kept going to “stupid”).  It appears that the whole reason they wanted the vote when they scheduled it was it was the anniversary of the passage of the PPACA, and so they just couldn’t resist the symbolism of it all.  Symbolism is important in politics, I will allow, but allowing it to drive a major decision is utterly foolish (especially since most people don’t exactly have the PPACA’s birthday circled on their calendars).

Indeed, since good, well-thought out policy was clearly not the goal here (it clearly isn’t for the President, who just wants to sign something to say that he did) then it is a special kind of failure not to be able to put together something that the House could pass.  Keep in mind:  because of the filibuster the Republicans are limited to what they can repeal anyway (they have to limit changes to items that can be pushed through via the budget reconciliation process, since items via that process cannot be filibustered).

I am not an expert on the legislative history of the United States, so I may be forgetting something, but I cannot think of an example of a bill of this nature failing in this kind of self-inflicted fashion.  The closest examples I can think of are the first Clinton budget and Medicare Part D. The Clinton budget came down to the wire, vote-wise, although, that was very different situation because a) it passed, and b) it came to the floor not through the contrivance of the majority party, but because of a set calendar.  Medicare Part D did require some last minute maneuvers with the rules to squeeze out a victory, but that was, at least, a victory for the Republicans.  Still, had it failed it would not have failed after seven years of promises by the party and a year of campaigning by the sitting president.

Regardless of one’s policy preferences or partisan affiliations, it should be understood that this entire series of events highlights the amateur nature of the Trump administration, and a number of profound problems within the GOP.

In regards to Trump, this set of events should bring into sharp focus that he is exactly what he appears to be:  a celebrity huckster who believes his own hype about what a great deal-maker he is.  He is not playing some byzantine political game, but rather does seem to think that he can apply the same tactics a real estate agent can play to induce a sale, such as threatening to walk away or to sell to another buyer.  He clearly seem to think that his threat in the middle of the process to walk away from the AHCA was going to induce his “buyers” to panic and sign on the dotted line.  That isn’t how legislation works, especially when the party is fractured on how to proceed.

Meanwhile, the Republicans face an interesting internal division that undercuts the way the majority party usually operates.  But, too, the party leadership seems to either not understand the coalitional nature of its own party, or it lacks the needed skill to work the needed internal deals such a situation requires.

Related Posts:

  • None Found

About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Republicans spent a grand total of 17 legislative days with the AHCA. Seventeen. That’s far below what’s normal for a such a far-reaching piece of legislation, and one of the things I never could figure out over the past week is why they were rushing the bill to the House floor rather than using the committee process (which is part of the “regular order” that Paul Ryan said was going to be followed in the future when he became Speaker) to build a coalition in the House for the bill, at least among the House GOP. Instead, they rushed the bill to the floor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. grumpy realist says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Maybe they were scared of what in the end happened? Trump got bored with the process and insisted that it be put to a vote?

    Turns out that this idea of using Trump as a mechanism by which everything on the Republican wish-list gets passed into law has got some bugs in it, no? You loaded up your Frankenstein monster and got him lurching in the direction of the village….and now you discover he’s got the attention span of a gnat and you’ve got a Drunkard’s Walk trajectory instead.

    Good luck aiming that projectile, Republicans-with-a-cunning-plan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Mark Ivey says:

    They should of called it “Putincare” and it would of sailed through the House….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    It’s possible that precisely because they know he has the attention span of a gnat that they figured they had to shove this crapola through quickly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Pch101 says:

    The GOP devoted a great deal of time and effort to running against Obamacare, but it apparently had no game plan for managing the politics of it in the event that its party controlled the White House. Combine that with Trump et. al.’s lack of political talent, and you end up with this.

    But, too, the party leadership seems to either not understand the coalitional nature of its own party, or it lacks the needed skill to work the needed internal deals such a situation requires.

    Now that the far right wing of the party wants to run the show without compromise, it is no longer possible for the establishment to direct the coalition.

    This is akin to Chamberlain negotiating with Hitler, the war-weary traditionalist who is inclined to compromise for the sake of party unity versus the nutjob who loathes compromise and wants to fight for the sake of it.

    What the establishment should do for the long term health of the party is jettison the far right and suffer the short-term consequences of that decision — it’s not as if the Dems will embrace the Tea Party, which would have the effect of marginalizing it as a third party that would die off. But the Republican old guard is too gutless to bite the bullet.

    The establishment cares more about the coalition than the far right, so the establishment will eventually cave in to the far right. That’s what you get when you try to negotiate with terrorists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. michael reynolds says:

    The order of succession goes Trump, Pence and Ryan. In reverse order, Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest.

    It is not surprising that the GOP is run by stupid and incompetent people. The party itself, its alleged core beliefs, its policies, its rhetoric, are all stupid. Its voters are stupid. The captains of the stupid team aren’t going to be rocket scientists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. HarvardLaw92 says:

    I see it as having two legitimately possible paths going forward:

    1) House GOP leadership sees the writing on the wall, and begins to cross the aisle to cut deals with moderate Democrats in order to be able to govern (thereby tossing the Birchers under the bus), or;

    2) House GOP leadership continues to allow the Birchers to dictate legislative policy, which will drive the party the rest of the way off of the cliff.

    From a strategic perspective, either one is a longer term win for the national interest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Hal_10000 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The biggest reason, I think, is that they were under pressure from the Tea Partiers to unpass Obamacare immediately, despite not having 60 senate seats. If so, that’s still a big fail because, had it passed, it would have been a debacle of a bill. Wrecking the healthcare system to please your party rump is not exactly leadership.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. grumpy realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Hmmm. I’m wondering–Trump seems simply to want a “WIN!”, no matter what’s in there, so a moderate-Republican + Democratic bill that lands on his desk would not automatically get a veto.

    Unless of course Bannon is pulling the shots and wants to use Trump as a WMD to bring down the entire system. Chaos Central.

    On the other hand, Trump seems even more furious with the Freedom Coalition right now than with the D’s, so a bipartisan bill which overrides the FC and pushes them in the mud is something he’d probably really like to see.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Ratufa says:

    Next on on the Republican agenda is tax “reform”. That should go much more smoothly, since very few Republicans care about ensuring that people can afford health care, but almost all Republicans care very very much about ensuring that the wealthy can get large tax cuts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. John Cole over at BJ is wonderful. His description of Bannon:

    A fat retirement age alcoholic in rumpled clothes stinking of yesterday’s gin with bloodshot eyes, a mean streak a mile wide, who has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.

    P.P.S. Considering how much importance Trump pays to appearance, how in the hell did he decide to link up with Bannon in the first place? I’ve seen pictures of Bannon, and if anything, John Cole is understating what Bannon looks like.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. CSK says:

    Trump has to have someone to blame, because nothing is ever his fault. And he never fails.

    As for Bannon, he seems, for whatever psychotic motivations of his own, to want to tear down everything. He’s said so, and on this I take him at his word. I don’t think he has much interest in what emerges from the smoking ruins.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    How did Bannon hook up with Trump? Simple: Bannon went to him and told him he was The Man. The Greatest. The Man Who Should Be King.

    Bannon has always fancied himself a sort of Richelieu/Rasputin/ Thomas Cromwell figure, the ultimate power behind the throne.

    Remember back in 2011 he tried the same stunt with Sarah Palin. He was going to make her the president (nominally) of the United States, and he was going to be the puppeteer pulling the strings. He even produced a documentary/hagiography about her, The Undefeated, or The Undefecated, as some wags were wont to call it, one of the great box office disasters of all time.

    He took a gamble with Trump, and it paid off handsomely for him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Modulo Myself says:

    Republicans needed to move quickly because Obama and Obamacare both look far better when then the GOP is in power. The idea that months of exposure to Trump and Paul Ryan and random GOP bigots talking about mammograms and insurance would have helped is laughable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Huh. I hope Bannon remembers what happened to Rasputin….

    Unless you can keep the entire mess going, powers-behind-the-throne usually don’t survive changes of administrations. Talleyrand did, but by that time he had made himself useful enough to all sides that it wasn’t worth bringing out the axe for him. (Plus, the guys who took over weren’t that interested in doing much more than shoving Napoleon off to St. Helena, where ol’ Nap managed to do himself in by his fondness for green wallpaper.)

    If Bannon actually does manage to preside over the crash of the American system, I suspect it’s much more likely that he will end up being hanged upside down next to Trump, a la Mussolini + mistress.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    With respect to Trump caring about the appearance of the people around him: He cares about the appearance of the women (one of his minions actually said there would be No Frumps for Trump). The women have to be slim, stylish, good-looking, and young or youthful-seeming.

    He probably is just as happy to have the men around him look like gargoyles on the grounds that he might look good by comparison. Not. Going. To. Happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. DrDaveT says:

    Turns out it’s bush league on Capitol Hill.

    I think it’s important to note that Ryan and the rest of the GOP Congressional frat are just as much amateurs at their current role as Trump is. They have spent the last 8 years focused entirely on obstructing the Obama agenda and attempting to de-legitimize his presidency — Her Majesty’s Disloyal Opposition. There have been dozens of symbolic and/or frictional actions (voting to repeal Obamacare, investing Benghazi for the 37th time, screaming about the IRS doing their job, etc.), but zero productive legislative acts.

    They don’t know how.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. michael reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Comic understatement alert:

    Bannon is no Talleyrand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Gustopher says:

    If the goal is to be effective, then yes, it was a complete failure.

    If the goal was to create an enemies list, then it was marginally effective, but they should have had the vote to really maximize the number of enemies on that list.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. CSK says:

    I just remembered something interesting. I was hanging around the Harvard Business School at the same time Bannon* was hanging around there, and at the time, the mantra of the school was that a quick decision that turned out to be bad was far better than a considered, more slowly arrived-at decision that turned out to be good.

    He might have taken that lesson very much to heart.

    *I never met him. I’m trying to find people I know who did.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: It seems to have taken W. Bush about five years to figure out that Cheney wasn’t working for W’s best interests. Of course W may have had some shred of a conventional desire to govern and to leave a legacy. (He certainly succeeded in leaving a legacy, but the Middle East in chaos probably wasn’t what he had in mind.) How long before Trump realizes Bannon has his own agenda?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. MarkedMan says:

    It is interesting that Trump threw Ryan under the bus less than 24 hours after the bill was pulled. It sounds like Ryan handled it Trump’s way, I assume in the hope that Trumpmwouldnt turn on him, and now Trumpmisbtweeting out links to an opinion piece calling for Ryan to be ousted. Trump couldn’t be sending out a clearer message: there is no upside in working with him. He will turn against you in a moment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Thus explaining the chaos hired MBAs from Harvard have inflicted on our economy.

    I don’t suppose any of these idiots remember a little place called Cherynobl?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Terrye Cravens says:

    I don’t think the GOP can get rid of the Freedom Caucus. The voters can, but not the GOP establishment. And I am not sure that the Democrats really want to work with Trump…that would smack of “normalizing” him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Pch101 says:

    @Terrye Cravens:

    I don’t think the GOP can get rid of the Freedom Caucus.

    The establishment could treat it as a rogue force and refuse to negotiate with it, while asserting that the far right fringe has no place in the party or the American government.

    Making nice with the fringe only encourages it to get worse. The fringe needs to be attacked and isolated like a tumor. You can’t be friends with a tumor, you can only attack and destroy it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. dmichael says:

    @Terrye Cravens: The GOP is stuck with the Freedom Caucus. I am reminded of what George Wallace is reported to have said after losing his first campaign in Alabama: “No one will out-n…er me again.” The Free-dumb caucus hold on to power by practicing “No one with out-crazy me on the right.” The GOP has cultivated the crazy and it has completely infected them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:

    I don’t think Trump will ever realize that Bannon has his own agenda, unless Bannon does something so egregious (and damaging to Trump) that it doesn’t escape even him.

    @grumpy realist:

    The whole business about quick decisions being better than good decisions never made sense to me, but I think it was premised on the notion that the students’ career trajectories would be so rapidly upward that by the time their bad decisions came home to roost, they’d be long gone from the scene and engaged in wrecking yet another enterprise for more money and more perks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. michael reynolds says:

    I love that I get a down-vote for saying that Bannon is no Talleyrand. Really? Bannon is Talleyrand? He is a legendarily wily courtier who managed over the course his life to survive the Terror and the rise of Napoleon while playing footsie across all lines of allegiance? The drunken lout with the neo-Nazi ideas is Talleyrand?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. @michael reynolds: I often find downvotes to be more than a bit mysterious in terms of motivation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @HarvardLaw92: 1) House GOP leadership sees the writing on the wall, and begins to cross the aisle to cut deals with moderate Democrats in order to be able to govern (thereby tossing the Birchers under the bus),

    This is how it works in the Texas Legislature. There are really three parties: the Democratic Party, the “Main Street” GOP, and the social conservative / Tea Party GOP.

    For the better part of the past two decades, the Main Street GOP has been in control of both chambers. They use the social conservative wing to pass just enough of their agenda to keep that voter base happy, and the Democrats to actually govern (budgets, etc.).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @HarvardLaw92: 1) House GOP leadership sees the writing on the wall, and begins to cross the aisle to cut deals with moderate Democrats in order to be able to govern (thereby tossing the Birchers under the bus),

    This is how it works in the Texas Legislature. There are really three parties: the Democratic Party, the “Main Street” GOP, and the social conservative / Tea Party GOP.

    For the better part of the past two decades, the Main Street GOP has been in control of both chambers. They use the social conservative wing to pass just enough of their agenda to keep that voter base happy, and the Democrats to actually govern (budgets, etc.).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: A strategy which works until you end up in one of those positions where they keep you around (CFO, CEO) and actually have to produce something that works. At which point your “just make sure it’s a quick decision, who cares how good it is?” habit backfires completely because now you HAVE to make good decisions and you’ve never practiced any of the brainwork necessary to learn how to do it. So you pick something at random like usual and chances are the firm goes down like the Hindenburg along with your career.

    Now, I can understand this “pick something!” training if you have two or more equal strategies in front of you and need to decide, because I’ve also seen would-be entrepreneurs get snarled up for days or months just agonizing over a choice and keep trying to track down “just one more piece of data” that they hope will shift the scales one way or another. But thinking that “quick” overrides “good”? That’s just stupid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Let me add a little something. In Bannon’s day, and I suspect this is still true, the B-School wasn’t producing CEOs and CFOs. It was churning out vast battalions of management consultants and investment bankers (yellow ties for management consultants, red ties for investment bankers). There was a second-year course in entrepreneurial management, but the focus was not at all on starting or operating an actual business that made things or provided services. The first year required course in production and operations management was eventually eliminated because of this.

    A management consultant comes in, does his or her thing, and splits. It’s very much hit and run. They never have to live with any crap decisions. As for investment bankers…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Pch101: It would not make any difference if the GOP tried to marginalize the crazies.. The point is that if those people want to run and win as Republicans the establishment can not make them do anything. Obviously. Personally, I think each party should be able to banish people they believe are dangerous to their parties or the country…but the people who can really make that happen are the voters themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. JohnMcC says:

    @michael reynolds: All this talk about Tallyrand sent me on a wandering trip into google. Couple of things I learned: 1: He is not the character who when asked what he did during the ‘Terror’ replied ‘I survived’. A favorite quote of mine; wonder who it was? 2: Something he DID say is a beautiful statement about our current media status.

    “Since the Masses are always eager to believe something, for their benefit nothing is so easy to arrange as facts.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. David M says:

    Speaking of dumpster fires, it doesn’t get any easier from here on out. The GOP actually agreed that Obamacare had to go. They didn’t know why or how, but they all said it was of the devil. Look at the upcoming calendar:

    Spending resolution due in April
    Debt ceiling must be raised
    Trump’s “infrastructure” plan
    Tax reform w/border tax

    There’s much less agreement about those issues among the GOP than there was to repeal Obamacare…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. Just 'nutha ign'int cracker says:

    @CSK:

    but I think it was premised on the notion that the students’ career trajectories would be so rapidly upward that by the time their bad decisions came home to roost, they’d be long gone from the scene

    That theory certainly worked for many of the key players in the toxic asset bubble event.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. JohnMcC says:

    @Pch101: I’ve seen several of your comments saying how the “Republican Establishment” needs to throw the HFC under the bus.

    I think we both realize that the purist ideological crew in the R-party has become a controlling minority. It seems to me that the way they got there is by being political actors of the ‘conservative’ media. My thought is that if the ‘Establishment’ is not trying to expel the HFC it’s probably because they have evaluated the likely winner in such a contest and decided to smile pleasantly to anything and hope they make it through to the next election without wearing too much poop on their persona. If they thought they could, they would have already.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. Pch101 says:

    @JohnMcC:

    The establishment spent decades courting Dixiecrats and their cousins (the religious right of the 70s and 80s and the more recent Tea Party). It worked for a time, but those groups eventually started wanting more.

    So now, those groups have outlived their usefulness. If the establishment wants to win, then it needs to be willing to walk away from the coalition so that its votes go with it.

    The Tea Party behaves as it does because there is ample evidence that it can get away with it. That will change if it is cast aside and is turned into a permanently marginalized coalition that is too small to fare any better than did third party nativists such as George Wallace and Strom Thurmond when they sought the presidency. Neither the establishment nor the Tea Party can win elections if they are divided, but the Tea Party can’t be tamed if there are enablers who encourage them to participate in a major party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. An Interested Party says:

    Next on on the Republican agenda is tax “reform”. That should go much more smoothly…

    I wouldn’t be so sure about that as there are plenty of Republicans who are worried about the deficit/debt…there’s no way to pass huge tax cuts for the wealthy without blowing up the budget…

    Bannon is no Talleyrand.

    Well hell, Bannon doesn’t seem to be Karl Rove either, granted, that is a rather low bar to set…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. CSK says:

    @Just ‘nutha ign’int cracker:

    Well, exactly. If you never suffer the consequences of your derelictions, then why not continue down that path? It certainly has worked for Trump. Screw ’em, dump ’em, and proceed on your merry way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. David M says:

    The HFC might be best thought of as the representatives from the Conservative Entertainment Complex. No one in the GOP has shown any willingness to challenge that behemoth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. @Terrye Cravens:

    I think each party should be able to banish people they believe are dangerous to their parties or the country

    In much of the world, party leadership can do exactly that and thus force troublesome pols out of the party and either into retirement from politics or to another party.

    The fact that candidates are nominated by primaries, however, totally undercuts that type of mechanism. Our parties are decidedly non-hierarchical..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: In my experience, with independent management consultancy, it’s a conspiracy by which a company gets an “opinion” from outside the firm to take a course of action they know damn well they have to do but nobody wants to stick his head over the parapet and say so. It’s a way to avoid political catfights within the firm, so when stuff needs to get shifted or cut, they can all unite in blaming the big, bad consultant. (Computer consultants get to do the same thing, supposedly. I have a friend who’s worked in this area for years and he says the first thing you do when pulled in on one of these jobs is figure out what the company wants you to tell them. There’s what they supposedly hired you for, and then there’s what they really want you to act as a cover for.)

    Companies who actually hire management consultants (who have NO actual business experience) and then listen to them deserve all that happens to them. Management consultants who actually think what they learned at Harvard Business School is what they’re supposed to do will end up unheard and alone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. David M says:

    After the legislative train wreck of this bill, it’s funny* to see the following pointed out by various conservatives:

    1. Obama/Pelosi/Reid/Dems/etc all worked hard to pass Obamacare
    2. That effort took a long time, was done in public and wasn’t rushed through
    3. When it was passed, it was by regular order and not through reconciliation
    4. Pelosi was right that people needed to see the benefits to appreciate them

    *funny/sad, not funny/haha

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Now don’t act like you didn’t expect people to downvote this just for the heck of it!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. rachel says:

    @@Steven L. Taylor: I’ve downvoted comments by accident on my cellphone. It’s a combination of small icons and fat fingers to blame.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. Kylopod says:

    @rachel: That’s happened to me a couple of times. I rarely intentionally use the downvote. I usually reserve it for comments that I find trollish, disruptive, rude or offensive. I used to do it a lot for superdestroyer when he posted here. That was easy. He was an outright racist, but beyond that he was always trying derail threads to go into his stupid “one party state” rants.

    The problem is that a lot of people here (not necessarily the commenters–it could be mostly lurkers) seem to view the upvote and downvote options simply as a way of expressing whether they agree or disagree with someone. The highest number of downvotes I ever received here came last summer, when I suggested that Donald Trump had an electoral college advantage over Hillary Clinton. In retrospect I was proven correct (in a horrible way I would never have wished for). But it drove home the point that many of the people who hang around these parts have trouble dealing with comments that say things they don’t want to hear. And I find that kind of sad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. rachel says:

    @Kylopod:

    That’s happened to me a couple of times.

    I hate it when it happens because there’s no way to take it back. I also hit the ‘reply’ button when I don’t mean to.

    -_-;

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  50. Not the IT Dept. says:

    We’ve been hearing that Republican congresscritters are afraid of Trump because he can unleash the masses on them in their districts unless they do what he wants. Yet where were these masses during the past three weeks? Were there thousands of angry phone calls made to representatives’ offices demanding the passage of ACHA? There certainly was a lot of silence on twitter about it.

    Message received: Trump can be defied with impunity. Those who suffer the most from this debacle are Ryan and Priebus – who were on-side.

    Going to be an interesting 4 years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  51. SC_Birdflyte says:

    If DT were an auto salesman, he’d be the kind who tries to convince you that an ’88 Yugo is better for you than a ’14 Camry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  52. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @JohnMcC: My favorite Talleyrand quote was after Napoleon had a member of the Bourbon family “rendered” into his custody and was then promptly executed: “This is worse than a crime; it is a blunder.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  53. Tyrell says:

    Chuck Schumer says that he is excited about working with Trump, while Trump may be thinking more to bypass the Republicans and work with the Democrats.
    Here is an idea that could work:
    Form an independent committee. A committee made up of insurance analysts (to crunch the numbers and stats), economists, doctors, and other experts. Sorry, politicians sit this one out. They come up with a plan that is affordable, flexible, and is broad. A plan that everyone can find something to anchor on to. This plan should not run hundreds of pages to read through. The average person should be able to read through it and understand it. The information that I get from my insurance company is written in plain English, not some sort of legalese or code. Even I can understand most of it. They could also come up with some ideas to reduce the spiraling costs and make health care more efficient. Double digit rate increases are unacceptable.
    That is how things get worked out. Our leaders need to talk, listen, and use common sense.
    See: “Rising from the ashes; a novel bipartisan approach to health care reform” (Forbes)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  54. Monala says:

    @CSK:

    the mantra of the school was that a quick decision that turned out to be bad was far better than a considered, more slowly arrived-at decision that turned out to be good.

    Why the hell would that be the case? What’s the rationale?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. Monala says:

    @CSK: When I was a college student in Boston, I did temp work to earn money, and had occasions to temp at Harvard B-school and MIT’s Sloan School of Business. The difference between the two was night and day. Harvard was about teaching its students how to make money; MIT was about teaching them how to implement and manage good processes–the production and quality assurance sides of business.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  56. Monala says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: It could be a mistake, too. Sometimes if I’m reading on my phone, the upvote and downvote buttons are so close together, I hit the wrong one. (It wasn’t me in this case, but it has happened on occasion).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  57. Tyrell says:

    @Monala: @Monala: MIT: isn’t that the school that had the group of students who went to Las Vegas and was cleaning up using methods taught to them by a professor ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  58. CSK says:

    @Monala:

    Indeed. Are you speaking of the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, or the undergraduate school?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0