Trump got his win. For now.

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION - KATH­LEEN PARKER kath­leen­parker@wash­

Ac­tors Char­lie Sheen and Don­ald Trump are like twins sep­a­rated at birth. Both be­came rich and fa­mous — by hook in one case and by what­ever in the other — each to his own mind born to win.

“You de­cide to win and you win,” Sheen said in a 2012 in­ter­view fol­low­ing his Ve­su­vian melt­down.

“We will have so much win­ning . . . that you may get bored with win­ning,” can­di­date Don­ald Trump said a few years later. And so, it came to pass. Trump’s big win came Thurs­day when the Repub­li­can-led House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, hav­ing voted more than 50 times to re­peal Oba­macare, fi­nally mus­tered a squeak-by vote to pass the Amer­i­can Health Care Act, a.k.a. Trump­care.

Af­ter­ward, the giddy crew bused over from Capi­tol Hill to the Rose Gar­den to cel­e­brate their vic­tory with Trump, the win­ner in chief.

“We don’t have to talk about this un­be­liev­able vic­tory — wasn’t it un­be­liev­able? So we don’t have to say it again,” the president said to the ju­bi­lant gath­er­ing.

Said Sheen of his own win­ning streak, “It’s a good start . . . . It puts me in the zone of win­ning. I win here, I win there . . . you are in it to win.”

For those who may have missed the Sheen “win­ning” streak and the meme that re­sulted, by all means pay a visit to YouTube. Sheen’s lax syn­tax isn’t much re­moved from Trump’s bewil­der­ing elo­cu­tions.

“Win­ning in what sense?” the in­ter­viewer asks Sheen.

Sheen: “Just win­ning. They can say that [I’m los­ing], but what kind of car are they driv­ing?”

Trump: “How am I do­ing? Am I do­ing okay? I’m president. Hey, I’m president! Can you be­lieve it?”

Win­ning, you see, is ev­ery­thing to peo­ple who see them­selves as win­ners. In Trump’s case, it was al­ways about win­ning the of­fice, beat­ing the others, and never about gover­nance. Al­though he is a tee­to­taler and Sheen was a big mess, both mea­sure their suc­cesses by the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of ma­te­rial goods — grand houses, gor­geous women, cars, jets, boats and money.

Un­der­gird­ing both tem­per­a­ments, ad­dic­tive in na­ture, is an im­petu­ous grandios­ity likely born of low self-es­teem, which I in­fer from ex­ten­sive study and in­ter­views with sev­eral psy­cho­an­a­lysts, rather than per­sonal ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

“What we have is some­thing very, very, in­cred­i­bly well-crafted,” Trump boasted about a bill he un­doubt­edly hasn’t read and prob­a­bly doesn’t un­der­stand. Not his job, he’d likely say. His job as the chief ex­ec­u­tive is to del­e­gate, which is what Barack Obama did when he handed off health-care re­form to then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Nearly ev­ery crit­i­cism Repub­li­cans hurled at Democrats at the time is boomerang­ing back the other way. When Pelosi fa­mously said, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” Repub­li­cans guf­fawed and milked the phrase for­ever after. When House Repub­li­cans passed their re­place­ment bill Thurs­day, some who voted for it ad­mit­ted to not hav­ing read it.

When Trump­care was brought to a vote be­fore the in­de­pen­dent Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice had time to eval­u­ate it, Repub­li­cans re­sponded: We have to pass the bill be­fore we can know how much it costs — and maybe not even then.

What­ever small vic­tory Repub­li­cans cel­e­brated was pre­ma­ture and surely will be short-lived. Still in its in­fancy, Trump­care faces a pre­dictably slow Se­nate over­haul that could last months. Then fol­lows the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process, which could de­lay things un­til the 2018 midterm elec­tions. Democrats got shel­lacked in the 2010 midterms largely be­cause of Oba­macare. Re­mem­ber those charm­ing town hall meet­ings when the hol­ler­ing hordes in­sisted that the govern­ment keep its hands off their Medi­care?

Fast-for­ward and imag­ine the mad­ness in 2018 when mil­lions face los­ing their health-care cov­er­age — and even Repub­li­cans rec­og­nize that pro­posed health-sav­ings ac­counts are nitwit­tery. Al­most 6 in 10 Amer­i­cans don’t have $500 in sav­ings, ac­cord­ing to a Jan­uary Bankrate re­port. Yet Congress ex­pects them to sock away up to $6,000 a year for fu­ture health costs? Pure fan­tasy, but what would one ex­pect from a body of leg­is­la­tors, half of whom (as of 2014) were mil­lion­aires?

For Trump, win­ning is and al­ways has been the endgame. It’s his iden­tity, his mantra, his cam­paign prom­ise, his aphro­disiac, his drug of choice, his rai­son d’etre. Pass­ing Trump­care was hasty and, by many ac­counts, ill-pre­pared — but the president’s win­ning nar­ra­tive, the same that got him elected, got a needed, if tem­po­rary, boost.

And that, my friends, is what all the hooplas and huz­zahs were all about.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.