Theories abound. Patients react. Markets signal. And so it goes as the debilitated Congress captured by a swirl of self-regarding interests attempts to re-engineer 20 percent of the economy, yet again. I am thankful for spring renewal and the promises of baseball’s spring training.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been around for seven years. Its strengths and weaknesses have been exposed. Fix it.
President Donald Trump has been around for 60 days or so, and, contrary to belief, had a rather good week. Public embarrassment can teach a 70-year old who is said to be unteachable. If in his experience in trying to co-lead with Speaker Paul Ryan the repeal and replacement of the ACA didn’t teach him anything, he will not last four years.
The simplest message — build a majority, don’t count on one. The far right of the Republican Party and Trump share a party but little else. And if Trump is going to shape bi-partisan coalitions, he will need a leader outside his current entourage.
Democrats seem gleeful; they should not be. Most importantly, having a weak president is debilitating internationally, and they need to keep in mind that he is in his eighth week of 208. Plus, their Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, seems intent on undermining the minority’s rights by trying to block the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch by using the filibuster. If his colleagues follow his lead, then the Senate majority will repeal the rule that gives the minority what limited power they have.
The President I worked with, George H. W. Bush, allocated most of his time to national security and foreign policy. The President’s authority to deal overseas is much greater than his domestic reach. Sen. John McCain, no Trump fan, nevertheless gives him high marks on assembling a strong team for work abroad. Trump needs to order his White House bureaucrats to speed the nomination of the next tier of leadership at the State and Defense Departments in particular.
If Trump’s leadership as Commander-in-Chief is successful, he will be in a stronger position with the Congress. If Trump continues to live up to his opponent’s characterizations, he will be weak both at home and abroad.
Recently, a friend explained that his vote for Trump was a vote for Mike Pence. If Pence ends up taking over before Trump’s term expires, our nation is in for an especially destructive swath of history. I hope the lessons of the last week prove beneficial.
Al Sikes’ leadership helped shape the arc of 21st century communication technologies from positions as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and then President of Hearst New Media. In 2004, the Manhattan Institute chose Sikes as one of eight winners of the Social Entrepreneurship Award for having founded READ ALLIANCE, which trains teenagers to tutor children with reading deficiencies. Sikes second book, Culture Leads Leaders Follow was recently published by Koehler Books.