Round one of the Obamacare repeal fight goes to the Democrats, and both Trump and Paul Ryan are saying they won't even bother to keep trying. Opinions differ as to why, but part of it has to be that both men hate this issue and just want it to go away. They tried to make it go away by passing a bill, but if they can make it go away by not passing a bill they will settle for that.
I have some thoughts about this. One is that during the 2012 election, Romney kept saying that electing him was the only chance Republicans would get to repeal the Affordable Care Act. By 2016, he said, people getting coverage under the law would be used to it, and it would be impossible to take it away from them. Maybe he had a point.
Another is that governing is difficult. American populists seem to believe that governing is a moral problem, and all we need to set the government right is to elect tough, wise, folksy men of the people who will do the right thing. But governing a country is hard, and without decades of experience it is almost impossible to get anything significant done in Washington or any other capital city.
A third thought is that for all the corruption and sausage-making and interest group pressure and what all, enacting big changes is much easier when you are working toward principles that you really believe in. Reagan got a lot done partly because he passionately believed that lower taxes. a bigger military, and less regulation were what the country needed. Obama got his health care bill because he and other Democrats passionately believed that health care is a right. The latest Republican health care proposal was remarkable for its complete lack of ideological motivation. Was there, anywhere in the world, a single person who was passionate about this bill? Without passion, people are not motivated to keep working for something month after month and year after year, and they end up shrugging and walking away after one setback.