Mr. President, I am an admirer. You have achieved more significant accomplishments in 2 months than most presidents accomplish in 2 terms. What is amazing is that you have done so despite unprecedented sabotage by your predecessor and despite the usual distortions by the mass media – propagandists, not reporters. [More on that in a later post.] However, these tweets were a serious mistake:

“The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!6:07 AM – 30 Mar 2017

“If @RepMarkMeadows, @Jim_Jordan and @Raul_Labrador would get on board we would have both great healthcare and massive tax cuts & reform.”  Mr. President, you are threatening people who supported you, and aligning yourself with “No Trumper” RINOs. That is simply wrong. I am also an admirer of Dennis Prager and Michael Medved, both of whom  agree with the President’s position –  mistakenly. Prager contended that purists ruined the bill by insisting upon certain provisions. He claimed that the Freedom Caucus ignored the principle: The Best Is the Enemy of the Better. The phrase I learned was “do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” The Ryan bill was not good.It was dubbed Obamacare-lite and that description was accurate. I heard Michael Medved on the radio last week,  equally critical  of the Freedom Caucus. He contended one has to move legislation in increments and the Ryan Bill was a good start for doing that.   No, it was not. There was no way Democrats were going  to help improve the bill, increment by increment.  Their goal is to obstruct. This is not the Democrat Party of JFK; it is not even the Democrat Party of Adlai Stevenson. Today’s Democrat party has been hi-jacked by the extreme Left. The values held by JFK and Stevenson and by most Americans are denigrated.  These people are not liberals; they are radicals. If the Ryan bill had passed, the Left would have nit-picked every provision, all the while telling the public through the mass media that Republicans had deprived Americans of the wonderful protections of Obamacare.   As as for incremental improvement urged by Medved, if Stage 2 and Stage 3 would have eliminated the problems with the bill, why were they not included at the time? it makes no sense to hold back what would have solved any disagreements. The Freedom Caucus is correct. What is the Freedom Caucus?  It is a congressional caucus of conservatives in the United States House of Representatives, formed in 2015. Most members have been strong supporters of President Trump. A main point in the refusal to support the Ryan bill was that bill’s inclusion of the Obamacare requirement compelling insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions. Ryan was not willing to drop that provision.  He and the President should have done so. The withdrawn bill was ill-conceived and ignored opportunities to enhance market competition and reduce premium costs.  The most glaring error was the preservation of Obamacare’s mandate that preexisting conditions must be covered. People can refuse to pay premiums for insurance coverage for years. Then, when a catastrophic illness like cancer strikes them, they can obtain coverage simply by paying a 30% higher premium for just one year. Who wouldn’t go for that deal?It drives up costs which must be paid for by higher premiums for responsible taxpayers. It rewards the grasshopper at the expense of the ant.  Aesop got that but the GOP did not. [Emphasis added.] And it is not only conservatives who objected to the Ryan bill. Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, a moderate GOP member:I believe this bill, in its current form, will lead to the loss of coverage and make insurance unaffordable for too many Americans, particularly for low-to-moderate income and older individuals… We have an important opportunity to enact reforms that will result in real healthcare transformation — bringing down costs and improving health outcomes. This legislation misses the mark.[Emphasis added.] ​​  Here’s the kicker. Last year, the Republicans passed a bill which repealed Obamacare [the Affordable Care Act] and cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Obama vetoed it. Paul Ryan commented: But here’s the thing. The idea that Obamacare is the law of the land for good is a myth. This law will collapse under its own weight, or it will be repealed. Because all those rules and procedures Senate Democrats have used to block us from doing this? That’s all history,… We have now shown that there is a clear path to repealing Obamacare without 60 votes in the Senate. So, next year, if we’re sending this bill to a Republican president, it will get signed into law. [Emphasis added.] We have a Republican President, why not get that bill signed into law? Here is a recent version: Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted. Earlier this week, I watched a Wall Street Journal program and was dismayed to hear comments criticizing the Freedom Caucus members as selfish for stymieing the Republicans pushing the Ryan Bill. Is it not an American value to respect individuals who stood up for their principles in the face of intense criticism, even criticism from the President? It was a point of pride that, in our system of government, one man can make a difference. Rand Paul is a man of integrity and a physician. The Freedom Caucus Representatives have made a difference.  They have given us the opportunity to enact an effective health care insurance reform.  We can start with Rand Paul‘s sound proposals. Mr. President, this post started with your tweets threatening people who supported you and aligning yourself with “No Trumper” RINOs. Is it not time to re-assess?   It is not too late for the approach suggested by Charles Krauthammer;  work with the conservatives to get a bill you can pass and challenge the Democrats to filibuster it and let them bear the blame if it is blocked. Start with Senator Paul’s proposals and the ideas of your friends and supporters in the Freedom Caucus, and use your negotiating skills to bring the RINOs along.   

No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size…Professional politicians like to talk about the value of experience in government. Nuts! The only experience you gain in politics is how to be political. … our Founding Fathers could not foresee …  a nation governed by professional politicians who had an interest in getting re-elected….Millions of individuals making their own decisions in the marketplace will always allocate resources better than any centralized government planning process….There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers.  We must have the courage to do what is morally right.

– Ronald Reagan




Dick Coleman

Richard M. Coleman served as National Co-Chair, Lawyers for Reagan-Bush ’84 and really does miss RR. A graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Law School, Dick is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a past president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and of the National Caucus of Metropolitan Bar Leaders. A professor on the faculty of Pepperdine University’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution for 17 years, he received Pepperdine’s Excellence in Teaching Award. He has hosted TV forums on legal and financial topics and written and spoken extensively on political issues.

© Richard M. Coleman 2018