Unpacking President Trump and "The Art of the Deal": he's great when the other party needs him more than he needs them, not so great when the stakes are different
- that the Republicans demonized the program when it was mostly a conservative approach based on an old Republican think tank paper and "Romneycare" in Massachusetts
- so they weren't left with a good "Republican" alternative when it was already pretty Republican...
- the intransigence of the Freedom Caucus (somewhat comparable to UKIP in the Brexit debate)
- the lack of policy heft on the part of Paul Ryan (Paul Krugman has written for years that the image of Mr. Ryan as someone with intellectual policy cred is fatuous--he's just an anti-taxer with some books)
- the problem of setting artificially constrained deadlines
But I was thinking about this yesterday morning and all the talk and perception of what a great deal maker Donald Trump was/is as a "businessman," and it occurred to me that his experience is mostly what we would think of as a bottom feeder dealing with distressed assets or situations where the other party needs Trump so much more than Trump needs him/her.
In short, Trump's deal making "prowess" is all about being the more powerful party in asymmetric situations.
That's why he's associated with all kinds of wacky projects and assets, with some exceptions here and there, like the redo of the Old Post Office in DC as a hotel, or the Mar a Lago golf course in Palm Beach.
Trump's experience in dealing with equally powerful parties is very limited, and in the vast majority of the situations where he's been in that situation, he hasn't done particularly well.
There was a letter to the editor in the New York Times yesterday which made a similar point:
President Trump knows how to make a deal with those who want to make a deal with him. He doesn't know how to make a deal with those who don't want to make a deal with him. That's the difference between business and politics.Although as I wrote above, it's more than the difference between business and politics, it's about asymmetric versus symmetric power positions.
-- James Sutton, Des Moines