Editorial Page Editor, Quad-City Times

So much winning.

Obviously, President Donald Trump's brand of victory is so above a lowly plebe like me, that I can't even identify it for what it is. Clearly, last week's monumental collapse of the GOP's health care bill was, somehow, an incredible victory. What else could it be? Trump's a winner. 

We'd win so much under a Trump administration that we'd get sick of it, he boasted on the campaign trail. Legislation to "repeal and replace" President Barack Obama's defining domestic policy would be in the works "immediately" after he took office. Not day 64. Not day 100. 

Day one.

Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the White House. If they can't govern in this environment, they can't govern at all. 

Nearly 70 days into Trump's presidency and that nebulous "plan" to defeat the Islamic State is little more than a ramp-up of Obama's policy. His Muslim ban -- er, travel ban -- can't survive a courtroom. Recently, the president blamed Fox News for his outright lie that asserted Obama employed British intelligence to spy on his campaign. Yes, the man whose words carry more weight -- at least they did -- than just about anyone else on the planet is pointing fingers at a friendly news network because he can't be bothered to do any real research.

Trump has accomplished essentially nil aside from a few executive orders that gut environmental regulations. That and, well, offending ally after ally in record time. 

Man, isn't winning awesome?

Earlier this month, Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann told a pro-Trump crowd that the president is "doing exactly what he said he would." It's become a common refrain. And many now saying it are the very same people who cautioned voters prior to the election to "not take Trump literally."

This cognitive dissonance continues to persist. Trump's tweets shouldn't be "taken literally," Republicans say. And yet, the president "means what he says."

Don't forget that, recently, the head of the FBI, under oath, told Congress that, if "taken literally," Trump's claims were bogus. How's that a win, exactly?

Trump's draft federal budget probably won't be much of a win, either, since its all but DOA. For example, it takes aim at the Midwesterners who helped him upset Hillary Clinton in Michigan and Wisconsin. The health of the Great Lakes and its fisheries are of huge importance. And, yet, programs to combat invasive species would be gutted by Trump's non-starter of a wishlist. 

The same is true for the failed health care bill. It was Trump's white, working class base that would have borne the brunt of bill championed by Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, said reports by the Congressional Budget Office and Kaiser Foundation. 

Trump never bothered to learn the issue. He left the real work to his merry band of warring advisers. The harder they worked to placate the GOP's right flank, namely the House Freedom Caucus, the more they agitated Trump's center. The legislation was doomed in the Senate, even if it had survived the House.

It's a damning sign of weakness from the self-described world's best deal-maker, a man whose entire political persona hinges on twisted machismo.

Immediately upon the bill's demise on Friday, Trump, true to form, lashed out at Democrats, until now a feckless group.

Over the weekend, he turned his wrath on the Freedom Caucus, which includes Iowa's Rod Blum. Interesting strategy. While small, the Freedom Caucus wields outsized power. And, in its opposition, Freedom Caucus members proclaimed a total lack of fear of Trump. 

Politico and The Washington Post reported over the weekend that, internally, Trump's scorn was focused on Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. 

Nowhere has Trump accepted any personal responsibility for an objectively devastating defeat. Not once has he indicated that, just maybe, he underestimated the complexity of the politics at play. 

I guess winners blame everyone but themselves. 

Jon Alexander is editorial page editor at the Quad-City Times. He can be reached at jalexander@qctimes.com

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