Reagan: Making American sausage
Sausage is being made in Washington.
But you don't want to watch.
Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, liberal or conservative, watching Washington's sausage being made will make you lose your appetite for democracy.
Whether it's rewriting tax policy or repealing and replacing Obamacare, I've always imagined the process starts somewhere in the basement of the Capitol Building...
A bunch of politicians who couldn't scramble an egg for their own breakfast are stuffing their favorite kinds of pork and spices into a gigantic meat grinder.
They argue about whose ideas are better and make private deals with each other. All their ingredients get smashed and squished together. Stuff falls on the floor.
Some guys who want to please their special friends back home sneak in crazy stuff at the last minute.Others take important stuff out for the same reason.
The whole dirty legislative process is too gross for anyone with high morals or political principles to watch, but in the end it turns out a piece of sausage that everyone in the country has to eat whether they like it or not.
American sausage is not perfect and never will be. And for the last century way too much of it has been made by liberals in Washington.
Now Republicans are trying to reverse things by replacing Obamacare with a huge new law that will bring market reforms, lower costs and patient choice to health care.
The whole country has been watching Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and the House as they try to make their Repeal & Replace sausage — on TV.
Even with their majorities and a Republican in the White House, Republicans have a lot of tough work to do.
Speaker Ryan, as he explained Thursday, will have to pull out every parliamentary trick in the book to slow-walk the Republicans' conservative sausage through Congress.
It's also going to take President Trump and every Republican in Washington to unite and work hard to overcome the opposition of Democrats and the liberal media.
The president has to take the lead.
He needs to meet with the Republican caucus, get everyone on the same page with him and lay down the law to any conservatives who are thinking of not supporting Repeal & Replace.
Too many "pure" conservatives in the Senate, the House Freedom Caucus and at think tanks have been criticizing R&R, calling it "Obamacare Lite" and complaining that it doesn't do X or Y or Z.
But Republicans who are expecting R&R to be perfect out of the box, or expect it already to be totally finished and tied with a nice red bow, are dreaming.
What's most important is they need to remember Ronald Reagan's 80-20 doctrine, which said that in Congress no one ever gets 100 percent of what they want in their sausage.
In the real world that's the way the lawmaking process works.
Conservative Republicans have to be willing to give a little, be happy to get 80 percent now and work on getting the remaining 20 percent they want later.
Republicans can't blow this opportunity or they might as well forget tax reform and any other big dream for the next four years.
They need to find a way to come together to make Repeal & Replace work.
They also have to stay off Fox News and CBS and do their complaining in private. Let the Democrats, the pundits and the liberal media do the public criticizing.
When Republicans add their criticism to the mix, the public perceives Republicans to be in absolute disarray while the liberals who gave us Obamacare are unified and look like they know what they are doing.
The only time we should hear a public statement from a Republican Congressman who doesn't like the House's Repeal & Replace legislation is after it has passed.
Then he can say, "You know it might not be perfect but it's a heck of lot better than where we were headed under Obamacare."
Until that great day, if a Republican doesn't like the way Paul Ryan is making the R&R sausage, he should just shut the hell up.
Michael Reagan is the son of the late President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and an author. Follow him on Twitter @reaganworld.