Donald Trump's health care plans haven't worked out especially well. Neither have his efforts to create a Muslim ban. The president's tax-reform ambitions face long odds, and are already being scaled back. Perhaps infrastructure will be the issue on which Trump can find a major victory?Probably not. Politico reports
that Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure proposal -- which does not currently exist -- is "running into familiar roadblocks: suspicious Democrats, a divided GOP and questions about the math." The article added one quote, though, that jumped out at me.
Republicans say they think Democrats, despite their complaints, will come to the negotiating table when work begins in earnest. And some say enthusiasm from Trump could be the ingredient to make it work."Obama never really had infrastructure on his mind," said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who worked with Democrats on two major transportation laws. "This president does, and one thing we've learned -- whether you guys like him or not -- he does what he said he was going to do. Maybe to a fault, but he does."
It's worth taking a moment to appreciate how spectacularly wrong this is.First, Barack Obama often seemed obsessed with infrastructure investments, pleading with Congress in multiple State of the Union addresses -- and an address to a joint session while unveiling
the American Jobs Act -- to take the issue seriously. Congressional Republicans refused, taking an unyielding position against public spending
because it was public spending.Second, the assertion that Donald Trump "does what he said he was going to do" is amusing, but wrong. On everything from health insurance
to the opioid crisis
to national security
to Wall Street
, this president routinely does the opposite
of what he said he was going to do.But perhaps, despite all of this, Trump really is committed to pursuing a $1 trillion infrastructure package? Don't count on it. Vox's Matt Yglesias had a good piece
on the subject last week, following a strange presidential interview with the New York Times
Donald Trump's rambling, incoherent remarks on federal infrastructure spending during a wide-ranging interview with Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman of the New York Times have set headline writers abuzz with the desire to extract some kind of meaning and news value from his comments... His remarks make it clear that he doesn't know anything about the substance of the issue or about the relevant congressional procedures. He doesn't appear to be familiar with the related provisions of his own administration's budget, and he isn't putting in the time to lay the political groundwork for any legislation. The trillion-dollar infrastructure plan doesn't exist except as a line of rhetoric.It's pure vaporware, and unless something dramatic changes to the overall structure of the administration, it always will be.
Someone might want to let James Inhofe know.