Trump, his deal-making skills having failed him, simply ordered his party Thursday night to pass his unappetizing Obamacare replacement plan, or else. And the "else" is Obamacare, forever and ever and ever.
It was far from clear, however, that Ryan and Trump have the votes to muscle the package through the House after several members of the hardline House Freedom Caucus refused to back it following a marathon session of negotiations Thursday with Trump and other top aides.
"We have been promising the American people that we are going to repeal and replace this broken law," Ryan said. "Tomorrow we're proceeding."
But the speaker refused to answer shouted questions from reporters after the meeting about whether he had the votes to pass the health-care measure.
In a closed-door meeting with House Republicans Thursday night, according to Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told his former colleagues "the president needs this, the president has said he wants a vote tomorrow up or down."
Party conservatives want health insurers free to sell junk policies that provide little care and to make unlimited profits; moderate Republicans fear what the resulting death toll will do to their election prospects. But both are needed to pass the bill.
Either Trump's presidential authority evaporates within weeks of his inauguration, then, or party resistance to him collapses completely. I'm taking bets! Mine: conservatives will do what he tells them. Shame comes to them naturally, and they won't want to burn him until they can get rid of him.