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How Will Trump Respond to Failure?

Walter Russell Mead

The New York Times reports on the President’s changing emotional state as the healthcare battle rages on Capitol Hill:

President Trump, the author of “The Art of the Deal,” has been projecting his usual bravado in public this week about the prospects of repealing the Affordable Care Act. Privately he is grappling with rare bouts of self-doubt.

Mr. Trump has told four people close to him that he regrets going along with Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s plan to push a health care overhaul before unveiling a tax cut proposal more politically palatable to Republicans.

Pundits are asking whether the botched reform of a botched reform will succeed. But perhaps the more important question is: How will President Trump develop as he runs up against the constraints and the frustrations of the constitutional presidency?

Few Presidents come to the Oval Office as inexperienced in national politics and the workings of the political machinery as President Trump. He is going to encounter many surprises and frustrations in his new life. Will this process make him wiser and wilier, or will it just make him more angry and bitter?

The burdens of the presidency change everyone who holds the office, much as carrying the Ring changes Tolkien’s ring bearers. In the end the Ring ennobles Frodo, though it wounded him, and it destroys Gollum even as he wins it back. It will change Trump, too, but how?

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