The Washington Times said in an editorial on Dec. 26:

Campaigning is always easier than governing. There’s unanimity at a campaign rally, but in Congress, not so much. From 2010 onward the Grumpy Old Party won election after election on the promise to pull up Obamacare, root and branch, and start over with health-care reform.

The fiery rhetoric, denouncing first Barack Obama and then Hillary Clinton, was great fun. Campaign money flowed in by the barrel. The Republicans took control of almost a third of the nation’s governorships, half of the state legislatures, and both houses of Congress. The door to repeal, reform and renewal was wide open.

But then it was time to do something, but there was no plan that the party could agree on. There was not even an outline of a plan, and the Republicans in the Senate, where self-discipline is a dirty word, forgot why they were sent to Washington and decided that politics was not the ultimate poker, but a game of solitaire. All there was were slogans, and the wish of many in the party to move on from reform to business as usual. There was still an appetite for continuing to campaign against Hillary Clinton. It was as if the party had never expected to win all those campaigns, including the big one that put a Republican in the White House.

The liberal establishment, including many of the organs of the media, joined forces to protect Obamacare. For Republicans the time had come to pull back and “re-evaluate.” “Success is not final, failure is not fatal,” Winston Churchill said, “and it’s the courage to continue that counts.” Re-evaluating the first year of the new presidential term reveals not the ruins of the losing votes to repeal Obamacare, but the repeal, in the tax-reform legislation, of the individual mandate that is the heart and soul of Obamacare. Now the task begins of further shrinking it year by year until it is replaced by a health-care plan that works.

There will be opportunities to make small improvements throughout the rest of the year, improvements that look small but have cumulative impact. Those are the successes that Sen. Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republicans can fashion. They must find the ways to do it.