The hand motion of Speaker Paul Ryan in the photo which heads this article is body language for being above it all. Speaker Ryan will need a lot more than body language to recover from the wound that has been delivered to governance itself. We have witnessed a travesty and this is not opinion. It is fact. Indeed it may spell the end of the frail alliance between a man named Donald Trump and a party that once belonged to men like Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. After inducing the entire corps of journalists all over the world to believe there was actually going to be a vote, there was some reflection on what that would look like and the verdict was better a tail between the legs than blood on the floor.

The writing was on the wall

The signs of impending disaster were blared all over the world. Millions knew that 24 million would lose their insurance. It was understood that Medicaid expansion would be suspended in 2020 and that Tea Party folk in the House wanted to suspend it much sooner. The bill, it turned out, was largely from the office of the Speaker. Trump seemed willing to sign off on anything that looked as though it might overturn Obamacare. Within a day of its appearance, virtually everyone who meant anything in both business and health sectors rejected it as harmful and economically impossible. The speed with which the House ultimately caved will most likely be seen as yet another demerit for a government that has proved almost unable to function for far too long.

And now?

The pulling of Trumpcare may well be seen as evidence of an impossible approach to governing. Serious legislation takes years to germinate and come to fruition. The competence of the President has always been an issue but it is likely to grow as a concern, even among his own base which was hardly at his side this afternoon.

The rest of the Trump agenda was said to be dependent on a quick send-off following repeal and replacement of Obamacare. Instead, it is looking like a season of recrimination followed by some sort of realignment. It is getting to seem that the only option open to Trump is to learn penitence and practice decency. That is a tough order for someone schooled by Roy Cohn.