The Trump Administration has run into its first major policy buzz-saw—and it is the Republican Party.

To quote the old Walter Kelly “Pogo” cartoon, “We have met the enemy and he is us!

The GOP repeal and replace health plan has been rejected by its own members and could be delayed indefinitely.

This was a predictable defeat given the slap-dash approach which Trump’s top strategists adopted under orders from an impetuous leader, determined to undo the signature legacy of the previous Administration.

The first rule of politics is counting votes. Clearly the White House has not yet learned how to do that and the results speak for themselves.

The House leadership is in a terrible bind. Either it carries out the mandate of a president more interested in scoring victories than exercising common sense, or it caves into opposition from a conservative faction determined to gut at any cost what millions of Americans have said they prefer to keep.

Trump has come up against a truism that every president, even the most cautious, experiences: They can demand whatever they want but Congress does not have to go along.

Barely two months into his term, Trump is squandering some big political capital by underestimating the forces arrayed against him.

The author of the Art of the Deal—which was Trump’s forte in private life—carries little weight when new deal-makers are added that can snuff out the ambitions of an overly-aggressive leader even if he inspired a devoted following.

The Obama health reform plan—while needing modifications in some places—was the product of years of intensive negotiations and maneuvering with multiple stakeholders when the Democrats still held majority control.

Even with their guy in the White House, it was a titanic struggle where victory was finally salvaged without a single Republican vote only after recalcitrant Democrats put their own disagreements to rest.

Trump has bigger problems as someone who many top Republicans shunned and are only reluctantly coming around to support.

The current Republican majority has little allegiance to one who declared himself an outcast to more orthodox Republican thinking and he will need to build bridges if he wants cooperation.

The most undisciplinable minority on the far Right and especially the Freedom Caucus members consider Trump’s succession a sell-out which can only complicate the efforts to bring them into the GOP fold.

By voting against this bill for what they see as in their constituent’s interests, they are declaring independence from House Speaker, Paul Ryan’s, directives.

They are gambling being returned to office in 2018 in the face of White House anger that is bound to be directed against them for their apostasy.

There may be some trade-offs that can be worked out with these party agnostics. But Trump will need to develop another skill—the art of diplomacy—and that characteristic is nowhere to be found in his make-up.

But even if a different version is possible, this bill is destined for sweeping changes when it is sent to the Senate which has already signaled strong opposition to it in its current form. Under its rules the prospects for passage are much dimmer.

Amidst the clamor of discord that now perpetually rules Washington is the absence of even-handed calming, persuasive heads on both sides that can find avenues to reconciliation and acceptable compromise.

This will not be easy. But the future of the nation depends upon it.