The two pieces are one by David French at NRO, and one by Noah Rothman at Commentary.
Rothman takes us through the dizzying pace of events of the last day and a half:
French speaks plainly about a major motivator of Capitol Hill Republicans: fear.
There are very few true-believer Trump allies on Capitol Hill. Sure, there are many folks who are genuinely impressed with the man’s electoral victory and admire his intense connection with his base, but even most of them would admit that he was their last choice in the primaries, that they voted for him because they considered the alternative to be worse, and that the main attraction of his presidency is the chance to pass conservative policies and confirm conservative nominees. They don’t trust him and they don’t like him. But — and this is important — at some level many of them fear him, or at least fear what he could do to their careers.
Fear is a powerful motivator. Here we are, six months into his first term, and aside from the Judge Gorsuch nomination, meaningful conservative victories have been few and far between. Scandals and self-inflicted wounds abound. Planned Parenthood is still funded, Obamacare is still alive, and tax reform is still mainly a pipe dream. Trump has proven that he can and will blow up any and all news cycles at will. He’s proven that he sees loyalty as a one-way street: “You’re for me, and I’m for me.” No matter your record of previous support or friendship, you must do what he wants or face his public wrath. Yet still the GOP wall holds.
Already Republicans have proven their capacity to defend conduct they’d howl about if the president were a Democrat. Trump has lost a campaign chair, national-security adviser, and foreign-policy adviser as a result of deceptions or problematic ties to Russia and its allies. His campaign chair, son, and son-in law took a meeting with Kremlin-linked Russian officials in furtherance of a professed Russian-government plan to help him win. He impulsively shared classified information with the Russian ambassador to Washington. He fired FBI director James Comey, unquestionably misled America about his reason for doing so, and trashed Comey’s reputation in front of our Russian foes. He and his team have made so many false statements about Russia that an entire cottage industry of YouTube videos exists to chronicle them.
It's the same kind of fear that prevents them from putting economic liberty front and center in the quest for the way to the repeal the "A"CA.
You will notice who the most truly confident Republican federal lawmakers are. They are the ones who are willing to come in for not only howls of derision from the Left, but the Left's signature absolute viciousness. And they do it with smiles on their faces, because they know what their principles are, and they know those principles are right.
You don't have to wrap yourself in wonkish terminology and flimsy platitudes when you are right.
But the biggest test of whether there's enough of that confidence to matter may be upon us.
In any event, can anyone say that either the Republican-controlled White House or the Republican-controlled Capitol is knocking out a bold, historic agenda, undistracted by arcane investigations, petty turf battles and political fear?
No, and that doesn't speak well of the party that's the ostensible repository of free-market principles, solid moral grounding and an unflinching view of the world stage.
Which might mean handing back the reins of power to the party that is the agent of pure darkness in post-America.