THE RECENT REPUBLICAN FIASCO
The post-mortem is fairly simple.
The abortive Republican attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare is easily the greatest political failure of at least the last half century.
Never have so many done so little so poorly.
It is essentially the crashing of the Republican brand.
It’s like getting beaten by 100 points on your own court. All you can do is congratulate the other team and stumble dazed into the locker room, wondering why in the world you ever got into basketball.
I say this as a Republican who wants my country and my party to succeed. I say this as a realist who knows it would take a special brand of Kool Aid to find a silver lining in this fiasco.
The Republican Party has problems, and they are a lot bigger than Donald Trump.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act has been the signature Republican issue for seven years. It was one of the prime rallying cries of the recent congressional and presidential elections. It has been a topic discussed and debated and voted upon ad nauseam. Republican candidates all up and down the ballot railed against it as if it were a sinister act from the devil himself.
And then they won.
And it turned out they were completely unprepared. There was no replacement, there was no coalescing theory of improvement. There was no consensus, there was no coalition, there was no Republican way. Apparently the GOP senators and the Republican governors didn’t even get to weigh in. We had bluffed for a half a dozen years and more, and like the dog that finally caught the car, we had no idea what to do with the power now that we had it.
And at a time of his own choosing, the speaker of the House came out with the Republican plan. He set a date for a vote, and he plowed forward, and it was immediately clear he hadn’t even worked it through his own caucus. And the best play the speaker or the White House had was a whir of let’s-make-a-deal shenanigans that tried to buy votes, but ended up burning bridges.
It became obvious that neither the speaker nor the president had the power or the savvy to influence the votes of congressmen from their own party. At the after party, Trump blamed the Democrats and convinced no one. Democrats had absolutely no involvement with this issue and its timing or outcome. This was entirely Republican incompetence and foolishness.
Other than Hillary’s e-mails and Benghazi, repealing Obamacare was the campaign. It was THE thing. It was the band at the dance. And not only did House Republicans and Donald Trump fail to deliver on their defining promise, both the speaker and the president shrugged it off as if it really wasn’t that big a deal. The speaker declared Obamacare as the law of the land for the foreseeable future, and the president said he would wait for Democrats to approach him about health care.
He sounded like a guy who had gotten too comfortable with declaring bankruptcy.
Quitting seemed to come pretty easy to both Donald Trump and Paul Ryan. Negotiating, convincing and winning did not. After about a week of failed effort on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, these chuckle heads were ready to wash their hands of it.
After a half-hearted and half-assed attempt at getting rid of Obamacare, both the speaker and the president seem willing to pretend that that settles the issue and satisfies the campaign promise. Obamacare repeal, upon which 18 months of campaigning was based, is now at the dead-letter office, to be forgotten by all good Republicans.
Further, we are to believe the president’s assertion that this is for the best, as now Obamacare will collapse of its own weight and the political responsibility for that will fall on the Democrats.
I guess if you think some sort of partisan pissing match is more important than governing America, then that’s probably OK. But if you see serving the people as the purpose, then it makes no sense.
All the woes and failings of Obamacare continue, and no effort to obviate or reform – much less replace – will be made. It turns out the best thing for the Obama legacy was a Republican victory.
Because here are some undeniable truths: Barack Obama got his health-care policy though, and Donald Trump did not; Speaker Nancy Pelosi got her caucus to support her president, and Speaker Paul Ryan did not. The Democrats have enacted health-care policy, and the Republicans have not.
And since the election, Democrats have kept their promise on Obamacare, and Republicans have not.
The post-mortem is fairly simple.
The president and the speaker failed, the biggest promise of the campaign is broken, and the Republican Party is a laughing stock.
And all the Democrats did was stand there and watch, with the rest of America.
While the Republican Party leapt off a cliff.
- by Bob Lonsberry © 2017