The favorite scapegoat in Congress: The conservative who sticks to the planks in the Republican platform. For seven years, Republicans promised an Obamacare repeal — full repeal. It’s part of the Republican platform. Obamacare repeal has animated the GOP and energized grassroots voters that helped give Republicans the House, then Senate, then White House.
Now, when it comes down to it, the Republican leadership puts forth a bill that modifies Obamacare but accepts the premise that health insurance is a right. It’s not.
There are more practical and political reasons that Obamacare is tough to repeal:
- Big business donors love Obamacare. Why? Well because it transferred benefits responsibility to the taxpayer. Example: Walmart. Walmart had a bunch of part-time employees who they’d give insurance to. Under Obamacare, if they kept their hours under a certain amount, those employees ended up on the exchanges.
- Medicare was raided to fund Obamacare. “Fund.” More like robbing Peter to pay Paul but still. So where will that money go if there’s a full repeal?
- The political ads with weeping constituents. Guaranteed. Even Obamacare modification will expose Republicans to the sob stories that never got press when Obamacare was enacted.
My prediction is that even if the House somehow passes Obamacare modification, the Senate will kill it and no reconciled bill will pass. Republican base voters will be enraged, and it will depress future electoral efforts. Donald Trump will be weakened. The House and Senate GOP will have squandered their power. Failure all around.
The pro-repeal people will blame the Freedom Caucus. The president will blame them, too. The blamers need to look in the mirror.
Republicans have paid lip-service to conservatives and used their energy to get elected, and those voters had one animating goal: Repeal Obamacare. The GOP didn’t want to do it. Not really. They’ll pay a price at the voting booth and deserve the pain they feel.
One added bonus of this strategic cock-up is that the virulent Never Trump crowd, the crowd still pining for Marco Rubio and hoping to get Trump impeached, are all about getting this Obamacare modification turd sandwich bill passed. Paul Ryan wants it, by gum, and fealty should be to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell above all other loyalty considerations. That includes aligning with Donald Trump.
During the election, when Rubio lost his own state and bowed out, the choice became between Cruz and Trump. While many Never Trumpers activists petulantly voted for doofus Evan McMullin, the Republican leadership, including ex-Speaker John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, got behind Donald Trump, making the calculation that Trump was more malleable and held policy positions closer to their own than Ted Cruz. They hated Ted Cruz. So they put their money and power behind Trump. Reince Priebus got on that train and so did many other GOP’ers.
Cruz didn’t get the nomination. Trump did. Never Trumpers decried Trump’s everything — he’s a monster! They impugned the character of people who held their nose and voted Trump because he was better than Hillary Clinton. They crooned about being True Conservatives and maligned Trump voters as ideological sellouts; people who put party over principle. They kvetched about how conservatism died because of unprincipled people voting for Trump.
And now, these very same people are aligning with Donald Trump against conservatives because conservatives are putting principle over party and demanding that party leadership not be hypocritical.
The irony of the situation is par for the course. Erick Erickson notices this, too.
Photo credit: DonkeyHotey, Creative Commons, Flickr