Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Friday, July 28, 2017


It is unclear at this point whether John McCain actually "mavericked" last night because of his objections to the "skinny repeal" plan or because he felt the process violated the traditions of the Senate that he defended in his speech on the Motion to Proceed.  In many ways it doesn't matter.

For seven years, the Republicans have been running around promising the moon and the stars.  This was distilled into Trump's promise to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better, but that was basically what the GOP had been saying.  They have a way to give people what they want with less cost - both financial and "freeeeedumb!" - than those stupid Democrats.

Last night should prove (but probably won't) that they have no idea how to fulfill the vague promises they've been making.  Last night should prove (but probably won't) that they have no way to craft policy on complicated matter.  Who knew?

Skinny repeal was an cynical an exercise in legislating as I can imagine.  It was a poorly crafted bill, written on the back of a napkin behind closed doors and then rushed to a hurried vote without so much as a glance by the CBO, with the promise that it would be "fixed" in conference.  It was a bad bill and a worse process.

And it was completely unsurprising that it failed.

(I will say it was surprising HOW it failed.  I thought Capito or Heller would be the 51st vote against, and then many others would join them.  Now we have most of the Senate and most of the House with measurable votes that would strip health care from their constituents.  No wonder McCain didn't trust GOP leadership to "fix" it in conference.)

McConnell and Ryan aren't done trying to immiserate their constituents, we can be sure of that.  They will continue to flog the dead horse until the whip disintegrates in their hands.  But it's harder and harder to see how they get to 51 votes.  If I am Heller or Capito (or Portman and others) I'm trying to figure out how I can trust leadership not to leave me vulnerable with extended votes.

The GOP - especially Trumpelthinskin - will commence to making the exchanges falter and fail by depriving them of needed support.  That will make people angry, and will likely not end well for GOP officeholders, but then again, the modern Republican party is more or less an extended tantrum against the 21st century anyway.

Meanwhile, I have a mental picture of Joe Biden waking up, checking his news feed and then picking up the picture of Obama he keeps by his bedside and whispering, "This is a big fucking deal, Barack."

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