Glenn Harlan Reynolds accurately details the incomprehensible Republican failure and stupidity last week in D.C.
The plan to replace Obamacare with a new bill crafted by House Speaker Paul Ryan has failed, and embarrassingly so. And that failure is part and parcel of a larger failure of the Republican-led Congress to push an agenda in the new administration.
Talking to a friend at lunch not long ago, he expressed his amazement that the House and Senate leadership didn’t have bills “lined up like airplanes on a runway” ready to take off in the new year. I was surprised, too.
It’s not like the need to do something about Obamacare was a surprise. Republicans have been promising to repeal it for most of a decade. And it’s not like Obamacare was popular or successful. Premiums are rising, providers are dropping out, and costs are going up. It’s true that the Obamacare bill, pushed through on a procedural technicality that avoided a filibuster but left it impossible to fix at the time, was a mess. It’s also true that the legislation was drafted, and the regulations implementing it were designed, in part to make it hard to undo.
Nonetheless, the Republican inability to deliver a bill that could get a majority in the GOP-led House is a colossal failure, and pretty much undercuts its entire reason for being. For years the congressional GOP leadership failed to deliver on promises to constituents, and offered the excuse that it couldn’t do anything without control of the White House. Well, they’ve got that, so what’s their excuse now? And where are the bills on infrastructure, on tax reform, on free speech?
The congressional GOP’s failure to deliver on its promises is one of the things that led to the election of President Trump. Now they’re still failing. What comes next?
If history has taught us anything about Republicans, then “what comes next” is more failure. The Atlanta Falcons of politics.
Last night I caught a few minutes of Judge Jeanine Pirro of Fox – I could not turn away as she utterly skewered Paul Ryan:
Paul Ryan needs to step down as Speaker of the House.
The reason? He failed to deliver the votes on his health care bill. The one trumpeted to repeal and replace ObamaCare. The one that he had seven years to work on. The one he hid under lock and key in the basement of Congress. The one that had to be pulled to prevent the embarrassment of not having enough votes to pass.
But this bill didn’t just fail — it failed when Republicans had the House, the Senate, the White House.
And the timing? It failed within the first 70 days of President Donald Trump’s administration. A president who made replacement of ObamaCare the hallmark of his campaign. And then used valuable political capital to accomplish it.
Americans elected the one man they believed could do it. A complete outsider. Someone beholden to no one — but them.
And Speaker Ryan, you come in, with all your swagger and experience, and you sell him a bill of goods which ends up a complete and total failure. And you allow our president, in his first one hundred days, to come out of the box like that? Based on what? Your legislative expertise? Your knowledge of the arcane ins and outs of the bill writing process? Your relationships? What? Your drinks at the Hay-Adams with your pals?
Folks, I want to be clear: this is NOT on President Trump. No one expected a businessman to completely understand the nuances, the complicated ins and outs of Washington and its legislative process. How would he know which individuals upon whom he would be able to rely? Many of them, friends and establishment colleagues of Speaker Ryan.
You, on the other hand, Speaker Ryan, know very well who the 15 hard liners, the 10 moderates, and all the other ones.
Amen. No, this one is not on Trump. This one and this one alone. No more passes in the future. He’s a smart enough man to learn how the jellyfish sting. Whether he’s willing to use what he learns and whether that is enough remains to be seen.
The whole 61st (61st!!) failure to repeal ObamaCare boiled down to not getting conservative Republicans on board. Hell, as Pirro says, they were physically locked out of the process. How could anyone have expected their support? The Bill could have been passed with their help and without a single Democrat vote in favor. This is strictly a GOP problem.
Their “solution” is strict GOP stupidity. The conservatives in the “conservative” party were not consulted, then. Now, instead on trying to get them on board, the GOP and Trump are opening to the idea of bringing Democrats into the fold. I wonder what their suggestions might entail?
And the GOP is splintering. Blaming those fellow conservatives who were never invited to participate, Rep. Ted Poe is abandoning the House Freedom Caucus.
Ted Poe / Twitter.
Despite decades of jading, I had high hopes for Trump’s Presidency. I still do though that old shade of green is creeping back into my views. If he cannot marshal this band of derelicts and losers into a solid party, then there isn’t much faith in his (their?) agenda. If that happens, one can expect similar failures on: the debt ceiling (a given no matter what); tax cuts; immigration; etc.
The whole thing starts to look like the Contract with America. Remember that stellar GOP success? Neither do I.
On that note, I will leave you with Carlin: