Opinion: GOP disinterest in governing now biting them

I’m sitting here watching in amazement as Republicans in Washington try to claim that really, they really really do have a plan for how they’re going to replace Obamacare, but you see, the dog must have eaten it or the Russians must have stolen it or here’s a note explaining that they need to be excused from the assignment because their grandmother died and can they bring it in next year or maybe in 2018?

“Ummm, isn’t this the 50th time your grandmother died, son?”

“Well, uh, you see, we come from a large family.”

It’s all the more amazing when I think back to an interview we had at the AJC with then-U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, in which both Republican leaders were adamant about the evils of Obamacare and the necessity of replacing it as soon as possible.

When pressed, though, neither man had any idea what that replacement might look like or how it might operate. As I wrote at the time:

 

‘So if the GOP plan is going to ensure that pre-existing conditions are covered, as Chambliss and McConnell suggested, how would they do it without individual mandates? What mechanism would they use? Chambliss and McConnell had no answer. Literally.

After Chambliss fumbled an initial response, McConnell broke in with a long and familiar condemnation of the Democratic plan, including its failure to include tort reform. After a few minutes, I interrupted and brought him back to the question: OK, but how are the Republicans going to cover pre-existing conditions?

“The premiums are going up either way,” he said.

OK, I responded, a little stunned. That doesn’t explain how the Republicans intend to cover pre-existing conditions.

“The premiums are going up either way,” he repeated.

That was that. We moved on, and I still don’t have my answer.”

 

Back then, I thought that their inability to propose even a rough, working outline of an alternative to Obamacare demonstrated a profound lack of seriousness on their part, but I had no idea how deep that irresponsibility would eventually run. None of us did. That conversation took place in early 2010. It is now early 2017, almost seven years later, and McConnell and his fellow Republicans have no more idea of how to respond than they did back then.

Seven years. Seven years in which they fought and begged and tore the country apart fighting for the opportunity that they now have, and they arrive at this moment empty-handed.

I’m tempted to call that unbelievable, but so many unbelievable things have happened since 2010 that the term has lost any meaning. But if you’re a party with even the slightest bit of interest or competence in governance, if actually doing a good job for the American people means anything to you, then how do you go seven years obsessively repeating the promise to replace Obamacare and do nothing of any substance in that time frame to actually think about your goal and build consensus toward it?

Yes, I know: They’ll tell you they have plans, just as McConnell and Chambliss claimed to have plans back in 2010. Well, I have plans to write a Hollywood screenplay that will make me millions of dollars, but ask me to see that screenplay so you can read it and judge whether it’s any good and you’ll get the same answer you get from McConnell to this day when you ask him to read the bill.

Just as they did back in 2010, they’ll also preach to you that Obamacare is a total failure. If that were true, they wouldn’t be in this predicament. If that were true, it would be easy to come up with a replacement that people would eagerly embrace and recognize as a “better way.” Their problem is that they’re trying to replace a success.

They are pledged to replace a program that has provided health insurance to more than 20 million Americans who previously had no coverage, without raising the deficit, and they can think of no way to replicate that. They have committed to undoing a program that has lowered the uninsured rate to the lowest level in American history, and they need some sort of legislative sorcery that will let them reverse that progress while evading the political blame for doing so. Insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, patient groups are all warning them of dire consequences if they repeal without replacing, yet onward they march.

In short, they have fashioned a trap from their own cynicism, and after seven years it has finally slammed shut on them.  To get free, they may have chew their leg off.

 

Reader Comments 0

712 comments
Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

Capitalism cannot continue to be legitimized by democratic means.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

 How in the heck did we ever run McCain?


You actually had a shred of decency left back then.


Now you support a man who says McCain is not a war hero  When he has never served a day in his life.


Feel better ?

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Hedley_Lammar Trump is a counter puncher.

McCain punched at Trump, Donald in return punched him where it hurts.

honested
honested

@JohnnyReb @Hedley_Lammar 

Wouldn't it make sense that chump has something truthful and valuable to say before he lets a lie roll out of his mouth (or keyboard)?.....

Or are we under an obligation to know "what is in his heart".

BusinessMan
BusinessMan

@JohnnyReb @Hedley_Lammar Dude, you had his number one apologist, Queen Opposite Day herself, Kellyanne Conway saying you shouldn't listen to the words that come out of his mouth. What more evidence do you need that you have been had?

lvg
lvg

So Saint Ronald thought Dukakis having a nonexistant mental illness was hilarious in  a press conference  and Clown -elect makes fun o f a disabled reporter in  a speech. Smelly Anne says its what's in Trump's heart that count  not what he says or does. Same I guess for Saint Ronald.

Those GOP hearts are so filled with a compassion it brings tears to my eyes. Poor Meryl Streep can't understand it.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

 And as to double down, I assume their denial that policies lost them the election?


Policies did not lose


This did


Rumor is, soon you will actually hear English when visiting Miami!


It is what the who build a wall stuff was about. Couple that with " They are taking your jobs " and you have a proven winner with the trailer park crowd.

rimsky
rimsky

@Hedley_Lammar Actually lies spread by CNN and Fox and Putin and Assange cost us the election.

And willing love fest by the RW with these dreges.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Hedley_Lammar No, Hedley.

It was not the messaging, it was the message.

And people are not against immigration, just illegal immigration.

lvg
lvg

Resident GOP scholar (JR):


"Entry level jobs, otherwise known as minimum wage jobs are not intended to provide a living wage.

Entry level jobs are for teenagers during the school break or after school and weekends.

They are for college students to supplement their income to get through school.

They are not nor never will be "that" job where you have it made and can live comfortably.""""


And you and me subsidize the companies paying minimum wage by paying earned income tax payments to the working poor. IT IS CALLED CORPORATE WELFARE which GOP and Clown -elect love.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Rumor is, soon you will actually hear English when visiting Miami!


There is the xenophobia. 


What a disgusting human being you are.

rimsky
rimsky

@Hedley_Lammar Next he will insist on ordering kosher pork sandwich at Katz, NY.  LOL

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Just want to point out that every since it became public knowledge of how much the well-heeled and Wall Street gave to Hillary, and Trump's campaign was financed mostly by himself and small amount donors, you have not read anything here about Citizens United. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@JohnnyReb Trump financed his campaign by taking money out of one pocket and putting it in the other. 


He made millions off of it.


But that is just a drop in the bucket compared to what he is going to make off the Presidency. 

rimsky
rimsky

@JohnnyReb Do you have a credible linkee or is it one of td's nutter butter RW publications.

Bruno2
Bruno2

@JohnnyReb 

JR--Trump blew up several Lib memes during this election, including the one about money buying elections.  A couple others were that only a social conservative could win the Republican Primary and that no Con would ever break from Republican tradition and question the value of the Iraq War.

Instead of simply admitting they were wrong, the Libs have chosen to double down on stupid.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Bruno2 @JohnnyReb Agreed

And as to double down, I assume their denial that policies lost them the election?

Obama does not think so, therefore they may not.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Bruno2 @JohnnyReb  no Con would ever break from Republican tradition and question the value of the Iraq War


Well he was for it in the beginning. Which made him like every other Republican


As for the other two yes he ran a very socially conservative campaign. 


And yes money did buy the election. Have you not paid attention to the Billionaires club now in charge ?

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@Bruno2 @StraightNoChaser @JohnnyReb From small donors, I remember his campaign very well.  Wiki is not a reliable source for doing research because anyone can edit and write on it.  I am an IT major, remember that.  Keep bloviating though that is so Bruno.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@Bruno2 @StraightNoChaser @JohnnyReb Dispute the fact that small donors got Obama elected and won against the Clinton machine. The democrats supported Clinton not Obama.  Trump started no such thing, Obama did.  Stop trying to rewrite history.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@Bruno2 @JohnnyReb Wrong, Obama blew up the myth of money buying elections during his campaigns.  Nice try at rewriting history and another republican attempt at taking credit for an Obama accomplishment though.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@StraightNoChaser @JohnnyReb Hell ,the Market is close to 2000 ,one of the enduring legacies of our current President. The Boys on Wall street must know how to do something right.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@StraightNoChaser @Bruno2 @JohnnyReb Obama and Romney both exceeded $1 Billion in spending during their 2012 Presidential campaigns. Obama must have had about 100 million $10 donations, if no big money was involved in his re-election campaign.Source Aaron Blake Washington Post 12/9/12

rimsky
rimsky

 Like every other first world country on the planet.

Who wants first world privileges.  We are in race with Bangladesh to become 5th world country first.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@rimsky Trump's election put the skids on the Obama led fall to third world status.

So you can relax.

Rumor is, soon you will actually hear English when visiting Miami!

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@rimsky I think Comrade Trump wants to move us further towards oligarchy ala Russia.



TBS
TBS

I've never not heard it and have been to Miami and surrounding areas many times

rimsky
rimsky

@TBS I have heard fluid English spoken in Ft Lauderdale.  

TBS
TBS

You will hear a lot of Spanish especially in certain areas but never had one issue in a hotel, restaurant, store with having someone speak English ..... NEVER

Reb is just being stupid for stupidity's sake

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@TBS it's called hyperbole to make a point.

My guess is most who do not frequent Miami would tend to think it a little third world when visiting there regardless of Englinsh spoken in the hotels and eateries.

TBS
TBS

Bigotries and ignorance dies hard

You demonstrate it on a regular basis

But do carry no matter how thin the veil