For some reason, the GOP believes if they go about things in a similar fashion as Democrats, but do them as Republicans, the outcome will be different. Let’s just say there are a lot of short attention spans in D.C.
As you’ve noticed, the American Health Care Act (Trumpcare/Obamacare Lite/Ryancare) has received incredibly sharp criticism from all sides, and rightly so. Speaker Paul Ryan tried to sell it to us in a Powerpoint presentation last week, which didn’t go over so well. During that attempt he even said “This is the closest we will ever get to repealing and replacing Obamacare”, as Andrea Ruth noted here. If that is the closest they can come, they should definitely be worried about their futures in Congress and elsewhere across the country.
And it looks like they are.
Vulnerable members are beginning to seek distance from the GOP leadership-backed American Health Care Act. Messy intratribal rifts have been exposed. Even Ryan is taking flak: On Monday, hours after the release of a Congressional Budget Office report showing the speaker’s plan would increase the number of uninsured Americans to 24 million by 2026, the alt-right Breitbart News picked a scab by publishing an October recording of Ryan excoriating Trump to Hill Republicans.
Even Newt Gingrich, a Trumper who likes to promote Trump, called out Trumpism and “draining the swamp” as it is connected to the AHCA, emphasis mine.
“This is all a mess, it’s going to stay a mess, it’s a huge undertaking,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the leader of 1994’s so-called Republican Revolution. “They have allowed themselves to be trapped by two Washington swamp institutions — reconciliation, as defined by the parliamentarian, and the Congressional Budget Office. It’s very hard to defend Trumpism if you let the swamp define the rules of the game. Health is an immensely difficult area, 10 times more complicated than national security. We’re going to have to muddle through for a while.”
His party, he said, could risk a serious midterm blowback if the health care plan isn’t passed within the year: “By next spring, they have to have a health solution clear enough — and implemented enough — that people feel comfortable.”
Governors are also feeling a bit tense in the current climate.
Outside Washington, GOP governors — many of them elected as part of the Class of 2010 — sense the danger as well. Despite agreeing in principle with the idea of repealing and replacing Obamacare, few have been willing to vigorously support the AHCA. The GOP will be especially exposed at the state level over the next two years — 27 of 38 Republican-held governors mansions will be be up for election in 2017 and 2018. A handful of them will be in blue states, where phasing out Medicaid coverage will be extremely unpopular.
When Donald Trump won the White House and Republicans took control of Congress, we said that they have two years to prove themselves, and have no excuse but to act. Trumpcare is something, alright, but not what voters asked for. We asked for a repeal and replacement of Obamacare, not Obamacare Lite. But – oh, look. It’s from Republicans! That must mean something.
Now that his administration is in full swing, and Republicans in Congress are “hard” at work, we’re left with half measures and moral cowardice. Slapping “From the GOP, With Love” doesn’t change a thing.
Sure, some are excited about the AHCA. Still others are reluctant supporters. And then there is Speaker Ryan, who is trying to force it down our throats. Caleb Howe wrote that Ryan should step down immediately, and I agree with that.
Many among the GOP are feeling a bit nervous about their prospects in the post-AHCA era, and they should be. They would do well to remember how the Democrats got stomped during the 2010 midterm elections, and take note. If they continue down the current road, the same thing may happen to them.