mystery science

The problem with the GOP, particularly the Senate, is that other than being gutless poltroons they simply don’t know how to win. [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ]’s idea of fighting is dropping his trousers and handing the nearest Democrat a tub of Astroglide.

The Supreme Court heard King versus Burwell in March. That case could decide the fate of Obamacare. If the challengers prevail, federal subsidies will not be provided to anyone who purchased health insurance on a federal exchange.

Of course, if that happens there will be some immediate and rather intense pain for some insurance purchasers. That is not a bad thing. In fact, that is a manifestly good thing. The only way Obamacare is going to be excised root and branch is if Americans demand it.

Enter the GOP, dead set on pulling defeat from the jaws of victory and letting the Democrats use that extracted defeat as an enema.

Thirty Republican senators are proposing to keep Obamacare subsidies flowing for two years should the Supreme Court strike them this summer.

Low- and mid-income people would be able to keep their subsidized health insurance plans through August 2017 — although no new enrollees would be allowed — under legislation introduced Tuesday by Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson and sponsored by 29 other senators.

It’s the latest GOP proposal for how to move forward if the Supreme Court blocks insurance subsidies to residents in a majority of the states in the closely-watched case King v. Burwell. If the court sides with the challengers, it would mean millions of Americans who are relying on subsidies to help afford insurance won’t get them anymore.

Wait, I know you are saying, that can’t be true. There has to be some mistake. Because Mitch freakin McConnell told us from his own oily mouth that he was going to put down Obamacare like a sick dog:

McConnell, 72, said many senators want to get outcomes, not just score points every week.

That’s not to say there won’t be partisan votes that won’t get a lot of Democrats on board.

“Number one: We certainly will have a vote on proceeding to a bill to repeal Obamacare. … It was a very large issue in the campaign,” McConnell said, reaffirming a commitment to see what can be done against it, also discussing plans to roll back parts of the health care law that have proved to be particularly unpopular.

and this:

House Speaker [mc_name name=’Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B000589′ ] (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ] (R-Ky.) wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Wednesday that a focus of the new Republican Congress would be repealing the Affordable Care Act.

In the op-ed published online in the Journal on Wednesday evening, the Republican leaders wrote that repealing President Barack Obama’s signature health care law would be part of a GOP focus on jobs and the economy.

“Among other things, that means a renewed effort to debate and vote on the many bills that passed the Republican-led House in recent years with bipartisan support, but were never even brought to a vote by the Democratic Senate majority,” Boehner and McConnell wrote. “It also means renewing our commitment to repeal ObamaCare, which is hurting the job market along with Americans’ health care.”

The Republican-led House has voted dozens of times to repeal Obamacare, but the Democratic-led Senate ignored the measures. That may change in the next Congress as a result of Tuesday’s election, which gave Republicans a Senate majority — but not enough to overcome a Democratic filibuster or a presidential veto on a full repeal.

Because, you know, the repeal of Obamacare would — logically, I mean — include an end to subsidies.

But, alas, it is true and not only is [mc_name name=’Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’J000293′ ] proposing to extend subsidies, he’s wrapping it up in a bill that is packaged to look like he’s trying to kill Obamacare. It is called, in a title that pays homage to George Orwell and Josef Stalin, ‘‘Preserving Freedom and Choice in Health Care Act’’. You have to read Johnson’s own description of the bill to fully appreciate just how stupid he thinks we are.

What is going on here is pretty simple. First, the GOP runs like scalded dogs from any poll anyone produces that shows people are unhappy. The current source of panic is polling that shows Obamacare increasing in popularity.

obamacare poll

Whether this measures actual popularity or it measures people simply getting used to it isn’t clear but that doesn’t matter the the GOP. They long ago gave up trying to shape public opinion and now prefer to go with it. These are the same people who still haul out polling from October 2013 to point out how shutting down the government hurt the GOP while expecting us to forget the really big poll that happened in November 2014 which said just the opposite.

Ron Johnson faces a tough battle for reelection — which will be a lot tougher if he keeps forgetting that someone has to vote for him and the GOP base that elected him is losing that motiviation — and McConnell is probably spooked by reports, like this, predicting that the Democrats will take back the Senate.

What they are trying to do is move any anger against losing subsidies past the 2016 election, Johnson’s subsidy extension “ends” in August 2017. Of course, as Allahpundit notes,

Now, show of hands: Who thinks the GOP will even considering refusing to renew subsidies in August 2017, when Johnson’s bill would be set to expire? They’ll be 15 months from a key midterm election at that point, one they may be counting on to return control of the Senate to Republicans after Democrats retake a narrow majority in 2016. This is the eternal problem with top GOPers trying to postpone key fights for electoral reasons — there’s always another election to win right around the corner.

So, why, you may ask, should we care about this extension of subsidies if Johnson’s bill repeals the individual mandate and works all manner of other wonderful acts? Because this is Failure Theater at its finest. All this other stuff will get stripped out of the bill either on the floor or in conference because, ultimately, it would have to have 67 votes to override an inevitable veto. All that will be left of this nothingburger of a bill will be an subsidy extension that renders a major win in the Supreme Court null and void.