ObamaCare Repeal Turncoat Dean Heller Will Face a New Primary Opponent
Unfortunately, he’s a “Make America Great Again” Trump-style opportunist:
Danny Tarkanian, the son of a legendary Nevada college basketball coach who has run for office several times, announced Tuesday morning that he will challenge Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada’s Republican primary next year.
Tarkanian announced his bid on “Fox and Friends,” where he criticized Heller as a “Never-Trumper” and said that his stance on the president helped Hillary Clinton carry the state.
“So many people have contacted me in the past few months, saying ‘You got to run against Dean Heller,'” Tarkanian said. “They understand, like I do, that we’re never going to make America great again unless we have senators in office supporting President Trump. Dean Heller wasn’t just one of the first Never-Trumpers in the state of Nevada, he was one of the most influential. He actually helped Hillary Clinton win the state of Nevada.”
I have mixed feelings about this.
On one hand, I am thrilled to see any challenger to Dean Heller. On the other hand, I’m not sure Tarkanian is the guy we want to see in the Senate.
Heller was one of six turncoats on the repeal of ObamaCare. There has been no real vote to repeal ObamaCare. But on the closest thing the GOP has advanced this year, Dean Heller was a traitor.
In 2015, a repeal bill — one that repealed as much of ObamaCare as possible without 60 votes — was passed by a majority of the Senate. Among the people who voted for that bill were Dean Heller, John McCain, Shelley Moore Capito, Lisa Murkowski, Lamar Alexander, and Rob Portman.
But of course such a bill was designed to be vetoed — and it was, by President Obama.
When it was re-submitted this year, Heller and the other five voted no. Because they knew that it would be signed this time.
With the “skinny repeal” vote, the GOP has managed to muddy the waters on who actually opposed ObamaCare repeal. There is a mythology that John McCain single-handedly killed any real effort to repeal ObamaCare. The GOP is complicit in that mythology. Let me clarify — which requires taking a step back and going back to the original House bill.
The original bill passed by the House, the AHCA, was garbage. It was essentially a codification of ObamaCare’s basic structure, with some tinkering around the edges, and some meaningless commitments to reduce Medicaid in the future — reductions that Mitch McConnell correctly told his members would never actually happen. That bill didn’t deserve to be passed by the Senate.
The final vote — the one that got the most publicity — was the vote on “skinny repeal,” which was not just garbage, but hot garbage. It was an effort to simply strip away unpopular aspects of ObamaCare and leave the ones people liked, even though it would create an immediately unsustainable insurance market and necessitate giant bailouts and subsidies.
Somewhere in between, the 2015 bill was re-submitted and voted down by Heller and the other turncoats. That was the real chance for real repeal.
But by putting the blame for its failure on a (probably terminally) ill octogenarian who will never run for office again, the GOP could allow other people to pose as being for repeal. Heller was one of those people. And it fooled the rubes, including the rubes at CNN, who today “report”:
Heller has recently drawn the ire of conservatives after he frequently criticized Trump’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, leading a pro-Trump group to briefly run anti-Heller ads. . . . Heller eventually decided to stick with Trump and backed his party’s efforts on health care, which ultimately failed.
That bolded sentence is 100% false. Heller once again posed as backing repeal — just like he posed as backing repeal in 2015. It is a wholly fraudulent position.
Does that mean Tarkanian is the answer? I am doubtful. He is a perennial candidate and my preliminary impression of him is that he has the policy chops of a Donald Trump, which is to say none. He criticized Heller over his opposition to the original House repeal bill, even though that was garbage.
Is Tarkanian the ideal candidate? No.
Will he make Dean Heller’s life miserable? Probably.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.