So, when it was impossible to repeal or replace or do anything about Obamacare because President Obama was in the Oval Office with his veto pen?
As the Daily Caller noted here: “Forty-eight current Republican senators supported the 2015 Obamacare repeal bill, including Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.”
Then? Then the unexpected, as explained here by Republican Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey recently. The headline: “Sen. Pat Toomey on health care delay: I didn’t think Trump would win presidency.”
The story says, in part: “‘I didn’t expect Donald Trump to win. I think most of my colleagues didn’t. So we didn’t expect to be in this situation,’ Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said Wednesday […] The Pennsylvanian senator isn’t the only GOP lawmaker working on health care who also wasn’t expecting the Trump presidency. ‘I didn’t think President Trump had a chance at winning,’ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in an interview with a local Kentucky TV station in December 2016.”
And now? Now that there is in fact a President Trump sitting at Obama’s old desk, pen in hand and ready to sign a repeal of Obamacare? Again, the Daily Caller: “Two Republicans senators who voted to repeal Obamacare in 2015 now say they will not support a similar bill by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell […] Now Murkowski and Moore Capito oppose the McConnell measure.”
The utter hypocrisy here is breathtaking. This is a flat-out betrayal of one of the biggest GOP promises since the days of opposition to slavery.
There is room for disagreement on how to go about the repeal. This amounts to a discussion of whether the glass is half full or half empty. Is the GOP bill cementing Obamacare in place — as per Senator Rand Paul? Or is it a move, however tepid, toward a free-market system?
When it says of the “Obamacare Republicans”: “The Obamacare Republicans ran on fiscal discipline but they rejected the best chance for entitlement reform in a generation. They campaigned against deficits—and some like Mr. Moran and Nevada’s Dean Heller have endorsed a balanced-budget amendment—yet they dismissed a $1.022 trillion spending cut. They denounced Obamacare’s $701 billion in tax increases but then panicked over repealing ‘tax cuts for the rich.’”
Particularly startling in all this mess was this comment, again per the WSJ, from Utah’s Senator Mike Lee: “Mr. Lee opposed the first draft of the bill in part because it ‘included hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for the affluent.’ He opposed the new version for ‘not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes.’”
One can only be gobsmacked that any Republican United States Senator has picked up the class warfare thinking of the Obama Left by protesting against “hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for the affluent.”
So, what do we have here when all is said and done? (And it must be noted, there are kudos for Texas Senator Ted Cruz and his ceaseless efforts to get something done that has some relation to principle.)
What we have is one very, very confused Republican Party.
The party of the free market is making it abundantly clear that it is really the party terrified of the liberal media and Democrats picturing them as so many Ebenezer Scrooges for wanting to take away a new entitlement … in spite of the fact that said entitlement is crashing and burning around them and is surely at the root of some future national financial calamity, as was witnessed with the infamous Community Reinvestment Act that eventually contributed to the financial collapse of 2008.
Note well that the CRA, passed in 1977 at the instigation of President Jimmy Carter, passed the House by a vote of 384-26, with 18 of those 26 nays coming from Republicans. Other than those 18 — conservatives of the day with names like California’s John Rousselot and Bob Dornan, Ohio’s John Ashbrook, and Illinois’ Phil Crane — the rest of the House Republicans sided with Jimmy Carter, Tip O’Neill, and liberals.
Decades later, of course, the financial house of cards they set in motion crashed. As Mark Levin notes in “Rediscovering Americanism”: “The progressives’ interference with the housing market through the Community Reinvestment Act resulted in the collapse of that market, a calamitous disaster for millions of homeowners who lost the equity in their homes or lost their homes outright.”
Exactly. But now, as in 1977, progressives have interfered with a giant chunk of the American economy, this time the American health care system. And as demonstrated in the GOP-controlled Senate, there are Republicans today, as in 1977, all too willing to side with the progressives as they buy in to the same reasoning for not repealing Obamacare that they bought in passing the CRA.
The idea was succinctly and fatuously expressed this time by West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito: “As I have said before, I did not come to Washington to hurt people.”
Except, of course, she is. Obamacare has ruined health insurance for many Americans, and, yes, as noted here, it has even proved fatal for some. (In that cited case of Long Islander Frank Alfisi, who was denied needed dialysis because of Obamacare rules, at his death, Mr. Alfisi’s daughter was told by her father’s doctor, “You can thank Mr. Obama for this.”)
There is a serious problem here — a problem that has nothing to do with health care. The problem? Far too many Republicans have been politically gulled into buying the progressive argument about the role of government, because they fear being painted as an elected version of Scrooge or, worse — because they genuinely buy in to leftist/progressive dogma about the role of government.
This is in complete opposition to the founding principles of the country, not to mention those of the GOP. And it produces disasters like refusing to repeal Obamacare or going along with disasters waiting to happen, like the Community Reinvestment Act. As Rush Limbaugh has asked in the wake of this disaster: “What’s the point of voting Republican?”
In sum, too many Republicans (most prominently, today, Senators Murkowski and Capito) are ignoring the wisdom of Ronald Reagan.
“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”
Jeffrey Lord is a former White House political director under Reagan. He writes from Pennsylvania and is the author of “What America Needs: The Case for Trump.” Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.