Among fans of the noir crime classic “Pulp Fiction,” there are some wild theories about what was inside the mystical briefcase that Marsellus Wallace dispatched his men to collect. The joke, of course, is on the audience. There’s something unthinkable in there, something that glows and hums, something perhaps supernatural … but we’ll never find out what.
As of this writing, a Senate Republican’s odds of guessing the contents of that briefcase are about as good as his odds of guessing what’s inside this famed Obamacare replacement plan.
No, not even Sen. Mike Lee, who was himself recruited into a working group that he and others thought would “be in charge of writing this bill,” has set eyes on the thing. Sen. Lee took to Twitter to let the American people know that if they thought their elected representatives would be drafting the replacement — the promise of which won the Republican party a sweeping election — they are mistaken. “It’s apparently being written by a small handful of staffers for members of the Republican leadership in the Senate.”
And now every 2016 GOP volunteer who railed against Hillary and the elites ruling in secret has been conscripted into hypocrisy.
When the Democrats played this game — the pass-it-to-find-out-what’s-in-it game — with Obamacare in the first place, they were rightfully and righteously scorned for it, and in the end, they paid the piper with the loss of both houses of Congress. If Republicans insist on using the same playbook, they too will know the truth of Harry Truman’s maxim: “The only thing we have left to learn is the history we don’t yet know.”
If this bill is kept secret, how can anyone know how it will affect them? How can Americans communicate their concerns, not after the fact, but now, when something can still be done to address them?
I saw a tweet recently in which a reporter asked a conservative aide about the process and the bill being sent to the Congressional Budget Office for scoring. The staffer replied that he hadn’t heard that it had been sent off yet, but it didn’t surprise him, either. He said this is how Washington works. The bill will stop off downtown, on K Street, long before it makes its way to the desks of senators or onto the monitors of inquiring voters.
The entire legislative process surrounding health care reform is and always has been a product of the swamp. It is designed to marginalize elected officials and those who voted for them, all in the name of protecting the interests of the same five or ten industry giants. We all know their names. We all saw how they co-opted the process under Obama and how they plan to do the same this time.
If information is power, what we are seeing is elites who think they know better than you and I how one-third of the economy ought to be rearranged. Make no mistake about it: A centrally planned economy is a hallmark of leftist ideology. And when the corporate aristocracy is behind those central plans, the flame of liberty flickers.
A concise and precise repeal bill would have boxed out the special interests from the get-go. But the fact that plain repeal — which, the point must be pressed, is what won our party a national election — is so controversial reveals that there is more bipartisan support for Obamacare than those campaigning let on.
The biggest fraud of our political lifetime is that the GOP is opposed to Obamacare. Words die in the air; Republicans’ actions are what voters are counting on, and so far they have been few and have come from even fewer.
You know, some say that Marsellus’ suitcase contained his actual soul. That it was ripped from him. And he was on a mission to get it back.
It wouldn’t be the worst idea for our Republican Senators to start treating this hidden bill like there is just that at stake: the soul of a party.
Gaston Mooney is the executive editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @gastonmooney.