What we’re hoping for with the Obamacare repeal vote: that the rage of the GOP will overwhelm its reason

I totally understand—I especially understand—the desire not to be over-confident that the GOP will fail to repeal Obamacare tomorrow. (Although the Unfreedom Caucus did announce about an hour ago that 25 of its members directly told Trump today that they would not vote to repeal; that right there, if they stick to their position, is enough to sink the bill.) And I genuinely have no idea how this is going to go down tomorrow: the bill could pass, it could fail, it could be postponed a few days, though Ryan has said he won’t do that. So no predictions from me. But we all should be clear about whence whatever hope we might have for tomorrow’s outcome comes: not from a sense that the GOP won’t do a terrible thing but from a sense that a sizable portion of the GOP wants to do a more terrible thing. That’s what we’re banking on here: not that the GOP is too good or too moderate but that its rage will overwhelm its reason.


  1. jonnybutter March 22, 2017 at 5:39 pm | #

    GOP is behind the 8 ball. A bright patch in a stormy churning sky. Finally, even with all the passivity of the dems, GOP have to face some music. Even if it passes…well, if it passes they’re *really* in trouble.

  2. mark March 23, 2017 at 11:02 am | #

    If less is more then just think how much more more is.

  3. jonnybutter March 23, 2017 at 11:28 am | #

    I know it sounds ridiculous, but I do think they are in a tough bind – same bind as for a while (‘freedom caucus’). If they don’t pass a bill, they are in trouble and will lose seats in ’18, but if they do pass a bill, they are also in trouble and may lose even more seats. So that’s the calculation they have to make. (Because we all know they’re ‘smart’, in the DC sense). You have intense contradictory party pressures, and then also real, hot anger from voters who will lose health insurance – and the anger will be all the hotter if a more draconian bill passes.

    So, quite a bind. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of assholes, AFAIC

  4. jonnybutter March 23, 2017 at 11:40 am | #

    Oh, I didn’t address Eyore, I mean Mark directly. Bills don’t take full effect the day they’re passed. If GOP congressional majority erodes bigly and people are pissed off, which they will be (and already are), bills like this tend to get fixed or repealed.

    I too don’t want to be overconfident – I am not, in fact, confident of any particular prediction. But GOP is damned if they do/don’t here. If House passes a bill that can’t pass Senate, it’s a problem for them in 2018. If they pass a bill that *can* pass Senate, it’s also a problem for them in 2018.

  5. WLGR March 23, 2017 at 2:41 pm | #

    The GOP wasn’t supposed to be in a position to do this yet. With Obama and the Dems having hijacked the mainstream Republican healthcare agenda of a few years prior and rebranded it as their own, Hillary’s victory was supposed to buy the GOP and its associated think tank infrastructure more time to stake out a coherent right-wing alternative to the dastardly Islamocommiefascism of the ’90s-era Heritage Foundation. The ideal neoliberal course for post-2016 healthcare policy would have probably been a “grand bargain” in which Speaker Ryan would concede some minor technocratic tweaks to the Obamacare exchanges, and President Clinton would “concede” some amount of cuts and/or privatization to Medicare. But with Trump’s unexpected victory, all the GOP can do is dump out its incoherent grab bag of underdeveloped alternative proposals, and hope that anybody who takes the “Romneycare – Republicans + Democrats = Stalinist death panels” stuff seriously can be distracted easily enough to avoid lingering on the inconsistency.

    That said, this vote also makes for an instructive comparison between the major parties. With wide Congressional majorities and an indisputable electoral mandate in 2009, the Dems took over a year to hash out and pass a policy framework that had been pretty much entirely designed for them already (albeit designed by the right) while all but encouraging obstruction from its center-right wing (see the abortive “Cornhusker Kickback”) as an excuse to avoid considering anything with a whiff of social democracy; meanwhile, the 2017 GOP with slimmer gerrymandered majorities and a widely despised president has gone from a near-total lack of coherent policy ideas to whipping its members in line behind a finished bill in just over 2 months. I guess the alt-centrist Democratic establishment would defend this difference as evidence of their prudence or patience or something along those lines, but especially after witnessing their drawn-out banana peel slip in the 2016 campaign, any excuse premised on their abundance of political competence seems to ring even hollower than usual.

  6. jonnybutter March 23, 2017 at 3:58 pm | #

    the Dems took over a year to hash out and pass a policy framework that had been pretty much entirely designed for them already

    And remember, they almost didn’t pass it at all. I recall that at the last minute it suddenly looked dead. IOW, they could just barely pass their version of Romneycare.

    • Ronald Couch March 25, 2017 at 5:33 pm | #

      I remember watching the Keystone Cops antics in the nearly two years of trying to pass the ACA and I would wonder what might have happened had Obama and his people come with something more progressive and complete within a few days after the inauguration. It wouldn’t have gotten through whole of course, but it probably would have been better and it would have given the Republicans as much time to organize against it.

      Then I think Obama and his people; quicker, more progressive? Who am I kidding?

  7. Paul March 24, 2017 at 12:04 pm | #

    I do not think that per se, the GOP has any “reason”.

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