Column: Years of dishonesty cost the GOP
Editor’s note: This column was written before the health care bill in the Senate died this week. The “honest Republican” he speaks about is Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey.
I saw an honest Republican congressman on TV the other day.
I was so shocked I can’t remember who it was or what channel I was watching. But he gave the most truthful explanation I’ve heard from a Republican politician all year about why the GOP can’t get it together on health care reform.
The congressman was asked the same simple question that House and Senate Republicans have been asked a million times before: “Why didn’t you guys have a bill ready in January that would repeal and replace ObamaCare?”
After all, for seven years Republicans had railed in unison against the stupidities, inefficiencies and inequities of ObamaCare.
Republican candidates in flyover country had used the “repeal & replace” mantra to help them win dozens of governorships, House seats and Senate seats.
The GOP-controlled House had bravely and boldly voted for bills to repeal it at least five hundred times.
Then last fall Donald Trump shocked the world and Republicans even took narrow control of the U.S. Senate.
Repealing ObamaCare suddenly became possible.
But as the honest congressman I saw on TV admitted, the GOP wasn’t ready because, “We never thought Donald Trump would win.”
Like everyone else in the political and media establishment, Republicans in DC believed Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president.
With her and Bill in the Oval Office armed with their veto pens, the GOP had no serious plans drawn up for ending ObamaCare — or trying to do anything else.
So when Trump won on Nov. 8, 2016, Republicans in Congress basically said, “Oh, crap. What do we do now?”
Overnight a whole bunch of Republicans became terrified about having to back up their tough repeal-and-replace talk with actual legislation.
Eight months later they’re still looking for their conservative spines and trying to figure out what to do.
They’re stuck between living up to their empty promises or losing their seats in Congress in 2018.
They’re afraid to vote to take away the “free” or subsidized health care coverage ObamaCare gave millions of voters as it wrecked the already government-wrecked health care world.
But if they lose control of the Senate in 2018, Republicans are done. They’ll see nothing passed if Chuck Schumer and the Democrats get to run the Senate.
Schumer will do what Harry Reid did when he was boss — make sure no House bill ever comes up for a vote in the Senate.
At least this week the Senate took President Trump’s hint and put off their summer vacations for two weeks.
Now GOP leaders are again promising us they’ll put together a health care reform package that Rand Paul, Susan Collins and 48 other Republicans can vote for.
Ted Cruz announced Thursday that he’ll vote for the new bill as it exists at this point in time, but who knows what will change by next week.
After all the tough talk, Republicans may end up having to sit down with Democrats to “repair” ObamaCare, which will mean we’ll never be able to shop for health insurance across state lines and idiotic things like mandated maternity benefits for grandmothers will live forever.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.