You can point to a lot of reasons that the American Without Health Care Act failed. For one it was a really bad bill. Secondly, the president can’t figure out that dealing with over 400 people in the House is not like threatening some other contractor that he fails to pay. Third, Ryan is a lousy leader.
But most importantly, you can look at the Republican Party as the major fault. And, I am talking about something that began years ago. Things started becoming really partisan under Ronald Reagan. But, once Barak Obama was elected President, things really went from bad to worse.
That fact that a black man could actually win an election and become President was too much for the wacko fringe of the Republican Party. They started organizing under different banners, but the one that stuck out was the Tea party. With huge money backers like the Koch Brothers, this movement gained momentum.
In 2010 the ultra-conservative nut jobs known as the Tea Party started pealing off seats in the House. In 2010, the Republicans took control of the House and things started to get worse and worse. Obstruction became the normal political practice of the Republican Party. No matter what President Obama wanted, it would be voted down or simply ignored in the House.
This became the entire policy of the Republican Party. After the Sandy Hook shooting and 70 percent of the country wanted universal back ground checks on gun purchases, the House said no. When the Senate passed a bi-partisan Immigration Reform Bill that was really good, the House put it in a drawer and it has remained there since.
These actions were not because any of the bills that reached them were bad, it was simply because the House made a concerted effort to declare that nothing that was supported by President Obama would see the light of day. There would be no hearings, no discussions, and especially no votes.
The Republican Party simply rolled over and let the wackos take charge of their party. They allowed the so-called Freedom Caucus run Boehner out of town. They failed to fight back for the principles that the majority of Republicans in the country stood for. Instead, they let the wacko fringe begin to dictate policy.
They could have stopped all of this simply by talking to the Democrats in the House in order to get things done that would move the country forward. In the past, they were able to work with the Democrats and there were compromises in legislation that helped everyone.
However, the party stuck to a Reagan Era rule known as the Hastert Rule that said no bill could go to the floor of the House without the party ensuring passage without Democrat help. That was a huge mistake. As a result, the wacko Freedom Caucus found themselves with way too much power for their little number of members. The Freedom Caucus has about 40 members in total.
Only, that number of people is just enough to kill any bill they don’t like. If a bill is going to help anyone but rich people in the country, the Freedom Caucus simply says no, and the bill fails. If the party reaches across the aisle, the Freedom Caucus starts complaining that they are RINOs and fires up the country’s fringe against the party.
This whole mess came to light this past week. In their absolute hate for the Affordable Care Act, a bill one of their own wrote in the 1990s, they ran on the “promise to repeal and replace” the ACA. They have had seven plus years to put together a plan that would replace the ACA. Only, the Freedom Caucus wackos would not support anything but a repeal with no replacement.
Being too afraid of the caucus running to Fox News and complaining about how establishment Republicans are trying to pass a health care bill that helps poor people, they simply sat on their hands and did nothing. They complained and complained about the ACA. They did everything they could to undermine the bill. They did everything they could, except write a decent replacement bill.
Then came the election surprise of 2016 and donald trump became our president. Here they were with control of both Houses of Congress and a Republican, well sort of a Republican, sitting in the White House. Repealing and replacing the ACA was going to be a slam dunk.
Only they didn’t have anything to replace the ACA with. They never even bothered to write a plan. They showed their total incompetence when it comes to actually governing. As a result, Republican leadership locked themselves in a closet and wrote a bill in secret. Then a couple of weeks ago they held a Press Conference to show off their work.
The bill had some things that most Republicans loved. They did away with the mandates in the ACA. They cut way back on the subsidies intended to allow poor people, poor working people, and the elderly get health insurance which would have either thrown people off their health care or make it so expensive they would pay half of their income to keep it. And, of course, they eliminated the taxes on the rich and corporations that paid for the ACA. And, finally they were going to gut Medicaid. Everything was smelling like roses for Ryan and his leadership team.
But, as usual when Republicans are in charge, something happened on the way to the Forum. First, people found out that they were going to be severely hurt by the plan, especially trump supporters. They would either lose their insurance or see their premiums go through the roof. Then it was figured out that up to 24 million people would lose their health coverage mostly due to the gutting of Medicaid.
That was bad enough. People started showing up at town hall meetings and blasting their Representatives for taking away their health care. They demanded they vote against the bill. But, that was just the tip of the iceberg.
The Freedom Caucus showed just what freedom they were interested in. Freedom from poor people. They dug in their heels for one reason only. The tax credits that were in the bill to help people actually purchase health care coverage. Forget that these tax credits were miserly compared to the subsidies, it was still something that the “little people” could use. Their whole philosophy on health care is that it is a privilege not a right and if you can’t purchase it on your own, simply get sick and die.
Republican Moderates went into a tizzy as well. They started realizing that the bill would surely mean they wouldn’t get reelected. They started to realize that the old white people they counted on to keep office would be the big losers and that would certainly mean a loss in their next election.
Ryan and company were in trouble. They started negotiating with the two different groups one by one. They even relied on trump and his “great deal making” abilities to help them out. Ryan and his cronies talked to the moderates, and trump would bring along the Freedom Caucus wackos.
The problem was every time Ryan made a promise to the moderates, the right-wing wackos dug their heels in deeper. When they made promises to move even further right to appease the wackos, the moderates said no even louder. In order show how things are done, trump sent his hitman, Steve Bannon to speak with the right-wing wackos. Rather than speaking with them, Bannon threatened them.
A presidential threat of support or taking away support in the upcoming elections would usually work. But, with trump’s approval rating at just 36 percent, the wackos were not afraid of him. In the end, the Republicans had to pull the bill without even a vote. The wackos claimed victory. The president blamed the democrats who were never even asked to participate in the process. Ryan said that “governing is hard, but we were really close”. No shit!
I don’t care if you like Nancy Pelosi or not, but she had some good advice for Ryan and the president. She said” You don’t pick a date for a vote and then try to ramp up support. You get the support you need and then hold a vote.” The one thing about her is that when she was the Speaker of the House, she knew how to get legislation passed. Something Republicans apparently forgot how to do.
After the calamity of this loss for the Republicans, trump said that Ryan did all he could and he doesn’t blame him. Only on Saturday, trump told his followers on twitter to watch a Fox News show that night. The show was Judge Jeanine.
During the show, she directly went after Ryan and said he should step down immediately. She went after Reince Priebus for having just as much blame as Ryan. She claimed that trump had no blame in this disaster. So much for trump backing Ryan. Obviously, Judge Jeanine is backing the wacko fringe.
This is what happens when a political party puts party over country. It happens when a party decides to complain and not rule. It happens when they allow the fringe groups of the party take control. In the name of obstruction and hate the Republican Party made a pact with the devil and they are now seeing just what that pact has done to its soul.
Instead of looking for ways to work with Democrats for the last eight years, they sold their soul to the wacko fringe groups in order to gain numbers to they could get power. Now that they have power, they are being defeated by those very people they thought would make life beautiful.
The problems Republicans are facing in the House and Senate are of their own making. The very fact that our president is trump, is all because Republicans sat quietly back and let the wackos into the mainstream. They made a pact with the devil, and now they are paying the price for that pact.
This is not going to end with the Americans Without Health Care Act either. The whole mess over climate change, the environment, education, the economy, North Korea, Iran, Russia, and a whole host of issues will meet the same fate if Republicans keep to partisan politics instead of governing. The wackos are driving the policy of the party in these matters as well.
If the Republicans are really interested in moving the country forward and governing in a way that will help the average person on the street, they need to cast off of their fringe wackos and start to talk to the Democrats. They will need to understand that compromise is the best solutions for the country. They need to get over their hate and start to act like reasonable people wanting to do the best they can for the American People.
Until Ryan and his cronies in the party understand this simple fact of life, we will continue to be held hostage by the wacko so-called Freedom Caucus. True Republicans with real policies for the country need to grow a spine and fight back against their own fringe groups. In normal times, I might think this would be possible. However, since the Republican party is more interested in power than they are in governing, I don’t expect anything reasonable to come from them.
It is a very simple fact. Republicans will not be able to govern until they wipe out their opposition. That opposition is not the Democrats, it is the wacko fringe of their own party. Unfortunately, they don’t have the will or the courage to take them on.
As a result of their cowardice, the shirts keep marching along!