Mitch McConnell is doing his dance again. You know, the one where he makes it look like he’s doing the hard work and making sacrifices to convince most onlookers that he tried his hardest. In the end, he will fail to achieve what was always plan B and move on to his plan A, which was his goal all along.
President Trump is going to have to politically strong-arm Mitch McConnell into repealing Obamacare, because time after time, McConnell’s ulterior motive is simply to gain more electoral majority so he doesn’t have to get his hands dirty.
Now, conservatives aren’t particularly thrilled with the House version of the current bill, but there was an actual fight, an actual effort to bring conservatives on board, and an actual win in that skirmish to produce the House bill. There were concessions and compromises made that ultimately made the House bill more conservative. That’s progress, with this GOP. Also, Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., exited the leftist Tuesday Group as its co-chair after realizing that the group’s uncompromising tactics are what stands in the way of communication. Many of his Tuesday Group contemporaries voted against the House bill, and now Trump is campaigning for MacArthur. So when you look at all of it, I see progress in the continuing saga of the GOP civil war.
And while conservative commentators and policy folks continue to describe the right and proper way to repeal Obamacare, let’s not be naïve. Mitch McConnell won’t do a full repeal. He already proposed keeping low premiums for those with pre-existing conditions, something that is quintessentially non-repeal. It will blow up later and have to be addressed again in the usual Republican game of kicking the can, ad nauseum.
But McConnell thinks that if the proposed Senate bill goes too far to the left, he won’t have Paul/Cruz/Lee on board, and if it remains substantially the same as the current version, he won’t have Murkowski/Collins and other leftist Republicans. So, already, proposing no change in the pre-existing conditions section tells me he’s going to hang Paul/Cruz/Lee out to dry again and blame a failure on the conservatives, while his plan A goes to work.
McConnell’s plan A is to use Obamacare once again solely as an election tactic. His plan B is to replace but not repeal Obamacare. So really, repealing plays no part in McConnell’s plans. In fact, getting nothing accomplished would be best for Mitch’s plans.
McConnell would much rather wait until the results of the 2018 elections before putting Obamacare on the chopping block. He believes yet another cycle of “repeal and replace” rhetoric will work to gain Republican seats in the Senate. If Obamacare is repealed sooner, McConnell figures the Democrats will have a winning mantra in 2018, doing their usual carnival barking and claiming everyone’s going to die unless the Democrats regain the Senate. But he’s wrong on both counts. If McConnell makes a Senate version impossible to pass because it is too far left of the House version, the Republican Party will lose big in 2018, because the people aren’t stupid. We’ve seen the song and dance many times before.
The “natives are getting restless,” as they say. The Republican base has worked to put Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, while McConnell and his gang repeated the mantra that their hands were tied unless the House, Senate, and presidency were in Republican hands. The people did their job, despite the dirty tricks McConnell and his gang of miscreants played on grassroots conservatives, but the majority McConnell got was more squish and less badass conservatives, whom Donald Trump needs right now to push the agenda he campaigned on, including building a wall, repealing Obamacare, and massive tax reform. It’s McConnell’s turn to shut up and sit down, and it is up to Trump to use the tactics he erroneously threatened the Freedom Caucus with on McConnell’s dissembling instead.
To understand Mitch McConnell is to understand two things: his zeal for winning elections for squish moderates at all costs and his view that Senate rules are the only thing that sets the Senate apart as a superior institution, superseding all others. Having McConnell in leadership means that nothing whatsoever of substance will ever be done on his watch.
Please, don’t claim Gorsuch as the most substantive thing ever, since it is actually the next Supreme Court vacancy that means everything.
McConnell’s Senate is so far removed from the views of its constituents that most senators really never have to care what the people of their states have to say. Many senators work solely with the cesspool, drinking in the sludge ladle by ladle, and many Republican senators clearly prefer to do as little as possible so as not to upset their “friends across the aisle.” But Trump was elected to shake things up. He can start by calling McConnell’s bluff. McConnell has been in D.C. for 30 years and is one of the biggest swamp monsters who stands between the people and Washington, D.C.
McConnell believes he can get anywhere from one to ten additional Republican senators in 2018, but the type of people he endorses will invariably be more squishy moderate good-for-nothings who will not back building a wall, enacting meaningful tax reform, or repealing Obamacare. So, President Trump has to hold McConnell accountable, force him to be the reason Trump’s agenda wins, or destroy him if it loses.