Apparently, seven and a half years wasn’t long enough for Republican leaders to come up with a “repeal and replace” of Obamacare that their own people could agree on. It a stunning defeat Friday, President Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan pulled their American Health Care Act before it could go down to a humiliating defeat in the House. Donald “I’m President and you’re not” Trump wasn’t able to harness his much-heralded deal-making skills to save the plan.
Just like a bully with a bloodied nose in the schoolyard, Trump sulked and immediately lamented the lack of a single Democratic vote making the task of passing the AHCA “very difficult.” Hello? Republicans have a big majority in the House. He didn’t need a single Democratic vote. If he and Ryan could have held their caucus together, it would have passed easily.
Trump said the plan now is to “let Obamacare explode” and that Democrats now owned Obamacare (who owned it before?). But the president continued with his surreal blaming of Democrats for the AHCA defeat. He also complained Democrats rammed Obamacare through the Congress back in 2010! Obamacare took two years to pass. Republicans tried to do the AHCA in weeks.
David Gergan, who advised four different presidents from Nixon to Clinton, called Trump’s response “delusional” and that it made Trump’s first 100 days “the worst ever.” Speaker Ryan manned-up and admitted defeat. Trump blamed the inconsequential Democratic House caucus.
So the Democrats responded properly by acknowledging that it’s back to the drawing board, right? Guess again. Given a golden opportunity to just let the Republicans lie in their own mess, Democrats instead trotted out Nancy Pelosi for victory lap.
Pelosi, in an unbelievably tone deaf response, said the pulling of the bill was a “great victory for American people.” What? The reason the bill failed had nothing to do with a victory for the people. It couldn’t pass because nut-job, uber right-wing conservatives didn’t think it punished the poor enough.
The moral of this story is that Republican leadership from the president to Speaker Ryan to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (the AHCA didn’t have a snowball’s chance in the Senate) is a dumpster fire. The facts were against them from the beginning. They couldn’t explain away the fact that 14 million people would lose insurance next year and 26 million in 10 years. They then sucked up to the Freedom Caucus (right-wing, whack jobs) by eliminating essential services from plans—that resulted in losing reasonable Republicans.
Trump also said he never used the term “repeal and replace” when talking about the Republican.
It remains to be seen if Republicans can rebound for tax reform (billionaires will have another bite of the get-richer apple).