He said the direction of the party makes him “want to cry.” But after attending last week’s Republican Convention, all his fears about the Republican party were reinforced.
Republicans are in full control. They now control the House of Representatives and the Senate, and have promised their base to expect fast, sweeping changes to Obamacare when the new legislative session began in January. Much was said and many anticipated seeing a glimpse of the Republican healthcare plan, but so far, nothing. And from the looks of it, nothing will happen in the near future.
A piece written on Salon looked at this Republican quagmire and correctly called it a “massive deception” by congressional Republicans. The piece dug deep and uncovered the reason Republicans promised their version of the ‘Obamacare replacement,’ but failed to deliver. And according to Salon, the reason of course, is Politics.
Speaker John Boehner went on Fox News and promised that his party would agree on an Obamacare replacement plan and that it would come up for a vote before the year was out. “There will be an alternative,” he said, “and you’re going to get to see it.” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy also got in on the act, announcing the creation of “a new working group” consisting of Reps. Paul Ryan, Fred Upton, and John Kline that would “continue to build on patient-centered health care solutions with which to replace Obamacare.”
In keeping with the tired conventions of official Washington, these statements and actions were directed at the “hardworking taxpayers” who were at risk from “the fallout of Obamacare.” But the real intended audience was far smaller: the five conservative justices on the Supreme Court. The high court had, at that point, already agreed to hear arguments in King v. Burwell, the case that threatens to invalidate health insurance subsidies to the majority of states. Republicans obviously wanted the court to endorse the dodgy, bad-faith arguments brought by the plaintiffs, but they also had to consider the implications of a ruling against the ACA. If the subsidies were struck down, the insurance markets in those states would descend into chaos and put people’s lives at risk, and that might give the conservative justices pause.
So, they started sending every signal they could that the Republicans in Congress would be ready to cope with the pandemonium of a ruling against the ACA. McCarthy’s statement announcing the healthcare working group said that it would “develop a contingency plan… to enact in case the Supreme Court rules in King v. Burwell that Obamacare subsidies offered on the federal exchange are illegal.” The message was perfectly clear for those inclined to listen: don’t worry, pull the trigger, we got this.
The day before oral arguments in the case began in March, the three working group members published an op-ed laying out in determinedly vague terms the principles for their Obamacare “off-ramp” proposal. After the oral arguments, the working group released a statement saying “we will be ready to act” if the court rules for the plaintiffs. That was three months ago. The court’s ruling is expected to be released very soon. So where is the “contingency plan” majority leader McCarthy said would be forthcoming back in January?
Well, apparently he’s of a different mind now over whether it’s right and proper for the House working group to weigh in before the Supreme Court has actually released its ruling. According to the Wall Street Journal:
Mr. McCarthy told reporters Monday that Republicans would be prepared regardless of what the court decides, but that they would not unveil a proposal before a ruling.
“Don’t expect us to pre-determine the Supreme Court. We have to first see what their decision is and what we have to solve,” Mr. McCarthy said. Republicans still might release outlines of their response, but not a formal bill, an aide said.
I’ve used the tsunami wave metaphor in other posts about the decline of the Republican Party and its associated havoc-wreaking on the country over the past two years.
Today we talk about the complete meltdown of the party. The debacle over the debt ceiling and the as-we-speak collapse of any kind of deal shows us the final truth about the right: This is not an entity that can be a partner in governing.
Here we are on the brink of a default that many conservatives believe will not be “that bad,” despite the warnings from banks, foreign governments and ratings agencies, most of whom could not remotely be labeled liberal, and they are still trying to knock off the Affordable Care Act. Yes, I understand how important it is to settle the issue of whether congressional aides can qualify for subsidies on the health insurance exchanges, but is is worth embarrassing the United States and inviting the wrath of the financial markets?
Clearly, it is. And that’s the problem with the GOP as is exists today. The extremism knows no bounds and the disdain of the president is ugly. They accuse Obama of not negotiating when that has been their strategy since he was elected. They want to stall, delay, overturn and defund anything he’s signed. They want no revenue increases in any fiscal bill. They want the Consumer Protection Board gone and they want the EPA to stop telling factories they can’t pollute. These are non-negotiable items, yet it’s Obama’s willingness to stand his ground that has them so incensed (I would be worse, though. Open the government and increase the debt ceiling for a whole year, says I).
It’s a sad state of affairs that only the party muckymucks can address. John Boehner doesn’t know which way to go, because all paths lead to The Tenth Circle of Hell (the one that Donald Trump bought and developed). He either has to continue giving in to the Tea Party or he has to sacrifice his speakership and get Democrats and moderates to get us out of this mess.
Some people who know more than I say that the American voters will probably forget all this by next November. I don’t think so. The next wave will be a Democratic takeover of the House.
For more please go to:
President Obama starts his second term with a clear upper hand over GOP leaders on issues from guns to immigration that are likely to dominate the year, a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll finds. On the legislation rated most urgent — cutting the budget deficit — even a majority of Republican voters endorse Obama’s approach of seeking tax hikes as well as spending cuts.
The survey underscores the quandary for the GOP as it debates the party’s message in the wake of disappointing losses last November for the White House and in the Senate.
Now just 22% of Americans, nearly a record low, consider themselves Republicans.
And those automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, that are poised to take effect next week?
If no deal is reached to avert them, half of Americans say congressional Republicans will be more to blame. Less than a third would blame Obama first.
“On many of the issues, President Obama has staked out positions that seem to be closer to the public’s thinking than the positions Republicans have staked out,” says Michael Dimock, director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The poll is the first in a new partnership between Pew and USA TODAY. “The challenge for him is in building the public’s sense of immediacy on some of these issues, particularly on climate change and guns.”
Republicans have the opposite challenge. “Their focus on the deficit is in tune with the public’s priorities right now,” he says. “Yet their positions are not quite in step with the kind of compromises that the public tells us they want to see.”
Can the Republican Party possibly do more to inflict damage on itself? Is this a cry for help from a psychologically wounded group? Perhaps we should give every GOP member of Congress a gun and watch them shoot themselves in the foot. Or form a circular firing squad.
The honest truth is that we are witnessing the end of an era and the implosion of the party. The election of 2012 signaled the beginning of the end of the conservative era and like most things these days, the decline is coming swiftly and unmercifully. The fiscal cliff deal is emblematic. Denying the Northeast hurricane aid was a public-relations disaster. The worst is yet to come.
Now we get to look forward to two more rounds of economic negotiations on the debt ceiling and entitlement programs. Other writers are saying that these will be fought on more sure-footed GOP ground. I don’t buy that for one second. Having been beaten soundly by the president on the tax issue, they now have little leverage on the debt ceiling or budget cuts.
Think about it.
Most Americans already blame the Republicans for almost scuttling a New Year’s deal and then witnessed first hand the comeuppance of John Boehner at the hands of those frisky Tea Party conservatives. They saw how the party hesitated to even raise taxes on millionaires and how the House abdicated its responsibility and needed to be bailed out by Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden.
And this was the easy deal.
Most Americans, again, do not want severe cuts to their government Medicare and safety net programs, but that’s exactly what the GOP is peddling. And the sheer size of the cuts that will be necessary to achieve Paul Ryan’s aims will ultimately prove to be a disaster for them. I just know that Boehner and Cantor will overstep the mandate they think they have and will also want their pound of flesh from Obama to make up for the just-completed deal.
Likewise for the debt ceiling. The country certainly remembers that it was the right that played brinkmanship with the budget in 2011 and got us a lower credit rating. Just let them do the same thing again and see what happens.
Of course, all of this is predicated on the idea that the president keeps his cool and doesn’t give away more than he needs to in the negotiations. The left is not happy with the tax deal, but really, how much can you push tax cuts for the wealthy? The difference between what he wanted and what he got is miniscule, which is exactly the problem, budget-wise, and Obama still came out a winner. Plus he’s already offered cuts to social programs that the GOP has rejected as too little. He’s in the driver’s seat.
The GOP is still convinced that only their ideas are correct and I seriously doubt that they will come out with specific proposals on how to retire the debt responsibly or which tax loopholes they want to close (which will also be unpopular). So the way I see it, this should be a good season for the president and Democrats.