Calvin Freiburger writes it has been beyond maddening to watch the GOP fumble the repeal of Obamacare for months now, with still no sign that they’ve gotten their act together. Now, one Republican senator just admitted the reason why, in an explanation that has the ring of truth…but still makes the GOP look like a complete embarrassment.
Townhall reports that Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania had a simple explanation for constituents Wednesday: “I didn’t expect Donald Trump to win, I think most of my colleagues didn’t, so we didn’t expect to be in this situation.”
In other words, the GOP establishment’s default state is defeat, its natural inclination is irrelevance. Of course, that answer raises a whole slew of new questions — did they want to win? Would they have preferred a Hillary Clinton presidency? Did they fight as hard as they could to get Trump elected? If they never anticipated the time would come to actually implement the things they say they ran for office to do, then why did they really get into public service in the first place?
And most importantly: how can they possibly look their constituents in they eye and claim to be fit for office when they’re this staggeringly negligent in their duties?
Toomey also got into some secondary excuses for why the process of coming up with a replacement has been such a mess:
“Given how difficult it is to get to a consensus it was hard to force that until there was a need to and so that’s what we’ve been working on,” Toomey explained.
“I will also say that there’s been a new wrinkle in this,” he continued. “The early version, the early idea of how we would handle this difficult challenge was to pass a repeal bill that would be pretty much a clean repeal, stabilize the individual market, and set the repeal several years hence and have the opportunity in the meantime to work out the reforms. That’s all been collapsed now into a shorter timeframe.”
It’s true that Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and President Trump have been rushing this process. It’s true that crafting legislation is supposed to be slow and deliberative. However, that excuse only goes so far in this case, because no conservative is claiming the work should have started in January. The issue is that Republicans on Capitol Hill led us to believe they had spent the past seven years preparing for this day.
How many repeal bills got up-or-down votes while Barack Obama was president? At least six full repeal votes and nearly fifty delays and partial repeals. Moreover, more serious lawmakers with Rs after their names have put forth numerous substantive proposals for free-market Obamacare replacements.
If those repeal bills had been sincere, and if the leadership had the backs of its few serious members, it would have been a simple matter to send one of the repeal bills they already passed to a president willing to sign it, and then review the replacement proposals already on the table and pick and revise the best one. There’s no good reason why a serious repeal couldn’t have been waiting for Donald Trump to sign on January 20.
No reason at all… except for the fact that the leaders of the Republican Party never really cared enough to make it happen. If this isn’t proof that conservatives need a new party to call home, nothing will be.