Obama’s Last Laugh


From a longer piece by Daniel Henninger published over at WSJ

Like pop-up dolls, across the length of Barack Obama’s presidency, Republicans voted to “repeal” the law that bears his name—ObamaCare. He laughed at them then, and he’s laughing now. No repeal and no replace. They can’t even do repeal and punt.

For Democrats, this doesn’t quite make up for losing the election to Donald Trump, but it has to help. Schadenfreude can’t get much better than watching the Republican Party self-humiliate with an abject inability to win while controlling the House, Senate and White House.

To reimagine the spectacle, it’s as if Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, Claire McCaskill and Elizabeth Warren had carved each other up over some Democratic bill. That will . . . never happen.

It was written here in March that the Trump win in 2016 could be either a temporary bubble or produce a Republican governing majority for a generation. What does it look like now? How did so much promise produce this week’s dud?

One problem revealed by this episode is the liabilities of a presidency held by a nonideological figure, a goal of good-government types. Until this moment, the Republican Party had become self-identifiably conservative. We have just learned two things.

The Republicans are not as conservative as they thought. As important, a complex legislative effort like this—Reagan’s 1986 tax bill comes to mind—was going to require both ideological discipline and direction from the top, from the president. The unideological Mr. Trump neither conveyed nor enforced idea discipline in his public messaging, other than “get it done.”

Lacking an ideological North Star, the Republicans reverted to form: They divided—first with the Freedom Caucus’s rebellion from the right in the House and then with the moderate Republicans’ 1970s-like spending demands in the Senate. At that point, the Laurel and Hardy act of Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran blowing up the bill was almost comic.

Left undone by this failure is a historic chance to reform the 1965 Medicaid entitlement that now will roll unchecked to the fiscal cliff. Also lost is $772 billion in savings, which imperils both permanent tax reform’s promise of strong economic growth and America’s underfunded defense posture.

Republican Party conservatism always seems to be an undone symphony. It started with Goldwater. Then came Reaganomics for a decade, which gave way in the 1990s to the religious right until the tea party displaced them, which gave way to a preoccupation with illegal immigration and the “establishment.”

It’s one Holy Grail after another.


2 thoughts on “Obama’s Last Laugh

  1. Well, at least we know that 2 to 4 of them don’t have their heads up their asses. I also think it safe to conclude that an unknown number are just chickenshit to step up and say out loud that Trump is stupid and so is their healthcare crap. I also noticed the 4 that totally shut down the Repeal only are all women!

    What’s ironic is a poll I heard about last night has Obamacare now at 54% Approval…….thanks to trump! hahaha!!

    – Murphy

  2. Trump is a self-proven, daily demonstrable – idiot. There is no kind or respectful way to describe this man’s level of incapacity to server the office to which he was elected. “Who knew healthcare could be so difficult.” Certainly, not D.J. Trump, Sr. However, he is not alone in his healthcare failures.

    The Republican efforts to reform US healthcare are clueless and worse than Obama’s and Clinton’s. However, The Affordable Care Act is – far from affordable for almost everyone except the healthcare and insurance industries whom it granted a license to steal from the American healthcare consumer.

    What neither D or R Party will deal effectively with is the fact that our medical, healthcare and insurance industries are farming us like mindless chickens. There is no way to put 20-30 million non-insured/non-paying Americans on health insurance without someone paying for it. Clearly it won’t be the Senators – voting or not voting on healtcare.

    Equally as clearly, we aren’t going to be able to afford healthcare under the current corporate medical, pharmaceutical and insurance without first changing the laws that cover their liabilities – the cost of which is passed on to the health care consumers – at least those that can pay.

    The ACA was a clever artful political dodge, but inherently cowardly way of avoiding voter fallout by functionally having a healthcare tax collected privately. That private tax collected by the medical, pharma, healthcare care and insurance industries. Like any uncontrolled tax collectors – they over bill (and over diagnose) and overcharge, make more money on their wastes – all with abandon while providing sub-par services – and all you have to do is look at countries with better quality healthcare at lower costs to see that. Yep, most have a form of socialized medicine.

    You can label universal healthcare as socialism all you want, but our “capitalistic” for profit health care system has in reality turned into a cannibalistic system – eating away at the middle class’s economic flesh and their ability to save and participate in our economy. An economy that more and more only benefits the top 1 or 2%.

    Bottom line – our politicians – in both parties have proven themselves repeatedly to be incompetent cowards by not producing a national healthcare plan that can truly be afforded by everyone. Yes, it is really difficult if not impossible to please everyone with healthcare, but we don’t elect these irresponsible and cowardly asses to do just the easy jobs – like letting us pay for their health care while we do without.

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