Paul Ryan Failed Because His Bill Was a Dumpster Fire 

The AHCA didn’t fail because of personality or negotiation tactics. It didn’t fail because of institutional factors per se. It failed because of the ideological reality facing the Republican Party – a reality they are largely responsible for constructing.

Harold Pollack for Politico Magazine:

It was bad policy, not poor tactics or negotiating skills, that doomed the GOP’s efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Pollack points out two facts frequently overlooked in the past couple days.

1. The role of loss aversion.

What’s so baffling about Ryan’s failure is that he knows as well as anybody that social entitlements are devilishly hard to take away—because people like them. As the main features of ACA become embedded in American life, overturning it required legislative craftsmanship at the boundary between coalition politics and policy.

2. ACA was ideologically moderate legislation.

Pretending that the rather moderate ACA was in fact radical socialism undermined the party. Yes, it provided the rage fuel “repeal and replace” mantra which helped to deliver the 2010 midterm elections and likely aided Trump’s victory in 2016, but it has also left no daylight for making new policy. Especially in light of (1).

But ACA wasn’t and isn’t even a monument to liberalism. It wasn’t Brarack Obama’s or Nancy Pelosi’s dream healthcare bill. It was more like Ben Nelson’s (D-NE) preferred set of policies.

There can be no face-saving minor revision because the GOP has convinced their base and many politicians staked their reputations on the idea that only wholesale change is acceptable.

Besides, the status quo and the implicit baseline have shifted. Even though ACA is roundly panned, the market for healthcare (and health insurance) wasn’t particularly well-functioning in 2009 when the Democrats decided to poke at it. Contrary to rehtoric, Obamacare has not destroyed the economy. There is no meaningful bloc of voters clamoring to actually set the clocks back to 2009.

Many people across the ideological spectrum want something better. Something better policywise in an area as complex and vital as healthcare just isn’t something that can be ginned-up in less than a month admidst political turmoil and the Trump Administration’s series of constitutional crises. Even without the lies, deception, and insincerity – the vagueness of “repeal and replace” has proven itself hollow. But as long as Republican leadership lie about the ideological realities of ACA and healthcare policy, they will never be able to repeal and replace.

Anyways great essay by Pollack. Read the whole thing.

Trump Denies Reality (Again), GOP Proven Soulless (Again) 

The New York Times reports Donald Trump “blames Democrats as major push to repeal health law fails.”

But Congressional Republicans like Mark Walker (R-NC) don’t seem confused by the Pretender-in-Chief’s fake news:

You can’t pretend and say this is a win for us.

But of course, that’s exactly what Donald Trump is doing:

The best thing that could happen is exactly what happened — watch.

Repeal and replace has been the mantra of the Republican party for the past seven years. Yes, it was always a thin policy veneer over their racism fueled animosity for Barack Obama,1 but it was waved like a bloddy flag. And now it’s meaningless.

Has Trump ripped-out the ideological foundation of the G.O.P. or did it never exist in the first place?

Kevin Cramer (R-ND) admits:

We have to do some soul-searching internally to determine whether or not we are even capable of functioning as a governing body.

Externally, the answer to Kevin Cramer’s question is pretty obvious and it has been for years. Trump is just shining a light. Hell, the existence of Trump himself was made possible in large part by the intellectual emptiness of the party.

  1. The absence of a suitable replacement plan ready-to-go at the start of the 115th Congress underscores how thin a veneer it really was. 

I think that a huge problem is people who read comics and don’t understand the point of superheroes, which is to be the best version of yourself. You love Captain America? Well, you know what Captain America would never do? Go online anonymously and shit on a girl for having an opinion.

Brian Michael Bendis

Uber is sorta like Silicon Valley’s version of the Trump Administration. Where there’s a new scandal every day or even every hour. The daily list of the scandals doesn’t keep up.

John Gruber

Not All Members of Congress Fear their Constituents 

Sorry to have missed Gwen Moore’s town hall style meeting today. Sounds like she was in top form:

Our democracy is being tested, y’all…Rome, one of the greatest civilizations in history, only lasted 300 years. And we’re at 240. So this ain’t no guarantee we’re going to make it.

And Moore wasn’t disingenuous like crosstown representative James Sensenbrenner who dismissed the need for a special prosecutor looking into the connections between the Trump administration and Russia by arguing against a straw man:

I don’t think it’s good for our country to have the executive branch under constant investigation.

After, of course, his previous enthusiastic support of an independent prosecutor used to investigate Bill Clinton.

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