Saturday, March 25, 2017
A House Divided
When House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled his American Health Care Act bill yesterday he revealed a deeply fractured Republican party. His Congressional Repugs are divided in three camps - moderate or establishment Republicans, Ryan's Ayn Rand Republicans, and even more radical hard right Republicans.
The moderate and the extreme factions wanted nothing to do with the AHCA. To the moderates it was too harsh and invited a voter backlash in the mid-term elections.
To the nihilistic, extreme right, it wasn't harsh enough. They wanted the bill stripped of everything but the title. No coverage for maternity care or emergency care or hospital stays - pretty much nothing except, of course, for the tax cuts for their patrons, the Koch brothers.
Ryan's legislation was not what Trump had repeatedly promised voters. Trump said his plan would cover everyone. Premiums would be a fraction of what they were paying under Obama's Affordable Care Act. Coverage would be much better. The bill placed before Congress was just the opposite in every respect. In fraud cases it's called "bait and switch."
With a majority of 247 Republicans to 191 Democrats, the bill should have passed easily.
After pulling the bill Ryan went on about how they were "close, very, very close." Maybe, maybe not. We'll never know and that's no accident.
Had the House voted on the bill there would be no hiding the truth about how deeply fractured Congressional Republicans have become. The full measure of the dissent by the extremists and the dissent from the moderates would have been laid bare like a raw, festering sore and it would have shown that Republicans have definitely not coalesced behind their new Republican president. Polling the Representatives would have been seen as a vote of confidence in Donald Trump and the outcome a huge defeat for the Cheeto Benito.
Abraham Lincoln drew from the Bible, Mark 3:25, when he said that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." Today's Republicans, an abomination of what Lincoln's Republicans stood for, failed to heed that. They also ignored another bit of Abe's sage advice: "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."
Now, let's get back to the Russia business.
UPDATE - the New York Times has a fascinating look at what was going on inside the Trump White House in the days leading up to Friday's fiasco.