It sounds like a stretch, Republicans as victims of their health care reform aspirations. That, however, is the Brookings Institute's Isabel Sawhill's take.
But are Senate Republicans evil people? Do they lack a moral compass? I don’t think so. I think they are simply victims of a once-successful but now discredited economic ideology. That ideology says tax cuts for the rich will create jobs for the middle class. It says cutting benefits, including health benefits, for the poor will cause them to work harder and behave more responsibly. Granted there is a grain of truth in these propositions but they have now become a cartoon of their once-legitimate, Chicago-school ancestors.
Republicans have become trapped in their own rhetoric, crafted during years of being in opposition. As Ross Douthat noted in a recent New York Times column, drawing on new analysis in a report by Lee Drutman, that rhetoric is now well to the right of the beliefs held by the broader Republican electorate. Republican leaders have failed to recognize the fact that the economic views of those who voted Republican in 2016 “lean only slightly to the right.” Republicans could have used the Trump election to effect a political realignment—one that would have combined a more moderate set of economic policies than the Republican elite currently supports with a more moderate set of cultural positions than those espoused by leading Democrats.
Sawhill goes on to list a number of possible solutions that would seem to most Canadians and Europeans still way too rightwing but might suit Americans just fine.
What I take from her essay is that our political caste, not just America's, has fallen into a trap created by a flawed and now failed ideology. Instead of seeking alternatives their response is more of the same only sometimes doubled down.
It's easy to mock the Americans but there hasn't been an original visionary idea of another path out of Ottawa in many years, decades.