Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
- Well, the news media covered for him as long as they could, but the news finally came out yesterday that Senator John McCain’s “surgery for a blood clot above his eye” that would only have him absent from the Senate for a week turns out to actually be an initial surgery for a very aggressive form of cancerous brain tumor called Glioblastoma. While we will no doubt continue to see “optimistic” reports from doctors about the Senator’s condition, the truth is that this is a very, very grave situation. I won’t pretend to be a fan of Senator McCain – I’ve often mocked him as The Senator From The News Media, and found his behavior while George W. Bush and Donald Trump were serving as Presidents to be inexcusable. But many consider McCain to be a national hero, and few human beings have fought and survived against the brutality that he has suffered during his life. I wouldn’t wish his current battle on my worst enemy. Godspeed.
- Let’s talk about congressional Republicans. A year ago today, Republicans in congress were possibly the single most-detested part of the ruling class in Washington, DC. They had, as a group, made more false and failed promises to voters over the previous seven years than almost any such collective group of politicians in American history. They were headed at that point for a thrashing at the voting booths, with “experts” and polls indicating the GOP would lose its Senate majority and could possibly lose the House as well, if Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in a landslide in the presidential contest.
- But a funny thing happened on the way to electoral disaster: Donald Trump ran what was certainly an unconventional compaign, but one that was also a rousing success. The media-promoted and projected Clinton landslide became a crushing defeat for her, and it also bailed the GOP congress out, allowing the Party to retain control of both houses of congress.
- Suddenly, congressional Republicans were back. Contrary to the prevailing “wisdom” among DC “experts”, it wasn’t the GOP that was falling apart and doomed to ultimate destruction, it was the Democrats. And it wasn’t just in Washington: the results of the 2016 elections gave the GOP control of 2/3rds of the nation’s governorships, 2/3rds of the nation’s legislative chambers, and the Party was about to cement a narrow, 5/4 conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court with the confirmation of Justice Gorsuch.
- Even better, the election results presented congressional Republicans with a golden opportunity to redeem themselves, to repair their stained reputations by finally, at long last, keeping their collective word to repeal and replace Obamacare. They had an opportunity to cement their majorities and build on them in the upcoming 2018 mid-terms if they could also pass a strong tax reform bill, and demonstrate to the American voters that the GOP could indeed be an effective governing party.
- And that, of course, is where it has all fallen apart. Since January, under the utterly ineffective leadership of Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the congressional GOP has done nothing to repair its image, little to keep its promises, nothing to prove to the American people that it deserves to be the majority party in the national legislative body.
- Worse, the GOP congress has proven that its repeated votes to repeal Obamacare while Barack Obama presented a certain veto were nothing more than cynical political theater, and meant nothing at all. It is now obvious that liberal senators like Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have no desire to do anything about the Obamacare disaster at all, and that Mitch McConnell has no ability or real desire to exert control over his senate caucus on this issue.
- If you want proof of that latter contention, realize that McConnell, if he really wanted to get to a majority vote on Obamacare, could be threatening Murkowski with the loss of her chairmanship of the Senate Energy Committee or Collins with the loss of her coveted chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have no qualms about resorting to such measures to ensure their troops march in lockstep when they need votes. By refusing to do so, McConnell proves that he is simply not serious about the Obamacare issue.
- To this point, the GOP congress has looked like an old Keystone Cops movie, with members running in all directions, showing no discipline, having no leadership, resolving no issues of import. If this continues, then Republicans will go into the 2018 midterms once again sporting the status as the most hated subset of the DC ruling class.
- And this time, they won’t have Donald Trump to bail them out.
- Having said all of that, I still believe that the Senate Rs will somehow get to 50 votes on a flat repeal of Obamacare with a 2-year window before it recesses in mid-August. I believe this because they have almost all voted to do this in the past, when a veto was ensured, and it is in their political best interest to repeat that vote now that a repeal would be signed. If they can’t even do that, then those members who refuse to repeat that repeal vote had better start looking for something to do in their post-senate careers.
Just another day in disastrous Republican congress America.
That is all.