The GOP—It Suffers from Severe “E”-Deficiency Political Anemia July 16, 2017
The GOP remains hell bent and then some on repealing Obamacare. Never mind that in the latest Washington Post ABC -News Poll the public by a 2:1 margin, 50%- 24%, prefers Obamacare to “Team Red’s” constantly changing harebrained repeal schemes. Never mind that in this poll, key parts of the Trump base, independents, seniors, and white women without college degrees, back Obamacare over any Republican “replacement (Wash. Post, Bump, 7/16/17).” Independent poll respondents overwhelmingly favor Obamacare over any GOP alternative 49% - 20% (Bump). Currently, the GOP replacement bill is polling as well as Vladimir Putin. Two GOP Senators, moderate Susan Collins (Me.) and extreme libertarian Rand Paul (Ky.) have already come out against the bill. After hearing VP Pence’s “alternative facts” about how good the “Red” health care Sen. legislation is, GOP, as well as Democratic Governors, gave him a cold reception (See NY Times Martin & Burns, 7/15/17). Two organizations, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, speaking for businesses that would be responsible for making the new system work, called the newly revamped Senate GOP health care proposal with Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Tx.) key amendment “simply unworkable.” Under Cruz’s amendment, insurers would be allowed to resume sales of policies that leave out key benefits such as prescription drugs or mental health. This proposal would also allow insurers to discriminate against customers, charging higher premiums or denying policies altogether to people with pre-existing conditions (Huffington Post, Cohn, J., 7/15/17).
If one more GOP Senator publicly opposes this bill, this legislation fails. The GOP reaction, “Never mind, never mind, never mind.” Has Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) decided to pull this bill? Of course not. On 7/15/2017, McConnell stated he would “defer consideration” of the GOP bill scheduled for the week of 7/17/2017 because 80-year old Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) was recovering from surgery performed on7/14/2017 at an Az. branch of the Mayo Clinic. During that procedure, surgeons removed a 5-cm (2 inch) blood clot from his brain, major surgery in anyone’s book (see rollcall.com). It is not clear how long the delay will be and McConnell has not yet announced a date on which to take up this legislation (NY Times, Pear, 7/13/17).
When the new “revised” Cruz GOP repeal health care legislation was announced on 7/13/2017, McCain stated that the bill “does not include the measures I have been advocating on behalf of the people of Arizona.” McCain, however, did not say he would definitively vote “No” on this bill (See CNN, Mattingly, Raju, & Almasy, 7/15/17). Under the most recent CBO, Congressional Budget Office analysis, Medcaid will be cut by the GOP bill by $772 billion in the coming decade. The number of Americans covered by Medicaid in 2026 would also drop by 15 million (See CNN, Raju et al, Kaplan & Pear, NY Times, 6/26/17). Besides McCain, other GOP Senators expressing reservations on the newly revised Trump-McConnell-Cruz bill include Shelly Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Rob Portman (R-Oh.), (NY Times, Pear, 7/15/17).
Again, with all these problems, why would “political cardiologist” McConnell keep trying to shock this awful health care repeal bill back to life, instead of pronouncing it dead? According to Josh Holmes, a former top McConnell staffer, it’s all about the GOP base. Polls of the American people and the non-partisan CBO’s “debatable math” don’t really count. It’s the GOP’s base love of Trump, according to Holmes. Holmes believes that the base still supports Donald in the mid-90% margin. Any GOP Senator who goes against the hard-core activist base will lose re-election, it’s that simple (See Blake, Wash. Post, 7/16/17).
Frankly, Mr. Holmes it’s not that simple. A good part of the Trump 2016 base, if you believe the fairly reliable Washington Post ABC-News Poll, is deserting him. Trump barely won in the swing states with this coalition in 2016. He can’t count on this group to reassemble again in the same numbers in those states and in other swing congressional districts throughout the country. The “Team Blue” base is very energized and more enthusiastic this time. IMHO, too many GOPers, in the House and Senate, as well as their rank-and-file followers are suffering from a severe case of “E”-Deficiency Political Anemia. It’s the “E” word, “empathy,” stupid. “Empathy,”—“the capacity to experience as one’s own the feelings of another (See Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary And Thesaurus, 2006).” Too much of the GOP philosophy, hammered and hammered over and over again, has been, “I’ve got mine, to hell with your problems. Why should I care about anyone else? If you fail economically, if poverty, catastrophe, or illness hits you, it’s only because you’re lacking in character.” As a comfortable top 1%er or one who sympathizes with them, how can I feel or want to feel for anyone else?
Too many GOPers have forgotten their own humble beginnings, the fact that government paid for their education, gave them contracts to start their business, or paid for their health care in institutions such as the military. Yes, Sen. McCain served his country valiantly and greatly suffered for it while a POW. However, he had the benefit of government-paid schooling, the elite Naval Academy, and was the son and grandson of Navy admirals. He received treatment for his POW injuries in publicly-funded military hospitals. He also has the right to medical care by the Veterans’ Administration, and good medical plans from Congress. In addition, his second marriage was to the millionaire daughter of a Phoenix beer distributor (Barone Political Almanac 14). Not everyone gets to marry that well. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wi) is always quoting laissez faire dog-eat-dog economic drivel. Ryan is just waiting to ram any Senate bill that passes straight through his “Red”-run House to Donald’s desk, ignoring all normal deliberative procedures normally followed in that chamber (See Kane, P. Wash. Post, 7/15/17). Ryan, a believer in gutting Social Security, does not want to dwell on the fact that after his father’s death, his mother’s Social Security survivor’s benefits helped pay for his college education. Ryan’s great-grandfather started a construction firm now run by his cousins, which also gave him a leg up on the economic ladder (Barone & CQ !4 Almanacs). GOPers, do you have any sense of empathy for anyone but yourselves and the top 1%ers?
The delay in taking up the health care repeal bill makes it more important to keep calling and emailing the GOPers sitting on the fence, including Sen. McCain. Remember, just one more “NO” vote will save Obamacare. We must make it clear to the GOP that voting to repeal Obamacare is a deal breaker for millions of Americans. Should that occur, Democrats, moderate GOPers, and independents can and must overwhelm any GOP rock-ribbed base in the 2018 midterms and beyond. The lack of empathy toward millions of our fellow Americans must not prevail.