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Trumpcare’s defeat was a body blow to the tea party



The problem with Republicans telling us that Obamacase is “broken” and “a disaster” is that they—especially their current leader, Trump—have lied to us so often that there’s no longer any reason to believe them.

Remember The Boy Who Cried Wolf? He lied about a wolf so many times that, when there finally was a wolf, no one took him seriously. At the end, an old man explained to the boy, Nobody believes a liar…even when he is telling the truth!”

Donald Trump has lied with such wanton abandon that, like the little boy who cried wolf, his credibility is shot. Obama was born in Kenya. Obama is a secret Muslim. Obama wiretapped my phone. I had the biggest inaugural crowd in history. Hillary’s plurality was due only to millions of illegal votes. Ted Cruz’s father helped kill JFK.

Most of us have got this guy figured out: He’s a pathological liar. We don’t know why he lies; if he’s playing three-dimensional chess, on drugs, or truly crazy. But that he’s an habitual liar, there can be no doubt.

Obviously, providing healthcare for Americans is expensive. But the premise behind Obamacare was that, in the end, it saves money, by treating people preventively and keeping them from flooding emergency rooms. This is something that makes sense to me; I did a lot of healthcare reporting in the 1990s, and I understand this business pretty well. But you don’t have to be a healthcare reporter to know that it’s cheaper to keep someone from getting sick than to treat them once they are.

It’s also the right thing to do. America is the only developed nation in the world that doesn’t provide universal healthcare. We could do it if we wanted; we’re still the richest country on earth. Democrats want universal healthcare. Republicans vote it down every time—no matter how many people are hurt–and they’ve convinced credulous, low-information voters to agree with them. When you factor in Republican tax cuts for billionaires and military buildups, there’s no money left for anything else—which is how Republicans want it.

Obamacare is not a disaster. It’s insured 24 million people, and is saving money. That’s something President Obama should be very proud of. I’m sure there are efficiencies that can be addressed, but repealing Obamacare is insane, which is why Trumpcare had such a rocky ride yesterday.

Is Trumpcare dead? Who knows? Maybe by Friday morning (when you read this), they’ll come up with a Rube Goldbergian contraption that’s has enough stuff to temporarily unite both sides of the Republican Party. Even if there is an eventual bill that Trump signs, the tens of millions of Americans who lose their benefits are going to make life miserable for Republicans—and hand over the Congress to Democrats next year and the Presidency in 2020.

Republicans found it easy to complain about everything Obama did. Of course, they didn’t have to govern. Now, they do, and they’re finding out you can’t just shoot stuff down, you have to come up with solutions. Solutions require good politicians. Obama was a superb politician. Trump clearly is not, and with his high disapproval ratings and the 17% approval rating of Trumpcare, he has absolutely no leverage over his own party. Republicans are discovering they’ve tied themselves to a loser, and the sooner they cut him off, the sooner they can get down to the business of actually doing business with Democrats. They’re also going to have to get rid of that awful House (so-called) “Freedom Caucus,” a cancer on their party if ever there was one. Can some good come of this? Definitely: the end, once and for all, of the tea party, and a return to a more moderate, sane form of Republicanism.

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