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Republicans need to let go of “repeal and replace.” Now.



Yesterday, I emailed my two Senators, Feinstein and Harris, and my congresswoman, Barbara Lee, with a simple message: Do NOT work with Republicans on healthcare UNLESS they agree to (1) keep the name “Affordable Care Act” and (2) drop their stupid “repeal and replace” baloney.

If there are problems with the A.C.A., then let Congress fix them. Surely they can figure out a way to keep to do that—if they’re willing to work together. It’s called REPAIR, and it’s what we elected them to do.

But the dirty little secret no Republican will dare admit is: They don’t give a damn about healthcare for Americans. Never have, never will; tell me one time in the last forty years when a Republican cared about healthcare for Americans. They have only one desire: to humiliate Barack Obama by repealing his signature legislation. That’s it. Not to provide the best coverage to Americans, but to hurt, insult and wound a man they despise.

After yesterday’s stunning inability of McConnell to get enough votes in the Senate for Trumpcare, there’s been much talk about Repubs and Dems working together to craft a healthcare bill both sides can live with. Ordinarily I’d say that’s a good solution to a political problem, but not in this case. If Republicans really want to fix the A.C.A., first they’re going to have to eat some crow.

They created their own problem. Everybody knows that from Day One of Obama’s presidency, they hated on him with a fierceness previously unknown in American politics since at least FDR, and when Hillary’s star ascended, they hated on her too. Only someone who’s been buried under a rock for the last seven years would fail to understand that the reason Repubs first started talking about “repeal and replace” was because it focus-grouped well among their racist base. (They were preaching R&R way before the law even went into effect and anyone knew how it would fare.) Once every Republican in Congress promised his constituents to R&R Obamacare, they were locked into a “solution” to a problem that didn’t exist. This eventually became a completely untenable position that even most Republicans understood was unworkable; but by 2016, they had no choice: And then Trump’s election—and he hated on Obama worse than anyone—drove them further into the R&R corner, from which there was, and is, no escape.

It’s hard for a politician to admit he’s done something really, really stupid, but Republicans are going to have to admit their colossal error (and possibly find themselves a new Majority Leader). That’s why I’ve told my representatives to stand firm. We have the upper hand now: less than 20% of Americans support Trumpcare, even in red districts and states. We can really stick it to Republicans on this, and we will, if we need to. But it will be better for the country if both sides can reach some agreement to make the A.C.A. stronger and better.

Bottom line: There’s absolutely no reason for Democrats to buy into this Republican junkfest. If you agree with me, I urge you to contact your own Senators and congress people, and tell them the same thing I told mine:  Do NOT work with Republicans on healthcare UNLESS they agree to (1) keep the name “Affordable Care Act” and (2) drop this stupidity of “repeal and replace.”

  1. Bob Rossi says:

    ” If Republicans really want to fix the A.C.A., first they’re going to have to eat some crow.”
    I’d substitute a different 4 letter word for “crow” that starts with “s”.

    As you say, it’s clear that Trump despises Obama. Which is why I was so surprised that after their 2 hour pre-inauguration meeting in the White House, Trump said that they had a good meeting and he was so surprised that Obama was such a nice guy. Was he lying, or is he just mentally disturbed?

  2. Not being a psychiatrist, I can’t diagnose Trump’s state of mind. But it does seem to me that his narcissism and rage, coupled with his infamous tendency to lie, mean that nothing he says is credible. Nothing. Everything with him is transactional: he will say what he needs to say at any given moment in order to achieve an objective which might shift in the next 5 minutes. Therefore I don’t think he has any real “affect.” Whether or not he “likes” Obama is unknowable. But it’s also irrelevant. All we need to know is that we have a profoundly unstable (and therefore dangerous) occupant in the White House. He must go.

  3. Bob, I think there’s a pretty simple answer to your question. Trump evaluates everyone through the lens of “is this person nice to me.” He doesn’t really understand the concept of social niceties or politeness except in the crudest transactional way.

    Obama is a sophisticated, mature person, who understood that whatever his personal opinions about Trump, it makes sense as someone who cares about the institution and the presidency to try to cultivate a relationship with his successor. Whether to become a sounding board as one of the few people who truly understands the demands of the office, or to just hope to pass on one or two pieces of advice that might conceivably get through (“seriously, dude, Putin is not your friend!” “I know you like Gen. Flynn, but you might want to reconsider…”). So Obama has a reason to be gracious and welcoming.

    Trump, of course, is baffled by such things. He would never be nice to someone he hated, unless it was purely out of venal self-interest. So it came as a complete shock to him that Obama would be gracious.

    I’m sure that subsequently, Trump has concluded that Obama was nice to him because Obama is weak. That’s another part of how Trump views human interaction: you either dominate or are dominated. Listen to how he talks about any instance where someone apologized for something they said about him: “Justice Ginsburg was FORCED to apologize”; “CNN was FORCED to retract that Russian story,”

  4. Agree with Jim B. Trump is a bully. He was a mean rich bastard growing up, he was a mean businessman and now he’s a mean, ugly person. The saddest part of all this is that the so-called “Christians” who support him know that he’s an amoral, unChristian person, but they don’t care. Which makes me respect their religion not at all!

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