The President and Two Zombies on the Front Lawn

It would be uncouth to put a link to the youtube video of that baseball bat scene in The Untouchables, the Brian De Palma film where Robert De Niro has an unforgettable scene with a bat and a double-dealing associate. But one is reminded somewhat of that scene when thinking about President Trump’s luncheon with GOP Senators this Wednesday.

Seated next to the president was Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, who is certainly in for a rather tight re-election bid, and who did not support the BCRA repeal-and-replace legislation. Trump as the cameras rolled listed the benefits of the legislation and added these words:

Look, he wants to remain a senator doesn't he? I think the people of your state, which I know very well, I think they're going to appreciate what you hopefully will do.

In other words: nice seat youse got there senator, be a shame if anything was to happen to it.

That's more like it Mr. President! You see? You get to do these sorts of nasty things when you're president. And you can even learn to enjoy doing them, which won't be very hard for you one suspects. You don't have to spend your days obsessing over the news cycle and unholstering your iphone for yet another tweet storm. You can bring grown up, powerful, ambitious men and women into a nice room, serve them wonderful food, and humiliate them like naughty 2nd graders while the world's media records the event.

Why do this? Because we now have two zombies clawing at each other's eyes and chewing on each other's jugulars on the front lawn of the White House: The ACA and the BCRA. It seems that McConnell will keep trying to get the senate to approve some sort of repeal, and perhaps a replace as well, after all. At least that's where it stands early Wednesday evening.

When an attempted legislation melts down after months of agonized compromises, heated and confusing policy debates, as well as backroom deal making, it does seem that there are problems with the team. So perhaps the only way to do politics in this type of toxic afterglow is to play Al Capone style hard ball.

Will it work?

Jonah Goldberg has an article today in National Review that focuses on Rand Paul, and questions whether his "no" votes on the BCRA are actually a display of this libertarian philosophy, or an indication of something more venal. He puts forth a few facts:

  • The BCRA is really unpopular in Senator Paul's home state of Kentucky.
  • More than 20% of the population is on Medicaid in the bluegrass state.
  • Senator Paul keeps moving the goalposts and insisting on the legislations shortcomings.
  • His current insistence on a clean repeal is exactly the opposite of what he insisted back in January, when he demanded repeal and replace as the only alternative, while McConnell at the time was pushing a clean repeal.

Does Rand Paul want any GOP health care bill to fail? Because he's comfortable - as a politician not as a supposed libertarian - with the status quo in his home state? And if so, then he's in good company with Murkowski and Collins and even perhaps Utah's Mike Lee. Murkowski has been savagely attacked by some like Patterico at Red State for her hypocrisy. Collins to be fair, has never been for any reform or rollback of Obamacare's mandates and regulations. She's a liberal who pretends she's a Republican moderate and she gets elected that way in her home state of Maine.

One can't be sure of any possible ulterior motives on the part of others like Senator Lee, who has put forth his own proposal to be fair. But it does seem that getting re-elected is far more important to GOP (and any) senators than putting themselves on the line for a bill their constituents don't like.

So Dean Heller will have to decide what is more important to him: the BCRA or his political future. He may help save both. He may save neither. He may get one of two. And Trump's tough talk may not be enough. Health care in America in 2017 is almost an impossible puzzle to solve. Any pinch hitters out there?

Posted by Keeley at July 21, 2017 3:07 PM
Comment #418471

Thanks Keeley.

Watching politicians posture and preen in front of a camera or reporter for decades leads to only once conclusion. Don’t believe what they say, watch what they do.

McConnell intends to get senators on record with an actual vote. Those facing electors in 2018 will have to defend that vote.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 21, 2017 3:22 PM
Comment #418476

Ohio Senator Rob Portman is one of those who voted for repeal in 2015, but now that he has a president who will sign the Bill, he’s now balking. Since I’m in Ohio, I’m keeping a close eye on him. Evidently, Portman has been inundated with calls and emails. Local social media has been flooded with requests to call him to vote for the repeal. It will be interesting to see what he does. The insurance company lobbies are putting tremendous pressure on republicans to vote against the repeal.

Posted by: Blaine at July 21, 2017 6:11 PM
Comment #418477

Blaine, Wrote to him a few days ago and basicly told him to get off his A** and do something our we will find someone who will.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at July 21, 2017 7:22 PM
Comment #418478

I basically told him the same thing. I have no use for liars.

Posted by: Blaine at July 21, 2017 7:24 PM
Comment #418499


I’m really disappointed with Portman, but I think getting rid of Sherrod Brown needs to be out primary goal in the coming election cycle.

Posted by: dbs at July 22, 2017 11:35 AM
Comment #418502

dbs, I’m disappointed at all the republicans who voted to repeal O’care when Obama was President and knew it would get vetoed but now that it will get signed they all show their true colors of yellow down their backs. Yes we need to get rid of Brown.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at July 22, 2017 1:08 PM
Comment #418519


So true. They’re turning out to be spineless for sure.

Posted by: dbs at July 22, 2017 7:03 PM
Comment #418528

The problem Portman,and many of the repubs who voted all those useless times to repeal the ACA, has is the repub solution to the ACA is crap. They sat around for 7 years and didn’t think it through. They can’t repeal without screwing things up in the marketplace, and they can’t do any better that the ACA with their ideology stuck up their a**. So they are wound tight but don’t have an answer that would work. Serves them right after all the blustering this past 7 years. To bad the part of the voting public that can think for themselves can see the s**t on their shoes.

Can’t wait for them to steal the universal health insurance idea and claim it as their own.

Posted by: j2t2 at July 22, 2017 8:36 PM
Comment #418570

j2, according to your side, the problem with Portman is he’s a republican. It wouldn’t matter what he or any other republican did, they would be wrong in your eyes. So, anything you would say about Portman or any other republican is bogus.

Posted by: Blaine at July 24, 2017 2:20 PM
Comment #418572

Blaine, that’s it! That’s all ya got? Come on Blaine you can do better than telling me what “my side” thinks…. can’t you? Why would you troll something so illogical as “anything you would say about Portman or any other republican is bogus.” just because I’m not a party member. BTW I’m not a dem party member either.

Blaine, come on man raise the level here on WB. You can do better than this tripe. Why is my comment wrong in your opinion? You attack me but fail to rebut my message.

Posted by: j2t2 at July 24, 2017 4:49 PM
Comment #418574

It really is a disgrace. What will be worse for Republicans? Passing the mystery bill, or not doing anything?

Absolutely disgraceful. The GOP voted 50 or 60 times to repeal and replace the ACA. Seven years! It turns out they had no idea of how to improve on it. The only reason they opposed it in the first place was that they wanted to deny Obama a success. The ACA was essentially Romneycare, a conservative solution that allowed the private insurance markets to be more competitive for business, while doing away with the worst abuses in the health care industry.

Now, when put on the spot, the GOP collectively “groaned and gurgled and vomited” this mess all over the place. It is so unpopular, the Senate GOP leadership “does not have the luxury” of letting Senators see the bill before voting on the MTP. No Republican will publicly champion it. It is absolutely horrific. Trump knows nothing about health care. He thinks passing this disaster will be a win, although how anyone could believe a piece of legislation this bad could constitute a win beggars description.

I’ve always wanted to see universal health care in some form. Maybe this incredible, gross political incompetence will bring it about after all.

Posted by: phx8 at July 24, 2017 5:15 PM
Comment #418576
The ACA was essentially Romneycare,…, while doing away with the worst abuses in the health care industry…. I’ve always wanted to see universal health care in some form. Maybe this incredible, gross political incompetence will bring it about after all. Posted by: phx8 at July 24, 2017 5:15 PM

Including eliminating the deductibility of most of the executive pay. This didn’t actually reduce their pay. They kept increasing their own pay, clearly showing that this is just a scheme for some to get very rich, by not paying claims.

The most recent proposal I’ve heard is to reduce the eligibility age to 50 for medicare. I don’t think universal health care will come in my lifetime. It could come sooner if there were separate and unequal programs for the people that the right wing thinks are unworthy.

Posted by: oraoghilie at July 24, 2017 6:01 PM
Comment #418578

Reducing the eligibility age for Medicare would be a terrific idea. It has been floated before, and it makes tremendous sense. The program is already in place and has a long history of being very successful. Implementing it would be easy.

The problem for the GOP is they are not actually interested in health care reform. They are interested in taking all that Medicaid money going to the poor and middle class, and giving it to corporations and the rich. It is as simple as that.

Posted by: phx8 at July 24, 2017 6:20 PM
Comment #418581

pdx8, the problem with reducing the age for medicare is that it turns into a young versus old issue. This also does nothing about the drug and medical supply companies that will endlessly increase prices regardless of who pays. With single payer, prices could be negotiated, but that’s even obstructed by some democrats who are in the pocket of those companies, busy making Switzerland richer, even when they’re operating in New Jersey.

Posted by: oraoghilie at July 24, 2017 7:21 PM
Comment #418607

Insurance companies, tort lawyers, those who want other people to pay for their stuff, politicians of both parties who pander for votes by spending money we don’t have and…

practicing Liberal/Socialists whose goal is to bankrupt America to hasten one-world government run by tyrants making all equally poor and miserable…


Posted by: Royal Flush at July 25, 2017 3:15 PM
Comment #418618

45 thousand Boy Scouts chanting “we love Trump”. There are young people out there that love the country. Every president has made the speech to the Boy Scout convention for decades…that is every one except the useless anti-boy scout Barack Hussein Obama. You gotta love Trump. He knows how to push the buttons of the socialists.

Posted by: Blaine at July 25, 2017 10:37 PM
Comment #418696

Pretty helpful material, much thanks for this article

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Comment #418697

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Posted by: at July 28, 2017 6:39 AM
Comment #418833


Barack Obama participated in Boy Scouts when he was young. Donald Trump did not.

Barack Obama addressed the National Boy Scout Jamboree in 2010.

The fact that you mistakenly call the national jamboree a “convention” signals how out of touch you are with Scouting and the values it upholds.

Posted by: Warren Porter at July 29, 2017 7:15 PM
Comment #425822

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