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Republican Health Care Chaos

congress-healthcare

Not unexpectedly, Senators left Washington yesterday for a week-long break without coming up with changes to their version of health care reform, and now President Trump is suggesting that Congress should just repeal the Affordable Care Act and worry about replacing it at a later date:

WASHINGTON — With Senate Republicans already bogged down over how to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, President Trump on Friday tossed in a new complication with an old idea: The Senate could repeal the health law now, then replace it later.

Mr. Trump gave his blessing in a Twitter post after a Republican dissatisfied with the current repeal bill, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, floated the two-stage approach as a backup plan. Mr. Sasse sent a letter to the president and made a pitch on Fox News on Friday as an agreement on a new version of the Senate’s repeal bill remained elusive.

Other conservatives quickly picked up the idea — including Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and the advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, backed by Charles G. and David H. Koch — presenting a new headache to Senate leaders who are trying to focus their conservative and moderate troops on finding a compromise.

Days ago, Senate Republican leaders spoke of finishing their revisions to the repeal bill by Friday, clearing the way for the Congressional Budget Office to prepare a new analysis of the bill. That way, after lawmakers return from their Fourth of July recess, the majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, could try to move ahead with a vote.

But Friday came and went without any agreement or public show of progress — and with no vote in sight. Instead, Mr. McConnell was dealing with a new dose of uncertainty about whether Republicans should continue on their current course or scrap their bill for a repeal-only measure that would probably have at least as much difficulty garnering enough votes to pass.

The health care debate almost certainly will continue deep into July, when Congress will face other pressing issues, including raising the government’s statutory borrowing limit.

“We need repeal; we need replace,” Mr. Sasse said on Fox News. “Trying to do them together hasn’t seemed to work.”

Republican leaders in Congress had embraced the repeal-now-replace-later mantra after Mr. Trump’s election, envisioning legislation that would end the Affordable Care Act in a few years as they worked on a replacement. But that plan was blown up quickly in January when Mr. Trump publicly demanded that a replacement be adopted simultaneously. Since then, Mr. McConnell and Speaker Paul D. Ryan have choreographed a complicated legislative dance that would fulfill Mr. Trump’s repeal-and-replace wishes.

Now, those wishes could be changing.

In his letter to the president, Mr. Sasse said that if a deal on a revised health care bill had not been struck by the time the Senate returned from its recess on July 10, Mr. Trump should call on Congress to “immediately repeal as much of Obamacare as is possible” under the rules that must be followed to avoid a filibuster, with a one-year delay on the repeal bill’s implementation.

Then, he said, lawmakers should get to work on replacing the health law and should cancel their planned August recess.

“On the current path, it looks like Republicans will either fail to pass any meaningful bill at all, or will instead pass a bill that attempts to prop up much of the crumbling Obamacare structures,” Mr. Sasse wrote. “We can and must do better than either of these — both because the American people deserve better, and because we promised better.”

Soon after Mr. Sasse’s appearance on Fox News, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, “If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!”

Asked about the tweet, a White House spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said, “The president hasn’t changed his thinking at all.”

“We’re still fully committed to pushing through with the Senate at this point,” she said. “But we’re looking at every possible option of repealing and replacing Obamacare.”

Mr. McConnell was hoping that the Senate would pass his bill this week. But he dropped that idea on Tuesday after it became clear that he did not have the votes and would have to revise his bill for it to have any chance of passing. A spokeswoman for Mr. McConnell declined to comment on the president’s tweet.

Trump’s Tweet came at the same time that The Washington Post is reporting that Senate Republicans are quite concerned about the political impact of heading home for their week-long break without a replacement bill in place, especially since many of them have town hall events planned for the week at which health care concerns are bound to be a top issue of concern. As the Post reported, one such Senator is Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who held a town hall yesterday at which the ongoing health care debate in Congress was the most dominant, if not the sole, issue that voters are asking about. Other Senators and Members of Congress are likely to face the same thing over the coming week, not only at town halls but also at community events over the Independence Day holiday Given the fact that all of the polling that has been done regarding that plan has shown the general public overwhelmingly opposed to the Senate’s version of reform, this is entirely unsurprising of course. As it stands, though, that is exactly the scenario that the Senate GOP has walked into. Instead of having a replacement bill ready when they return from the short July 4th recess so that they can debate and vote on it in time for the recess at the end of July, Senate Republicans instead have nothing, and they now have a President who appears ready to undercut their strategy altogether by suggesting that they abandon the idea of replacing the PPACA altogether and just go with a straight repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

As the article quoted above notes, Trump’s new apparent idea to just repeal the PPACA appears to have come from what he saw on cable news. Previously, both during the campaign and in the subsequent debate that has taken place since he took office, the President has generally taken the position that there needed to be a replacement for the PPACA ready to go into effect if Congress is going to repeal the law. Given the huge reliance costs that have been incurred both by the insurance industry and by individuals, this is the only sane way to approach this issue. Simply repealing the law, whether it would take place immediately or after some sort of waiting period as Senator Sasse suggested, won’t work for a wide variety of reasons, not the least of them being that it would cause havoc for the insurance and health care industries since nobody would know for sure what awaits them. Additionally, the changes that the PPACA made to these industries cannot simply be undone by a bill repealing the PPACA in whole, especially since all of the ‘replacement’ bills have contemplated leaving some of the major components of the law, such as the exchanges, Medicaid expansion, protection for those with pre-existing conditions, and continuation on the ban on a lifetime cap on coverage, in place in some form or another.More importantly, some estimates have shown that simply repealing the PPACA would have a worse impact than either the Senate reform bill or the House version:

President Donald Trump wants Congress to repeal Obamacare now and worry about replacing it later. But that’s a non-starter for many congressional Republicans who don’t want to scrap a plan that’s covering millions of Americans without something to take its place.

Repealing the health law without a replacement would kick about 18 million Americans off of health coverage in the first year — and reach 26 million a few years later, according to a CBO analysis of a 2015 bill to repeal the health law without a replacement. About 20 million people are covered now under the Obamacare markets or the law’s Medicaid expansion. Repealing the entire law would remove subsidies, cut coverage, take away protections for pre-existing conditions and send premiums skyrocketing.

Coming up with the replacement has been far more difficult than lawmakers, or Trump, imagined. Senators left Washington Thursday for a week-long July Fourth recess having failed to get 50 votes to repeal and replace Obamacare in time for the late June vote GOP leaders had sought. Their new goal is to pass a bill in July, perilously close to the long August recess.

So this is where Republicans find themselves. The House-passed bill, which barely made it through the lower chamber with only a two-vote majority, cannot pass the Senate. The Senate’s proposal, which is barely two weeks old at this point, proved to not even have sufficient support to get fifty votes in the upper chamber, and even if it could that Senate bill would most not likely survive a House vote. Meanwhile, the Senate was unable to come up with a revised bill before leaving town, meaning that there won’t be a CBO score of any revised bill ready when it returns from its recess a week from Monday. Without that CBO score, the Senate cannot even take a vote to open debate on the replacement bill. That gives them just about three weeks before the scheduled August recess to put a bill forward, debate it, and vote on it if they can. In the meantime, they also have work to do on the budget for the next fiscal year, and a plate full of confirmations for Executive Branch positions, Ambassadorships, and Judical Branch positions to vote on. Now they have a President suggesting that they abandon their entire strategy and kick the can down the road toward in what would likely be a doomsday scenario where the PPACA would be automatically repealed without a replacement a year from now unless they acted. And 2018 will be an election year, so the odds they’ll be able to get anything done then is exceedingly low. All of this makes the odds of nothing being accomplished on health care reform much more likely even as Republicans and Democrats alike acknowledge that there are flaws in the PPACA that need to be addressed if we’re going to avoid a real crisis in a few years, or sooner.

For the moment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is saying he’ll stick with the Better Care Reconciliation Act and rejects the idea of merely repealing the PPACA. That position, though, binds McConnell into the bigger puzzle of how to get a seemingly dead in the water reform bill through a Senate where there seems to be more than enough opposition to kill the bill before it can take another breath. Perhaps he’ll succeed, and indeed it’s typiclly unwise to count McConnelll out in these situations, but it’s not going to be easy.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mark Ivey says:

    So withhold legally obligated funding for Obamacare and crash it.

    Now thats “Trumpcare” to me..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  2. gVOR08 says:

    I hope the conventional wisdom is right and the Senate won’t pass a bill. But there is a strong odor of Kabuki around all this. It smells a lot like just before the House passed their bill.My own Senator Portman is one of the moderate (sic) holdouts. I expect McConnell will give him a delay in destroying Medicaid and a few bucks for opioid programs and Portman will announce he fixed the bill and avoided Sasse’s pretend full repeal. Then Rob the Dweeb will fold like a cheap lawn chair.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  3. michael reynolds says:

    1) Republican ideology is obsolete. This is the heart of it. Conservative/Libertarian ideology is utter nonsense. It is a series of fantasies powered by greed and narrow self-interest at the expense of the nation and the American people. Martin Shkreli, the Pharma Bro, is the living embodiment of GOP ideology: me, me, me, mine, mine, mine, screw you. Juvenile, immoral and unworkable in the real world.

    2) Mitch McConnell is an obstructionist. His entire skill set is about stopping things from happening. He has no concept of how to craft major legislation. Ditto Paul Ryan, though his incompetence is ideology-derived. They are both flatly incompetent, not up to the task, in over their heads.

    3) And then there’s the TV Critic in Chief, the man who spends at least 5 hours a day watching cable news while refusing to read briefing papers or learn new adjectives. Trump clearly knows nothing, understands nothing about health care. Nothing. And yet he is full of opinions. Very much like his voters: Knowledge set to zero, noise turned up to eleven.

    So, what happens when an obstructionist, an ideologue and Grandpa Simpson get together to re-organize 1/6th of the economy? Exactly what you’d expect to happen.

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  4. MarkedMan says:

    I object to the use of the term Republican “ideology”. There might be people who consider themselves Republicans that have an ideology, but the party as a whole has none. Worse than that, much worse, is that they are incapable of governance. Any competent elected Republican was primaried out of office years ago and what we are left with is essentially the guys at the end of the bar who have loud opinions about everything and know nothing. That is the real tragedy of the “both-sides-do-it-ism” that has so long prevailed in our country. The bloviating pundits aren’t comparing two struggling NFL teams. They are comparing one team to the imaginary team dreamed up by a bunch of couch potatoes. Even worse – that team wasn’t imagined with real athletes but is comprised of the in-their-own heads versions of themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  5. MarkedMan says:

    I object to the use of the term Republican “ideology”. There might be people who consider themselves Republicans that have an ideology, but the party as a whole has none. Worse than that, much worse, is that they are incapable of governance. Any competent elected Republican was primaried out of office years ago and what we are left with is essentially the guys at the end of the bar who have loud opinions about everything and know nothing. That is the real tragedy of the “both-sides-do-it-ism” that has so long prevailed in our country. The bloviating pundits aren’t comparing two struggling NFL teams. They are comparing one team to the imaginary team dreamed up by a bunch of couch potatoes. Even worse – that team wasn’t imagined with real athletes but is comprised of the in-their-own heads versions of themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  6. Facebones says:

    It’s obvious Trump has no clue what repealing Obamacare would entail. He’s just repeating catchphrases that Hannity and Doocy said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  7. Bob@Younsgtown says:

    Sasse’s proposal to repeal the ACA (as in nullify, or revoke) places the burden on Congress to create a completely new approach to healthcare. The Republicans have had 7 years to develop a new approach and haven’t been able to do so.

    So what Sasse is really proposing is a return to healthcare of the early 2000’s. And Trump (as of this minute) approves.

    BTW, this Senate draft is being put forth as a budget reconciliation bill (so as to avoid filibuster or (horrors) extensive debate)). I defy anyone to explain how sunsetting the medical loss ratio (see sec 205) has ANY impact on the federal budget.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. Three thoughts:

    1) Neither the ACHA nor the BHCA is “repeal and replace”–they are both “tweak and pretend” at best. (And, as has been noted widely, they are really: cut Medicare and taxes more than anything else).

    2) It impossible to simply repeal the PPACA.

    3) Passing major legislation is hard–and it takes work that the GOP appears unwilling (or unable) to do. (Heck, even if they pass the BHCA in the Senate, they still will have to reconcile it with the House version).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I object to the use of the term Republican “ideology”.

    That was worth repeating.

    There are the guys at The American Conservative, reformicons, and other intellectual conservatives who have an ideology, but they are irrelevant to the Republican Party. There are the Republican base who believe they have an ideology, but it’s just whatever marketing slogans the elite Republicans have used to con them into voting on tribal membership instead of interest. There is the Conservative Entertainment Complex that sees profit in reinforcing whatever the marketing/tribal message is. And there are the elite Republicans who have a business plan, not an ideology. The plan is to give the billionaire boys club whatever they want so the BBC will give them enough money to get reelected. The slogan is small government and FREEDOM!!, but those are just a euphemisms for low taxes and light regulation of their owners.

    And here we are.

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  10. An Interested Party says:

    How have we become a country whose two major political parties are totally screwed up…we have one party that knows how to govern but not how to win elections…we have another party that knows how to win elections but not how to govern…yikes…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  11. Hal_10000 says:

    This is back to Repeal and Delay, which I once likened to jumping out of an airplane with a mass of silk hoping you can knit a parachute before you hit the ground.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  12. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Republican ideology is obsolete.

    As opposed to liberal/Democrat ideology which is:

    1) spend lots of money.
    2) when that fails, repeat step (1)

    Vox had an interesting piece yesterday where they asked eight Democrats what their ideas for improving Obamacare were. Only one had an actual idea rather than vague “we should improve it” nonsense: a bronze-level plan to tempt more young people into the system. Which is … what some Republicans want to do.

    A more telling critique is that the GOP is running on empty right now because a lot of their issues either have more resonance in the Democratic Party (e.g., free trade) or are difficult to implement (e.g,, a balanced budget). It’s hard to argue that their philosophy is “obsolete” however when their party controls most of the country’s governments, including the federal.

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  13. James Pearce says:

    @Hal_10000:

    which I once likened to jumping out of an airplane with a mass of silk hoping you can knit a parachute before you hit the ground.

    Or, jumping out of an airplane with a mass of silk hoping you can knit a parachute but instead of knitting, you just actually start yelling “Suck it, liberals!” and then go splat.

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  14. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Elections do not magically validate stupid ideas.

    Democrat’s ideology is not spend, spend, it is help, help. Given the fact that the 1% now owns the entire wealth of this country and is getting richer hand-over-fist, with Republicans desperate to make them still richer, the ‘tax and spend’ argument, like the rest of the GOP intellectual arsenal, is obsolete.

    This ‘small government’ meme is bullsh!t and has been for a long time. It’s a fantasy. Making it about size is absurd, it should be about the efficient delivery of what is necessary. What we think is necessary is that Americans should not go hungry or without shelter or without medical care. We pissed away two trillion dollars IIRC correctly (so far) on a pair of wars we don’t seem to be winning, we can cover poor people’s health insurance.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  15. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Democrat’s ideology is not spend, spend, it is help, help.

    A person from La Junta, CO or Bozeman, MT or Osh Kosh, NE may not actually believe that Dem ideology is “help, help” because, well, Dems aren’t interested in helping people from those communities.

    And those communities know it. They get the internet out there too.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 26

  16. michael reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:
    Excuse me, but bullsh!t.

    People in Bozeman use food stamps. They use S-CHIP for their kids. They use school lunch programs. They use Social Security and Medicare. At work they are protected by federal safety laws. All Democratic programs.

    I voted to raise my own taxes so that we could supply health insurance and extend Medicaid to people in Bozeman. It costs me tens of thousands of dollars to subsidize those people.

    They use the hell out of our programs, pay in less than they take out, and hate us anyway because: black people and Hispanics and gays. The data is clearer every time someone runs it: Trump’s ‘base’ is not about economic opportunity, they’re about cultural panic, racism and misogyny. These people lie to themselves about their own dependency because they want to strut around like, big tough loners who don’t need nuffin from nobody. Well, it’s bullsh!t.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 42 Thumb down 1

  17. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Hal_10000: I can’t speak for other states, but Washington already has bronze level plans available.

    Apparently, even Congress people who wrote the bill don’t know what’s in it until they read it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. An Interested Party says:

    It’s hard to argue that their philosophy is “obsolete” however when their party controls most of the country’s governments, including the federal.

    Yes, but that simply shows that they know how to win elections…as the last six months have shown us, they have no clue about how to govern once elected…

    And those communities know it. They get the internet out there too.

    It’s a pity that for all of their internet access, those people don’t seem to realize that the Republicans they keep voting into office want to hurt them so that they can help a minority of rich people…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  19. MarkedMan says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Only one had an actual idea rather than vague “we should improve it” nonsense: a bronze-level pla

    Read more: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/republican-health-care-chaos/#ixzz4ld7A6C9e

    There is a lot to contest in your comment (Republicans who want to balance the budget? Where?!) but none is so wrong as the one quoted. Whether you like it or hate it, the two pieces of legislation collectively known as Obamacare are as complex and comprehensive and complete as any piece of legislation in my lifetime. It represents millions of man hours of work and implements so many different changes to our medical system that I was sure that once the Republicans regained control of Congress it was doomed before their mindless bile and resentment, not because it was poorly crafted but because nothing that complex could be so well crafted that it wouldn’t need a major touch up after 2-3 years. It’s been 7 and it’s still going strong (although insurers have started to put in a “Republican Tax” on premiums because they can no longer depend on payments promised by the government.) The idea that the Modern Republican Party would be capable of crafting any kind of serious of legislation more complicated than recognizing the Kansas Brownback as our national gopher is ludicrous.

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  20. Yank says:

    @James Pearce: lol, who do you think benefits the most from Democratic passed legislation? Hell, one reason the GOP is having such a tough time repealing the ACA is because of many red-states utilized the Medicaid expansion.

    Don’t confuse not pandering for their votes with not helping them, Democrats don’t do the former, but they always do the latter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  21. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It costs me tens of thousands of dollars to subsidize those people.

    “Those people?”

    Maybe it’s time to put away this attitude. As certain as you are that you are the hero of their lives, they know you’re not.

    Trump’s base are not all homophobic bigots. Many of them are, yes, that’s true, and they are truly loathsome, but most of them just don’t want anything to do with progressive leftism, and they want it so bad they’re willing to put up with Trump. Forget what it says about them. What does that say about progressives?

    @An Interested Party:

    those people don’t seem to realize that the Republicans they keep voting into office want to hurt them so that they can help a minority of rich people…

    If only we had an opposition party that could convince them of this key fact.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 16

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Hal_10000:

    It’s hard to argue that their philosophy is “obsolete” however when their party controls most of the country’s governments, including the federal.

    It is not hard to argue at all when they are incapable of actually implementing any of the policies that come out of their so called “philosophy”. In reality, they have only Cleeks Law: “Republicans are against whatever Democrats are in favor of, updated daily.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce:

    Dems aren’t interested in helping people from those communities.

    Bullsh!t, they receive the same benefits as everyone else. You’ve been drinking the same GOP koolaid as the people in those states.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  24. michael reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:

    Maybe it’s time to put away this attitude. As certain as you are that you are the hero of their lives, they know you’re not.

    Actually, James, I am as a practical matter. I’m a well-to-do Californian paying the bills for rustics who invariably have far greater political representation than I do. Do I understand how dependent people can resent their dependency? Sure: I have teenagers. But that doesn’t alter the dependency, I’m still paying the bills.

    If they don’t want my money, believe me, I’m fine with that. Just as my daughter is invited to return my credit cards just as soon as ever she likes, I invite these people to refuse to take any government money.

    But they don’t get to empty my pockets and spew hate at me at the same time. There are names for people who take charity and then spit in the givers’ face: asshole is one name. ‘These people’ live in empty states and barely-there towns, take services I pay for, deploy their bloated political power to suck still more out of me, all while posing as avatars of true American virtue and independence. They’re frauds. They’re welfare queens who bite the hand that feeds them because the same hand feeds black people.

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  25. dmichael says:

    @Hal_10000: I read the Vox article you referenced and you misrepresent it. Several of the respondents had ideas, not just “offer a ‘bronze plan.'” In addition, you assume that the Democrats should be spending their time developing detailed proposals to improve the ACA when the fight now is about preventing its repeal. Finally, your comment about “tax and spend” Democrats is merely the regurgitation of a ring-wing talking point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  26. MarkedMan says:

    As Jacob Javits pointed out more than 50 years ago, if the Republican Party embraced the Southern Strategy it would eventually destroy them from within. It has most certainly come to pass. I lived in the South in two different states and although there is much too be celebrated in that region (New Orleans is truly one of the greatest American cities) one thing that always brought me up short was the attitude of the civic leaders, from the Senators and Governors down to the local heads of the Board of Education or the Chamber of Commerce. So many of them were the types of people that would shoot holes in the bottom of the lifeboat because they can’t stand to see the other guy dry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  27. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “I voted to raise my own taxes so that we could supply health insurance and extend Medicaid to people in Bozeman. It costs me tens of thousands of dollars to subsidize those people.”

    Yes, but you didn’t keep telling them that they were better than those other people because they were white. And in fact, Democrats didn’t offer them extra benefits because of their skin color. In Pearce-world, that’s the same as tromping them into the dirt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  28. Yank says:

    Trump’s base are not all homophobic bigots. Many of them are, yes, that’s true, and they are truly loathsome, but most of them just don’t want anything to do with progressive leftism, and they want it so bad they’re willing to put up with Trump. Forget what it says about them. What does that say about progressives?

    It says nothing about progressives and everything about them.

    Democrats have always championed policies that help everyone regardless or race, religion etc. The fact that these voters are willing to cut their noses off because some black person or gay person in the city also benefit from these policies says that they put their culturally grievances over common sense.

    I don’t wish ill on these people, but I don’t shed a tear that their vote is going hurt them more in the long-run then it will me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  29. al-Ameda says:

    @James Pearce:

    A person from La Junta, CO or Bozeman, MT or Osh Kosh, NE may not actually believe that Dem ideology is “help, help” because, well, Dems aren’t interested in helping people from those communities.

    Gosh, is this all because we didn’t bring back those ‘lost’ coal mining jobs?

    Seriously though, just listen to the national handwringing – we’re now talking about people in the non-urban areas as if they’re salt-of-the-earth snowflakes who have been inalterably damaged and paralyzed by our changing economy and culture.

    The economic forces that caused sea changes in our industrial economy have been in play for nearly 40 years, many people have adjusted to those changes and many people have not. And many people of those people who have not, and do not, accept those changes now blame Democrats (liberals, progressives, what-effing-ever) for their problems. Of course.

    I’m definitely not apologizing for being a Democrat nor am I accepting the misplaced notion that I, as a liberal, am responsible for their resentment and anger.

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  30. An Interested Party says:

    If only we had an opposition party that could convince them of this key fact.

    It’s pretty hard to convince such people when the opposition party is painted as only caring about blacks, gays, and illegal immigrants, among other groups that many of those alleged salt-of-the-earth people don’t seem to like…

    The economic forces that caused sea changes in our industrial economy have been in play for nearly 40 years, many people have adjusted to those changes and many people have not. And many people of those people who have not, and do not, accept those changes now blame Democrats (liberals, progressives, what-effing-ever) for their problems.

    This current health care legislation fiasco is the perfect illustration of how wrong those people are to blame Democrats, as it isn’t Democrats who are trying to take away their access to health care to give tax cuts to rich people…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. teve tory says:

    news tonight–mcconnell’s sending a revised bill to the CBO today/tomorrow.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. teve tory says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Convincing poor white people that taxes always meant money would be taken from them and given to The Blacks has saved the 1% more money than anything in history.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  33. Matt says:

    @James Pearce: I grew up in the area you’re talking about. We were taught at a young age that Democrats are evil and hate America. America being defined as straight white people. If I came out as gay most of my family would disown me. If I dated a black girl half of them would disown me till I “returned to your kind”. I’ve seen it happen with a cousin. These people don’t see themselves as takers despite being on welfare and utilizing loads of Democratic programs. No they only see the others as takers usually the blacks or hispanic looking folks. My home town is one of tens of thousands out there that are dying for various reasons including globalization. In my hometown they blame Clinton and those evil dimocRATs for passing NAFTA. NAFTA being the favored thing to blame.

    A lot of people in my home town would starve rather than let a Demoncrat help them…

    Those are the kind of people you’re trying to reach. I have no idea how to reach them and I lived with them for 29 years.

    EDIT : Hell right now they are blaming ALL the state problems on those damned Democrats! Despite Republicans having been half the problem…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Matt says:

    @Matt: I tried to edit my post but it failed. The proper definition for America is straight white CHRISTIAN people.

    These people can be good generous people but only if you belong to their tribe.

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  35. Ratufa says:

    Democratic programs absolutely help people in the rural/rust belt/whatever communities. But except for Obamacare, most of these programs were enacted 20 or more years ago, and people have grown so used to them that 1) They take them for granted and 2) They don’t believe that Republicans are going to touch them.

    While racism plays a role in some people’s unhappiness with being on welfare or other government assistance , another source of their unhappiness is shame at being forced to rely on government charity to get by. This shame usually does not apply to programs such as Social Security, that people have payed into up-front, even, though the amount they take out of the system may be much greater than the amount they paid into it. Social Security was deliberately designed to take advantage of these feelings, and to not be seen as a welfare program.

    https://www.ssa.gov/history/Gulick.html

    Because most people do not, as a matter of pride, want to be seen as charity cases, arguments that they owe Democrats fealty and should STFU wrt criticizing Democrats are likely to backfire, by reinforcing the shame from needing government assistance, and also furthering their perception of Democrats as elitist buttholes.

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  36. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    ‘These people’ live in empty states and barely-there towns, take services I pay for…

    If you read these words in a comic book, would the speech bubble be pointing to the hero? Or is this the kind of thing the bad guy says as he unveils the infernal device that threatens the world?

    @Yank:

    Democrats have always championed policies that help everyone regardless or race, religion etc.

    Always? Not to get into a big history lesson here, but while yes, the Dems wear the championship belt of equality, there’s a lot of kayfabe there.

    @al-Ameda:

    The economic forces that caused sea changes in our industrial economy have been in play for nearly 40 years, many people have adjusted to those changes and many people have not. And many people of those people who have not, and do not, accept those changes now blame Democrats (liberals, progressives, what-effing-ever) for their problems.

    That’s fine. If you don’t want to believe that a lot of people are not impressed with what Dems have done viz-a-viz the last “nearly 40 years” of economic change, well, that’s fine too.

    Just look at the election results: all of them. Let’s not claim we kick butt if we got our butts kicked.

    @Matt:

    A lot of people in my home town would starve rather than let a Demoncrat help them…

    Yes, at least you can acknowledge their reputation, even if you can’t agree that maybe some of it is deserved.

    @Ratufa:

    arguments that they owe Democrats fealty and should STFU wrt criticizing Democrats are likely to backfire

    Boom.

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  37. michael reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:
    Reality is reality. I understand that’s a very difficult concept for Republicans to grasp. And yet: reality.

    I am not going to lie about reality to pacify fantasists. If you want my fantasy you can pay $14.99 or whatever Amazon’s rate is. I make things up for money, for work, I don’t make things up to salvage the egos of self-pitying fool. That’s how we got to this place, by lying to people, by filling their heads full of bullshit. That’s why so many of us are now deeply ashamed of our country on July 4th, because brainwashed, angry, self-pitying fools elected a dangerous, malignant man-child to the White House.

    Let me put it simply: 46% of voters fwcked up really badly. Really, really badly. There is no sugar-coating that. History will not clean that up for us. It was a catastrophic failure of democracy. And historically I don’t think soft-soap has helped. Half the reason these people are still so bloody backward is that we tried so hard to excuse the south after the Civil War. Southerners and rustics in general are simply too weak-minded to cope with reality. I won’t lie or distort or pretend in order to cover up for their manifest failure. Enough already.

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  38. Yank says:

    Always? Not to get into a big history lesson here, but while yes, the Dems wear the championship belt of equality, there’s a lot of kayfabe there.

    With people of color, yes that wasn’t always the case. But with white-working class voters, yes Democrats have never abandoned those people in terms of policy.

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  39. Yank says:

    And historically I don’t think soft-soap has helped. Half the reason these people are still so bloody backward is that we tried so hard to excuse the south after the Civil War.

    Yup and people are still making excuses for them today. The media and the Pearce-types are in complete denial about these voters and trying to paint them as a bunch downtrodden people who had no choice but to vote for Donald Trump.

    I don’t care what your political views are. There was no excuse to vote for this man, he made it plainly obvious that he was unfit for the job.

    Either these people are stupid or bigots. It is one or the other IMO and either way it doesn’t paint a pretty picture of Americans.

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  40. Matt says:

    @James Pearce:

    Yes, at least you can acknowledge their reputation, even if you can’t agree that maybe some of it is deserved.

    IT’s only deserved if you believe that blacks and brownies should know their place and that white is right. IT’s only deserved if you believe that only the Christian god is true and has to be smashed into everything. It’s only deserved if you believe fox news and Republicans are the only ones telling the truth because they are good white Christians..

    The fact is the Republicans are just as much to blame if not more because while they voted to increase spending they refused to come up with funding and now the state is paying the price after decades of that shit.

    They vote Republican because they have been told it’s their team by their family from a young age. Have you ever tried to change the loyalties of diehard fans? Because that’s what we got going on there. These people will take advantage of Democratic programs while spouting how ungodly and evil all Democrats are..

    I was trying to convey that by using some of the nicknames I’ve heard in reference to Democrats..

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  41. Matt says:

    @Matt: Even when presented with a Democrat who is a white Christian the people in those rural areas won’t believe him. That was part of what was feeding the false belief that Obama was Muslim. It wasn’t just the fact that Obama was black but the fact that he was a Democrat and everyone knows Democrats can’t be Christian….

    You can’t change that perception without out-crazying the Republicans on religion for decades.

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  42. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    That’s why so many of us are now deeply ashamed of our country on July 4th, because brainwashed, angry, self-pitying fools elected a dangerous, malignant man-child to the White House.

    Please…

    If you want to feel shame about anything, you should feel bad about nominating Hillary Clinton. All this happy talk about the Dems’ priorities, and so little acknowledgement that their priorities were not the downtrodden masses, but putting Hillary in the White House. DWS will tell you all about it.

    Meanwhile, Obergefell means all the gay conservatives –and there are more than a few– can go back home. Think the Dems have minorities and women locked up? Election results say “No.” So what’s left?

    This stuff:

    Southerners and rustics in general are simply too weak-minded to cope with reality.

    They couldn’t cope with Hillary Clinton is more like it…

    @Yank:

    The media and the Pearce-types are in complete denial about these voters and trying to paint them as a bunch downtrodden people who had no choice but to vote for Donald Trump.

    Oh they had a choice. Their choice was between an ambitious dynast who worked tirelessly, mostly on her own political career, and an obnoxious neophyte with no apparent ideology.

    They went with the neophyte.

    That this continues to be dismissed as racism, homophobia, sexism, or any of that other crap is not amusing. It’s just sad.

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  43. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce:

    That this continues to be dismissed as racism, homophobia, sexism, or any of that other crap is not amusing.

    You left off ignorance and stupidity, the other branch of the party.

    Yes, we know now how deeply 46% of them loathed Hillary, who would absolutely have made their lives better. And how much those 46% rallied around Trump, whose upside is 4 years of stagnation, trashed alliances, increasing wealth inequality, falling employment, and assorted other opportunity costs. (The downside doesn’t bear thinking of.)

    You seem to be blaming all of that ignorance, stupidity, and bigotry on Democrats. What exactly is it that you think they could have done to replace it with intelligence, education, and tolerance? Be specific.

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  44. James Pearce says:

    @DrDaveT:

    You seem to be blaming all of that ignorance, stupidity, and bigotry on Democrats.

    It may seem like it, but what I’m doing is calling out the ignorance, stupidity, and bigotry on our side and stating outright and clearly that it’s not an exclusive province of the right.

    What exactly is it that you think they could have done to replace it with intelligence, education, and tolerance? Be specific.

    The biggest and best thing liberals can do is reacquaint themselves with their own rhetoric. Do you support minorities because you’re on a crusade to right some historical wrong, which…you can’t? Or do you support minorities because you’re ideologically committed to the defense of civil liberties?

    It may seem like splitting hairs, but this is a very important distinction. What is the priority? The principle, or the campaign?

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  45. Yank says:

    Oh they had a choice. Their choice was between an ambitious dynast who worked tirelessly, mostly on her own political career, and an obnoxious neophyte with no apparent ideology.

    They went with the neophyte.

    That this continues to be dismissed as racism, homophobia, sexism, or any of that other crap is not amusing. It’s just sad.

    Their choice was between a sane person who understood how the government works and a bigot, who didn’t understand anything, but told them what they want to hear.

    And in typical fashion, they chose the latter and will suffer from it.

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  46. James Pearce says:

    @Yank:

    a sane person who understood how the government works

    As the old saw went, Hillary Clinton was awful, but she was awful within normal parameters.

    Don’t want to lose against the truly awful? Don’t nominate the “awful within normal parameters.”

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