- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 18, 2017

“Obamacare survives thanks to Republican moral narcissism,” writes Roger L. Simon, who appears vexed by the conservative lawmakers — specifically Sens. Jerry Moran,Mike Lee and Rand Paul — who said publicly they’d vote “nay” on the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

“Bravo to them. They maintained their ideological purity. But that’s the problem, because in so doing they have put our country on the royal road to single-payer healthcare. You can depend on it. If Moran, Lee, and, of course, Paul think for one moment that as the Affordable Care Act continues to go into a tailspin the public will clamor for a free-market solution, I have the Brooklyn and several other bridges to sell them. By not coming together to solve the problem, the Republicans have encouraged and prepped the electorate to turn against them and move toward the Democrats’ heart’s desire — socialized medicine,” Mr. Simon notes.

“Politics is not just the art of the possible; it’s often the art only of the marginally possible. Large changes, particularly in something like healthcare, are extraordinarily difficult to achieve and need the most ardent team play. Democrats, honed on schoolboy marxism, know that. Republicans, a significant number anyway, apparently don’t care as long as they can appear untarnished to their constituents — or is it to themselves?” he asks.

“The collapse of congressional Republican revisions of Obamacare carries some poetic justice, considering Republicans called for the full repeal of Obamacare for seven years before settling on keeping its regulatory structure in place,” observes Michael Hamilton, a health care policy research fellow for The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank.

“Improvements made by the Republican plans would not have manifested until years from now, so had the Senate bill passed, the forthcoming round of Obamacare failures would have been heaped at Republicans’ feet. The failure of the Senate bill means Obamacare’s failures will continue to be owned by Democrats,” he says/

“Stop the healthcare blame game,” advises National Review reporter Alexandra DeSanctis, who calls the collapse of health care reform a “systemic” failure. “Casting blame isn’t the right strategy, and it won’t be the right strategy if the party ever wants to accomplish real reform. If anyone in Washington is still remotely serious about fixing our health-care system, the GOP needs to provide solutions, not scapegoats. Politics is a long game, and these are early days.”

 

REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS CHARM THE NATION

A helpful reminder from Michael Ahrens, one of several communications czars for the Republican National Committee:

“While the Democratic Party is becoming more and more confined to the coasts, Republican governors are overwhelmingly popular everywhere — even in Democrats’ own backyard,” he says, citing a Morning Consult poll released Tuesday which reveals that the most popular governors in America are all Republicans.

Four of them, Mr. Ahrens says, are in states that are “more reliably blue than they are red.”

With an approval rating of 71 percent, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker rules the roost, followed by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (68 percent), Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (67 percent), North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (66 percent), South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (65 percent), Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (64 percent), Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (62 percent), Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (62 percent), Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (61 percent), Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (60 percent), Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (60 percent) and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (60 percent).

HE’S GOT A LITTLE LIST

Well, here’s one way to keep track of things. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott plans to track personally — and, possibly, admonish — those lawmakers in the Lone Star State who are pushing back against his wide-ranging agenda, which is particularly critical of soaring property taxes.

“I’m going to be establishing a list. We all need to establish lists that we publish on a daily basis to call people out [over] who is for this, who is against this, who has not taken a position yet. No one gets to hide,” Mr. Abbott noted in a speech before the Texas Public Policy Foundation on Monday, cited in The Texas Tribune.

INTEGRITY ON THE WAY

The bipartisan Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity debuted on Wednesday, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and tasked with assessing vulnerabilities in the federal voting system, fraudulent voting, laws and policies that undermine public confidence in the process — and other pertinent matters. The first meeting of the 12-member commission included four secretaries of state, one probate judge, one county clerk, plus multiple scholars — including Ken Blackwell, former Ohio secretary of state, Hans von Spakovsky, a Heritage Foundation legal fellow, and J. Christian Adams, president and general counsel of Public Interest Legal Foundation.

“At present, only 14 states and the District of Columbia have refused the Commission’s request for publicly available voter information. Despite media distortions and obstruction by a handful of state politicians, this bipartisan commission on election integrity will continue its work to gather the facts through public records requests to ensure the integrity of each American’s vote because the public has a right to know,” Kris Kobach, Kansas secretary of state and the panel’s vice chairman, said in a statement on July 5.

Find them at WhiteHouse.gov.

POLL DU JOUR

49 percent of U.S. voters say they are “very excited” to vote in the 2018 midterm elections; 51 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of independents and 47 percent of Democrats agree.

26 percent of voters overall say they are “somewhat excited” to vote in 2018; 26 percent of Republicans, 27 percent of independents and 24 percent of Democrats agree.

21 percent overall say they are “not that excited” to vote in 2018; 20 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of independents and 22 percent of Democrats agree.

4 percent are not sure how they feel about 2018; 3 percent of Republicans, 1 percent of independents and 7 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Public Policy Polling survey of 836 registered U.S. voters conducted July 14-17.

• Chit-chat and sound advice to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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