- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 19, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Republicans are having a head-hanging moment, to be sure, on Obamacare. So thanks due to Sen. Rand Paul for riding a white horse of rescue, offering the GOP a way to stay alive in this vicious partisan atmosphere — at least, until the next vote.

Fact is, Republican voters are ticked.

Democrats are rallying, snarking up the media waves with one guffaw after another, all aimed at ridiculing the Republican Party for its failure to pass an anti-Obamacare bill in the Senate. And rightly so, really — to a degree, anyway.

Republicans have had seven years to plan a path toward repeal. They’ve even had seven years worth of votes to actually repeal, all the while knowing the bills were going to fizzle on Barack Obama’s desk. But now, with majorities in both House and Senate, and a Republican in the White House — a Republican who campaigned hard on Obamacare repeal, no less — suddenly, the GOP can’t find its way to a suitable reform package, never mind repeal.

Enter Paul, the guy that Republicans should’ve listened to in the first place about Obamacare — that clean repeal is the only option because, frankly, government has no business in health care.

For Republicans, he’s riding a white horse, tossing a life preserver, extending a lifeline — however you put it, he’s giving red-faced GOPers a way to spin the Obamacare defeat into a positive. And in this vicious media climate, trust this: a new P.R. message on Obamacare is desperately needed. Republicans needed something to say when the cameras were rolling.

Paul gave the goods.

It’s not a defeat, he said of the Senate fail on Obamacare. It’s really a victory.

Explanation: “What I’m calling a victory is not the defeat of the plan, what I’m calling a victory is that we will get to vote on a clean repeal,” Paul said, on “Good Morning America” on ABC, a day after the shameful Senate defeat.

He has a point, though.

“I’ve been advocating that we repeal Obamacare — all of it — and we’re at least going to get a vote on a partial repeal and that is a victory,” he said, the Hill noted.

Truly, this is the message Republicans should be carrying anyway — repeal and repeal alone. Paul’s been carting that notion for some time. It’s about time Republicans listen.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn’t really arrive at that point until the reform package he supported — the one derisively slammed as “Obamacare lite” by conservative critics — did a sudden switch off the path of passage to failure. Now he’s changed tune and announced Republican plans to repeal first, reform or replace later.

“For the information of all senators, at the request of the president and vice president and after consulting with our members, we will have the vote on the motion to proceed to the Obamacare repeal bill early next week,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday evening.

Republicans have a chance to save face — and, let’s be honest, save votes come 2018. Let’s hope they take it. Let’s hope they take the lifeline extended by Paul, via a new public relations message, and use it to clear the crowds of angry voters and mocking media and opportunist Democrats that have flocked and assembled — all then march that unfettered path the way to the repeal finish line.

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