It sure ain’t pretty, but this is what “post-partisan” politics looks like. And despite all the caterwauling you hear from the political press here in Washington, that is a good thing.
“Ryancare” or “Trumpcare,” or whatever the hell you want to call it, is dead.
This is not some kind of mark of Satan on President Trump’s forehead. Nor is it evidence that the conservative House “Freedom Caucus” should be booted from the Republican Party. It doesn’t even mean House Speaker Paul D. Ryan should be defenestrated from his fourth floor office window on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.
All the failure of this bill means — once you mute all the hot blather and red-faced hyperventilating around here — is that this specific repeal-and-replace bill was not appealing enough to get the necessary votes to pass the U.S. House of Representatives.
And that is probably a good thing for America.
After all, the bill was, indeed, “Obamacare Lite.” Certainly there were some very smart provisions in the bill that would have “bent the curve” of the insane long-term overspending of government welfare.
But at the end of the day, the bill mainly just replaced a massive and reckless new federal government entitlement program built by Democrats with a massive and reckless new federal government entitlement program built by Republicans.
Either one of these federal health care Ponzi schemes would have hastened the bankruptcy of America. And the only thing that would come of either one is a bunch of politicians patting themselves on the back, feeling virtuous and proclaiming to the world how generous they are about giving other people’s money to the poor.
Yeah, real sainthood material there.
Instead — in this era of post-partisanship — Republicans cast their votes based on the interests of their constituents, not their party leaders. And, of course, the GOP bill failed.
Had such a bill come up during the “honeymoon” of George W. Bush’s first term in office, Republican leaders in the House would have cracked the whip and jammed it through.
Had it come up during the “honeymoon” of Barack Obama’s first term in office — whose entire 2008 campaign promised a new, post-partisan world — Democrats would have cracked the whip and jammed it through. That is, of course, exactly how Obamacare passed in the first place. Remember? You have to pass the bill before you can see what is in the bill?
So why is everybody around here going absolutely berserk over the demise of the GOP’s repeal-and-replace plan? Is it really because all of these people wanted to see Obamacare repealed and replaced?
No. The only reason all these people are freaking out right now is because they are desperate to blame Mr. Trump and Republicans for everything that goes wrong. Specifically, they are desperate to draw attention from the real rumbling political disaster here, which is Obamacare itself. And that bureaucratic monstrosity is only getting worse and affects actual voters.
People around here who are obsessed with political theater are happy to blame Mr. Trump and Republicans. So far the only people blamed for the failure of the GOP bill have been those conservative Republicans in Congress who served their constituents rather than their party leaders.
But the real culprits here are the hotly partisan Democrats in Congress who jammed through Obamacare in the first place and then sit around on their hands now as Mr. Trump and Republicans try to fix it.
The 2018 elections cannot come soon enough!
• Charles Hurt can be reached at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter via @charleshurt.