The Politically Dead On A Bus

Sometimes being an old guy has its advantages. I was the beneficiary of multiple laps around the track of life last week. Thursday, 217 House Republicans voted for Trumpcare 3.0, (or is it 2.1?), and in the process many ended their political futures. Immediately after the result of the vote was announced many House Democrats began taunting them with a rendition of Steam’s 1978 song, Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye). It took me back to memories of the 1978 Chicago White Sox and made a terrible moment somewhat more palatable. There is a lot here; let’s explore.    

This legislation was the Republicans attempt to fulfill their campaign promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare. As far as I know I’m the first to recognize the hidden irony in that President Obama is a White Sox fan. The White Sox of that era were labeled as “winning ugly”. That is probably what the Democrats did on Thursday. The chances of this bill passing the Senate as is are extremely slim. Any amendment(s) in the Senate will necessitate it going to conference committee and the resulting compromise bill being passed by both chambers; a heavy legislative lift if ever there was one!  Before I leave the 1978 White Sox an interesting tidbit I picked up during my research is that a then almost unknown Kathy Griffin was featured in local television commercials using the song; these days she is a successful comedian and outspoken progressive.

For many of those 217 Republicans the yes vote was politically unintelligent and suicidal! They put themselves on record for a bill that has almost no chance of becoming law. That vote will prove to be hugely unpopular in many districts and will certainly be used against them. To compound their stupidity, most of them then got on a bus to travel to the White House for a group photo with President Trump. Now in addition to the Congressional record they documented their deed with photo evidence that is certain to be featured in a plethora of Democratic congressional campaign ads in 2018.

There is an old legislative axiom along the lines of: No one ever loses their seat because of voting against a bill; these idiots voted for an almost certain loser.

When the Republicans took control of the House in 2011 they billed themselves as the Party that would read the legislation before voting on it. Included in the promise of prudence was that they would be fiscally responsible. They proceeded with the vote in such rapid fashion that few read the bill. To compound that “sin” they did not allow time for the Congressional Budget Office to score the bill. The scoring would have given us a better idea of the fiscal impact and the number of Americans who would be left without health insurance in its wake. Reliable estimates of Trumpcare 1.0 are that 24 million Americans would lose health insurance; this version is worse. There was a rush to get Trump a “victory”. Mr. President I know you claim to have been the best baseball player in New York City in the 1960’s – another of your laughable and demonstrably false claims – but you don’t win anything until the ballgame is over. White Sox fans sang at the conclusion of the game; not after scoring a run.

One of the decisions I had to make in writing this article was whether to list the 217 Republicans. I decided against it for several reasons the most prominent of which was that my American readers (unlike their countrymen) almost without exception know who their Representative is. To Democrats seeking to unseat an incumbent House Republican, I suggest you check their vote on this bill and if they voted yes to use it against them. A lot of American voters don’t care about Party labels and don’t follow politics closely. They have divergent views on many matters most progressives and staunch Democrats hold dear. One thing that unites almost all voters is that their care about their and their loved one’s health. Obamacare may well be the new third rail of American politics and a bunch of Republicans unnecessarily touched it.

I could write thousands of words about how bad and harmful Trumpcare would be if enacted. In most cases I’d be echoing things my readers have already heard or read. There are many Republican House members that are little short of murderers and they need to be removed from any legislative body. That removal starts in November of 2018 and many of them just made it a lot easier!

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