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Is it better to have a vote on your bill and lose than to never have a vote on your bill at all?

[ 147 ] March 24, 2017 |

Even with the usual and necessary warnings about the potential for Republican huggery, muggery and thuggery, I think the Business Insider’s portrayal of today’s events is spot on.


GOP leadership pulled the American Health Care Act from what looked almost certain to be a failed floor vote Friday, in a blow to President Donald Trump’s agenda and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s leadership of his caucus.

The move came as it became clear that Republicans did not have enough votes to pass their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The GOP had seven years to come up with a plan that could baffle enough people with bullshit, a clear majority in the House and a president who may have mentioned his ability to make deals one or twice. Yet chest beating and posturing was followed by scrambling and gibbering and then: They. Choked.

More accurately, they engaged in a heavy bout of auto-asphyxiation.

Republican leaders faced opposition from both hardline conservative House lawmakers and moderates.

GOP leaders appeared to concede Thursday that they did not have the necessary votes. But Trump pushed for a vote, even issuing an ultimatum on Thursday night. Trump, via a message delivered by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to House Republicans, said the caucus could either pass the bill Friday or he would move on to other priorities. The gambit did not appear to convince many to swing their votes.

This is probably due to the fact that Vote for a bill that’s less popular than a dose of the clap or do what your constituents want you to do was not, in fact, an ultimatum. It was yet another collection of mouth noises from the world’s greatest spokesmodel for white exceptionalism.

And now this spoof of a human is blaming Democrats (193 members in the House) for the fact that the Republicans (237 members) couldn’t get enough votes. Or at least that’s the current for public consumption line. This is a humiliating day for the entire Republican Party, but especially their very spoiled and abusive leader. A man who can’t stand to be told No, hates to be seen as a failure and takes to the concept of personal responsibility like a duck takes to public accounting. Yesterday he had already started to blame Ryan and I expect members of the Freedom Carcass and any Republican who announced their intention to vote No is on the shit list.


Comments (147)

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  1. Snuff curry says:

    Every line here is pure gold.

    • daves09 says:

      It’s all Hillary-dillary-shillary’s fault.
      If she had just won the damned election they could have kept repealing ACA every month and not had to go through this shit.
      Jeff Flakes analysis hits it-they’re fucked because this time they know they’re playing with live ammo.

    • Lee Rudolph says:

      Every line here is pure gold.

      Immediately above your comment is an ad (from, no less) with a SURPRISING GOLD WARNING from Ron Paul: “Buying Gold Will Not Be Enough — Here’s Next Step To Take.” (Apparently it’s a video. I am not clicking.)

      Who would have thought ol’ Ron would be advising people to Read More Shakezula?

  2. bexley says:

    Yesterday he had already started to blame Ryan and I expect members of the Freedom Carcass and any Republican who announced their intention to vote No is on the shit list.

    Trump: “I gave them the tire rims and anthrax they wanted but they still refused to eat it”

  3. sibusisodan says:

    Will this be more damaging to this administration than the failure of Clinton was for his?

    I can’t see Trump getting more leverage over his party in future. He’s shown he’s a flake.

    • busker type says:

      I think so… they have been running against the ACA full tilt for over six years. They just showed the nation that the entire party is full of shit. This is crushing.

  4. IM says:

    A lost floor vote would have been worse.

    But since they did admit defeat on thursday and arranged todays omnishambles, they got most of the damage anyway.

  5. Harkov311 says:

    Remember when purity ponies told us that Obamacare was a failure because it wasn’t the public option or full-blown socialism? That was cute. The bar for failure was a lot higher then, apparently.

  6. NewishLawyer says:

    What percentage of partisans is going to say this is all the “Demycrats” fault and believe it?

    I’d guess about 25 percent of the nation.

    The issue is whether they just sweep this under the rug and move on or try again soon.

    • Dennis Orphen says:

      It is Friday, although with the new media the news cycle ain’t what it used to be. Will it all be forgotten by Monday? My guess is yes, but I’ll quit being Eyore (more of a C. Rob type anyway by nature) because I think that what pushes this out of the news is going to be way more devastating for Team Red.

      I’m old enough to remember when daytime TV was all game shows and soap operas congressional hearings for months on end.

    • Uneekness says:

      Here’s what I think they will do (with the super caveat that I neither think it is a good strategy nor that it will work).

      First, they will throw as much sand in the gears administratively as they can carry. As Kevin Drum has noted, the law is generally fine (with some localized exceptions).

      Second they will line up the conservosphere media outlets to constantly pound the drums of “collapsing Obamacare”, and trot out administrative figures to say “our hands are tied by this system that was designed to fail.” (That’s my prediction for the phrase du jour in the next month or so).

      Finally, those same outlets will pump out story after story about how, if only Democrats cared about all these suffering people, they’d work with the President to make a deal to “fix our health care system now that Obamacare is failing.” (that’s my other prediction – that the phrase repeal and replace will disappear in favor of this)

      Now again, I don’t think that this will actually work – BUT, in a world where they can pump this uniform message out day after day (as opposed to the GOP and GOP-leaners getting their info from the reality the rest of us share), I think it helps them soften the losses from any default “The President’s Party Gets Blamed For Everything Always” losses in 2018.

      • The Lorax says:

        Absolutely this will work. And it will work because CNN, NPR, etc. won’t tell people the truth for fear of being called liberal. It will be “Republicans blame Democrats. Democrats blame Republicans. Partisan bickering.” Blah blah blah. They don’t have the courage to say: Obamacare needs minor tweaks, none of which the GOP is willing to implement.

    • los says:

      From very scant look: Ryan’s getting alt-hell
      “altcuckery can’t fail; altcuckery can only be failed.”

    • pillsy says:

      Dude, we want them to believe that.

      Trump’s case is literally, “It’s the Democrats’ fault we couldn’t pass this steaming dog turd of a bill that 5 out of 6 Americans hated!”

  7. alexceres says:

    I don’t get how blaming the Democrats isn’t just more own goals.

    “Yes, we defeated you weak orange losers”

    I mean that’s not what happened, but if he wants to give us credit for kicking his ass and humiliating him, I’m okay with that

    • Anna in PDX says:

      Never fly in the beltway. All the high broderites would clutch their pearls and say that the Dems are being mean and not helping to govern. Actually they say that anyhow so yes, Dems should take total credit for killing this bill even though it was the evil people who were mad that it was not evil enough.

      • alexceres says:

        What kind of morons accentuate and amplify their political opponents power by crediting them unnecessarily and gratuitously for victories they had no hand in winning ?

        • Pete says:

          (1) Trump’s not talking to Democrats or those who support them, and (2) It’s better than saying “we had the majority in both Houses of Congress and a President who would sign anything, but we couldn’t agree on what to do.”

          • alexceres says:

            Sure except that doesn’t help with any of the voters that are genuinely up for grabs. That only helps with those who are pulling the R lever regardless of how many nazi Russian white supremacist moles are on the republican ticket

          • Domino says:

            It’s gravy all the way for Democrats.

            1. Considering the entire bill was crafted quickly, with only Republicans coming up with the bill, it’s hilarious to say “not one Democrat supported the bill”. You never even talked to the Democrats, let alone try to peel off votes. Even if it didn’t make political sense to outright oppose it, Trump and Co. never attempted to win over anyone.

            2. Tens of millions of American keep their healthcare, which should always be considered a win.

    • Phil Perspective says:

      I love how people RT a shitweasel(Menendez) who just the day before voted to confirm Cheeto’s Ambassador to Israel. A guy who said left-wings Jews are the devil’s spawn.

  8. random says:

    Breitbart comments are interesting right now. Don’t think his approval rating is gonna recover any time soon.

  9. waspuppet says:

    He demanded they vote Friday, then he demanded they pull the bill. And they jumped at his demands each time. Just like they do every time.

    This is just a reality placeholder for a few years from now, when no Republican voter will admit to voting for Trump and no GOP on Capitol Hill will admit ever having heard of him. They’ll all get away with it, but still.

    • Pete says:

      I strongly suspect Ryan strongly urged him to agree with Ryan’s decision to pull the bill. The only reason to force a vote would be so Trump he could take names for future vengeance. The added public humiliation is not worth it.

    • Domino says:

      In 2 years time, Donald Trump will claim he never tried to repeal the ACA.

    • los says:

      waspuppet says:

      no GOP on Capitol Hill will admit ever having heard of him.

      Nixon’s ghost will flow into Trump’s whitehouse “penthouse” and drag Trump into the underworld

      The ketchup spilled from the snifter laid sideways on the floor will puzzle staff, but provide no clues.

      Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell.

  10. Warren Terra says:

    In sterling accomplishment in both-sides-ism, via Josh Marshall, I give you (drumroll, please): Ron Fournier:

    Now both parties have failed to craft health care reform commanding broad public support. Leave me out of debate over whose failure is worse

    Harold Pollack @haroldpollack
    GOP had 7 years to craft AHCA that might truly command public support. Didn’t do it. Great enemy of clear policy formation is insincerity.

    • Anna in PDX says:

      JFC that’s peak Fournier right there

      • nemdam says:

        One student got an F on the test. The other got an A-. They both failed equally according to Fournier. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        • Warren Terra says:

          You can just imagine Fournier watching any televised team sport and ranting at the screen about how the teams could score a lot more points if they’d just work together.

          • Dennis Orphen says:

            Slightly OT, but we are socialized to compete rather than cooperate, to the longer detriment of both the individual and the group as a whole. Maybe I’ve been listening overhearing too many white older (and younger, ugh) just trash HRC this week as I’ve been using a California Starbucks as my office lately.

            Not kidding about the HRC thing. Seems to be the standard suburban middle class response to the events they are ignoring at the moment.

            • jim, some guy in iowa says:

              from which direction are they trashing her?

              (thanx for the Eaglesmith headup. new to me)

              • Dennis Orphen says:

                New to me too, some dj on KVMR played it way late on Sunday night. Having trouble finding the playlist. She gets attacked from all directions in 3 dimensions, like a point source of light, only backwards. And it doesn’t make any sense, so it’s hard to triangulate by our standards. Had to get you back for the Ron Gallo thing. Let’s keep it going.

            • Domino says:

              Uh, humans as a species are socialized to cooperate, that’s why lefties (like me) are only 11% of the population. It’d be much closer to 50/50 if humans were naturally supposed to compete against each other.

        • los says:

          One student got an F on the test.

          One student tried so hard (even honking the horn of a big black truck) to get an F on the test, but got a C…

  11. DrDick says:

    Can I just say how much joy all this gives me.

  12. Abbey Bartlet says:

    I don’t know why we’re all so excited. They never even wanted to repeal and replace it. PPOTUS at a press conference today: “I never said repeal and replace Obamacare.”

    • Pete says:

      And when he did say it, he was just repeating the media’s words…

    • Dennis Orphen says:

      Full bore Stalinism, and the only place I even get an idea from people around me (other than my old school radical friends) that anything was even happening on health care is here, with some fluff I see on the front pages of the local papers, crowded out by headlines parroting Goruschs lies as truth.

      Sloppy typing but who gives a ff.

      This one won’t have to go down the memory hole. It never poked its head out as far as most people are concerned.

      Yes, Eyore, I know. Just have to vent, not mad at the community here, you help keep my the right kind of crazy….

    • osceola says:

      Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) was asked how they could pass repeal 6 or 7 times when Obama was pres. but not under a GOP pres. He said it was like the difference between playing fantasy football and playing in a real game. He admitted that when they sent it to Obama they knew he would veto it. But if they put it on Trump’s desk he would sign it and they would all have to own the consequences.

      • efgoldman says:

        But if they put it on Trump’s desk he would sign it and they would all have to own the consequences.

        Surprised that he’d say so out loud. It shows some connection to reality. Of course, he’s been in congress since before the inmates TOTALLY took over the asylum (1985).

    • JKTH says:

      Christ, I figured he’d at least take the weekend off before resorting to that.

  13. SNF says:

    It was yet another collection of mouth noises from the world’s greatest spokesmodel for white exceptionalism.

    Trump is a pretty terrible spokeman for white supremacy. If anything, comparing him to his predecessor would give some evidence to the idea of black supremacy.

  14. Aexia says:

    The alt-right types are celebrating this as a way to get rid of Paul Ryan. They always saw this as a way to shiv him.

    • PotemkinMetropolitanRegion says:

      Should I cheer the fall of Ryan? Would his replacement be crazier/less effective?

      • Dennis Orphen says:

        Didn’t he reluctantly take the job in the first place because there were no other viable candidates?

        • Warren Terra says:

          Yeah, just like anyone would reluctantly deign to accept the object of the lifelong ambitions. You’re not suggesting anyone but officially lobotomized members of the beltway press corps took his reluctant act seriously, are you?

          • Dennis Orphen says:

            I don’t know, if I can make the same amount of money for a fraction of the headaches, I know what I would do. What I don’t take too seriously is the true believer act. It’s all about the money, and altruism just doesn’t pay cash, but fascist proxy does (although with some inherent dangers, such as Joker’s Henchmen level of expendability.

            Of course, I accept a unique set of premises, so the same formal logic may lead me to unique conclusions. I also don’t accept those premises as dogmatic truth, as any logician knows, the conclusions are true only if the premises are true. So my various arguments are if abcd is true then wxyz is true. But I only suggest that abcd might be true, not that they necessarily are.

            gotta lay of the coffee, but it’s raining so hard here today, the whole town is trapped inside.

            • Hogan says:

              I don’t know, if I can make the same amount of money for a fraction of the headaches, I know what I would do.

              House Speaker is about a $30K/year bump, and it puts you in the line of succession for the presidency, which might have more value than usual in these modern times.

              • Dennis Orphen says:

                Thank you. Preesh. I’m to frazzled to do any more than the necessary research for my own Travis McGee meet Pippi Longstocking needs.

                Poor guy, extra 30K puts him in higher tax bracket, he has no incentive.

                • Hogan says:

                  Travis McGee meet Pippi Longstocking

                  I don’t always agree with you, but we’re definitely friends now.

                • Dennis Orphen says:

                  Great, I feel you’re all my friends here, whether or not you feel that way about me. I would have added one more fictional name to that list (D**n C***o), and put them all in Two Lane Blacktop, but I’m only going to reveal so much about myself, even though the more you tell the truth about anything, the less people believe it (or outright ignore it a la the airport scene in Trading Places, a skill I often practice while s*******g and t**** ******g.

                  The Two Lane Blacktop aspect is the best of all.

                • rachelmap says:

                  and it puts you in the line of succession for the presidency

                  I was rooting for Louis Gohmert (Slogan: Why choose anyone less than a perfect idiot?) up until you reminded me of that.

            • efgoldman says:

              What I don’t take too seriously is the true believer act.

              I think he truly believes in the goddess Ayn and her proxy Galt.

          • efgoldman says:

            just like anyone would reluctantly deign to accept the object of the lifelong ambitions.

            He reluctantly Peter Principled himself on his own ambition.
            Sam Rayburn is spinning in his grave.

        • MyNameIsZweig says:

          No, he wanted that job, but he wanted to make them beg him to do it, because he didn’t want to look like he wanted the job. If he could make them publicly beg him, then a) his stock goes up with his voters back home, and b) his ego gets a few starbursts.

      • Warren Terra says:

        I keep throwing this out there: there’s no rule the Speaker has to be a member of Congress (or even, I think, an adult, a citizen, or a living human being). And, apropos of nothing, Jared Kushner is skiing in Aspen so presumably has some time free.

          • jim, some guy in iowa says:

            it’s a lost cause to be resentful they refer to trump as ‘commander-in-chief’ in a situation like this, isn’t it

            still, overall this makes me smile

            • Hogan says:

              it’s a lost cause to be resentful they refer to trump as ‘commander-in-chief’ in a situation like this, isn’t it

              Let’s put a pin in that one and come back to it later.

          • Warren Terra says:

            Jesus. I mean, I’m not surprised he’s blaming everyone around him for his failure, Downfall style, but the sheer delusion of imagining that any member of Congress would care for a nanosecond what Jared Kushner might say or do to alter their vote, or for that matter what input he might have into the crafting of legislation. Similarly Ivanka.

            • Warren Terra says:

              I mean, I guess Kushner could’ve offered to bribe them with some of that sweet, sweet $400 million gift the People’s Republic of China recently gave him. So, there is that …

              (or maybe Kushner could offer them an edit function? Just saying)

              • Dennis Orphen says:

                I will research that, thanks Warren.

                WTF? Okay, that’s gross, wonder what the net is.

                And 666 Fifth Avenue? My, we are all dead and living in some new reality. Fuck, I even saw Lew Welch’s stepson in a Scottsdale dugout wearing a Giants uniform being interviewed by Duane Kuiper (Go Racine!) last night because the Mariners were just crushing it and nobody here cared about a lost spring training game anyway.

                peak weird yet?

            • Hogan says:

              I suspect for Trump the “you need to do this” message needs to come from the inner inner circle. Ryan telling him “you need to do this” isn’t good enough until he gets the command code from Ivanka or Jared.

            • efgoldman says:

              the sheer delusion of imagining that any member of Congress would care for a nanosecond what Jared Kushner might say or do to alter their vote

              So who’s calling CNN four or five times a day?

              A source close to President Trump told CNN that the commander-in-chief was frustrated with his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner’s decision to go on a vacation in the heat of the debate over ObamaCare repeal.

              “[Trump] is upset that his son-in-law and senior adviser was not around during this crucial week,” the source said, according to a CNN report.

              • Dennis Orphen says:

                Just imagine if Hilary was President and she said that about Chelsea and {googles} Marc? I will never, ever reach peak disgust with the hypocrites and their clueless, hatefilled (or both) enablers. Never. It’s fucked up.

  15. Pete says:

    From the linked Costa piece:

    “I don’t blame Paul,” Trump said. He then repeated the phrase: “I don’t blame Paul. He worked very hard on this.” And again. “I don’t blame Paul at all.”

    He blames Paul.

    • Warren Terra says:

      Yeah, in a mafia movie that scene would involve Trump warmly greeting Ryan and kissing him on both cheeks, just so you knew the betrayal was coming in the next scene or two.

      • Dennis Orphen says:

        How can you be betrayed by someone who has no power over you, and never trusted in the first place? Ryan holds way more power over Trump than the other way around.

        Trump will be thrown under the bus. We shouldn’t let that happen, because we have to throw them all under at the same time, or they will just grow back like blackberries, or the heads of a hydra, or cockroaches (sorry, cockroaches, I didn’t really mean that, but time presses and you guys have a rep….)

    • Nepos says:

      “Brutus is an honorable man.”

  16. Joe_JP says:

    Is this good or bad news for our Russian overlords?

    • Dennis Orphen says:

      They do not care about our internal politics. Does this distract from their foreign policy (slow red dawn) here in the former USA? If so, good. If not, neutral. Good gamblers only take calculated risks with no real downside in the medium to long term.

  17. los says:

    heavy bout [orgy] of auto-asphyxiation

  18. anapestic says:

    As a CPA, I can confirm that our inability to recruit from local duck ponds is equally absolute as the Republican’s inability to repeal and replace Obamacare. Which case is more hopeless remains a tough call.

  19. jpgray says:

    Nice and Reid-like from Chuck:

    Ultimately, the TrumpCare bill failed because of two traits that have plagued the Trump presidency since he took office: incompetence and broken promises. In my life, I have never seen an administration as incompetent as the one occupying the White House today.

    They can’t write policy that actually makes sense, they can’t implement the policies they do manage to write, they can’t get their stories straight, and today we’ve learned that they can’t close a deal, and they can’t count votes,” he said.

    So much for the Art of the Deal.

    So if you are Dem strategy czar, do you:

    A. Come up with a patch-up bill to address problems going forward with the ACA, making it as deficit-neutral and soak-the-unpopular-rich as you like, or

    B. Just stand back from this mess and trust the right inferences will be drawn?

    • Dennis Orphen says:

      A: Won’t get out of the committee the G.P. doesn’t know or even care exists, while the MSM reports on {fill in the irrelevant blank}

      B: Sitting on the bank of the river waiting for the body of your enemy to float by is always my preferred strategy absent clear opportunities for gain through calculated risk. And it’s easy. And the defender always has a clear cut tactical advantage, ceteris parabus, so why not?

      • Dennis Orphen says:

        …paribius…. (I don’t want to seem any stupider than I have too when I don’t benefit from being underestimated.

      • jpgray says:

        My concern is that the body is floating down not a river but the aqueduct we built, and if it stops up the flow or pollutes it, will the Trumplines be “Failing Obamaqueduct Ruins Lives?” It’s of course awkward for you when you’re utterly in power and promised to “fix” it day one… maybe I’m over-worrying this.

        As for the won’t get out of committee, that’s a feature, not a bug. Impervious fantasy bill can be way more impervious because it WON’T be brought up for a vote, so it can be short, sweet, soak the unpopular rich, fix the ACA’s issues, and not add to the deficit.

    • petesh says:

      I lean to going with A, but I’ll accept whatever Pelosi decides.

    • Abbey Bartlet says:

      I’m betting this picks up a few cosponsors next week.

    • Shakezula says:

      A. Repeat on a regular basis Trump’s announcements that he plans to ruin health care for millions of American by letting Obamacare fail.

      B. Note that he has said he will wait until Democrats are ready to deal.

      A C. Come up with a patch-up bill to address problems going forward with the ACA, making it as deficit-neutral and soak-the-unpopular-rich as you like.

    • Mellano says:

      Schumer shouldn’t be so quick to gloat. Trump is using his patent-pending Art of the Deal mojo on the U.S. Congress.

      Step one was to show the Republican establishment the downside of their half-a-loaf replacement efforts.

      Step two will be to expose the Freedom Caucus to public rejection of their straight ACA repeal.

      Step three will be to cut a deal with the Democrats of repeal in exchange for nothing catastrophic health insurance.

      And this will obviously work, because, well … because Trump’s the hero of this story.

  20. LosGatosCA says:

    Can’t read every comment but I sure hope everyone is happy that the contradictions surely have been heightened.

  21. pillsy says:

    If Bob Menendez is dunking on you on Twitter, it’s way past time to reconsider your life choices.

  22. Gary K says:

    “The Art of the Deal” anagrams to “Health Rot Defeat.”

  23. Dr. Ronnie James, DO says:

    And to top it off, I think the strategy of, “let’s wait 12 months for the marketplaces to fail, and then blame that on the Democrats, too” seems like an even stupider strategy than the one they just “executed.”

  24. N__B says:

    Crossword spoilers below!
    Saturday’s NYT crossword contains the answers “laid an egg” and “amateur hour.” You decide what that means.

  25. ASV says:

    The Republicans blew a 237-193 lead.

    [h/t some Deadspin commenter]

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