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House Republicans: Fail #2 for Obamacare repeal and replace

Written By | Apr 28, 2017

WASHINGTON, April 28, 2017 – Before the U.S. stock market opened for trading Friday morning, we got this bit of disconcerting news via ZeroHedge:

“Late on Thursday night, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy confirmed that, as expected, the GOP leadership would not bring up a revised ObamaCare repeal bill to the floor this week, after it became clear Thursday night that the 216 GOP votes needed to pass the healthcare bill had not materialized. At least 21 Republicans had come out against the bill, with many more undecided. Leaders can only afford 22 GOP defections.

“After a two-hour meeting in Speaker Paul Ryan office in the Capitol, McCarthy told reporters that the GOP had again failed to whip enough support for the bill: ‘we are not voting on healthcare tomorrow or Sunday.’

“He promptly then downplayed the adverse healthcare development, saying leaders had been discussing the short-term stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown. ‘We’ve been making great progress, and when we have the votes we’ll vote on it.’

“Just not yet.

“So yes, another embarrassing failure for the President and House speaker. But what makes this one unique is that as Bloomberg notes, House [R]epublicans appear to be getting wise to the Senate’s trickery:

“Several moderate Republicans are visibly frustrated about the renewed push to pass the bill after leaders made changes aimed at winning over conservatives.

“‘We’ve been through this before,’ Republican Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania said Thursday. ‘The business model around here is to load the bill up, make it as conservative as possible, send it to the Senate and have the Senate clean it up and send it back, and the very people who are placated on the first launch won’t be there on the final. And that dog ain’t hunting anymore.’”

That may be the case, Charlie. But if the ruling Stupid Party doesn’t wise up, and soon, hard-left Democrats will continue to score a never-ending series of cheap victories simply by doing what they did when Pelosi and Reid once ruled the roost: absolutely nothing.

True to that time-honored notion that you should never interfere when your enemy is self-destructing, House and Senate Democrats alike are sitting in their comfy chairs snickering, sneering and laughing outright as currently ruling House and Senate Republicans—particularly House Republicans—make asses out of themselves by getting nothing done whatsoever on the Party’s signature issues: Obamacare Repeal and Replace and a major overhaul of the U.S. corporate and individual tax structure.

Meanwhile, Republicans are also refusing, for various reasons, to back President Trump’s signature campaign promise, namely, building that “big, beautiful wall” on America’s southern border, while scarcely mentioning that other signature issue: getting America back to work.

Bizarrely, the Trump Presidency is beginning to resemble the Obama Presidency in one key way: The only things getting done are being accomplished via Executive Orders.

In Obama’s case, this was by design. Executive Orders accomplished left-wing Democrat objectives while exempting Pelosi- and Reid-led Congressional majorities and minorities alike from having to vote on contentious issues.

In Trump’s case, his own party apparently has no unifying issues at all, so it’s left to the new President to do what the old real estate magnate Donald Trump used to do: come up with the best deal and make it happen without second-guessing from the peanut gallery.

Aside from the nasty situation in North Korea, the refusal of Republicans on the Hill to act like the ruling party, save for their successful push to make Neil Gorsuch our next Supreme Court Justice, is going to ruin the party’s current string of electoral successes if things continue as they are. And that is likely what has caused the stock market to enter its current and seemingly endless sideways correction.

Investors are simply marking time until the nonsense sorts itself out on the Hill, if indeed it ever does.

Who’s to blame here? The ultra-conservative House Republican Freedom Caucus is getting much of the blame for its take-no-prisoners approach to legislating. Generally lacking long-term experience in Hill politics, (arguably a good thing in some ways), they put up roadblocks to pretty much any attempt at realistic compromise. That’s because they feel their constituents have elected and empowered them to deliver on their small government promises, which in many ways is admirable. Constituent responsiveness. What a concept. Who knew?

On the other hand, House “moderates,” i.e., experienced congressmen often though not always hailing from purplish districts, are so used to caving to Democrats that it’s second nature to them as, in many cases, keeping their seats is often dependent on how closely their positions dovetail with those of liberal-to-left Democrats.

The real problem here, however, is that Republicans of all stripes, save for a few, have failed to understand how the Democrats – a party utterly out of touch with the average voter, save for a few coastal patches of America – slowly, quietly gathered power over the past 40 years or so to the point where they persuaded Americans first to elect this country’s first genuinely Marxist president; and second, were able to pass a still widely-hated nationalization of America’s healthcare system despite voters clearly telling them not to do it.

You don’t reach that level of power and arrogance overnight. Instead, you slowly, incrementally add this item or that, this constitution-ignoring judge or that one, this politicized branch of the government or another, until you control the entire government itself.

In the meantime, slowly, stealthily, you relentlessly replace retiring university teachers and scholars with Marxist ideologues, replace real news reporters with hack left-wing propagandists, and transform the entertainment industry into a cadre of well-paid, left-wing lackeys who insert left-wing propaganda into everything they sell.

Eventually, your party owns the judiciary, the government, the education system, the entertainment industry and thus the entire information dissemination and government apparatus, enabling you to do pretty much what you want. Just ask the ghosts of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez how it’s done.

That’s what Republicans are up against right now. But in order to turn the tables as they claim they want to do, they’re going to have to start right now to do what the Democrats did long ago: slip pro-American, pro-capitalist rules, regulations, laws and judges back into the system, a little at a time, so that such incremental moves are barely noticed. Right, there’s little gratification in this, and most senators and representatives will be long in their graves before this incrementalism plays out successfully. But that’s still the way you win.

By insisting on BIG VICTORIES RIGHT NOW, the Freedom Caucus, which this writer generally agrees with on the face of it, risk killing off the real victory that can only occur later on. These folks need to back off on the ideological virtue-signaling and support legislation that implements at least parts of what they want. There will always be another opportunity to go back and finish the job by building on what you’ve already accomplished, particularly when no one is looking.

Until and unless the Freedom Caucus focuses its efforts in the direction of incrementalism, and until and unless their “moderate” counterparts start acting like they’re Republicans and not RINOS, it will be one Epic Fail on the Hill after another, leaving the country, for better or worse, in the hands of a President whose excellent and corrective Executive Orders will be systematically overturned by the next Democrat in the White House.

This, on a cosmic level, is what’s bugging the market right now. What was once thought to be a clear victory for Republicanism and, to a slightly lesser extent, conservatism via the party’s unexpected 2016 electoral hat trick, could end not with a bang but a whimper.

The markets are getting worried about this. So am I.

Read more from Terry Ponick on CommDigiNews

*Cartoon by Branco. Reproduced with permission and by arrangement with LegalInsurrection.

Terry Ponick

Terry Ponick

Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17