WASHINGTON, July 20, 2017 — After the great Democratic “shellacking” of 2010, The New York Times noted, “Republicans, who will control the House starting in January but will remain in the minority in the Senate, acknowledge that they do not have the votes for their ultimate goal of repealing the health law, the most polarizing of Mr. Obama’s signature initiatives.”
In 2014, having won control of the Senate, House Speaker John Boehner and new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote a joint op-ed column appearing in the Wall Street Journal. They said Republican control of Congress meant they would renew their “commitment to repeal Obamacare, which is hurting the job market along with Americans’ health care.”
In the 2016 presidential campaign, GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence said, “Obamacare is a catastrophic failure and Hillary Clinton says she wants to double down on that failure.”
And Presidential candidate Donald Trump added his two cents, “If we don’t repeal and replace Obamacare, we will destroy American health care forever.” – President Donald Trump
Senate Republicans could not even pass a sham repeal-and-replace of Obamacare earlier this week. After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested his members concentrate on a straight repeal, which Republican senators quickly declared dead on arrival.
As the brief history lesson above suggests, long-suffering Republican voters have been electing GOP candidates to Congress based primarily on the promise of Obamacare’s repeal.
You may recall that it was Harvard professor and Obamacare architect, Jonathan Gruber, who said the law’s lack of transparency helped prevent “the stupidity of the American voter” from stalling passage of Obama’s signature legislation.
Seven years later, it appears Republican politicians cynically relied upon “the stupidity of the American voter”; those who naively say the GOP is an opposition party that believes in “small government.”
Political novice Donald Trump easily swept aside his GOP primary challengers – comprised of seasoned senators and governors – because voters no longer trust incumbents in either party.
In the months that follow, Republican incumbents should not be surprised when Tea Party challengers rise to face them in the primaries. Then these incumbents can explain why reelecting them after failing to repeal Obamacare doesn’t reinforce Washington’s arrogant, bipartisan view concerning “the stupidity of the American voter.”