The Republicans failed. Not a minor setback, but one of the most consequential and complete political failures in generations. Epic failure that can scarcely be contained in words, memes, gifs, or languages known and unknown.
When Speaker Ryan went to the White House Friday afternoon to beg and plead with Donald Trump to not force a vote on the American Health Care Act (aka Trumpcare; aka Ryancare; aka a flaming pile of dog poo), it completed one of the most bizarre chapters in political history.
The Republicans have spent the last seven years selling one promise to voters: repeal and replace Obamacare. It is literally the only campaign promise that has united Republicans for almost a decade. After the Tea Party wave brought Republicans control of the House in 2010, they voted 52 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. FIFTY-TWO TIMES. It was like a monthly event, like dinner at Grandma’s. It got to the point where an Obamacare repeal vote didn’t even make news. Journalists were like, “Yeah yeah, we get it – you don’t like Obamacare.”
They whined in front of every camera imaginable that if they only had control of the House, Senate, and White House that they would definitely, certainly, and with no doubt whatsoever repeal Obamacare. And they needed to, because Obamacare was JUST THE WORST. Death panels would kill grandmothers in the dark of the night while employers would drop massive numbers from insurance rolls and prices would skyrocket. Republicans used every scare tactic imaginable, complete with ridiculous lies that animated a base into a frenzy of frothy hatred that bordered on religious fervor.
And finally, with the rise of President Trump, Republicans had their chance. THIS WAS IT! The long national nightmare of Obamacare, which fiendishly provided health insurance to an additional 20 million people, would soon be over! We would get that big beautiful replacement plan that would bring down premiums, have lower co-pays, and reduce government spending through the power of trickle-down magical thinking!
Then the GOP unveiled a bill, to the excitement of…literally nobody. The bill was panned by liberals as cruel heartless awfulness, which was both true and to be expected. But then conservative groups not only dismissed it, but actively lobbied against it. Independent analyses showed that millions would lose insurance, and premiums would only go down after enough poor olds were priced out of insurance so that young, healthy adults could have plans that didn’t cover doctor visits, hospital stays, maternity care, or prescription medication (because who needs health insurance that covers *those* things?).
In a move showing the cunning and political acumen of our Commander in Chief, President Trump put the full weight of his Presidency and the White House behind this bill. It was his first major piece of legislation, and a signature campaign promise! He called, met with, cajoled, and threatened members of the House to pass the bill. President Trump “left it all on the field,” according to spokescritter Spicey McLieFace.
This was their chance! This was their only chance! Finally, after years of the slowest increase in health insurance premiums on record, Republicans would be able to turn the tide! The dreams of elderly white people riding Medicaid-financed scooters would soon be realized, that the pesky government would get out of (other people’s) health care! And they even had a master deal-maker in the White House!
All they needed was 216 votes in the House of Representatives. 216 votes, and Paul Ryan’s adolescent dream of ending Medicaid as we know it could finally come true! And as a bonus, zillions of tax cuts for the super-wealthy! Could there be a more perfect bill?!? Speaker Ryan, political wunderkind and noted policy wonk, used every ounce of his influence to finally help realize this Republican dream.
The vote was scheduled for Thursday, March 23, exactly seven years TO THE DAY from when President Obama signed that BFD ACA bill into law. TAKE THAT, OBUMMER! Mwahahaha.
But the vote was postponed because the GOP could not come up with 216 votes. Then the vote was supposed to be Friday morning. Then Friday afternoon. Until finally, Speaker Ryan looked defeat in the eye and conceded.
What a colossal fail. Seven years of promises. Seven years of lies. Seven years of begging the American people to just c’mon, give Republicans a chance. Seven years of build-up. Seven years of anticipation for finally, FINALLY, stripping one of President Obama’s signature achievement.
All ending in failure. The President failed. Speaker Ryan failed. Republicans failed. Complete, total, unmitigated failure.
And after seven years of railing against Obamacare, and putting their nose to the grindstone for ALMOST AN ENTIRE MONTH, Republicans are giving up. Seriously, they worked hard for those few weeks, but who knew health care could be so complicated? Time to throw in the towel.
Jon Lovett sums it up perfectly:
SEVEN YEARS OF “WE WILL REPEAL AND REPLACE” AND THEN WITH CONTROL OF THE SENATE, HOUSE AND WHITE HOUSE, THEY COMBUST IN A BLAZE OF STUPID
— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) March 24, 2017