Another heaping helping of delicious irony tested the bounds of the bowl last week when the House Freedom Caucus caused Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan to abort the vote on Trumpcare. It turns out that the Freedom Caucus, who served as the tip of the spear in the GOP obstruction brigade for the last six years is stubborn and obstructs even the Republican party if they don’t get their way. They have proven that there is nobody they won’t punch in the nose to get exactly their way and nothing short of it.
It seems Speaker Ryan’s first instinct not to step up to the Speaker role might have been a keen instinct. Now the party that has screamed Repeal and Replace for the last 7 years without a plan is faced with the challenge of coming up with a plan that will keep constituents happy and bring the ultra right wing freedom caucus on board. Spoiler alert; no such plan exists.
An interesting point is that this bill was not attacked for being too draconian. Ripping medicaid out of poor people’s hands, killing drug treatment availability in opiate ravaged counties, and driving insurance rates for senior citizens through the roof actually wasn’t far enough for them.
There is at least one way (no matter how remote the possibility) that this could work out in a good way. The GOP can’t persuade the Freedom Caucus to vote for anything that is short of career suicide for a district even remotely purple, and they certainly can’t give the Freedom Caucus the unbridled capitalistic medical insurance market that they want. So, they find themselves in quite a pickle. The slim chance that they could do something to change healthcare would be to find moderate Democrats they could work with. It is unlikely that there would be many willing to work on something like that or vote for anything the Republicans would support. It is a pipe dream to think any major bipartisan bills are going to happen anytime soon, but one can wish.
For the time being as Speaker Ryan dejectedly said, “Obamacare is the law of the land.”
And, we all get to bask in the fact that the GOP has to own the fact that they have been screaming about repealing and replacing without ever bothering to come up with a plan. We also get to bask in the reality check that the ultra conservative, unruly freedom caucus is turning their ire toward the GOP. Let the games begin.