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Saturday, July 29, 2017

What Good Is the Republican Party?

This article first appeared in New English Review.

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This week, the Republicans in the Senate put the screws to any hopes of replacing and repealing Obama Care. First, seven Republicans joined every Democrat in voting No on a repeal of Obama Care. Then on Friday, three Republicans, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, joined every Democrat in voting No on  a so-called skinny repeal, a lesser version. At the end of the day, Obama Care stands and the promise that the Republican party has made to its voters for seven years has been broken.

Remember the time when Republicans told us voters that we needed to give them back the House so they could oppose Obama's policies and work to repeal Obama Care? We gave them the House. Then they told us we needed to give them the Senate. We did that too. Then they proceeded to let Obama do whatever he wanted. They told us we needed to elect a Republican president. In 2016, that happened. Republicans now hold the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the White House.They still can't get anything done. Chuck Schumer basically runs the Senate.

In addition, the Republicans had seven years to design a quality plan to replace Obama Care. They couldn't do it. All they did was rush out a hastily drawn up plan that still left the government controlling too much of health care.

I ask you: What good is this Republican party?

Full disclosure: I am not a Republican. I don't belong to any political party, but I vote Republican because the Democrats are so far to the left and so corrupt it turns my stomach. But the events of this week are the reason I have never joined the Republican party.

Conservative commentator Michael Medved often points out that voting for third party candidates is an exercise in electing the one you oppose. The examples of Ross Perot and Ralph Nader are a testament to that. Without Perot, Bill Clinton would probably not have been president, and we would have been spared the tawdry career of Hillary Clinton. Without Ralph Nader, Al Gore would likely have been president. There is also the added governmental confusion that would result if we had more than two viable parties with coalition governments being cobbled together as they are in Europe.

But at some point, the two party system,which has served us so well for so long, loses it appeal if one party is so ineffective and feckless as are the Republicans. When the Democrats hold all three parts of the government, they get (bad) things done. The Republicans are getting nothing done once you get past Trump's executive orders. It is Trump who is having his federal law enforcement agencies round up MS-13, the vicious Salvadoran street gang. It is Trump who nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. It is Trump who has reversed so many of Obama's executive orders.

At some point, conservatives need to bite the bullet and consider a truly conservative and committed third party. Call it the Conservative Party. Call it the Tea Party. Call it what you will, but it should leave no doubt that people like Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and others like them are not welcome.

And while we're at it, we also need to bring in term limits, but that is a topic for a separate discussion.

1 comment:

Siarlys Jenkins said...

The Republican Party is no good at all. It had outlived its useful function around 1877.

The reason the GOP can't get its act together to repeal the Affordable Care Act is that they have never put together a better program that will be really terrific.

For seven years they have performed the ritual of voting to "repeal Obamacare" knowing it wasn't really going to happen. Now that they could actually get a bill signed by the president, they suddenly realize that millions of voters, many of them in red states, are going to be badly burned if they just repeal it. So, they have to come up with an alternative.

Further tying them up, there are small numbers on either end of the party who will either settle for nothing less than full repeal, or, nothing less than a comprehensive replacement that does a better job of providing health coverage to all in some manner. The GOP can't come up with a majority unless it can satisfy both wings, at least in the senate.

All in all, this is a good result. It would be much, much, better to put the Affordable Care Act on the table, identify components that have caused some harm to some people, develop ways to mitigate those harms without inflicting even more harm on even more people, look at ways to improve, streamline, offer more options. (Expanding the available options could be called the "Diversity in Affordable Care Act."

But the truth is, the Affordable Care Act is basically a Heritage Foundation proposal, developed as an alternative to the 1993 Clinton health care proposal. So the GOP isn't going to come up with something qualitatively different that conforms to Republican principles.

The whole "repeal Obamacare" slogan was a loser from the beginning. The GOP got their house majority by scaring voters that it was going to be simply awful, but once voters saw what was in the bill, they came to like it, and now, they don't want to give it up. Of course a substantial number of voters will say they love the Affordable Care Act, but want that awful Obamacare repealed. That's what seven years of GOP propaganda will do for you.