A time for choosing

Forgive me for borrowing from President Reagan, but with the republican repeal debacle, many are finally coming to the realization that republican control of the federal government is all for naught.


Conservative radio host, Shannon Joy crystallized the repeal mess this way (on Twitter):

Shannon Joy Kabuki theater

As she points out in #7: “It’s time for conservative leaders within the GOP to fish or cut bait. Leave the GOP or accept your fate in the party.”

Of course, I’m no leader, just a voter. I left the republican party around the time of the republican national convention last year in which Trump was officially nominated. I had actually left a year earlier, but returned to vote in the primary for some conservative friends who were running for central committee, and for Ted Cruz (even though he had already dropped out of the race). I knew the republican party, with its embrace of Trump, had abandoned anything remotely conservative. I did not vote for Trump or Clinton in the general.

Although I am still unaffiliated (I believe the federalist party has to have a state charter with the secretary of state in California in order to officially register as a federalist), I have come to appreciate the new federalist party that was formed for small government, liberty and life-minded voters. It has drawn libertarians, conservatives and others disenchanted with traditional party politics. It seeks to avoid the pitfalls of many “third” parties and focus on getting people in at the local level where we can have a real impact. These people can potentially move up. While it may be awhile before the federalist party has an impact at the national level, I’m convinced it’s the way to go. Several well-known conservatives have indicated in positive terms they like what they’re hearing from the federalist party. While they are not yet ready to jump ship, that could change. Abraham Lincoln became a member (in 1856) of  an upstart republican party formed in 1854 as the Whigs descended into a divided abyss. Four years after joining, he was the nation’s first republican president.

As we have seen with the repeal debacle, the two major parties have become virtually indistinguishable. It appears the republican promises for Obamacare repeal were meaningless. Worthless.  This writer acknowledges this, while not offering an alternative–which I believe the federalist party is.


I’m a conservative and I now see voting republican is a waste of time

McConnell 2

‘Conservatives might conclude that Republicans, having failed to take seriously the discontent of ordinary Americans, don’t deserve to govern after all.’ Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

What would you conclude if you voted for a candidate or a party because of a promise to repeal or change a law that you strongly felt was harmful and unjust, but once in office the party refused to do it? You might conclude, rightly, that those politicians didn’t really work for you, and the party didn’t care what you thought.

That’s precisely the message Republicans have been sending their constituents throughout the Obamacare repeal fiasco. The failure of Senate Republicans to pass a so-called “skinny repeal” in the early hours of Friday is merely the latest instance of GOP fecklessness on health care reform.

Even the attempt at skinny repeal was a tacit admission that Republican lawmakers were never serious about repealing Obamacare. After failing to get enough GOP votes for a repeal and replace bill and then failing earlier this week to pass a straight repeal bill, the skinny repeal bill was a cowardly attempt to make it seem like they had exhausted all options.

But the Senate bill that failed on Friday morning wouldn’t have done much, repealing Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates, a tax on medical devices, and a handful of marginal items but leaving the rest of the law’s vast and deleterious regulations in place. On its own, it would have done more harm than good, sending already rising premiums up another 20%, hastening the collapse of the individual health insurance market, and shifting the entire healthcare debate from the Senate floor to a closed-door conference committee where the details of the bill would be worked out in secret.

Yet whatever harm skinny repeal might have done to health insurance markets pales in comparison with the harm congressional Republicans have already done to themselves. Unwilling to take the political heat of repealing and replacing Obamacare as they promised, Republicans are in effect enshrining Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement – and making it their own. The most likely scenario now is that Congress will, at the behest of panicked insurers, pass legislation to shore up failing insurance exchanges. In other words, Republicans will save Obamacare.

For seven years, Republicans have campaigned on promises to repeal and replace Obamacare with a “free-market” health care system. They wrested control of the House and the Senate from Democrats on these promises. Donald Trump– along with every other GOP presidential candidate – campaigned on it last year. Republicans voted time and again for politicians that trumpeted their hatred of Obamacare and swore to do something about it.

You don’t need a long memory to see why failing to repeal the law might enrage conservatives. As my colleague at the Federalist Chris Jacobs has noted, House Republicans even floated a version of skinny repeal in 2015. “Conservative groups could have supported it – just to keep the process moving, and continue the momentum for a broader repeal – as leadership is asking them to do right now,” wrote Jacobs.

But they didn’t. Influential conservative groups such as Heritage Action came out against the plan, as did a group of conservative senators, saying the bill “simply isn’t good enough”, and that because all of them had campaigned on fully repealing Obamacare, “we owe our constituents nothing less”.

Back then, repeal meant, at minimum, doing away with the major parts of Obamacare: Medicaid expansion, subsidies, all the new insurance rules and regulations and taxes that the law imposed on health insurers and ordinary Americans.

Of course, it was easy to make such statements in the fall of 2015. Barack Obama was never going to sign a repeal bill, skinny or not. In hindsight, the dozens of repeal votes from Republicans in both chambers seem now to be so much political grandstanding. Moderate Republican senators who voted for full repeal in 2015 hypocritically oppose it now, and conservative senators who opposed skinny repeal in 2015 supported it on Thursday. They are all guilty of the same rank hypocrisy.

There is a grave danger for Republicans in all of this. If there’s one thing the 2016 presidential election should have taught the GOP establishment, it’s that Americans are disgusted with politics as usual – the showboating, the sloganeering, the canned talking points and the pervasive, poisonous insincerity of it all.

That’s why Republican primary voters rejected, one by one, a field of presidential candidates full of experienced politicians. GOP voters were told their 2016 candidates were diverse and accomplished – and indeed they were. But they all had one thing in common: they were politicians, and Americans were fed up with politicians and politics as usual. So fed up, in fact, they did something drastic, maybe even reckless. They elected Donald Trump president.

Now that the politicians have failed them yet again, and in such spectacular fashion, conservatives might conclude, with good reason, that there’s no point voting for Republicans because they don’t deliver on their promises once in power. They might conclude that Republicans, having failed to take seriously the discontent of ordinary Americans, don’t deserve to govern after all.

The author is a senior correspondent for the Federalist






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: