His reaction suggests he fully expected it, and maybe even wanted it.
Is it really plausible that Mitch McConnell didn’t know what McCain was going to do?
Something is fishy here.
We’re always told that Mitch McConnell is a master of Senate rules and procedures. He’s also not given to calling votes on matters unless he knows he’s going to get the outcome he wants.
So let’s review what happened last week. First, we hear the dramatic news that cancer-stricken, 80-year-old John McCain has agreed to travel from Arizona to Washington to take part in the ObamaCare repeal vote. One of the McCain’s first acts upon arriving back in Washington is to cast a vote permitting debate on a variety of repeal proposals. So far so good. It appears that McCain has actually come through for the repeal effort.
But as various proposals fall short, and it appears the only one with a chance of success is the very limited “skinny repeal” that leaves most of ObamaCare intact, McConnell schedules a vote on the skinny repeal. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski vote no, as expected, because they are both liberals pretending to be Republicans. This is what they always do.
Conservatives Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, who often let the perfect be the enemy of the good, hold their noses and vote for the only-a-little-good. Even libertarian fraud Rand Paul decides to vote yes. Mike Pence stands by ready to break what looks like it will be a 50-50 tie as long as the measure doens’t lose any more Republican votes.
Then John McCain strides to the podium and draws gasps – followed by Democrat cries of jubiliation – by announcing he will also vote no, apparently ending any chance of even a limited ObamaCare repeal in the current session. Almost immediately, McConnell declares that it’s “time to move on,” meaning no more attempting to repeal ObamaCare. Not all of it. Not a lot. Not a little. None. It’s over.
Now riddle me this
Now riddle me this: When does a Senate Majority Leader go to that much trouble to get an ailing, elderly senator there for a vote, only to have that senator vote no, and then immediately declare that the whole thing is a lost cause?
Does it really sound plausible to you that McConnell didn’t know exactly what McCain was going to do? Does McConnnell even seem to mind the outcome we’re now stuck with?
I don’t think so.
Rob has long had a theory that much of the Republican Party doesn’t really want to repeal ObamaCare because they like the federal power it comes with. I think that’s true of a handful of liberal Republicans – obviously including Collins, Murkowski and McCain. When it comes to McConnell, I think it’s more complicated than that.
As a matter of policy, I don’t think McConnell likes ObamaCare. He can see how insurance markets have been distorted. He can see that the exchanges are collapsing, and that access to care has been compromised. He can see how much damage the taxes are doing, and he knows it’s a time bomb ready to explode both state and federal budgets over the course of the next decade – because of subsidies at the federal level and the Medicaid expansion at the state level.
McConnell knows all this.
But McConnell is a political guy, not a policy guy. The process of trying to repeal ObamaCare is complicated, and as long as it goes on, it’s getting in the way of other things McConnell would prefer to see the Senate working on. He wants the process over, one way or the other. He knows how much damage ObamaCare is doing to the country, but he’s got a legislative calendar to worry about and it’s just enough already.
So a stunning failure on “skinny repeal,” followed by the Majority Leader’s quick declaration that all efforts to repeal ObamaCare have ended, doesn’t sound to me like bad news to Mitch McConnell at all. He’s tired of ObamaCare repeal. It’s cramping his style and he’d rather just forget the whole thing.
So do you really think McConnell had McCain come back to Washington to vote, not having any idea how he would vote? Do you really think McConnell was stunned by the outcome? Do you really think McConnell desperately wants to repeal ObamaCare but has just run out of options?
Neither do I. We got played last week, not only by swamp creature John McCain, but also by his fellow swamp creature Mitch McConnell. McConnell got to maintain his Republican bona fides by voting yes on repeal. McCain got to play his usual media hero role by voting no. And McConnell can finally get rid of this whole stupid thing he hates. Everyone wins.
Except the country, of course. Screw the country………….