Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said his vote Friday against “skinny repeal” of Obamacare was a vote for bipartisanship.
In fact, it was the opposite, rewarding Democrats for passing Obamacare without working with Republicans in the first place, allowing them to establish a beachhead for government-run health care, which they will now be able to protect.
Whatever happens going forward, they will regard their initial partisanship as having been worth the effort.
McCain said in a statement after casting the decisive “no” vote in the wee hours of Friday morning: “I’ve stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict-party line basis without a single Republican vote. We should not make the mistakes of the past that has led to Obamacare’s collapse.”
But it is not as if Democrats were excluded from the repeal effort.
Throughout the past seven months, Democrats had every opportunity to propose improvements to Obamacare. They had the same opportunity for the past seven years.
And they refused, because backing Obamacare became a point of pride — not only to defend Barack Obama’s legacy, but to justify their original decision to ram the bill through, bypassing the filibuster rule, gaming the Congressional Budget Office, and losing control of Congress afterwards.
The task of replacing Obamacare could have been bipartisan, but the task of repealing it had to be done by the Republican Party alone.
That is what they promised voters they would do if given control of Congress — McCain, too — and they were never going to have Democrats’ help.
Repeal was to have restored balance to the Senate, so that no party would ever try to repeat what Democrats did. Now Democrats will again, at the first opportunity.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.