The Republican Party is already behaving as if it is no longer a governing party, and merely awaits the verdict of the voters in 2018 to seal its fate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) virtually handed control to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in his speech bemoaning Republicans’ latest — and last? — failure to pass any kind of repeal of Obamacare in the wee hours of Friday morning.
“Now, I think it’s appropriate to ask, what are their ideas? It’s time for our friends on the other side to tell us what they have in mind and we’ll see how the American people feel about their ideas,” he said.
It was a stunning abdication of governing responsibility to the minority party.
There is no way Democrats are going to propose any new ideas to “fix” Obamacare in the near future. Instead, they will save their ideas for the 2018 midterm elections, when they will run on the promise to lead the effort to repair what Republicans lacked the courage to repeal. They will tell McConnell what they have in mind for Obamacare — once he is out of power and control the Senate — and perhaps the House as well.
President Donald Trump, no doubt, sees the writing on the wall. He is again talking about dealing with Democrats once Obamacare implodes. That implies that Democrats will be in a position to negotiate — and Republicans, who have failed, will largely be spectators to the process.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan deserves credit, at least, for moving some kind of legislation through the lower chamber. Yet he did not have a clear plan ready on day one — not even a simple bill of the sort proposed by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who suggested that Republicans repeal Obamacare effective at some future date, by which a replacement could be negotiated (with Democrats if necessary). In November, I wrote that Paul Ryan had a chance to make history merely by putting his best ideas on President Trump’s desk. Inexplicably, he failed to do that.
It may be that the failure of Republicans’ efforts on Friday opens opportunities for new health care policy proposals, such as the “Trump Option” of basic health care for all, plus private insurance for everything else. And Trump can still make a deal to replace Obamacare.
As Breitbart News predicted earlier this year, he would exhaust all of the factions in Congress before introducing his own plan, which might then be agreed to as the only workable option.
But it is possible that by the time that deal becomes ripe, Republicans will no longer be running Congress. They are on a path to surrender in 2018 unless they change course, and time is running out — if it is not already too late.
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.