Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Collapse of Trumpcare and the GOP's Inability to Govern

Like it or not, the Republican Party has become a sectarian, racist and ideologically driven political party.   The result is that ideology and bigotry trump all else and the practical realities of governing are either ignored or behind the comprehension of the zealots who now comprise the party base and to whom GOP elected officials have prostituted themselves. Trumpcare is a perfect example.  The real goal is massive tax cuts for the wealthy and the supposed removal of government from the healthcare industry, the later, of course, being utterly impossible, especially when one considers how poorly the private sector market function before the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act.  Add to this the public's massive opposition to the Republican "repeal and replace" bills to date and Trumpcare's collapse yesterday should have been foreseen by anyone not drinking the Republican Kool-Aid (thankfully 4 Republican senators seemingly refused to drink when the Kool-Aid was passed to them).   A piece in New York Magazine looks at the GOP's inability to govern when ideology is forced to meet reality.  Here are article highlights:
In 2009, David Frum, the former Bush administration speechwriter whose ideological apostasy was in its formative stages, met with conservative intellectuals to discuss the policy response to the great recession. Faced with evidence that only massive government action — a financial rescue coupled with fiscal stimulus — could have prevented a complete economic meltdown, one conservative made a startling confession: “Maybe it was a good thing we weren’t in power then — because our principles don’t allow us to respond to a crisis like this.”
The financial crisis is hardly the only issue for which conservative principles turn out to be incompatible with the practical demands of governance. (Climate change leaps to mind.) The collapse of the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is an especially vivid demonstration of the broader problem. The cohesion Republicans possessed in opposition disintegrated once they had power, because their ideology left them unable to pass legislation that was not cruel, horrific, and repugnant to their own constituents.
Donald Trump promised during the campaign that he would quickly and easily replace Obamacare with an alternative everybody would love.
One might dismiss this kind of rhetoric as a typical Trumpian boast. But the candidate was merely translating into the vernacular the somewhat more carefully hedged promises his party had made for years into terms in which they were meant to be understood. Paul Ryan’s “A Better Way” road map offered what it called “a step-by-step plan to give every American access to quality, affordable health care. … more choices and lower costs.”
In truth, it was never possible to reconcile public standards for a humane health-care system with conservative ideology. In a pure market system, access to medical care will be unaffordable for a huge share of the public. Giving them access to quality care means mobilizing government power to redistribute resources, either through direct tax and transfers or through regulations that raise costs for the healthy and lower them for the sick. Obamacare uses both methods, and both are utterly repugnant and unacceptable to movement conservatives. That commitment to abstract anti-government dogma, without any concern for the practical impact, is the quality that makes the Republican Party unlike right-of-center governing parties in any other democracy. In no other country would a conservative party develop a plan for health care that every major industry stakeholder calls completely unworkable.
The Trump administration might lash out at Obamacare by continuing to sabotage its functioning markets. They will find, however, that sabotaging the insurance exchanges will create millions of victims right away, as opposed to the luxury of delaying the pain until after the elections. The power to destroy remains within the Republican Party’s capacity. The power to translate its ideological principles into practical government is utterly beyond its reach.

The first step in the GOP's move to insanity was when the Christofascists hijacked the party base.  Now, the entire party has been subsumed to ignoring objective reality just as the Christofascists reject anything or anyone that challenges their myth and legend based world view.  Myths and legends may be fine and good in literature or in the bubble of a fundamentalist congregation, but objective facts and science quickly undercut the unsupportable fantasy world that they comprise.  So too with the GOP's unworkable ideology. 

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