Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Trumpcare is an orphan. Walden is in hiding.

Trumpcare is likely to fail.  Republicans say, "Whew!"  Greg Walden is busy doing everything to distract us from his role in this.

Every salesman knows that awful feeling:  the product doesn't live up to the advertising and sales brochures.  

There are still some supposed arbiters of real fact.  The Congressional Budget Office, led by a Republican who is on record hating Obamacare, reports what everyone realized all along was, of course, true:

   **Trumpcare cuts taxes on the high income people who now pay Obamacare surcharges.

   **Trumpcare cuts Medicaid eligibility, pushing people off it.

   **Trumpcare reduces subsidies for insurance, making it much more expensive.

   **Some 22 million fewer people will end up with access to healthcare.

No one is selling Trumpcare like they really mean it.
With nearly 50 GOP senators about to vote for the bill, and with the bill being the culmination of 7 years attacks on Obamacare, it would seem logical that there would be a chorus of people who would say, "Yes!, this is exactly what we wanted!  The bill does what we intended!"

No.  There is no one.  

Instead, the bill is criticized from the right saying it does all of the above but it isn't enough because it is now simply a bad version of more Obamacare (Paul, Lee, Johnson, Cruz).  The bill is criticized from the GOP moderates saying it does exactly what the CBO says it does,  which is too much, because it will hurt the working poor and the uninsured 50-65 year olds in their states and districts (Collins, Heller, Murkowsk).

Officeholders who plan to vote for the bill are forced to criticize the CBO so they can stick to their script: the law would be cheaper, more universal, simpler, and better than Obamacare. That's what they sold the public.  That's what the people want to buy.  That isn't what it is.

They are in that awful place understood by any salesman who has responsibility for representing a product that simply does not live up to the sales literature.  The salesman goes through the motions, barely, maybe.   The salesman admits there are problems but allows there are some good points.  He tries to preserve his credibility long term by not putting his heart into it, saying it is up to the customer.  He looks for something else to show the customer.

Trumpcare is an orphan.  I am not aware of anyone who is out there actually saying with heart and urgency that Trumpcare is great on its merits.  Donald Trump himself says it is necessary, and that we have to pass something, not that it is actually good.  

If it fails in the Senate--which seems more likely now--then the GOP will have dodged a bullet.  They can continue to weaken Obamacare and fail to repair its problems, then criticize it.  Better to look weak than to look responsible for a bad product.

Walden busy not talking about Trumpcare
Is it really a bad product?   Pretty good evidence is the behavior of one of its signature authors, my own congressman Greg Walden.

Greg Walden lacks Trump's gift for distraction.  Trump would create a news crisis; Walden is too earnest and moderate for that.  Instead Walden presents himself as a busy beaver, focusing on everything except that thing which must not be mentioned.

He knows when the product doesn't live up to the hype.  Walden cannot send off 59 missiles, or shove a Montenegro prime minister, or fire an FBI director, or do a tweet that dominates the news.   But he does what he can do.

He tours a Columbia River dam. 

It is sixty years old.  Maybe it is timely to consider adding more electrical generation.  In the photo Greg is intent on something, looking concerned and concentrating on something important, but whatever it is is, it's not the CBO report on the bill his committee produced.

Trumpcare is an orphan
Page one of his official website tells constituents that there are "Ways Greg Can Help" doing important things for constituents, including ordering flags, arranging White House and Capitol tours, meeting with students.  Yes, the Trumpcare proposal changes Medicaid expansion to some 129,000 people in his district, but his attention is elsewhere.

Meanwhile, his page one website lists news articles on the things at the top of Walden's attention.   As always, the hard thing to notice is what is not there: the House version of the Trumpcare proposal.

Greg Walden is playing defense, and it may work for him.  He helped author a proposal that will cause trouble in his District, while simultaneously pretending, in the face of CBO and media reports to the contrary, that it is actually good for the district.  Greg is a good soldier.  He is loyal to his party and its agenda.  They said they would repeal and replace Obamacare.  He does his duty.

Loyal soldier on the GOP team
He will be safest politically if he can say that everything died in the Senate and that his proposal would have been wonderful, if only it had gone into effect.  It would be like the poker player who was bluffing and who never was called to show his hand.  I now expect this outcome.  Greg will be free to sell hope and good intentions and smoke.  It would have been great, if only.

But one piece of evidence is open and obvious from the Greg Walden website: Greg Walden is not out there selling Trumpcare.  Indeed, he is hiding out from his own proposal.  

That is the vulnerability for Greg Walden.   It was written in his own committee.  His fingerprints are on it.  The glove fits.

1 comment:

Rick Millward said...

As I suspected Republicans ended up running for cover as, I hope, public opposition swayed vulnerable Senators, notably Murkowski and Collins who may have resented the sexism in the process.

As has been noted, Republicans never thought they actually would have to fulfill their promise to repeal the ACA (we should drop "Obamacare" now). They are now cornered.

Walden and the rest of the House tossed the hot potato over and are now laying low, hoping it won't come back.