McCain’s ‘No’ Not the Worst Thing in the World

Shocker!  Like every other Obamacare repeal bill before it, McCain is against it!

Senator John McCain of Arizona announced on Friday that he would oppose the latest proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, leaving Republican leaders with little hope of succeeding in their last-ditch attempt to dismantle the health law and fulfill their longstanding promise to conservative voters.

Who could have seen this coming?       

Right leaning reaction to this has been pretty scathing, just like it was last July when McCain did exactly the same thing.  My view on this is that although McCain’s no vote has zero to do with healthcare and 100% about giving Trump a big FU before he dies, in a backhanded way he’s doing the GOP a favor. The real villains in this story are the GOP leadership, McConnell and Ryan. They know what a real Obamacare repeal should be because the House came up with one in 2013, the Options Act. It was vetted by conservative think tanks and Tea Party groups. If they really wanted to “repeal and replace,” they could have used that as a starting point. Instead, they didn’t care about Obamacare repeal at all; they wanted to cut Medicaid to get funds to finance tax cuts without it effecting long term deficit projections. Reforming Medicaid is not a bad thing, but it has nothing to do with repealing and replacing Obamacare; Medicaid was around long before Obamacare. All of the GOP bills were terrible and none of them repealed and replaced Obamacare.

In terms of fixing healthcare, it seems the GOP is a lost cause.  The only avenue I see is Trump taking it out of Congress’s hands and creating a Presidential commission to come up with a repeal and replacement plan.  Of course I nominate my plan as a template for America’s new healthcare model.

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What Should Trump Do Next About Healthcare?

For those of you who were really expecting John McCain to come through and vote for the “skinny repeal” senate GOP healthcare bill…

Otter’s wise words ring true.  But it’s not like McCain didn’t warn you. He stated he opposed the bill when he voted to allow it to go up for debate.  So I’m not mad at McCain. He did exactly what I expected him to do, preen for the cameras, virtual signal for his media friends, and toss a big FU to the Republican Party.  It’s the same thing he’s been doing for years.  So why the surprise?

In fact, I think McCain did the GOP, and Trump, a favor. The various GOP “repeal and replace” bills were all terrible anyway as I recounted here.  None of them fixed the real problems with the individual insurance market or the exchanges.  So why should Republicans get their hands dirty in a rush to get anything passed when they will own the results?  And since none of their bills fixed the problem, the results will be pretty bad.

And of course, as time goes on, I’m less and less sure that the House and Senate leadership really wanted any bill to pass.  It seems like it would have been fairly easy to buy off most of the dissenting senators by simply allowing the people on the Medicaid Expansion to keep their plans, as I suggested back in June.  Did Mitch McConnell really think Lisa Murkowski was going to vote get rid of Medicaid expansion and reduce the federal contribution to Medicaid, when half of her state is on some version of Medicaid?  How did he think she and the other senators who are from states that have a large dependency on Medicaid would vote?  But if your real goal is to deliver Trump a failure, what better way than provide a sure fire failure of a bill that’s doomed to fail?  Admittedly I don’t have any evidence that they sunk the bill on purpose, but if not, they truly are incompetents.

So what now?  I think at this point, Trump should recognize that of the many enemies he has in DC, the Republican lead Congress is definitely part of them. And to that end, he should remove the healthcare issue from their hands.  And how to do this?  Form a Presidential commission to put together a health care plan, a “terrific” one which meets Trump’s criteria for a healthcare replacement bill.  Nothing of Trump was reflected in the Congressional bills but this is being viewed as Trump’s failure.  Taking the issue from Congress and giving it a Presidential commission removes the issue for this year, and allows both Trump and the Congress to move onto other issues.  What happens when the commission finishes a Trump approved health care plan is another story, but it moves the issue from the failed column to “pending.”

 

 

 

 

No Secret Trump Vote

On more than one occasion lately, Rush Limbaugh has been hanging on to the rather thin reed that never mind the polls, there may be a group of secret Trump voters out there who haven’t voted, are not being polled, and may pull through a surprise Brexit like victory for Trump in November.  This is based on a comment that Washington Post Reporter Robert Costa made on the Charlie Rose Show about this alleged hidden Trump vote:

It’s wider than any party.  I mean, it includes some Bernie Sanders supporters. It includes some libertarians.  The most important voter in this movement, uh, when I travel around the country, is the previously disengaged voter.  They’re almost a nonpartisan voter, but they’ve given up not just on the political process, but they’ve disengaged from civic society. They don’t really follow politics. If that’s a real coherent voting block, then Trump — regardless of the polls — will have a shot in November — and regardless of all the mistakes — because that’s a huge block.  There’s so much of this country that rarely, if ever, votes, and if — for some reason — they come to the polls in droves, that changes everything.”

That seems to make sense.  The primaries saw a surge of Republican registration and the largest number of Republican primary voters ever.  So who knows, could there be a group of maybe working class types who dropped out of politics out of disgust years ago but now are raring to go for Trump?  Nobody knows about them because they haven’t been voting, so they have not been polled.  They’re just out there waiting for the moment…

But I think we’ve had enough elections since then to test that proposition and to me, it seems to come up wanting.

Paul Ryan’s Wisconsin primary challenger Paul Nehlen, a pro Trump activist, was easily beaten by Ryan by an astonishing 84% of the vote.

In Arizona John McCain beat challenger Kelli Ward 55% to 35% in spite of Ward linking herself to Trump.

And in Florida, “Little Marco” Rubio, a long time Trump nemesis, beat pro Trump businessman Carlos Beruff 72% to 18%, in spite of joining the race late and being markedly unenthusiastic about returning to the Senate, so much so that he couldn’t even promise to stay for a full 6 year term.  Beruff put himself squarely in the Trump corner. Interestingly, the Republican Senate primary race had 3 Hispanics and 1 African American; no WASPs to be seen.

But the point is that if there was a secret Trump vote, there was ample opportunity for them to show and support the candidates who were counting on Trump coattails to win their races.

They didn’t show, so it’s possible they don’t exist.

 

 

 

Blue Pill Conservatives versus Red Pill Conservatives

This has certainly been a summer of a crack up and civil war within the conservative movement.  It started out as the summer of the Cuckservative, in which conservatives attacked each other over who was giving in and trying to please leftists and their media.  It’s ending as the Summer of Trump; the domination of Donald Trump over all other Republican Primary candidates.

Something is radically changing in conservative politics and the fault lines seem to be radically changing every few months, but there seems to be a current divide that explains a lot of the conservative on conservative conflict: Red Pill vs. Blue Pill Conservatives. If you’re not familiar with the term, a simple trip to Mister Google will solve that since Blue Pill/Red Pill is a fairly common internet meme, based of course on The Matrix movies. Blue Pill is living your life under a delusion, and the Red Pill is when you finally wake up to the sometimes bitter reality.

I first started to have the fog lift out of my blue pill haze after the 2012 elections.  Although I expected Obama to win, I was fascinated by the post election armchair quarterbacking that was trying to pin every other imaginary reason on Romney’s loss other than the fact that, as NBC Political Analyst Chuck Todd put it, “The demographic time bomb went off.”  It was a turning point election because it demonstrated that policy positions, the state of the economy, the unemployment rate, or winning the independents; none of the old rules applied. As I wrote after the 2012 election:

Even if Romney had won, it would have been the last gasp of an archaic idea in US politics; political parties that are more or less based on policy decisions and ideas and to a lesser degree, ideology and the left/right continuum   Eventually, I suspect that we will be voting according to our ethnic, gender, and sexual preferences.  In other words, our politics will become more tribal.

What that means in 2015 is that the Republican Party, which is dependent on white votes, is seeing a steady decline in their voter base. As the Washington Post reported:

The total number of white voters decreased by roughly 2 million in 2012 as compared to 2008, the first time since 1996 that a “race group” (as they describe it) has seen a diminution in net votes cast. And, in the last five presidential elections, the white share of the electorate has dipped by nine points…

That coincides with the factoid that Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six elections.

So if you put the increased tribalism of American politics with the decline of the white “tribe” you end up with a more or less inevitable decline in chances for the Republican Party to win the White House.  Each Presidential election will have whites, the mainstay of the Republican Party, as a declining percentage of the electorate. The result of this is that for 2016, the Democrats start out with an advantage of 217 electoral votes more or less locked up.  When you need 270 electoral votes to win, most of the race is already over before the first primary or caucus vote is cast. The Democratic electoral vote advantage is only likely to widen for each Presidential election.  Every four years the Republican base contracts and the Democratic base expands to fill in the gaps.

So how does the Republican Party Inc plan to address this?  Their 2012 Autopsy Report boiled down to go big on amnesty and then Hispanics will love Republicans since they are “natural conservatives.”  This is so counterintuitive to common sense that I honestly can’t believe that the autopsy report writers believe it.  It sounds that it’s a justification of a policy that the establishment of the party is already committed to based on donor desires.  Certainly passing Amnesty didn’t help either Reagan or Bush Senior.

Pro amnesty John McCain got only 4 percentage points more of the Hispanic vote than self deporter Mitt Romney got.  Considering that Romney would have needed 73% of the Hispanic vote to win, there is no path to Republican victory counting on Hispanic votes. In fact, if you consider the Electoral College math, the increased tribalism of American politics, and the declining percentage of the Republican base it’s easy to conclude that all things being equal, conservatism, as it’s currently formed, is doomed.

As a conservative, when you finally come to that conclusion, you’ve taken the red pill.

This really shouldn’t be that much of a shocker.  The Republican Party was a secondary party for much of the 20th Century.  After being caught holding the bag after the Great Depression, the Democrats were the American political party for decades. Republicans only got a shot at the Presidency again by nominating a national hero and celebrity, Dwight Eisenhower, for President.  Eisenhower’s status made it OK to try voting for a Republican again.  That coincided with the rising post war middle class that found themselves more comfortable with Republican Party values.

Much of the Republican Party is still under the blue pill, and thinks that each election, the slate is wiped clean and they have a 50-50 chance to make their case to the American people (who must be devoid of party preferences and are willing to listen to Republican arguments on an equal footing with Democratic ones) with a promise of tax cuts and smaller government, just like they’ve promised every election for decades.

Red Pill Conservatives think this is a path to continued failure and realizes that something big has to change.  There has to be a massive shaking up of the old order, since it’s on a glide path to obsolescence.  What will that look like?  I’m not sure, but the Republican Party needs to be ripped apart and put back together with a 21st Century sensibility.  Maybe we’ll get a glimpse this election season.

 

What the New Republican Majority Could Do on Immigration

Rush Limbaugh was in full on denial mode today, bragging that yesterday’s election result meant that the American people soundly rejected liberalism.  Nu-uh.  All it means is that civic minded Republican voters are more likely to turn out to vote during mid-term elections than young people who only know about the President and not much else.  Here in the State of Florida, the purpose behind John Morgan’s Medical Marijuana amendment 2 was to draw in young voters to pull in Democratic votes to put his lickspittle, Charlie Crist, into the governor’s mansion.  Close, but no cigar; or more appropriately, no bong.  Crist and the Medical Marijuana amendment failed by a hair.  Based on an informal survey of my son’s friends, the spirit was willing, but the future time orientation for young people required for registering to vote before the deadline was weak.  If it wasn’t for those darn kids…

glum Obama

And that will be obvious in 2016 when Republicans, who will have more Senate seats to defend than Democrats, lose the Senate gains they’ve just won.  But that’s then.  What about 2015?

One of the most currently divisive issues within the Republican Party is immigration. Half the party agrees with the most extreme Democrats that there really shouldn’t be any barriers to anyone coming to our shores; for different reasons of course.  The Democrats want a poor, uneducated, unskilled mass that will be dependent on them and provide a reliable voting bloc for generations.  The Republicans are split between death wish libertarians who just don’t see a problem with allowing 500 million foreigners to swamp the country, making it resemble Old Calcutta, and Wall Street Journal and Chamber of Commerce types who feel that worker wages are too high if they top a dollar an hour.

Think I’m kidding?  A Silicon Valley tech company was recently fined for actually flying some Indian tech workers from India to the US, paying them $1.21 an hour (the same rate they were paid in India as contractors) and forced them to work 120 hours a week.  That’s an absurdly egregious crime, and rather than mere fines, someone should be facing jail time.  But that’s the future “immigration reform” backers have in store for all of us if they get their way.

That’s why Silicon Valley is spending so much to push immigration reform.  They’ve already spent 50 million dollars on immigration reform lobbying.  Why?  If they get their way, it’s worth it. So it would really be a good strategic move on the part of Republicans to separate the money and lobbying of Silicon Valley from the Democrats, who want poor, ignorant vote fodder forever, and Open Borders Republicans who want declining wage rates stomping on our face forever.  From the Republican Party  perspective, an immigration reform bill along the lines of last year’s Senate bill 744 would split the Republican Party, perhaps permanently. Establishment Republicans may think they want to drive conservatives out of the party, but they wouldn’t like the results of a Republican Party that would no longer be able to win elections in Red States.

But there is a work around to avoid that sort of Republican Party Götterdämmerung.  In 2012 the Republican House tried to get a bill through Congress that would grant 55,000 green cards a year to foreign Doctorate and Masters level graduates.  It wouldn’t have increased immigration numbers since the slots would have been taken from the Diversity Lottery, one of the dumbest immigration programs ever. The bill passed the House and languished in the Senate, since Harry Reid wasn’t interested in bringing any bills up for a vote unless it was something that President Obama specifically wanted to sign.

But starting in 2015, Harry Reid goes back to the bench. With Republicans in control of the Senate and the House, Harry Reid can’t be Obama’s pocket veto anymore.  President Obama will actually have bills arrive on his desk that he will have to actually make decisions on.  He will no longer be able to have Harry Reid vote “present” for him.

Of course the ball will then be in the President’s court.  He can veto the bill, and thereby veto something that his Silicon Valley supporters really want, or sign it, and therefore removing them from the current amnesty coalition.  If Silicon Valley can be tossed a bone to get them separated from the Democrats mass amnesty coalition, it will also separate them both from the lobbying and money they provide, but also one of the phony reasons given for the need for “immigration reform,” the STEM Worker shortage myth. Republican pro-Amnesty warhorses like John McCain might recognize the trap, since the entire purpose of immigration reform isn’t really about STEM workers, border security, or anything else claimed about it other than amnesty for illegals.  On the other hand, new Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who isn’t a pro-amnesty warhorse, might prefer a united Republican Party rather than one fractured along amnesty lines.

I would prefer that myself.

Republicans Cannot Be Trusted On Immigration

English: Ted Cruz at the Republican Leadership...

English: Ted Cruz at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As Senator Ted Cruz said last week, “I don’t trust Republicans.”

I agree.  Although Cruz was talking about budget negotiations, to me it applies to the issue of immigration more than any other issue.  That’s because so many Republicans are not only prepared to vote for amnesty, they are actively campaigning for it, even though it is not only damaging public policy, but damaging to those same Republican’s political futures.

At least with the Democrats, I perfectly understand their motivations for wanting amnesty, and frankly, from their perspective they seem totally logical to me.  It’s bad public policy for the nation, but its great political policy.  For the Democrats, out of a possible 11 million new voters 10 to 15 years from now, 9 million will vote for Democrats.  That’s enough to turn the rest of the Southwest, including Texas, deep blue.  Without Texas, the Republicans are no longer viable as a national party.

And from a policy perspective, that adds 11 million more citizens in which ¾ of them don’t even have a high school diploma and virtually none of them have the high tech skills required for the 21st century workplace.  That means most of them will live and die below the mean income level, and will be major consumers of social programs.  That’s voting gold for the Democrats.  The Democratic Party was never stronger as when FDR saw “one third of a nation, ill housed, ill clad, ill nourished.”  Importing millions to fill that gap helps create the very conditions of income inequality and widespread poverty that is the fertile ground for Democratic power.

But what do the Republicans get out of it?

That is the real head scratcher.  Of course there are some aspects of big business that do use unskilled and semi skilled labor that really like the downward push on working class wage rates that increased numbers of unskilled workers provide.  Certainly the Wall Street Journal Opinion page is filled with pro illegal immigration editorials.  But for most businesses interested in immigration, the demand isn’t for millions of unskilled workers but for hundreds of thousands of skilled workers, which current immigration law limits to a mere trickle.

Politically, it seems to make even less sense.  There isn’t any evidence that pro illegal immigration positions help Republican candidates.  A recent CIS study showed that Latinos in pro-immigration Republican Districts were no more likely to vote for Republicans than Latinos living in anti-illegal immigration Republican Districts.  Certainly it didn’t help Senator John McCain in his 2008 Presidential bid.  And of course, what is the political advantage of ensuring that your political party remains a minority party for the foreseeable future?

And yet…  Republicans, including conservatives, are falling all over each other to support the Gang of 8 bill.  Fox talker Sean Hannity even hosted a one hour special for Marco Rubio last Friday that did little more than pimp the bill with friendly “questions” and a generally pro bill agenda.  Hard as I try, I can’t see a rational reason to support this.  Bad public policy, bad political strategy… what am I missing?

My suspicion is that I’m not missing much, and that the real problem with Republicans is that they think they can buy Latino votes with the bribery that has proven so successful for the Democratic Party for decades. But the Democrats can’t be outbid.  There is no line that Republicans can draw that Democrats won’t cross to buy more votes.  Republicans were just as delusional in 1986 when they accepted a “one time’ amnesty with the promise that this would be the last one and that Latinos would now love Republicans.

Instead we lost California permanently.  Well, if Republicans regard Texas as an embarrassment they can’t wait to be rid of, they are well on their way.  The Democrats won’t be embarrassed by Texas at all once they own it.

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