Thursday, June 22, 2017

How Not To Do It

At center, Lord Tite Barnacle of the Office of Circumlocution, from Little Dorrit, via Better Living Through Beowulf.
Credit where credit is due—this is what the kool kidz refer to as a smart take from Jennifer Steinhauer at The Times, suggesting that Senator McConnell's heart won't be broken if the Senate's version of the tax cut health care bill fails and he could even be planning it that way:
In his 2016 memoir, “The Long Game,” he noted that, as minority leader, he went out of his way to make sure that one party owned the health care issue. “I wanted a clear line of demarcation — they were for this, and we were against it,” he said. Perhaps he is not excited to let that one party now be his own.
Another thing is that everybody knows how cunning and ruthless McConnell is, and they keep talking about how he hates to bring up a bill if he's not sure he's going to win it as if winning a vote were the only thing he could possibly care about, but if you look at his history as leader of the Republican caucus, since 2007 some time, you can see he's really not that anxious to make his case for immortality by passing a load of bills. He doesn't have a lot of surface vanity, and he's a true conservative, and he devoted a lot of energy through the Obama administration to not passing bills, ever, no matter how much Jon Stewart laughed and did his sleepy-turtle voice, because he is radically opposed to any change (other than relaxing life for the very wealthy through the reactionary changes of tax cuts and deregulation, obviously), and he's been following the same pattern through the Trump administration so far.

McConnell is a black-belt master of what that great political scientist Charles Dickens referred to as the whole science of government, the secrets of HOW NOT TO DO IT. I'm sure he doesn't love the Affordable Care Act at all, but he'll choose a method of killing it that won't get his fingerprints on it, or those of the Republican Senators running for reelection in 2018 and 2020, if he can help it.

Obviously I'm saying this to some extent because I've been saying for a while that the Senate's not going to do it, whatever McConnell says, and I like being right, but it would explain a lot—why the bill is so shoddy, why there are no hearings or normal committee markups, why the scheduling is so squeezed: not because he wants to make it a law while nobody's watching, fat chance, and this is a dreadful bill whose consequences would be remembered for a very long time if it were ever implemented, but because he wants people to forgot how it failed as quickly as possible.

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