From Beohner’s Lips to God’s Ears


This morning brings the report that exiled Speaker John Boehner has well and truly spilled the beans. The repeal and replacement is “not going to happen.”

Boehner, who resigned in 2015 amid unrest among conservatives, said at an Orlando health care conference that the idea that a repeal-and-replace plan would blitz through Congress is just “happy talk.”

Instead, he said changes to former President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement would likely be relatively modest.

“[Congressional Republicans are] going to fix Obamacare – I shouldn’t call it repeal-and-replace, because it’s not going to happen,” he said. …

On Thursday, Boehner said the talk in November about lightning-fast passage of a new health care framework was wildly optimistic.

“I started laughing,” he said. “Republicans never ever agree on health care.”

“Most of the framework of the Affordable Care Act … that’s going to be there,” Boehner concluded.

Aardvark hopes he is right. But, ladies and germs, let’s war game this out.

Pretty clearly, Trump’s best move would be to make minor changes to Obamacare, spin it as repeal and replace with new Trumpcare, and declare victory. But a segment of the Republicans in Congress will not go along with any such proposal. That means that in order to accomplish the benign flim-flam, you are going to need a lot of Democrats. But to write the legislation, put together the coalition, and then bring the thing off, you need someone with flexible ideology and lots of political savvy.

Who is this person? Surely not Paul Ryan, who has dedicated his life to the advancement of Ayn Rand’s agenda. Probably not Mitch McConnell. Probably not Tom Price, who lacks the ideological inclination to keep the Obamacare framework. Not Donald Trump, who cannot find his ass with both hands. Not anyone presently around Donald Trump.

What does this mean going into the 2018 elections? No repeal and replace. Nothing that can be spun as repeal and replace. Lots of people angry that Republicans reneged on a major campaign promise. Lots of people scared shitless that they will lose their health care. Every problem in the health care system now blamed on Republicans, not Democrats.

Trump will find a way to claim that somehow this is all the Democrats’ fault. But that dog is not going to hunt.