GOP: Suicidal impulses

Jack Bernard, a retired SVP with a large national healthcare firm, has worked extensively with hospitals across the nation regarding cost containment and insurance. He was also the first Director of Health Planning for the state of Georgia.

It is crystal clear why Speaker Ryan is bailing out. The ship is sinking fast.
After pulling off the biggest upset in modern political history in 2016, the GOP is now primed to commit political suicide. Oh, how the mighty have fallen, and so quickly.
Time Magazine did a survey of registered voters two months before the 2016 Presidential election. The top four concerns of the electorate were listed as the economy (61 percent), terrorism (58), health care (38) and immigration (28).
Trump nailed these issues by saying he would “make America great again.” He correctly knew this was an election that would be decided by emotion, not logic.
Trump the reality TV star played to the fears of the electorate, 46 percent of whom said they were “scared.” It worked, particularly in states with tough economic forecasts.
Since then, the NYC showman has continued the “big con,” assisted by the 2017 stock market rise (largely caused by his predecessor) and by record unemployment, in part due to reckless governmental budgeting/spending under the GOP.
Not knowing how the DC game is played, the Queens bully has had a losing hand in other areas. Trump has not yet figured out that Congress is an independent branch of government, and that not every GOP Congressman is afraid of his bombastic tweets and repeated lies.
In Trump’s mind, he had 52 solid votes in the Senate in January 2017. He fully expected every single one of them to support him without question, like his employees would. “Not gonna happen,” to paraphrase Dana Carvey’s wonderful imitation of Bush (the real one, not Junior).
For this reason, it was ridiculous for Trump (and Ryan/McConnell who know better) to have started the new term by tackling health care reform before other issues. What made this action even more outrageous was the “Patton” strategy of completely ignoring input from the opposition party and attempting to ram something through with solely GOP votes and virtually no discussion.
Along the way, Trump, Ryan, and McConnell managed to alienate every provider group in America from the AMA to the AHA, as well as the entire insurance industry. At the same time, they have succeeded in the virtually impossible task of uniting these entities with advocacy groups such as the AARP and disability rights organizations, all of which were firmly in opposition to Trumpcare.
The effects of these political errors will be felt for years to come. Already, the Democrats have become much more popular. The two parties were tied in May 2017, but after the 2017 health reform debacle 44 percent of Americans viewed the Dems positively, versus only 36 percent for the GOP. That trend continues today.
Next, Trump, Ryan, and Mitch pushed for big tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Strategically, the GOP would lose if it passed or if it failed, a certainty ignored by them.
The tax bill was passed and celebrated by the Republicans, but its effects on the GOP are even worse than the health care failure. As opposed to right wing propaganda, the vast majority of the American public dislikes the law. Taxpayers do not believe that it will miraculously pay for itself (as Bush said, “voodoo economics”). They see it as tax relief for those who do not need it, and it will be used against the GOP in the 2018 elections.
Ryan, supposedly a balanced budget advocate, has destroyed his legacy. Under his reign, through both the unnecessary tax cuts and the “Christmas gifts charged to the credit card” 2018 budget, the House helped drive the deficit drastically up, not down.
The really sad part is that all these problems could have been so easily avoided. Both parties wanted infrastructure spending (and still do), and neither started off by advocating for increased deficits. If not for the egos of Trump, Ryan, and McConnell, the GOP could have started the term with a big bi-partisan win and not be faced with certain 2018 and 2020 electoral disasters. There is now a 7 percent preference for Democrats over the GOP in the 2018 Congressional races (April 2018, Real Clear Politics). With the certain GOP push for a very conservative SCOTUS nominee, the Dems will be riled up come election time.
Let’s hope the few remaining moderate GOP Senators (Flake and Corker are retiring; McCain is very ill) can somehow influence the rest for the next couple of years. Let’s hope that the GOP establishment will finally learn to work in a bi-partisan manner, like the American people desire, but it looks like they will never learn, except through 2018 and 2020 losses.

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