Live blog: GOP health care bill pulled as Republican leaders fail to get votes

Are you a Conservative? Then do the math! How many Republicans do we have in the Senate? The number is 52. How many votes are required to end a filibuster?  The number is 60. No matter how badly Republicans want to repeal Obamacare we are short 8 votes (and it ain’t all that badly).

So what did Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump put together? Check out INFORMATION WE NEED FOR THE DEBATE ON REPEALING AND REPLACING OBAMACARE. Listen to Ryan.

The bill the House should have passed, the American Health Care Act, was just phase 1 of a 3-phase plan.  Most of the actual work was in phases 2 and 3.  Do you know what those phases are? If you don’t, then you don’t understand why phase 1, the American Health Care Act, looks like Obamacare lite.  Since we don’t have the votes to repeal Obamacare, all the Senate can do is use the Budget Reconciliation process to pull its teeth. In phase 2, the executive branch — Trump’s people for now — uses executive orders to dismantle the Obamacare regulatory structure. Could a Democrat administration put it back in place? Yes, but we do what is possible in the here and now. The future we cannot control. In phase 3, Congress will try to pass legislation to wholly repeal and replace Obamacare. Phase 3 requires sixty votes in the Senate. We have to fight for those votes. Maybe we will have them AFTER the 2016 elections, but not likely.  It is going to take time to wean Americans off of the teats of big government.

We need to FOCUS ON WINNING THE WAR, not falling collectively on our swords, pridefully self-destructing just to make some silly point. If Conservatives want to take back the country, then we need to get the government out of the education business. If we don’t want so many voters indoctrinated in the supposed virtues of Socialism, then we need to stop corrupt politicians from indoctrinating them.

Meanwhile, the best thing we can do about Obamacare is to allow the Trump administration to start phase 2, using the regulatory powers that Obamacare gives the executive branch to undo what the Obama administration did. That requires the passage of the American Health Care Act.

So what should the House do now? It is a waste of time, but the House could pass a bill that repeals Obamacare.  Then House members can watch the Democrats filibuster the stupid thing in the Senate. Then the holier than thou can blame those Democrats when Obamacare self-destructs. Or those politicians who actually want our government to work can try to head off the failure of Obamacare. They can try to prevent the harm the failure of Obamacare will entail and pass the American Health Care Act.


  1. This is one of your usual ploys Tom. It’s a form of the association fallacy. In this fallacy, if the otherwise brilliant Thomas Jefferson was ever wrong about one thing in his life, for example owning and raping his slaves, then he must also be wrong about everything, including the concept of limited government.

    If this is your measure for who to believe then, because we are all flawed sinners, letting the guy on the street corner perform brain surgery on you is just as good as someone who studied and practiced in that area of medicine all his life. All experts are flawed in some way, therefore we should all just “chose our own experts” without regard to actual expertise or credentials, and in fact, the less credentials the better as long as the blowhard agrees with our own know nothing demagoguery.

    This sort of emotivism is rampant today, and it actually runs opposite of actual Christian humility. Something is right only because I feel it is right. The complex truth does not matter as long as it has “truthiness” as Steven Colbert coined that word. Even the most basic universal truths of Christianity are just matters of personal opinion rather than actual grace from God, study and knowledge. Reminds me of a joke I once heard from a good friend, a former southern Baptist minister turned lawyer:

    A carpenter gets stuck on a secluded island alone, but he has all his tools and the island supplies him with everything that he needs to survive. To keep himself busy over the years, the carpenter builds an entire town out of the forest.

    Eventually a ship comes along and spots the carpenter’s signal fire. The ship’s captain says he will of course rescue the carpenter, but first the captain asks the carpenter for a tour of his amazing town.

    The carpenter shows the captain a city hall, a grocery store, a church, a gas station, a library, and at the end of the tour, the carpenter points out another church. Baffled, the captain asks, “Didn’t you already show me a church earlier?”. Looking a little disgusted at the thought of the other church, the carpenter replies, “yah, that’s the church that I used to go to.”


    1. @Tony

      Usual ploys? What has Thomas Jefferson got to with this? Are you a fan of his? Don’t see much evidence of that. Jefferson believed in limited government.

      You spend your time trying to convince me of what you believe based upon what you think I believe. All you do is demonstrate my failure to make you understand what I believe.

      It is true I have little faith in experts. Because I am a Christian, I put my faith in God, not man. Nevertheless, the issue is which expert? Your expert or mine?

      What you are claiming in your supposedly infinite wisdom is that you have the right pick “experts” to run everyone else’s life. You just have to be in the majority. Democratic or not, that’s tyranny, and it just results in chaos.

      Does that assessment sound too harsh? It isn’t. Aristotle wrote the book on “Politics”. I respect his opinion as an “expert”. He derided majoritarian tyranny long before we ever thought of it.

      In your theory of government, there is no limit on the power of government except what the “experts” think appropriate. After all, you say the Constitution means whatever the “experts” say it means. In other words, your experts can lie and back up their lies with the power of the Law. That’s just shamelessly corrupt. Why would I want any part of that? Why do you?


  2. “Dreamland? I control all three branches of government? When did I start dreaming that?

    “Trump gets elected and you run off sulking. Trump has a “failure”, and you come back to crow and pound your chest. You spout windy nonsense that has nothing to do with anything.

    “Even if Ted Cruz had been elected, I would not control the government. I am just like any other citizen, hoping the jackass I voted for won’t make a mess.

    “Think about who you are talking to. I am trained as a scientist and engineer. I am no genius, but I have a fairly good understanding of the limits of genius. What you are mad about is I don’t share your delusions. I don’t believe there is anyone who can do what you want done.”

    Now you’re just deflecting Tom. When you run out of rational things to say, you have the habit of trying to reframe the argument by being obtuse and/or using personalized mischaracterizations. I’m supposedly “sulking”, I’m supposedly “crowing” and “chest pounding”, I’m somehow “mad” and I am “delusional”, and YOU are the coldly calculating rational scientist. Ha! I love you and I enjoy the debate, but to quote the Bard: “Things small as nothing, for requset’s sake only, He makes important; possessed he is with greatness” or at least he thinks he is.

    I have many flaws, but, as you undoubtedly know, exuberant emotionalism is not one of them. Couldn’t really be much good at what I do if it were. (Besides, my wife reminds me constantly that my most annoying flaw is actually in the opposite direction). If you have lost hope of counterargument, you should at least distract from it with something less obviously uncharacteristic as pretending you don’t know what I mean by saying that your preferred party now controls all three branches of government, and then mischaracterizing me as some kind emotional little girl. 😏

    “Is Trump a failure because one bill he supported failed to pass? You do understand that Obamacare is collapsing? You do understand that something has to replace it? You do understand Obamacare was designed that way? No, of course you don’t. You listen to experts. So when Republicans have trouble trying to defuse the Obamacare bomb, you crow and pound your chest.”

    No, Tom, you are not an “expert” on health care so why do you think that your opinion that it is supposedly failing is actually worth anything. Because naked emperor Trump said so? We all may have an equal right to an opinion, but that does not mean that all opinions should be treated equally. When it comes to the complexities of something that is up to one fifth of the economy and growing, neither one of us knows what we are talking about. However, I think you know less than most because you willfully refuse to recognize that you just don’t have the slightest idea what you are talking about: you are blowing the partisan line of smoke out your butt and pretending it’s ode de la genius because most everybody flatters you and themselves by agreeing here.

    I know that you are not usually interested in hearing from people who actually know what they are talking about, but I recently read an article that quoted the philosopher Bertrand Russell on what would be a good attitude for non-experts to take in regard to the opinions of experts:

    “(1) that when the experts are agreed, the opposite opinion cannot be held to be certain; (2) that when they are not agreed, no opinion can be regarded as certain by a non-expert; and (3) that when they all hold that no sufficient grounds for a positive opinion to exist, the ordinary man would do well to suspend judgement.”

    Russell noted that “[T]hese propositions may seem mild, yet if accepted, they would positively revolutionize human life” because so many strongly felt, but uninformed, opinions would fall necessarily by the wayside.

    I have no idea if Obamacare is collapsing or why or in which states. (It seems, however, to be doing best in the states that embraced it). Most of the people who I have seen or read about who claim that it is collapsing are not real experts while most of the people who say it is most successful are actually experts in the field. Some experts that I have read say that markets don’t deal well with uncertainty and that Republicans and Trump may eventually create a self fullfilling prophesy by sowing enough uncertainty to collapse the market, especially in the most vulnerable states (mostly red states, by the way). (So I guess if that happens, then you will smugly pretend to feed me crow while other people suffer and die for lack of care and coverage – yep, that is a Republican Christian culture of life to be proud of).

    I can tell you this, much as I respect your innate intelligence (I think it’s hereditary), I just don’t believe you on this one, as I don’t believe you in many other areas where you obviously don’t have a clue what you are talking about. You seem to have a strong opinion on everything, and actual expertise in little of it. What’s worse, you don’t even seem to believe in expertise itself. Its dated and although I still read a lot and I have not practiced law in a long time, I at least have a Juris Doctorate and a law license. I sure don’t claim to be an expert on every aspect of the law (and particularly not health care law). However, as much as you “crow” about government and the Constitution, one would think sometimes that you thought you knew the founders personally and studied philosophy, the common law and government at the feet of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John Adams (although apparently not Hamilton). 😕

    Ah well, we’ll see what happens. Love to all. I’ll quit harassing you and go “sulk” my panties into a wad for a while. 😉 Love to all.


    1. @Tony

      You spout a bunch of psychobabble, and that’s logical discourse? I just point to the timing of your comments, guess the motive, and spurn your conclusions; and that is deflecting?

      When you said exuberant emotionalism is not one of your flaws, I just chuckled. You voted for Barack Hussein Obama, twice. What qualified the man to be president?

      As to your quote from philosopher Bertrand Russell. I would observe two things.
      1. Consider this excerpt.

      Russell described himself as an agnostic, “speaking to a purely philosophical audience”, but as an atheist “speaking popularly”, on the basis that he could not disprove the Christian God – similar to the way that he could not disprove the Olympic gods either. (from =>

      Russell wanted it both ways. Because the words mean explicitly different things, we cannot both be an atheist and an agnostic. We can either be one or the other, but not both. Since, logic dictates the existence of a Creator, Russell was not much of a philosopher. Smart. Good with words, perhaps. Yet like many before and many after him, he lacked the humility to accept the fact that he was only one of God’s creations. It is not easy to accept the fact that God is God, and I am not. Yet it is logical.
      2. There are no universally accepted “experts”. As Russell observed, his propositions are not accepted. Why? There are no “experts”. There are only people who call themselves “experts”. That is especially true with respect to politics and religion. So it is that you pick your experts, and I pick mine. It is our right to choose our own “experts” or to not pick any at all.

      You say:

      I have no idea if Obamacare is collapsing or why or in which states. (It seems, however, to be doing best in the states that embraced it).

      You don’t even know enough to determine whether the system is healthy, yet you put a bunch of community organizers who don’t know any more than you in charge of other people’s healthcare. Have you ever considered the possibility that you ought to mind your own business and allow others the right to choose their own experts?

      Obamacare is collapsing. Am I omniscient? Of course not. I can just see the issue at this point is who gets the blame. You don’t think Obamacare is collapsing? Then watch the leadership of your party. Are they protecting Obamabara from bad regulations coming out of the Trump administration (Otherwise, Obamacare should be able to coast along.), or are they just trying to fix the blame on Trump?

      Look at your own words.

      Now you control all three branches of government – whatever hyperbole happens, you OWN it, including Obamacare. If health insurance succeeds or fails, it’s on your boys’ watch now.

      Is it about making anything work? No. It is about shoving a sacred cow down the throats of people who never wanted it in the first place. If you used the government to force me to buy a Yugo, would I be responsible for the fact that your Yugo doesn’t work? If you nationalized the auto companies, would I be responsible for the fact that you have made it difficult to restore a manufacturing system that was working just fine before you wrecked it?

      Yeah. I suppose I have no choice except to be responsible, but that would only be because you are unwilling to accept any responsibility. Somebody has to accept responsibility for picking up the pieces and gluing them back together. If not you or me, then who? If not the “expert” I voted for, then which “expert”? Well, my “expert” won the election so I guess I am stuck. However, for the next four years you may as get use to the fact that Trump will be trying to fix Obamacare, not Trumpcare.

      Love you brother. Hope all is well with you and yours.


  3. The Freedom Caucus wasn’t biting. Neither was Cruz and Paul in the Senate. It was a bad bill that got rushed out to try and fulfill Trump’s contract with America.

    The likelier explanation is this: GOP moderates want to keep key provisions because their states heavily rely on them. Dems want to keep the bill entirely. The whole existence of the Freedom Caucus depends on Obamacare existing to oppose. For the political future’s of all involved, including Trump who needed to at least make a show of wanting to fulfill his madcap promises, keeping Obamacare is a win, not a loss.

    But this is the pattern of this administration. Despite claims of deal making abilities, Trump realized quickly that Congressmen do not like being threatened by the executive branch, especially the conservatives he now trashes. The bill went the same way as his alleged “prolife” justice: a ridiculous pipe dream for votes.


    1. @Stephen

      Bad bill? Whatever that means.

      Was it a bad bill? I don’t think it was perfect, but I do not expect perfect from politicians.

      What might have been better? Ryan probably did not include in the bill some items that he expected the executive branch to take care of in phase 2 using the regulatory authority provided by Obamcare. At least some of that regulatory could have been eliminated, but it would have made the bill more complex and perhaps more difficult to pass.

      You actually called the folks in the Freedom Caucus Conservatives instead of Liberals? Amazing!

      My guess is Obamacare will have to implode so more before there is a consensus to fix it. That’s life.


      1. It was as rushed as the ill-conceived refugee ban. Trump promised he would repeal it in the first 100 days and he failed after about 65. In fact, the executive pressure, the lack of bipartisan support, and the mystery and misdirection as to what was actually in it reminded me a lot of when the ACA was passed.

        The Freedom Caucus called the bluff or the notion that there were phases. In a strange twist of fate, they appeared to be the only ones actually forming an opinion on the bill based on anything other than party loyalty. Since they have no party loyalty, they didn’t play along for a $1 trillion tax break for wealthy companies and cuts to services to their own districts.

        Ryan left out those provisions because he knew that the bills they passed before wouldn’t pass the senate. They counted on Paul to defect and Cruz to play ball. But it was a great move to consolidate more moderate wins in those Freedom Caucus districts. They can now parade around that these people, who ran solely on Obamacare repeal, were instrumental in thwarting the one way it could be repealed quickly and efficiently. The Freedom Caucus will have a hard sell in their districts after this, especially for those with high Trump supporter numbers.

        If a lunatic wants to call himself Napoleon, you call him Napoleon. Nominal distinctions are pointless when the reality is the same which, in this case, is that they are liberals, will always be liberals, and will, if Tomi Lahren and “judge” Pirro are any indication, be supporting Medicad funded abortions in five to ten years, just as their opponents on the other side of the aisle is advocating the melding of dolphin DNA for the trans-speciesists. For, as Chesterton said in his usual sardonic style, “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @Stephen

          I don’t read minds. I tire of your lame insults. You have quoted Chesterton how many times now?

          Anyway, I don’t see much you said that merits discussion.

          The bill, BTW, was online.

          Given the bill they passed before (knowing that Obama would veto it) was stronger than the one that Speaker Ryan offered, it may be fair to say that Congressional Republicans have been duplicitous. Nevertheless, President Donald Trump is not a Conservative. So there was not much point in sending him a bill he would not sign. Given Trump endorsed Ryan’s bill and seemed to take the lead in breaking off negotiations, I suspect Trump has much to do with the fact that Ryan’s bill was not as strong a repeal as I would have liked.

          Politics is the art of the possible. Once Obamacare craters, more will be possible. So-called moderates will be alarmed by their angry constituents. They will be pressured “to do something”. The members of the Freedom Caucus, seeing Trump is willing to negotiate with the Democrat Liberals may fear being ignored and more willing to compromise. No politician wants to be ignored.

          Nobody knows what game Trump is playing, but I know this. Part of the art of negotiation is waiting for the right deal. What is I fear is that Conservatives missed their best opportunity. When they failed to back Trump’s play, they made him more dependent on “moderate” Republicans and Democrat Liberals. Like as not, whatever bill Congress passes now to “fix” Obamacare will repeal even less of it.

          What Conservative are not especially good at is accepting half a loaf now and fighting for the rest latter. I suppose that strikes too many as dishonest, but we have to remember government is a necessary evil. Because we are imperfect our creations are imperfect. Hence, our government, necessary though it may be, always contains defects, sometimes quite hideous defects.

          We must never forget that the Romans crucified Jesus, but the apostles still called upon Christians to obey and pray for those in power. They understood no government would have been worse than a bad government.


          1. “You have quoted Chesterton how many times now?” Like Thomas More, he is a man for all seasons.

            “… it may be fair to say that Congressional Republicans have been duplicitous.” Yup. In fact, the available facts suggest that this is the truth.

            “Nevertheless, President Donald Trump is not a Conservative. So there was not much point in sending him a bill he would not sign.” I suspect he would have signed any bill that fulfilled his contract with America. Thought and foresight don’t seem to be linchpins of his administration.

            “Politics is the art of the possible.” Quoting Otto von Bismark to a Catholic and Christian Democrat? That would be like quoting Mao to a Kuomintang or Kieth Ellison to a Tea Partier. It is ironic that you quote a Prussian authoritarian who is famous for his heavy handed attacks on freedom as evidence of why an ill-conceived bill should have been adopted against the will of a good portion of the American public represented by Democrats and the Freedom Caucus respectively. Also, Obamacare isn’t exploding.

            One thing is clear: Trump doesn’t like the Freedom Caucus. That won’t hurt his base because they are true believers. It will hurt his appeal to the conservatives like yourself who only voted for him because they thought the alternative was worse. What is becoming more and more clear–and I pointed out several times–he has more in common with Clinton than he does with Meadows or even Ryan.

            What I have actually admired about political conservatives is their unwillingness to compromise. They at least will stick to their principles, even though their principles are flawed. And in this case, I think they were right to reject the “phases” that no one could know about until phase one was complete. There is no reason to adopt poor legislation on the promise of better things down the road. What is the quote? “I will gladly pay you tomorrow for a cheeseburger today?” When the affects of proposed medication is predicated on someone else doing something very specific, we really shouldn’t risk millions of Americans.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. @Stephen

            Before you complain about the plank in someone else’s eye….

            Here is a more complete version of the quote.

            Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best. — Otto von Bismarck

            Was Bismarck a good man? Not my call. Did he understand politics? I don’t see much reason to doubt that he did. Moreover, he kept peace in Europe. He may have been authoritarian to the core, but he was not reckless. That includes his culture war with Catholics.

            Anyway, that’s enough about Bismarck.

            Politfact is not unbiased. The irony of relying on fact checkers is that we then need to fact check the fact checkers.

            Back to what this post is about. The Freedom Caucus is not that big. It gains its greatest leverage if Democrats do not have to be brought into the negotiations. Since the Democrats are so intransigent, there is little advantage in bringing them into the negotiations. The Democrats solution to fix Obamacare is nationalizing healthcare. Few Republicans want that.

            Unfortunately, the so-called “moderate” Republicans don’t differ from the Democrats as much as one might wish, and there are more of them. In addition, Trump is not a Conservative. So the Freedom Caucus either has to be more willing to compromise than the Democrats or give up any role deciding what the final product looks like. Therefore, the only question is how much the Freedom Caucus has to compromise to have a role.

            The goal here is to avoid the greater evil. Sometimes that is the best we can do.


          3. Actually, the quote is as you rendered it before, or in the original German found in the 1878 interview with Friedrich Meyer from Waldeck for Die Gartenlaube, “die Politik ist die Lehre vom Möglichen.”

            The politics Bismark knew were to pass restrictive laws on his enemies to consolidate power in the specifically Prussian and Lutheran spheres which, naturally, blew up in his face as the Catholic Centrist Party emerged and caused no shortage of trouble for him. Also, if you believe Bismark to be a shrewd politician, then why are you so against the welfare state as he is credited for creating the first of its kind? He is also largely responsible for the Triplice which largely contributed to the start of WWI.

            “Politfact is not unbiased.” Pray tell how they are biased. Most importantly, explain how what they said was untrue.

            “The Freedom Caucus is not that big.” It is big enough. Without it, the GOP only has 197 votes. They need at least 218 to pass something that doesn’t have democrat support, support which is toxic to both GOP and dem nowadays.

            “The Democrats solution to fix Obamacare is nationalizing healthcare.” Such an argument has not been made by the dem leadership in the house or senate. Rather, they advocate keeping Obamacare, which is a safe position to be in. Arguing for the nationalization of healthcare in the face of your one major legislative victory of the past 20 years being axed isn’t a sympathetic position.

            “So the Freedom Caucus either has to be more willing to compromise than the Democrats or give up any role deciding what the final product looks like.” As I pointed out before, the math works out for the Freedom Caucus. If they don’t endorse a bill, the GOP has to wrangle dems, which is equally if not more difficult. Preventing bad legislation is just as much the duty of a good legislator as getting bills passed. Let a thousand terrible bills die and a single good bill be passed; then I would call the Congress a success.

            “The goal here is to avoid the greater evil. Sometimes that is the best we can do.” And the Freedom Caucus did that.


          4. @Stephen

            Unless I agree with everything he ever did, I can’t quote Bismarck?

            I am not going to fact check so-called fact checkers. Waste of time.

            You like Obamacare? So you don’t want Republicans to agree on alternative. Thus, I find your defense of the Freedom Caucus insincere, to put it kindly.

            Since I generally agree with those guys, my difference with them has more to do with strategy and tactics than political philosophy.


          5. “Unless I agree with everything he ever did, I can’t quote Bismarck?” No, I am just saying that quoting an authoritarian defending his authoritarian position to create the tenuous and strained relations that inevitably led to the Great War isn’t something I would recommend to someone a) who is against authoritarianism and b) arguing against someone who’s theological and political patrimony basically began with Bismark’s Kulturekampf.

            I don’t like it. I like Trumpcare less though. I have much the same concerns as the Freedom Caucus. Just because I don’t like their solution, does not mean we don’t agree on the problems. As Representive Gomer said on Washington Journal this morning, we can’t yank subsidies without doing something to bring premiums down and we can’t grant more power to the DHS secretary. The Freedom Caucus stuck to the principle that they ran on i.e. they would not compromise to “get along” with the political establishment.


          6. @Stephen

            Blaming the Great War on Bismarck is a bit of a stretch, but I see nothing to gain from debating the matter. I will quote who I think appropriate anyway.

            I generally agree with the Freedom Caucus. I just hope they and Trump can work out a compromise. Without some give on both sides, there is no deal. Can they make you happy? Doubt it.


  4. I’ve been preoccupied and so my opinion could be uninformed, but here are my three thoughts.

    Despite Trump’s abilities to create a different context in Washington than was entrenched before, he still must contend with the dead weight of a government machine which is tenacious and plenty irritable just now. This is a good lesson for everybody on a steep learning curve.

    Despite Trump’s popularity and all that, it looks as though he was counting on a lot more willingness to trust than he had earned. You expect me to go along with passing something that is still basically Obamacare and then you expect me to –just trust you–that you’re going to have a Phase Two and Three and eventually it will be what we Conservatives want? Sorry Charlie, I’m not that stupid.

    Finally: Hey Republicans–are you telling me that you’ve been calling for the repeal of Obamacare for six to eight years and you weren’t working on the alternative?! They’ve had several years–or at least several months (since the election) to get something worked out. They’re useless.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. @madblog

      Tune out the mainstream news media. Think about the substance of what has actually happened.

      I supported Senator Ted Cruz. Let’s suppose Cruz is now our president. What could Cruz have done with respect to repealing and replacing Obamacare that would have been any better than what President Donald Trump proposed? Think about 60 votes in the Senate. That obstacle is real and concrete no matter who is trying to repeal and replace Obamacare.

      Let me remind you of what Trump has done and has been trying to do. His policies have almost uniformly been Conservative. Consider his VP and Supreme Court picks — his cabinet picks. His executive orders. The guy has been reaching out to us. He has moved in our direction without demanding we move in his.

      Should we trust Trump? Given the alternative, what do we have to lose? What other choice do we have? Given what Trump has been doing, if Trump loses, we lose too.

      The real battle will be over education reform, not healthcare reform. Education about the future. It affects how generations to come will vote. If Trump can keep the Democrats tied up at the Federal level and do something about illegal immigration and voter fraud, we can beat Democrat Liberals at the state level. We can achieve school choice. Given time, we can restore the desire of our people for a constitutional republic.

      If we don’t support Trump and allow Democrat Liberals to cripple him, we will regret it. If Democrats gain control again, it won’t be long before this country has no resemblance to a constitutional republic.


      1. Surrounded by enemies and conspiracies of enemies. I’m surprised you don’t live in a bunker Tom. 😏

        Sounds to me like all your problems are very First World, and that they are trivial from an historical and global standpoint. It’s pretty typical of us baby boomers though. Our parent’s generation came from real upheaval – the Great Depression, World Wide War and the daily possibility of nuclear apocalypse. They knew what real problems were and their generation solved many of them for us. They believed in expertise. They believed that better was not the enemy of perfect.

        As a result, we grew up pampered and privileged compared to our parents youth, compared to much of the rest of the world, and indeed, compared to most of the people of color in our own country. We never lacked for food, shelter and security. Our parent’s generation saw to it that we had opportunities for public education (decent enough to provide us both of us with more follow-on public and private education opportunities that lead to amazing public and private careers).

        Now, instead of counting our numerous blessings and trying to pass on the opportunity of those blessings to a wider society, to the greater world and to generations to come, many of us sense (imagined or real) some encroaching dread of loss of our privileged culture and status.

        Much of this mysterious sense of loss is imagined, but also much is actually real, although the causes are multifarious and complex. The prosperous middle class that was built in the first 70 years of the 20th Century is indeed collapsing due to many technological and economical factors. America is more rapidly than ever getting ethnically diverse and is, yes, browning.

        However, instead of dealing with these changes in a constructive fashion, you hope to turn back the clock to some romantic ideal of a time and place in America that actually never was. Our legal and social traditions that are American today were actually built in the dramatic technological, economic and political changes of the 20th Century, but you think that you want to live in some idealized version of 18th Century America, a time when only a few elite males could hold office and vote, a time when nearly one third of the population of our nation was enslaved and many of the rest were not much more than serfs.

        You have gotten your wish and now control all three branches of government. But stuck in this ideological dreamland that you can’t really go back to and therefore paralyzed from going forward, you wonder why your fellow Republicans can’t actually govern. I think that this is just the beginning of your disappointment.


        1. @Tony

          Dreamland? I control all three branches of government? When did I start dreaming that?

          Trump gets elected and you run off sulking. Trump has a “failure”, and you come back to crow and pound your chest. You spout windy nonsense that has nothing to do with anything.

          Even if Ted Cruz had been elected, I would not control the government. I am just like any other citizen, hoping the jackass I voted for won’t make a mess.

          Think about who you are talking to. I am trained as a scientist and engineer. I am no genius, but I have a fairly good understanding of the limits of genius. What you are mad about is I don’t share your delusions. I don’t believe there is anyone who can do what you want done.

          Is Trump a failure because one bill he supported failed to pass? You do understand that Obamacare is collapsing? You do understand that something has to replace it? You do understand Obamacare was designed that way? No, of course you don’t. You listen to experts. So when Republicans have trouble trying to defuse the Obamacare bomb, you crow and pound your chest.

          After either working in or for the government for almost four decades, I have a fairly good idea of what our government can and cannot do. And no, I don’t claim either a profound or a unique expertise. I have just observed what many others have noticed. When we make government too big and too important, the people become too small and too unimportant. This is a defect in human nature. This is the practical reason why government has to be limited. Without becoming the slaves of those who governed, we cannot give those who rule all our problems. Why don’t you understand that slavery is too high a price to pay for such “security”?

          What you and your ilk claim is that government must run “other people’s” lives, that we must elect kind and caring geniuses who can make the “system” work. Yet you don’t know enough, and you don’t have the right. We also cannot elect anyone who knows enough or has the right. Finally, there is that problem. Human nature. Power corrupts.

          Therefore, instead of spouting a bunch of silly psychobabble trying to explain what is wrong with Hillary’s so-called deplorables, why don’t you just explain what gives you the right to steal from others so you can rejigger the world to your own liking? Because government gives us our rights? Yeah. Sure. That’s the way it has always worked. No Nazis. No Communists. No Hitlers. No Stalins. Just kind and caring experts — geniuses — who annihilated any who dared to oppose them.


        1. I would stay away from conventionally realiable magazines and credible books by authoritative and highly credentialed authors as well, else we might risk exposing ourselves to an inconvenient truth or two. 😉


    2. Actually, a number of Republicans in Congress (including my Representative) have proposed better ideas. Their problem is not lack of ideas; their problem is too many ideas without consensus on any of them. This, I think, is why they had to take the legislation off the schedule for the time being.
      Rush a legislative body, you get bad legislation (with apologies to The Princess Bride). J.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. @Salvageable

        My guess is that Republicans could have repealed more specific parts of Obamacare in the bill than was the case. Too much was probably left to phase 2. Given the complexity of the Obamacare bill and the budget reconciliation process, Speaker Paul Ryan should have been more methodical than he was, but hindsight is 20-20.

        As you suggest, Republicans have been criticized for not having a plan, but they did have a plan. The problem is that they had multiple plans.

        What did the Democrats do to coalesce on Obamacare. Well, they did not follow regular order. For us to find out what was in the bill, they had to pass it. They lied a lot, and the news media helped them.


  5. My fear, or perhaps more aptly resignation, is that we are so fractured, so splintered that
    we the people have allowed ourselves to be castrated…
    we are so divided by yes, the civil war of which you speak Tom albeit mostly non-violent for now, that we the people are stuck in limbo due to the neutered bureaucratic system we’ve sat back and watch become our monster….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Julie (aka Cookie)

      We have a way out, but that way is not at the Federal level. We have to take the battle to our state and local governments.

      Here in Virginia we have Democrats for our governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. These men are plainly immoral and dangerous to the public good. Until such men are removed they will form a barrier to school choice. Yet we voted them into office when much better men were available. Why did we do that?

      Consider these two quotes from Edmund Burke.

      The first speaks to inaction.

      When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

      The second to a loss of wisdom and virtue.

      But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint. (Note: There is an older meaning of tuition. =>

      Christians must participate in the public square. We must help each other, and we must strive through teaching and example to instill in our children and each other the wisdom and the virtue of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think more time was needed for thoughtful conversations and, yes, some compromises and deals. That’s how politics works. When enough people have bought into the plan, it will come up for a vote. And it probably will be better than the one the were discussing this week. J.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You could be right. That was my hope when I wrote this post. If the Republican members ask Trump and Ryan to put the bill back on the table, that will vastly increase its chances for passage.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. The Democrats got 60 votes in the Senate, at least for awhile. We don’t have any choice except to do the same if we really want to get rid of it.


      1. Citizen,

        ObamaCare was passed by the Democrats using reconciliation. That wasn’t law, that was proclamation.

        If the Republicans were serious they would repeal ObamaCare in its entirety the same way it was passed, by proclamation (reconciliation).

        What will probably happen in the long run is that people like you and I (Trump voters) will get ever more angry and eventually vote the Democrats completely out of government.

        That’s the long game.

        I’m just breathing deeply and resolving to be patient for the long game.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @silenceofmind

          I am not certain that what the Democrats did was exactly according to the rules, but they generally don’t follow regular order anyway. And Establishment Republicans just think that is something to squawk about. When Democrats are in the majority, there is nothing Republicans can do about it. When Republicans are in the majority, the Democrats convince them not to hold grudges. Go figure.

          The Senate and the House both passed legislation related to Obamacare, but the bills were not identical. Then the Democrats lost their sixty-vote edge when the Republicans got a senator in Massachusetts. What that meant is that the Democrats could not stop a filibuster in the Senate. So what did they do?

          Since the House-passed healthcare reform bill and the Senate-passed bill were different, a conference committee was needed to work out the differences between the two bills and produce one compromised bill, which would have then had to pass both the House and the Senate. But on January 18, 2010, State Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) became a U.S. Senator when he won Senator Ted Kennedy’s old seat in a special election. No longer did the Democratically-controlled Senate have 60 votes to stop a filibuster. Scott Brown promised to be the vote that would stop Obamacare.

          Democrats had to scramble. Fortunately for them, there were reconciliation instructions in the Fiscal Year 2010 budget resolution instructing various committees to reduce healthcare spending. After weeks of internal debate, Democrats made the decision to use the reconciliation process to make changes to the Senate-passed bill. The Senate bill, H.R. 3590, was passed in the House on March 21, 2010, soon followed by H.R. 4872, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, which made changes to ACA that the House wanted. The reconciliation bill went to the Senate where additional changes to ACA were made; because it was a reconciliation bill, only a simple majority was necessary to pass the bill. The bill was then sent back to the House, where it was agreed to and sent to the President for his signature. This reconciliation bill provided, in a sense, a conference committee by default. As a result of these actions, ACA is formed from two pieces of legislation, H.R. 3590 and H.R. 4872. (=>

          Obamacare may not be constitutional, but I think the Democrats have a bill that was passed according to proper procedures. The key is that the House had to adopt the Senate’s bill.


  7. I hope Trump moves on to the economy now. Obama spent the first two years to pass Obamacare and ignored the economy.

    Trump will now blame the Democrats and the Republican Congressmen who refused to support Ryan. When Obamacare premiums continue to rise and anger more people, hopefully the opposition will be voted out in the next election.

    Obamacare can only succeed if the tax penalties for young who refuse to join get really high. Once that happens, the voters will become so angry that anyone in Congress who supports Obamacare will be voted out in the next election.

    Fair Trade and economy jobs is what we need to fix more than Obamacare, in my opinion.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.


    1. Sometimes we wait, and we move onto something else. Trump isn’t going to waste energy. He has made his point. He tried, and the stubborn would not budge, at least not yet.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. He tried. Hard to convince anyone to give up something that benefits them at someone else’s expense. Or if they have nothing to lose when our nation goes bankrupt.

        Regards and goodwill blogging.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. “Trump will now blame the Democrats and the Republican Congressmen who refused to support Ryan. When Obamacare premiums continue to rise and anger more people, hopefully the opposition will be voted out in the next election.”

      The funny part of this is that the Republicans are their own worst opposition these days, so I hope you are right Insanitybites and they do get voted out. I’m sure he’ll try (and it may even work for his blindest followers), but good luck with Trump blaiming Democrats for his own fails now. I think that that ship may have failed back in November. Now Trump and Ryan own them all. For real leaders, the buck can’t always stop somewhere else you know.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @Tony

        Talk about blind. That’s funny. Look who you replied to. It was not Insanitybites.

        Trump and Ryan own a bill that did not pass and the no Democrat supported. They don’t own anything. It is still Obamacare, and that is what you are crowing about. It is crow you will eat.


      2. Sooner or later, reality will solve the battle of Obamacare. Reality being the costs.
        In the meantime, all the politicians’ pro and con fixes are nothing more than chasing the wind. No matter how many different angles they come to know about Obamacare, the reality will result in the same conclusion, the cost versus the amount a person can afford to pay.

        When the costs of medical providers is balanced with the wages paid to workers, only then Obamacare or any other medical plan will succeed. In my opinion, politicians in the USA will only compromise when a there is a crisis.

        The reality is Obamacare will result in a crisis when the average family can no longer afford the premiums. When that occurs, the politicians and medical providers will compromise to reduce both the costs and the services being provided now under Obamacare.

        The result will be the same as always throughout history. The person with the most money will have access to better medical care regardless of any medical plan now in existence in the world.

        Regards and goodwill blogging.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @scatterwisdom

          Well, if crisis is required for change, we shall so have one. Who was that guy who talked about not letting a good crisis go to waste? I seem to recall he worked for a guy named Obama.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorry,Tom. It’s a frustrating thing indeed.

    On the bright side, the Trump administration did manage to sign the hardship clause, which does wave our family’s fines for non compliance. I actually got a letter the other day and it felt much like winning the lottery, so I am rather pleased. As far as immediate relief goes, that one was at the top of my list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Catastrophic Republican fail! Thank God.

      None of what you want will happen Tom. Why? Because it was easy to unite behind the “Party of No”. It’s much harder to get to “yes”. It’s tougher to govern than to block. Most Republicans don’t know how to do anything but cast down boiling oil from ideological high towers so now they are pouring that hot ideological liquid inside instead of out. This did not fail because of the Senate – it, thankfully, failed because your Party is crippled by its ownideologues.

      By way of a more general explaination, here is a great article from “Foriegn Affairs” that illustrates better than anything that I have read in a while what the Trump “revolt” has been all about:

      It’s not intellectual and it is not even really ideological. It’s emotional. I’m curious if you see any of yourself in most of those Jacksonian sentiments.


      1. @Tony

        Catastrophic Republican fail? Nothing like stupid hyperbole. We are in the midst of a civil war. Nonviolent at this point fortunately. Catastrophic is losing a battle and leaving tens of thousands of dead on the field.

        Nevertheless, Obamacare may have its fatalities. Life expectancy has dropped.
        Why? Well, NPR doesn’t know.


        1. I’m surprised that you still know what hyperbole looks like? Perhaps you have not been listening to yourself and your fellow Republicans for the past eight years, especially in reference to Obamacare.

          Now you control all three branches of government – whatever hyperbole happens, you OWN it, including Obamacare. If health insurance succeeds or fails, it’s on your boys’ watch now.

          Only 17 percent of Americans polled recently had a favorable view of your Republican replacement. That’s why it failed. It was because ideologues in safe districts were two pure; not because your Party was not pure enough. Actually governing takes tough compromises and consensus rather than just attacks and name calling. Good luck with Republicans being able to do that anytime soon.


          1. @Tony

            Here is an example. You are crowing about Trump’s failure, but you have said nothing about the character of what exactly it was that failed. You are relieved it failed, but if had succeeded what would you have lost. You don’t really know.


        2. There seems to be a possible answer now. Researchers have looked into who exactly is dying, of what cause, and hypothise about the reason for the trend they found.

          Deaths of Despair (i.e. deaths from suicide, alcohol/drug abuse) have been on a strong, steady rise among non-hispanic whites w/o college degree since around 2000. The researchers interviewed suspect this to be a consequence of the decline of the blue-collar labor market and the resulting social dysfunction.

          If you go back to the early ’70s when you had the so-called blue-collar aristocrats, those jobs have slowly crumbled away and many more men are finding themselves in a much more hostile labor market with lower wages, lower quality and less permanent jobs. That’s made it harder for them to get married. They don’t get to know their own kids. There’s a lot of social dysfunction building up over time. There’s a sense that these people have lost this sense of status and belonging. And these are classic preconditions for suicide.

          More details can be found in the study itself

          Liked by 1 person

          1. @marmoewp

            I guess I should be grateful to have a statistician reading my blog. You do come up with some interesting stuff. It is probably worth doing a post on this. If you don’t use it, I will.

            The study is interesting, but the phrases academics come up with can be terribly funny. The phrase “blue-collar aristocrats” sounds like either overpaid union workers or an oxymoron.

            Of course, I know enough to be a bit suspect of the social conclusions we reach via statistics. It is difficult to test a hypothesis derived from such statistics.

            Anyway, if I understand you correctly, here is the problem. We put Democrat Liberals in charge of our country. The public policies implemented by Democrat Liberals led to a significant increase in despairing blue-collar workers. Basically, the policies implemented by Democrat Liberals may as well have been designed to punish “blue-collar aristocrats”.

            Realizing their mistake, it seems those “blue-collar aristocrats” decided to vote for Trump.


        3. I do not plan on writing an article about the study, so feel free to give it a go.

          For the most part, I have only skimmed the study’s diagrams and have relied on the NPR summary/interview. I’d be wary of using the study to put the blame on one political party, as e.g. the increase in mortality rates started in about 2000, with Rupublican House, Senate and President, IIRC. Since about 2000, we have for example seen tremendous advances in automation, which kills blue-collar jobs – who would you want to “blame” for that? During roughly the same period the prescription of OxyContin rose sharply, the pain-killer that turned out to be a highway to drug-abuse. Again, which party would you blame for this, if at all, and why? The authors also point out that between 1995 and 2016 the share of people w/o college education has gone down so much, that the no-college cohorts at both points of time need not necessarily be comparable.

          Soooo, while I’d be wary to turn this into a blame game, blue-collar workers have indeed suffered economically since the 1990s at a minimum and seem to have turned to Trump for hope, as you have stated in your comment. We’ll see, whether or not Trump can deliver.


          1. @marmoewp

            The increase in mortality rates is symptomatic of many other societal issues. The issues are the sort no one can fix by himself.

            Over the years every society begins to accumulate customs, regulations, and laws that either don’t serve a purpose or actually hinder it. Unfortunately, those things can be difficult to get rid of. Think back to slavery or serfdom. Bad ideas, but the slave masters did not think so.

            Eventually the disagreement over slavery (the major cause of the divisions between the North and the South) in the United States led to a crisis, a bloody war. Was slavery the only custom, regulation, or law that had passed away by the end of that war? No. Slavery was just the big one. There were also disputes over tariffs, for example.

            So I agree that it oversimplifies the matter to attribute the increase in mortality rates to just one cause. Nevertheless, Obamacare is certainly one of the bigger messes hindering our society.


        4. What I forgot to mention previously: no, I’m not a statistician, but a physicist with a side order of extra math. I picked up the study on the front page of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, i.e. it was found to be newsworthy in Germany, too.

          Liked by 1 person

        1. I think that they will let you read the article for free if you sign in. I still get Foriegn Affairs on my Kindle though so I’m not sure. Another great article in the April issue is “How America Lost Faith in Expertise” by Tom Nichols. A careful reading of both these articles together kind of sums up our recent American experience.


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