Around 4 p.m. yesterday, within minutes of the announcement from the Trump administration that there would be no vote on the American Health Care Act, two things occurred. One was a mass exhalation from concerned Americans who had been following the dubious progress of this misbegotten bill. The other was a mad scramble by ranking Democrats in Congress to read their prepared statements before waiting cameras.
All of them carried the same sense of pseudo-vindication. But none went further in misconstruing a GOP setback as a Democratic victory than the remarks by onetime House speaker and Obamacare architect Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.).
At 0:17 in the video that follows, she observes:
Yesterday … was the seven-year anniversary of the president’s signing the bill…. Today is a great day for our country. Victory. What happened on the floor was a victory for the American people, for our seniors, for people with disabilities, for our children, for our veterans.
Pelosi goes on to wax rhapsodic about how the unity of House Democrats played an important role in stripping the bill of votes needed to pass. That’s delusional. Opposition by the House Democrats had nothing to do with yesterday’s decision. The bill was withdrawn before a vote could be held mainly because cooler heads prevailed at the eleventh hour and recognized the many potential landmines built into the AHCA. Even with sufficient votes to pass, the legislation would have saddled the GOP with its own set of nightmarish Obamacare-style problems.
In short, the Republicans did yesterday precisely what Pelosi’s party should have done in 2010.
If the American people can claim a victory based on yesterday’s developments, it is not that new life has been breathed into the wildly unpopular and rapidly failing Obamacare. It is, rather, the sense of optimism signaled in this piece by J.E. Dyer, which acknowledges that Republicans have “broken the spell of old-consensus politics … by not being afraid to act contrary to what old-consensus politics would dictate.”
As for Pelosi’s Democrats, they will remain at least for now the party of no, who sits by and watches in impotent rage as the bill they cobbled together without a single GOP vote breathes its last.