Apparently, when Jamelle Bouie of the Daily Beast was a child, he never read the bedtime story “The Little Red Hen.” For those who need a plot refresher, the eponymous protagonist tries to enlist the help of other farm creatures in harvesting, threshing, and milling wheat into flour, then baking the flour into bread. She gets no takers until the finished loaf emerges from the oven, hot and fragrant, at which point the other creatures are eager for a slice. The vindictive hen tells them, “If any would not work, neither should he eat.”
The reverse of this tale applies to the history of the Affordable Care Act. Republicans in Congress were eager to get down into the weeds with Democrats in the figurative harvesting, threshing, milling, and so on of the legislation but were disinvited by the Dems, who controlled both houses. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, at the time a Congressman, offered a lengthy list of GOP ideas for healthcare reform, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined. Instead, she and her cohorts went ahead crafting a partisan wish list behind closed doors while Senate Leader Harry Reid did the same with his own cronies.
What emerged from a conference between the two chambers was a piece of legislation so alien to Republican ideals that not one member of the party was willing to vote for it in either house. The bill was so radically left-leaning in its goals and ambitions that the Senate was forced to resort to parliamentary tricks to get enough Democratic votes to pass it.
In the months to come, Republicans sent up numerous warning flares, citing flaws in the law that would come back to the bite the administration and legislators who signed off on it. They were ridiculed as obstructionists and fools.
Flash forward to now. The law is far worse than anyone could have imagined. In a memo on Friday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp noted that the number of people who have lost individual health insurance coverage due to Obamacare is 185 times the number of people who have selected an insurance plan on the federal Obamacare exchange.
So who is to blame? According to Bouie and his ilk, it’s the Republicans. Bouie states peevishly that the Affordable Care Act has always “needed GOP cooperation to succeed,” and he is bitter that Republicans in Congress are refusing it even as the problems with the law and its execution grow exponentially.
He offers specific grievances — he complains, for example, that Republicans are discouraging Americans from dealing with the navigators, some of whom have been proven to be unscrupulous — but most of his rant is general. He writes:
What’s frustrating about the current conversation over Obamacare is the extent to which there’s been collective amnesia regarding the GOP’s categorical opposition to the law.
Amensia on the part of whom he never specifies. Republican opposition, which included some 40 House bills to defund, repeal, and/or delay the law, has been heavily documented. What’s more baffling still is that Bouie laments GOP opposition at a time when the natives in his own party grow more restless by the day. The National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar was an article today headlined “Dems may begin calling for repeal if Obamacare’s problems don’t get fixed soon.”
Bouie is not the only voice on the left grumbling about the GOP’s refusal to help the once-arrogant Democrats rescue a failing law and an even more arrogant president whose legacy is looking increasingly destined to be one of failure. But the volume of his j’accuses are abnormally brash. They would be hilarious if they weren’t so utterly pathetic.
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