Who’s Crying Now? I Mean, Other Than Paul Ryan

by Belle Waring on March 27, 2017

So I think we’re all breathing a little easier now that the truly astonishingly terrible AHCA (aka TRUMPCARE) has gone down in flames. Paul Ryan has made hundreds enemies and no friends, having managed to come up with a bill hated by both the I-might-get-voted-out-most and hating-poor-people-most wings of his party and then fail. Certainly Trump is upset insofar as it makes him look like a HUGE LOSER, and is lashing out at everyone and everything. He’s probably tweeting at this very moment about how the bill’s failure to pass can be laid at the feet of an elephant-shaped paperweight on his desk. When he threw it at a scarecrow Bannon hastily constructed for him out of pillows and inside-out Breitbart T-shirts that has “Freedom Cacus” scrawled on it in gold sharpie, the paperweight fell against the hearth and shattered, not in the fashion of the GENUINE COSTLY JADE McConnell assured him it was but like CHEAP SOAPSTONE. Some welcome and good luck present from the Republican Establishment that turned out to be. SAD! But is anyone else particularly broken up about it? Trump-organ Breitbart (not linking tho) itself has drawn the knives out for that spineless cuck Ryan (and Trump appears to be heading in this direction.) However I don’t see a lot of wailing or gnashing of teeth in any actual “our precious bill didn’t pass” way. John and I have made our sickly rounds of right-wing sites, and, as John noted even in his current feverish state, no one seems particularly upset about the failure (like, he has an actual fever; our reading of right-wing sites merely emblematizes a spiritual sickness). Some are saying “great; it wasn’t conservative enough.” No one seems to be coming out and saying “it broke all Trump’s campaign promises and would have made a bunch of the voters that pushed him to the presidency way worse off, and immediately, so they would notice by 2018, and we’d be screwed, so, dodged a bullet there,” although they have to be thinking it. What say ye, Plain People of Crooked Timber? Are there any conservatives who are rueful about the failure of their awesome bill, which was great on the merits?



rm 03.27.17 at 12:01 pm

I won’t look, but surely the fever swamp people are thinking that Ryan betrayed their Dear Leader, who will have to fire him in order to make great deals. There is no law, I think, which says the Speaker of the House has to be an elected member of the House, so maybe they are expecting one of Shitgibbon’s minions to be sent to manage it like a money-laundering casino. Then the best deals will be made, banana-republic style.

This is my Theory of Mind about them. It goes without saying they don’t know how anything works.


Jake Gibson 03.27.17 at 12:32 pm

I have been guaranteed by conservatives that a better bill will passed later.
Of course they are currently hoping for a transfer of wealth to the wealthy disguised as tax reform.


bob mcmanus 03.27.17 at 12:40 pm

Well, Ryan’s purpose was largely to finance under the arcane budget rules a yuuuge tax cut, but we may be now at the point that American healthcare is so profitable for so many and such a large part of the economy and finance that the loss of income from Ryan’s spending cuts would no longer be compensated by tax cuts. If 20% of their income comes from expanded Medicaid and pharmaceutical dividends, a 10% tax cut won’t be worth it.

Of course as a commonist brocialist I take the position that a Republican, at least the elite fascists, would take a nice check to stop stomping women and minorities, but I understand that economism isn’t for everyone.

We still have “tax reform” and the debt ceiling coming up, so there is still a possibility that the fascists believe they can keep their healthcare profits and get a huge tax cut and bankrupt the gov’t and crash the global economy anyway. This might involve saying to hell with the offset rules. Remains to be seen.


Glen Tomkins 03.27.17 at 1:51 pm

The conservative movement in the US is just a bundle of resentments harnessed to the service of the owners. None of them, even those who claim some sort of ideological commitment, care enough about public policy to have even thought through their adherence to whatever they claim to believe, “the freedom agenda” for example, sufficiently to yield any actual public policy in any area. Of course they aren’t happy or sad over the AHCA itself, over anything but the slipping prospects for using the ACA repeal to humiliate people like the denizens of this site.

To be fair, I wouldn’t be happy or sad to see the ACA go the way of all flesh myself. It doesn’t embody in public policy anything I believe in either. An NHI or an NHS would be something I could actually believe in, but only if it turns away from Managed Care. It matters less whether the public or some private intermediary administers whatever system we have, than whether the system is administered in the interest of the payer rather than the patients and individual providers.

The reason the owners aren’t excited about the difference between the ACA and the AHCA is that both leave the industry in the driver’s seat. If anything, the AHCA is a step backward for them, less in the way of socialization of the risks and privatization of the profits.

The logical end point for the owners would be a form of single payer in which the govt is the ultimate payer, but private industry administers the whole thing, inserting rent collection points like there’s no tomorrow — Medicare Advantage for All, if you will. That would be the rentier paradise, “from each beyond their means (if they want to go on breathing), to the owners as much as they want”.

I’m not predicting they’ll actually get there, at least under Trump. But that is where entropy is leading the US system.


Anarcissie 03.27.17 at 2:21 pm

Yes, Trump and company certainly dodged a bullet if not a freight train there. I imagine hating Obamacare was mostly a pastime rather than a serious opinion about policy. The rightist folk I have spoken to, like the near Left, seem to recognize that Obamacare is about as much as the rich are going to let have, and there is not much they can do about it.


JimV 03.27.17 at 2:49 pm

I’m not cheering yet. Ryan lost some of the status that he never should have had in the first place. Trump has a Plan B: wreck the Affordable Care Act from the inside, via the administrators he puts in charge of it, as he is doing with the Departments of Justice, Labor, HHS, and Education. Meanwhile another US air strike killed over 100 people in Mosul, Iraq.


Pavel A 03.27.17 at 11:40 pm

This is just the beginning. Expect the “ratchet of failure” to be deployed next. Republicans will do everything in their power to undermine the functioning of the ACA. The worse the ACA looks, the more they’ll be able to blame it on the general failure of government programs and the greater excuse they’ll have to make further cuts to it. This is going to be long, bloody and unpleasant. As for Republicans, many of them are clearly past the point of caring about human life (unless it’s microscopic, of course), so don’t expect them to shed any tears.

I guess another way to put it is: don’t get sick.


Gabriel 03.28.17 at 1:42 am

I’m sure it was used ironically and/or to show that we are all hip with what the young folks are saying, but ‘cuck’? Can we not? Please?


js. 03.28.17 at 3:45 am

I’m still crying tho. I mean, yes, the defeat of AHCA is a good thing—an extremely good thing. On the other hand, expanded aggressive deportations (from a baseline that was already awful), ripping up environmental protections, black and brown people getting shot and killed by white supremacists. What’s not to cry about?


christian_h 03.28.17 at 5:30 am

I lost a fist fight yesterday because the other guy just wouldn’t punch himself in the face! Can you believe the cheek? Sad.


Peter T 03.28.17 at 9:15 am

Answering would require me to wade through acres of sewage so, sorry, I cannot answer your very elegantly posed question.


oldster 03.28.17 at 12:53 pm

AHCA lost, in part, because of people who phoned up and yelled.

You need to keep phoning and yelling (and town-halling and marching).

Before Friday, the message was, “do not repeal Obamacare, or you will own the consequences.”

Now the message has to be, “fully fund Obamacare, or you will own the consequences.”

Because we kept up sustained pressure, the Republicans buckled. It damaged both Trump and Ryan a lot. They were both revealed as incompetents. Trump bluffed several times and did nothing when his bluff was called. This will undermine their power, a lot, going down the road.

But we need to keep up the pressure on all fronts.

Remember: we are facing a movement that throughout 70 years has never rested in its hatred of Social Security, and would gladly tear it down tomorrow if it could. They are not going to stop hating Obamacare after a minor setback. They don’t forget, and they don’t stop. They live to hurt the working poor and loot the Treasury.

So phone your reps today.


anymouse 03.28.17 at 3:15 pm

Once you concede that the ratchet only turns left you are already 1/2 way to losing.

It’s good not to want to create crappy entitlement programs, but if once they are created you cannot repeal them, because you want to be re-elected, and the American public loves their own personal crappy entitlement programs, long term you are in trouble.

(Doesn’t save lives, certainly the medicaid portion doesn’t, and the average transferee probably values the product at well under 50 cents on the dollar.)

Rube Goldberg Contraptions are hard to build even if they might be useful. Obama probably didn’t get his right and it will eventually die without an endless line of dump trucks pouring an endless stream of money into it.

If you want you can give a small push and hasten it’s collapse. Heck you barely have to brush up against it and it will probably collapse. Rightly blame Obama and take your time trying to build your own Rube Goldberg Contraption.

So given that a good portion of Republicans have 1/2 conceded, it is the best possible outcome. If you are going to do it, take your time and do it right, or just don’t do it.


Jake Gibson 03.28.17 at 10:16 pm

Gabriel, ??

Is it that offensive.


Anarcissie 03.29.17 at 4:31 am

It’s so 2015.


casmilus 03.29.17 at 9:39 am

What we’re learning from Brexit and the Trump travails is that it’s possible for Angry White Men With Serious Faces to chunter on about issues for several years, yet the moment they have power to do something about them, they haven’t got a clue. Apart from “smash everything, and it will be better afterwards, somehow”.

This is really the mentality of the anti-capitalist protest group, except propounded by smart boys in nice suits rather than green-haired body-pierced trust funders. It’s confusing to anyone who thought that the whole point of the Tory and Republican Parties was to be basically competent in managing “the real world”, which they understood, and not in the grip of wild fantasies of changing everything at once.


rea 03.29.17 at 5:20 pm

Is it that offensive?

Of course it is–don’t you know what it means?


J-D 03.30.17 at 12:10 am

What we’re learning from Brexit and the Trump travails is that it’s possible for Angry White Men With Serious Faces to chunter on about issues for several years, yet the moment they have power to do something about them, they haven’t got a clue. Apart from “smash everything, and it will be better afterwards, somehow”.

This is really the mentality of the anti-capitalist protest group, except propounded by smart boys in nice suits rather than green-haired body-pierced trust funders. It’s confusing to anyone who thought that the whole point of the Tory and Republican Parties was to be basically competent in managing “the real world”, which they understood, and not in the grip of wild fantasies of changing everything at once.

If we’re agreed that a condition of embittered resentment is not conducive to good policy decisions or good management, the question that comes to my mind is: What emotional state is conducive to good policy decisions and good management?


Joel W 03.30.17 at 3:18 am

I don’t get why people call it TrumpCare? He had exactly nothing to do with it, by design. Part of his plan was to expose Ryan for the sell-out fraud we all know he is, and it was executed perfectly. Art of the Deal people. This is just the first step. More to follow.


Chet Murthy 03.30.17 at 3:28 am

anonymouse@15: There are words that describe you, but they’re unfit for a family-oriented blog.

First, every day, I see poorer people getting around, with canes, or limping, or in wheelchairs.. And we know that poor people suffer all sorts of health problems, that affect the quality of their lives. It is the HEIGHT of inhumanity to suggest that as long as they don’t literally -die- before your eyes, we need do no more for them.

Second, it is well-understood that someone who suffers from various chronic medical conditions (diabetes, hypertension, etc) for decades, WILL die sooner. Sure, it ‘s much less likely to happen before age 65 (at which point, they’re on Medicare, so the death doesn’t count as happening on Medicaid, or an ACA plan, or uninsured). But as sure as night follows day, those people’s deaths were caused by their poor health for the many years prior.

You -want- to grind them up for hamburger, but you’re too much of a coward to admit it.


Chet Murthy 03.30.17 at 3:28 am

Ugh. s/anonymouse@15/anonymouse@13/


P O'Neill 03.30.17 at 3:48 am

Karl Rove! In Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, he defends the bill and rues its demise. The article is paywalled, but here’s a sample:

These claims [Freedom Caucus] confused the grass roots but were simply untrue. Look at the legislation’s text, which canceled ObamaCare’s insurance exchanges, halted and reversed its Medicaid expansion, killed its taxes, and whacked its individual and employer mandates.


faustusnotes 03.30.17 at 6:12 am

It seems unlikely that the Repubs can screw Obamacare through executive action even if they were competent enough to sign one that made sense, and it seems to me that the battle on Obamacare is over and the GOP lost comprehensively. The main question now to me is which red state will wave the flag of surrender first and jump on the medicaid expansion. Vox thinks it will be Kansas but it sounds like the Virginia governor is giving the Repubs in his state a right spanking over their continued refusal to get on board. Thanks to the wonders of Krazy Kaukus economics some of those red states desperately need the extra funds that come with the expansion, and if next year they realize they’re staring at the impending wipeout of a wave election they may decide that the expansion is their only lifeline.

So as far as I can tell, it looks like the biggest redistribution of money from the rich to the poor in a generation is now fixed, and all the rest of the GOP’s legislative agenda is in chaos because of it. Obama 1- crazy religious nutjob traitors 0.


William Burns 03.30.17 at 10:05 am

Spare a moment to shed an ironic tear for Mitch McConnell, the most adept politician in Washington, now forced to work with Trump and Ryan–like a basketball team composed of Lebron, three junior high benchwarmers, and me.


Neel Krishnaswami 03.30.17 at 12:54 pm

Of course it is–don’t you know what it means?

He probably doesn’t! I was fortunate enough to avoid learning what it meant until early autumn last year.

Jake, if you don’t know, I advise not Googling it, since it leads into a recursive fractal of racism and sexism that will only make you depressed. You will be happier looking for images of tiny baby goats instead.


Clay Shirky 03.31.17 at 1:50 am

One way to look at this is to ask, for each (R) House member, if they are better off than if the bill passed?

I can’t think of a single representative for whom the answer could be anything but Yes, with the possible exception of Paul Ryan, who has the only quasi-national position in an otherwise regional assembly.

They spent half a dozen years making money by telling their constituents that they were voting to repeal the ACA. Were they to succeed, the fund-raising letters would stop. (A friend in DC says that for many Republicans, the ACA was the single most reliable fund-raising tool they had, for three full congressional cycles.)

Add to that the fact that if they repeal the Affordable Care Act, care becomes less affordable for many of their constituents — disproportionately, in fact, for the residents of Trump-favoring states. And Trump further wrecked the deal, but insisting that the replacement would provide more of the things that makes the current program popular in fact, if not in name.

Once Trump made entitlements safe for a Republican to brag about, it was over. The GOP can’t even propose throwing people off health care in the name of ideological purity anymore — the leftward turn of the ratchet in the direction of ‘children covered until 26’ and ‘no rejection for pre-existing conditions’ will never be reversed.

The practical effect of those two new norms is that the ACA will not be allowed to collapse, because even Republican constituents who demand that ‘Obamacare’ must be repealed have quickly come to regard preservation of those two conditions as non-negotiable. And once those are non-partisan principles, healthy individuals must be forced into the system, through taxes or mandates.

It would be political suicide to explain to GOP voters that our legal system does not recognize a category called ‘the undeserving poor’, so the desired policy — a racist welfare state — cannot be easily achieved. Instead, the Republican have now fitfully but effectively worked their way back to the paradise of 2010-2016, where they could stand foursquare against taking even one step down the road to serfdom, while actually allowing an expansion of medical benefits.

All that, though, is a sideshow to the main event of last week, which is evidence that the lowliest representative from Taint County, AR knows that their power comes from not doing actual things that would anger their voters, and that nothing Trump can deliver in the way of rhetorical satisfaction would be worth risking facing that anger back home.

This outcome, thankfully, lets them go back to writing fundraising letters, the work they aspired to do when they ran for election in the first place.

Also, co-sign @Gabriel in the ‘can we not?’ department…

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