The response from President Donald Trump to the defeat of the Senate Republican healthcare bill was nothing less than astounding. “Let Obamacare fail,” Trump declared. “I’m not going to own it.”
Wait a minute. What in the world is going on here? Our very own President is going to sit back and intentionally allow the national health insurance system to fail? But this would devastate millions of Americans.
How can this be? Elected politicians are supposed to solve problems for us, not deliberately create problems.
Well, not Republicans. You see, they view the world in an entirely different way. To understand this, you must enter the mind of the Republican and peer out through their lens.
The first concern in the mind of an honorable politician should be: “How can I improve the lives of other people?” This leads them to develop proposals to solve problems. The best proposals will appeal to the most people, and these politicians will be elected to office. This is how the system is supposed to work. Politicians with good ideas that help other people are then entrusted with political power.
Republicans, however, see the world very differently. The first concern in their minds is: “How can I seize power for myself!?” They are not concerned with solving problems for other people.
To them, seizing power in itself – winning – is the only objective. It does not matter how that power is actually attained. It is immaterial whether victory is achieved by solving problems for other people, deceiving other people, waging dirty tricks, or even harming other people.
In this upside down world, a good idea proposed by someone else (like Obamacare) is viewed by Republicans as bad. The good idea must be attacked and destroyed at all cost because it poses a threat to their own power. It does not matter one bit what is best for the people they represent.
This backward worldview leads to very bad outcomes for the common people across the land. Good ideas are suppressed, truth is distorted, and solutions are blocked.
Instead of proposing their own competing ideas and allowing the voters to decide which is best, Republicans have increasingly become the party of sabotage. The game plan is attack, deceive, and dissemble. We have seen this over and over again.
When Barack Obama was first elected president in 2008, for example, the Republicans adopted a strategy of complete obstruction by vowing to oppose anything and everything proposed by President Obama. The ideas themselves did not matter, even if Obama happened to propose something good. Nope. Doesn’t matter. Block everything. Create massive gridlock.
The Republicans did not care one whit that this would be enormously harmful to millions of Americans. They just wanted to regain the presidency for themselves.
The government shutdown of 2013 is another example. This little scheme was led by Republican Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx). The idea was to shut down the government, impose enormous hardship upon millions of Americans, create frustration and rage throughout the nation, and then attempt to blame it all on President Obama.
Again, the Republicans did not care one bit about all the pain and suffering they would impose upon the people by shutting down the government. To them, gaining power is what counts, not actually solving problems. As the government shutdown demonstrated, the Republicans were perfectly willing to create problems for the people in order to seize political power for themselves.
Obamacare is another example. This is a twisted tale that landed the Republicans in the mess that engulfs them today.
Back when Obamacare was being developed, President Obama tried mightily to include Republicans in the process. He held countless bi-partisan hearings and meetings. And he shared credit by selflessly emphasizing that the Obamacare exchanges were based upon Republican ideas from the Heritage Foundation, and that Obamacare was modeled upon the Massachusetts program implemented under the Republican governor Mitt Romney.
But it did not matter. The Republicans refused to cooperate. Instead, they adopted the political strategy of opposing Obamacare so they could turn it into a political issue and run against it after it passed, even if Obamacare in fact benefitted people.
It’s easy to forget today, but Obamacare actually fixed many of the drastic problems that plagued the broken health insurance system that previously existed. Before Obamacare, if you had a pre-existing condition, you could not obtain insurance at all. Even without a pre-existing condition, insurance policies imposed annual and lifetime limits on coverage, so if you fell ill and your treatment was extremely expensive, you would lose coverage right when you needed it the most. Also, the market was a confusing mess because different polices from different insurance companies excluded different treatments from coverage. And you were entirely dependent upon your job for your healthcare coverage, so if you lost your job, you also lost your healthcare.
Obamacare came along and fixed all of this. So despite the imperfections, we are all in a far better position under Obamacare than before it existed.
Nevertheless, when Obamacare was enacted, the Republicans launched their assault against it. And the assault was relentless. It was a constant barrage of attacks. Many of them were not substantive or rational, but instead were unsubstantiated insults, like that it was a disaster, un-American, or destroying the country.
The Republican attacks were clearly motivated purely by politics. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives kept voting over and over again to repeal Obamacare. In fact, they voted to repeal it more than 50 times.
This was no more than a cheap political stunt because they knew full well that their bills would never become law as President Obama would simply veto them if they ever reached his desk. But they did it anyway, over and over again, vowing that they were sincere.
Of course, they were not sincere. In fact, they were lying. The Republicans never had any sort of a plan that would replace Obamacare upon its repeal. But that did not stop them because this was part of their coordinated political strategy of attacking Obamacare purely to win political power.
The 2016 election of Donald Trump as president changed everything. The Republicans did not expect to win the presidency. Suddenly, however, the Republicans found themselves in control of the White House as well as both chambers of Congress. This may seem like a blessing, but it also presented a huge problem.
For the prior seven years, Republicans had been railing against Obamacare and claiming that Republicans must be elected in order to save the nation by repealing Obamacare and replacing it with their better plan. But, of course, they never had a better plan. They never had any plan at all.
Suddenly, the Republicans were in a pickle. They gained power, but they had no plan.
This was a crisis of their own creation. Once again, they obtained power through a political scheme instead of by offering real solutions for people.
Panic set in and they embarked upon a mad scramble to create a healthcare plan as fast as they could. After having railed against Obamacare so strenuously for so many years, they were terrified that if they did not “repeal and replace” Obamacare with something, anything, no matter how atrocious, they would be tossed out of office on their ears.
Well, of course, the Trumpcare plan they devised is an utter abomination. And it is wildly unpopular. One poll measured its support nationally at only 12 percent. Dismal indeed.
It is no wonder that their plan is so unpopular. Trumpcare throws some 22 million people off of health coverage entirely. For people fortunate enough to obtain health insurance, Trumpcare guts Obamacare’s protection for people with pre-existing conditions. And Trumpcare enables insurance companies to exclude all sorts of coverages, which would take us back to the dark days of expensive insurance policies that failed to provide adequate coverage.
What is going on here? How in the world could it be possible that our very own elected representatives would enact policies that are far worse for us, not better?
This is the Republican worldview. They are perfectly willing to impose tremendous suffering upon millions of Americans across the nation. Preserving their own political power is far more important than doing what is best for the people.
Thank goodness this Trumpcare bill was defeated.
But the ordeal is not over.
With President Trump now threatening to “let Obamacare fail,” and even seeking to sabotage Obamacare to actively cause it to fail, millions of Americans remain under attack by none other than their very own elected representatives.
This is the Republican way. Possessing power is more important than helping people.
And American citizens are left to suffer.