2017-01-05 – A common complaint about Republicans, and Donald Trump in particular, has been that they operate at a disconnect from reality. Facts don’t mean anything.
There’s no excuse for this, of course. But there is a reason. Republicans, at the national level, stopped governing years ago. They’ve been nothing more than a debating society. A gentleman’s smoking club. When your votes don’t accomplish anything for so long, it doesn’t matter what you think is fact and what you think is fiction. Without constraints of being responsible for anything, they became irresponsible. It’s this kind of mindset that repeals Obamacare 60 times. It only works if you know the bill won’t get past the President’s desk.
Suddenly, responsibility descends. And reality bears no resemblance to reality TV. It will be interesting to see folks who have been bloviating about policy hallucinations try to come back to earth.
Obamacare is just one example.
Obamacare was not the greatest law. Single payer would have been better. A public option in the health insurance exchanges would have been better. But the fantasy of Republicans was that the market for health insurance prior to Obamacare was better than all of these. It wasn’t.
Costs were skyrocketing. Tens of millions of people were excluded. Obamacare add many of these people to the rolls. And it slowed down the increase in costs. Now that a real repeal is brewing, some Republicans are starting to get skittish. It was one thing to attack Obamacare in a do-nothing debate society. It is quite another thing to actually get rid of Obamacare. Lots of people were helped by Obamacare. Lots of people like it.
Another example is jobs.
Trump says that jobs have gone to Mexico and China. Some have. But by far the greatest erosion of good jobs is due to technology. It’s easy to spin theories when you are out of power. I hope Trump can bring a job or two back from Mexico and China. But for every foreign job he repatriates, a dozen jobs will be gone to the ether due to technology. Those aren’t coming back. What plan does Trump and the Republicans have to deal with the real challenge.
And there’s energy.
Coal is not coming back. Coal is now more expensive than natural gas. And it’s dirty. Why would someone pay more for a dirty fuel? And the day is not far off when solar and wind will be the cheap alternatives. This is the free market that Republicans are so in love with.
They may filibuster reality, but when a cloture vote comes on issues like these, they are going to lose if they don’t wake up to the new responsibility.