The House this week failed once again to repeal Obamacare, falling short of the votes needed to override Obama’s veto. The 241-186 vote in the House was not enough to push the legislation through, and it represents the 63rd failed attempt on the part of Republicans to dismantle the president’s unpopular healthcare law. Also included in the bill was a proposal to defund Planned Parenthood. Apparently Paul Ryan wanted to get all of the pie-in-the-sky legislation out of the way in one vote.
Obviously, the failure comes as no surprise; Republicans knew from the outset that this bill was destined for a veto. But we shouldn’t forget the way Ryan and other House leaders characterized this fight when conservatives were blasting him about the omnibus bill. Oh, yes, yes, we’ll tackle all of that in the new year, they said. Knowing, of course, that no stand-alone legislation was going to get anything done as long as Obama remained in the White House. The only way to get these things done would have been to threaten a shutdown, and that’s just not what the Ryan House is interested in doing.
So why bother with a vote at all? Well, the cynical will say that this is nothing more than pandering to the base. Somehow, these politicians still think that voters will reward them for symbolic gestures against the administration, even when those gestures fail to accomplish the slightest thing.
The more positive outlook – the one favored by the Republicans themselves, naturally – is to say that these votes set the stage for the 2016 election. The hope is that voters will see that a Republican president is the missing ingredient. With someone like Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio in the White House, we can finally defund Planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare without worrying about a veto.
But does anyone really believe that’s going to happen? Democrats are already expected to take back the Senate in November. Even with a Republican president, therefore, it may be difficult to repeal the worst of the Obama doctrine. Especially if we have RINOs in the House who care more about greasing the wheels than they do carrying out the will of their constituency.
“The president is the only person standing in the way of what the American people want, so our job now is to stand up for them, to demonstrate for them who is on their side,” said Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price.
Yeah, that’s the story we’ve heard. But with the way the Republican Party has treated its base with such disdain over the last year, you have to wonder if Obama is really the only person standing in the way. He’s the fall guy, sure. He’s the architect of these failed policies. But without a Congress willing to go along with his agenda, we would be in much better shape now than we actually are. How can we trust them to do what’s right when they have the power?
We can’t. All we can do is vote for those who might make a difference.