This is the best Conservatives can offer America.
This cast of paranoid clowns, religious pimps, and suicidal fanatics.
I look at the GOP candidates for president I think, seriously? This, this right here, this is the best you can do?
If Jeb Bush was an airplane, it would be like attempting takeoff with one engine on fire.
Bush opens his bid for President this coming Monday with an underfunded campaign in disarray and already in damage control mode to the accompaniment of headlines that keep using the phrase “Failure To Launch.”
Starting out on the defensive? Not really the most auspicious beginning for the scion of a hereditary political dynasty and the guy who was supposed to pull Republican chestnuts out of the fire.
Still, that's better than Mike Huckabee, who apparently doesn't actually know anybody who isn’t under investigation. These two are the GOP's front runners, that’s right, the Stephen Baldwin of the Bush family and a guy who pals around with child molesters. Now, look, I’m not saying the Democratic lineup is all that spectacular either and sure, you could maybe argue Hillary Clinton also hangs out with a certain sexual predator, but at least so far the Democratic candidates aren’t in any danger of screwing up so bad they literally kill off their own party.
And that’s exactly what GOP Chairman Reince Priebus is worried about.
Wednesday on the The Laura Ingraham Show, Priebus showed no confidence whatsoever that any of the unsavory bunch in the current GOP lineup would be able win the White House in 2016. And that loss, he declared, will be the end of Republicans “as a national party.”
Ingraham: On a scale of one to ten, how do-or-die is the 2016 presidential race?”
Priebus: “Ten. Ten. Eleven. Twelve. I mean, we don’t exist as a national party if we don’t win in 2016. You can’t compete sixteen years out of the White House, it’s just not possible. ”
The end of the GOP as a national party? Aww, gee, tough break, fellas.
Republicans have nobody, no goddamned body, to blame but themselves.
The thing that worries Reince Priebus the most? It’s not that the best he can offer America is a squalling pack of unlikeable fanatics, candidates so incredibly shitty they actually make conservatives get down on their knees and pray Mitt Romney will stage a coup at the GOP National Convention and run again, it’s that his own party is about to shoot itself in the head and there’s nothing he can do about it.
You see, sometime this month, the Supreme Court of the United States will rule on King vs Burwell.
And it’s possible, even likely, that ruling will be in Republicans’ favor.
And if that happens, if conservatives win and Obama loses, it will essentially destroy the Affordable Healthcare Act – i.e. Obamacare.
That victory, should it happen, will very likely be a pyrrhic one for the GOP – and the last one they ever win.
It’s entirely possible that victory, should it come to pass, will be the place where historians mark the demise of the Grand Old Party.
And that, that right there, is what keeps Reince Priebus awake and sweating in the night. If he wins, he loses.
You see, when the Individual Mandate – the provision of the ACA that requires every American to have healthcare insurance – went into effect in 2014, more than five million Americans signed up for health insurance. Many were overjoyed that they could finally afford healthcare for themselves and their families.
But not everybody was happy about it.
One of those people was a limo driver from Virginia, a guy named David King. King is sixty-four years old and makes a bit less than $39K per year. Before Obamacare, he didn’t have health insurance.
Now, Virginia, being the birthplace of Thomas Jefferson, liberty, and America Fuck Ya! itself, loudly told Obama to go screw himself and petulantly refused to set up a state healthcare exchange. So, in accordance with the provisions of the ACA, Washington D.C. stepped in and set up a federal exchange.
Under the ACA and against his will, David King purchased a healthcare plan with a monthly premium of $648.
$648. That’s a lot for a guy making less than $40K a year. But see King didn’t have to pay that much because under the ACA he qualified for a federal subsidy which reduced his premium to just $275 per month. Now, if you’ve ever had to buy your own insurance, you know that $275 for a sixty year old male is a pretty damned good deal indeed. And in fact, given his age it’s likely King wouldn’t be able to qualify for healthcare insurance no matter how much he paid if it wasn’t for Obamacare in the first place.
But, King, he wasn’t happy and he resented anything to do with Obama, healthcare, or federal handouts.
So he and three others sued.
And conservatives, particularly those in Congress and a number now running for president, cheered them on and offered up outspoken and enthusiastic support, both moral and financial.
Anything to stick it to Obama, right?
Of course, they have no hope of overturning the law itself, that ship sailed long ago, rather King vs Burwell is attempting to have the federal subsidy itself ruled illegal.
You see, the entire case hinges on four words, a single sentence out of a law that totals more than eleven million, five hundred and eighty-eight thousand words.
King vs Burwell contends that in the portion of the law used to calculate federal subsidies it specifically says a healthcare insurance exchange “established by the State.” The State. Literally. That’s their entire case. Those four word, “established by the state” as in a state not the federal government. Despite the fact that the rest of the law, not to mention two hundred years of legislation, make it abundantly clear that’s not what congress intended. Nevertheless, conservatives insist that’s how the law is written and therefore the subsidies are only legally available to people who are lucky enough to live in the states which chose to set up their own state-run healthcare exchanges and aren’t run by selfish assholes.
Thirty-four states opted not to create their own exchanges, including Virginia.
And if King wins in front of the Supreme court, if the Supreme Court agrees that only those in state run exchanges and not federally run exchanges qualify for the subsidy, more than six million people in thirty-four states will immediately lose their subsidies and will no longer be able to afford healthcare.
King doesn’t care. Fuck ‘em. That’s exactly what he wants.
What matters to King is that if he doesn’t get the subsidy then he doesn’t have to buy insurance at all because at his income level, $648 per month would cost him so much he would then qualify for an exemption to the Individual Mandate. He’s actually willing to stick it to six million people just so he doesn’t have buy healthcare.
And it’s worse than that, because without those six million people, the ACA goes into a death spiral.
Of course, if you’re paying attention, you realize that any minute now, David King will be eligible for Medicare.
Also, I may have forgotten to mention, King is a Vietnam Veteran, and he could get free healthcare through the VA and be exempt from having to buy healthcare insurance out of pocket at all. This entire fight is a scam – what? You thought a limo driver could fund a legal fight all the way to the Supreme Court on his own, did you? You’re so darned cute. King is nothing but a conservative stalking horse who wants to screw six million people out of medical coverage while he himself gets taken care of under a federal healthcare program.
That’s the kind of selfish self-centered scumbag Republicans championed.
Just to stick it to Obama.
Only one little problem.
You see, the majority of the states which refused to cooperate with the ACA were, naturally, red states. And the vast majority of the six million who will lose coverage? Lower middle-class white conservatives in Southern states.
According to The new Urban study:
“…the biggest regional loser from the court case would be the South. More than 60 percent of people who would lose their individual health insurance live there. Among different income groups, the largest reductions would come for those earning between 200 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level—or between about $40,000 and $80,000 for a family of three. Forty-seven percent of the people who would lose insurance have full-time jobs, and 34 percent have part-time jobs. Sixty-one percent are white. Forty-seven percent have attended at least some college. Ninety-two percent would probably describe their health as better than fair.”
In other words, the people who will get screwed the most if Republicans win King vs Burwell are … Republicans.
In an election year.
Brilliant. Just … brilliant.
The thing is, the Republican majority Congress could easily fix the situation with a single amendment, a single line of text, but hardline conservatives won’t let them do it. They’d rather 6.4 million people lose healthcare at the end of this month, most of them conservatives in the battleground states of Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin, right before the primary debates begin.
And now you know why Reince Priebus is popping anti-depressants like Tic Tacs.
John Boehner and Mitch McConnell will be thoroughly screwed if they win King vs Burwell, they’ll go down with the party boat. They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t and they’ve got nobody to blame but themselves. If subsidies are thrown out by the court, they will either have to craft a fix to Obamacare, something that is absolutely anathema to majority of hardline conservatives, or they will have to take responsibility for millions of their most devout constituents losing healthcare coverage.
Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institute says,
“It does create a political problem for the GOP because there could be millions of people who got health insurance as a result of ObamaCare who lose it. There’s a chance Republicans will get more of the blame because they’re in control of the House and Senate. Unless they can produce legislation, the blame will rest in their corner.”
And don’t think these disingenuous hypocritical sons of bitches don’t know it either.
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson who is facing a tough reelection in the swing state of Wisconsin wants to extend subsidies until August 2017. Thirty-one Republican senators have co-sponsored the measure, including Mitch McConnell.
“My bill is a transition piece of legislation that will allow the American people a voice in what our health care system will look like beyond the 2016 election. It acknowledges political realities by preventing turmoil and disruptions should the Supreme Court rule subsidies cannot be paid through federal exchanges.”
Transition piece of legislation.
Remember how they called Obama’s “If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan” the lie of the year? Well that fib has nothing on Ron Johnson. Because while Obama believed what he was saying, Johnson is lying directly to your face and he knows it. What Johnson isn’t telling you is that his bill has some very dire consequences. It’s nothing but a bribe, a payoff, to republican voters.
Johnson’s bill is not designed to let you keep your healthcare, it’s designed to let you keep your healthcare just long enough to get Johnson and his cronies reelected.
Once he’s safely returned to office, the bill phases out federal subsidies and replaces them with … nothing. Fuck you.
If Johnson’s bill passes, more than six million people will lose their healthcare as soon as the election is over.
But it’s worse than that.
Johnson’s bill would not only get rid of federal tax credits in states with federally run exchanges, it would also eliminate them in states that set up their own exchanges, drastically increasing the number of Americans without healthcare insurance. More, Johnson’s bill would eventually eliminate the Individual Mandate, removing the ACA’s foundation, drastically driving up costs and decreasing accessibility for those who still have healthcare.
The number of people in the United States without healthcare is currently at historic lows, but if those who couldn’t afford insurance without the subsidies go back to being uninsured the number of people without coverage would almost immediately increase to record highs.
Meanwhile, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse proposed his own similar idea, legislation that would restructure subsidies … and then gradually eliminate them over the next year and a half.
That’s right, do the math on both of these proposals and you see exactly what republicans are up to: They intend to bribe conservative voters long enough to win reelection and then screw those very same people once they are safely back in office.
Johnson, Sasse, Republicans are not even keeping it a secret, they have just exactly that much contempt for their own dimwitted fanatical base.
That said, it’s unlikely Boehner or McConnell will allow either bill to reach a vote – their hardline masters won’t allow anything that gives even the vaguest appearance of refunding Obamacare, election or no election. They’d rather lose the White House and Congress than allow that.
Republicans in fact have five plans, none of which are anywhere near ready for prime time and neither John Boehner nor Mitch McConnell have made any effort to rally their respective houses behind any one plan – with less than two weeks remaining before the hammer falls. McConnell claims to have something up in his sleeve, but he’s provided no details and there’s been no discussion or debate in the Senate.
The simple truth of the matter is that Republicans have managed to hoist themselves on their own petard.
They somehow managed to put themselves in a position where they are mortally terrified of winning in front of the supreme court.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Predictably, the only thing Republicans can agree on in the face of this looming GOP disaster is that it’s somehow all Obama’s fault.
Don Stewart, Mitch McConnell’s spokesman, attacked Obama for having no contingency plan in case the court rules for King,
“Unlike the Obama administration, which has no plan, Republicans are working to protect families from the consequences of ObamaCare.”
Protect families by leaving them uninsured and uncovered. Brilliant. Just … brilliant.
You know, America for better or for worse is country of the people, by the people and for the people. And if millions of the most hardcore conservatives lose access to medical care because the intractable sons of bitches they themselves elected to run this country would rather screw us all instead of doing their jobs, well, you know there’s a certain degree of poetic justice there.
And if those same hardcore conservatives have to get screwed, have to go sick, have to watch their kids go without access to medical care, in order to finally wake up to the damage their selfish shitty ideology has done to this country, to the world, well, there’s a certain poetic justice in that too.
And if, like Reince Priebus fears, this really is the end of the once great party of Lincoln, I will shed not one goddamned tear.
Good bye and good riddance.