Christmas Comes Early For Team Biden

[ Posted Monday, November 27th, 2023 – 16:45 UTC ]

Donald Trump just gave the team working to re-elect President Joe Biden a rather large early Christmas present. Apparently, Trump has never gotten over his failure to enact "a full repeal" of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (otherwise affectionately known as "Obamacare"). This involved the big dramatic scene with Senator John McCain turning in a "thumbs-down" vote on the Senate floor, in literal fashion -- which was a complete humiliation for Trump. A humiliation, like all the others, that he's never forgotten or gotten over. So he's looking to re-fight that particular battle, it seems.

Trump recently sent out, on his personal social media site, the following:

The cost of Obamacare is out of control, plus, it's not good Healthcare. I'm seriously looking at alternatives. We had a couple of Republican Senators who campaigned for 6 years against it, and then raised their hands not to terminate it. It was a low point for the Republican Party, but we should never give up!

The Obamacare gauntlet, in other words, has been tossed down -- and Team Biden was only too happy to pick it up.

When Obamacare was passed and implemented (which was some seriously shaky going, at first), Republicans made an enormous amount of political hay out of calling to "repeal and replace" Obamacare. This was easiest for them in the gap between when the law was signed and when it was successfully implemented (after a disastrous rollout of the website). They made up boogeymen to scare the public with (Sarah Palin's infamous "death panels," for example -- which did not, do not, and are never going to actually exist). And they campaigned heavily on it.

But it wasn't until they actually came close to actually making good on at least the "repeal" part of their promise that the public began to truly embrace the patient protections (the phrase that has been largely dropped from the original bill's name) that Obamacare provided. No more getting denied insurance for "pre-existing conditions," most notably. Obamacare's polling numbers didn't turn positive until Barack Obama had left office and Trump and his fellow Republicans were on the brink of actually getting rid of it -- and they've only gone up since. Obamacare has polled between 57 and 62 percent in public support this year, in fact.

The failure of the Republicans is tied to the simple fact that they never could even come close to making good on the "replace" part of their promise. They never came up with any sort of viable replacement plan, other than to just chuck Obamacare completely out. This is due to the fact that to provide all the protections and affordability contained in Obamacare, you'd have to come up with someone almost identical to it. Which, for some reason, Republicans refused to do. They couldn't do it when they controlled the House or when they controlled the Senate. This is why three brave Republican senators -- Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and John McCain -- killed the repeal bill in the Senate. McCain got all the glory for this vote (due to his "thumbs-down" theatrics) but the other two deserve just as much credit.

Donald Trump certainly couldn't come up with a viable Obamacare replacement, despite promising (whenever he was asked, as president) that he'd be unveiling his new wonderful plan "in two weeks." Kind of like Annie's "Tomorrow," those two weeks remained two weeks away, forever. Today, enterprising reporters contacted the Trump campaign with questions, and here's what they got:

Mr. [Donald] Trump's social media post surprised even his own aides, who have not developed a plan to alter the country's health care law, according to a person close to him.

A spokesman for Mr. Trump's campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

It wouldn't surprise me a bit to hear Trump promise to deliver one "in two weeks," though. It would be par for the Obamacare course, for Trump.

Team Biden, of course, wasn't shy about making some political hay of their own in response. The campaign communications director, Michael Tyler, responded to the news:

We've got Donald Trump every single day providing the American people a window into how harmful he would be if he were able to regain power. He is making this easy for us.

. . .

The president himself weighed in on Monday.

"My predecessor once again called for cuts that could rip away health insurance for tens of millions of Americans," Mr. [Joe] Biden said. "They just don't give up."

Tyler also announced they'd be running ads in Las Vegas and on national cable this week "that contrast legislation passed by [President Joe] Biden that lowered prices on some prescription drugs with Mr. Trump's proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act." Might as well strike while the iron's hot, right?

For Trump, of course, everything is always about Trump, all the time. He apparently read an op-ed in a conservative newspaper that mentioned Obamacare and it reminded him of his humiliation at John McCain's hands (or "thumb," to be pedantic). And it set him off. He dimly remembered when Republicans were all gung-ho for repealing Obamacare, and thought he'd run it as a "golden oldie" on his presidential GOP hit parade. He hasn't realized that not only has most of the country moved on from the subject, most Republicans these days don't even want to touch it (because it is so politically toxic).

As was helpfully pointed out by a Biden surrogate, on the brink of North Carolina becoming the 40th state to expand Medicaid under Obamacare:

Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina, a Democrat, is expected to be a key Biden surrogate promoting the health care law, which is widely known as Obamacare. Mr. Cooper signed his state's Medicaid expansion bill in March after it was passed by the Republican-controlled legislature. Mr. Cooper and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the former House speaker, are scheduled to hold a press call for the Biden campaign on Tuesday.

"Donald Trump and G.O.P. extremists continue to try and rip away health care from millions of Americans without any serious alternative," Mr. Cooper said on Monday. "If this country lets Donald Trump anywhere near decision making on health care, it would be a disaster for millions of people."

Please notice one phrase in that excerpt: "after it was passed by the Republican-controlled legislature." That's how far most Republicans have moved away from the frenzy of the "repeal and replace" days.

Repealing Obamacare and replacing it with nothing -- a return to the bad old days when tens of millions of Americans couldn't access health insurance -- was never as popular as the GOP believed. But these days, it is so discredited that virtually all Republicans have moved on from the scaremongering rhetoric and calls to drive a stake through Obamacare's heart.

Except, it appears, Donald Trump. Because he could care less about the ins and outs of health insurance markets, what he really remembers is that John McCain denied him something, and he's never gotten over the slight.

Hopefully, Democrats will keep rubbing his face in it. Perhaps in some of those Biden ads they could run the clip (in slow motion, even!) of McCain's thumb turning down? The more that one clip gets under Trump's skin, the better.

In one way or another, Team Biden is going to go to town on this issue -- that's one thing that's a pretty safe bet. And why shouldn't they? Trump just gave them a huge Christmas present, with a label on it that demanded: "Open immediately and start using freely!" What the Biden campaign should really do is send Team Trump a nice assortment from Harry and David to thank them for such a wonderful gift.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


One Comment on “Christmas Comes Early For Team Biden”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hello Chris! Did you find someone to help you with your site update?

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