by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
[H]ere’s an idea worth considering: Maybe the GOP just faced insurmountable obstacles. Sure, in theory there were enough Republicans in Congress to enact something if they all stuck together. But those Republicans varied immensely in what they (and their constituents) wanted from an Obamacare “repeal,” and to make matters worse, Senate rules took a lot of options off the table that could have been used to reach an agreement or at least put together a coherent policy. There’s no denying that what happened Friday morning was humiliating, but there might have been no actual path to a genuine repeal and replacement of Obamacare. …
… This didn’t have to end the way it ended, with Senate Republicans up in the middle of the night weighing the pros and cons of passing a “skinny repeal” bill they didn’t actually want to become law — the idea being to skip right to a conference with the House and hammer out a compromise there — but being afraid that the House might be crazy enough to just pass it instead, which would send it directly to the president. There’s no excuse for that level of dysfunction.
But it’s also hard to see how this could have ended successfully, in a law that could plausibly be called “repeal and replace” and would create an insurance market that Republicans could be proud of. Perhaps there’s no comprehensive solution that makes the full spectrum of the party happy and complies with reconciliation.