In the battle of bad optics and tasteless public gestures:
In the moments after it became clear that House Republicans had passed the Trump-endorsed American Health Care Act, a handful of legislators began to sing. The voices rose up from the House floor: “Na na na na / hey he-hey / goodbye.”
I assumed at first—as did at least one CNN on-air analyst—that it was Republicans celebrating the demise of Obamacare. But no: According to multiple reporters present, the song came from a group of Democratic legislators. The implication: By voting to pass the unpopular bill, GOP lawmakers had ensured that they’d be voted out of office at the next opportunity.Be that as it may: It’s disgusting.
Be that as it may: It’s disgusting. This was not an own goal at a soccer game. It was not a vote noteworthy solely for its long-term effects on the partisan balance of Congress. It was a vote for a bill that, if signed into law, would likely strip health coverage from millions of Americans while potentially threatening protections for many more. It was not an occasion for singing. And it sure as hell wasn’t an occasion for celebration by the party that failed to stop it—the party whose members purport to represent the interests of the vulnerable citizens whom Trumpcare would affect.This one wins (by which I mean it is the bigger loser):
The caucus amassed behind Trump, all smiles as he and Paul Ryan spoke, to inflate the bigness of the moment. The bill hasn’t passed Congress yet. It, in fact, will never pass. Senate Republicans announced this afternoon that they won’t vote on the AHCA and will instead write new legislation of their own, taking parts of the AHCA they like and discarding the rest. The bill, in essence, is already dead.I rest my case.
One wonders what kind of stagecraft the White House will produce if and when something does clear Congress—perhaps a setup less likely to distract the president than this one, which, toward the end of his speech, did. “Coming from a different world and only being a politician for a short period of time, how am I doing,” he turned and asked the caucus. “Am I doing OK? I’m president! Hey! I’m president! Can you believe it? Right?”