Death wish: Establishment Republicans lied to voters about repealing Obamacare

Special to

Jeffrey T. Kuhner

Republican voters have been betrayed.

For over seven years, GOP congressional leaders vowed to repeal Obamacare. They claimed Republicans needed to control the House, the Senate and the presidency to achieve this. The electorate awarded them all three branches of government.

The result: failure. Last week Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pulled the plug on the Senate healthcare bill. The GOP’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare is effectively dead. The reason is that the overhaul effort lacked the votes.

‘The sad truth is the Ryan-McConnell Republicans are irredeemably corrupt, treacherous and beholden to the donor class.’

McConnell’s bill deserved to die. It was simply another version of Obamacare. Call it Obamacare-lite. It kept most of Obamacare’s taxes, regulations and subsidies. In essence, the measure sought to codify and in some ways, even expand the massive healthcare entitlement program. As Sen. Rand Paul rightly argued, the bill’s centerpiece was a giant $200 billion bailout fund for the major health insurance companies. Many Republicans (including Sen. Ted Cruz) wanted to federally subsidize insurance companies with taxpayer money — in other words, bribe them — to lower healthcare costs.

The bill did not repeal Obamacare but entrench it. The goal was to prop up the insurance markets long enough to prevent Obamacare’s collapse, kicking the can down the road. It would lead to more Big Government, Big Debt and federal control over healthcare.

In short, the bill was a complete repudiation of everything Republicans claimed they stood for.

Since Obamacare was passed, the GOP voted over 60 times to repeal it — knowing full well that then-President Obama would veto it. They were grandstanding; those votes were simply for show. House Speaker Paul Ryan, McConnell and establishment Republicans never intended to roll back Obamacare. Their aim was to manipulate their base into thinking the GOP was serious. During the Obama years, McConnell repeatedly vowed to tear out Obamacare “root and branch.” He lied — just like the other RINOs.

The sad truth is the Ryan-McConnell Republicans are irredeemably corrupt, treacherous and beholden to the donor class. Their healthcare bills were massive giveaways to the special interests and lobbyists that dominate Washington. They are the very creatures of the swamp President Trump has promised to drain.

Conservatives must confront a seminal reality: Until Ryan and McConnell are overthrown from their leadership positions, Trump’s agenda will remain stalled.

Repealing Obamacare, cutting taxes, building a wall along our porous southern border, imposing an America-First trade policy and slashing runaway government spending—none of this will occur as long as Ryan and McConnell remain in charge. There is a reason why this Republican-led Congress has been the most unproductive in 164 years.

The biggest obstacle Trump faces — even more than the hostile media, the obstructionist Democrats and the treasonous Deep State — is the GOP establishment. The Beltway Republicans are not his allies, but his mortal enemies. They are part of the ruling class determined to bring him down.

Yet, they are also on the verge of committing political suicide.

If the do-nothing Republicans continue veering from one debacle to another, then the country will punish them. They will be crushed in the 2018 midterm elections; the Democrats will sweep back to power; and Nancy Pelosi will return as house speaker. Inevitably, the emboldened Democrats — facing immense, relentless pressure from the anti-Trump “resistance” — will push for impeachment.

And maybe, deep down, this is precisely what establishment Republicans really want.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at and the host of “The Kuhner Report” weekdays 12-3 pm EST on WRKO AM-680 in Boston.