Is our Democrats learning? MAYBE! If people were wondering what the Senate’s going to be like in 2017 with Chuck Schumer leading the Democrats, we might have a clue based on an interview Schumer did with the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent. If Republicans try to repeal Obamacare, and then put their thumbs up their hindquarters and screw around for a while, then come up with a half-ass “replacement” that doesn’t replace jack squat, will Democrats get all bleeding heart and non-strategery and help them pass it, just to get a few people back on some crappy healthcare?
In an interview with me, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer answered this question with a resounding No. Under no circumstances, he vowed, would Democrats throw Republicans such a political lifeline.
“We’re not going to do a replacement,” Schumer said of the Senate Democratic caucus. “If they repeal without a replacement, they will own it. Democrats will not then step up to the plate and come up with a half-baked solution that we will partially own. It’s all theirs.”
HANG YOURSELVES, REPUBLICANS! It will be so much fun for them to do that, and then allow every Democrat in U.S. America running for everything from dogcatcher all the way up to 2020 president to be able to campaign on, “How’s that whole No More ‘Bamacare thing working out for you, and guess who you can thank for that?” And when Republicans come back and say, “The Democrats were obstructionists, they wouldn’t help,” Democrats will just sit there and calmly remind America about how it used to have healthcare that one time, under Nobama The Kenyan Muslim Usurper, whose post-presidential approval rating at that point will probably be nearing 5,000 percent.
Sargent points out that Republicans are bickering over just exactly when an Obamacare repeal should kick in — like right away, so a bunch of people die really fast, or, as Republicans in the Senate want, after the 2018 midterms or later, so people don’t realize how much the GOP has screwed them before they cast their votes. It’s always hard for Republicans to decide when to reveal to the American people how sadistic and terrible and stupid they truly are.
More kicking Republicans in the face, from Schumer:
Asked directly if Democrats would refuse to support anything that falls significantly short of the ACA in terms of expanding social welfare, Schumer said: “The odds, after they repeal without any replacement, of us sitting at the table to do something that will chop one arm off instead of two is very small.”
“They’re giving us tremendous leverage,” Schumer insisted.
Sargent links to Jonathan Cohn at the Huffington Post, who says that if the GOP decides to repeal Obamacare, and then wait until 2019 or 2057 or the twelfth of never for that repeal to take effect, then it’s very possible there will be CHAOS! How bad? Cohn, citing a study from the Urban Institute, predicts that “markets will start to unravel almost immediately,” and that, ultimately, 20 or 30 million people could lose their healthcare. He says it’s likely that, with the prospect of a repeal going into effect in the not-too-distant future, many insurance companies will go ahead and get the hell out of state insurance markets, due to how they have no hopes for future profits from whatever replacement the GOP cooks up in its meth den.
Is Chuck Schumer sorry about that? No, he would like to twist Republicans’ balls some more:
Schumer said that in this scenario, Democrats would not toss Republicans a lifeline. “They broke it, they own it,” Schumer said. “All the problems in the health care system that they blamed on Obamacare will now be in their laps. We’re going to make sure that we say things would have been a lot better, had they been thoughtful and careful and worked with us to fix Obamacare.”
MAYBE if the GOP hadn’t been such twat-wrenches, none of this would have happened. Anyway, vote for Democrats, so that government may once again be in the hands of the grown-ups!
All this assumes that the GOP even gets its repeal in the first place. Sen. Susan Collins, moderate Republican of Maine, isn’t too excited about privatizing Medicare, and also said recently that she’s unlikely to support an Obamacare repeal that doesn’t come with an immediate, good replacement. So … what are the chances Schumer pulls Susan Collins over to to the good guys’ side? Uh oh, that would make it harder for the GOP to get to 51 votes in the Senate!
Talking Points Memo also notes that Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander is more than a little concerned about doing any kind of legislative jiggery pokery that ends up hurting people who already have coverage under Obamacare. (He is yr Wonkette’s Senator, and we have Obamacare, and we would not like to be hurt in that way, please! We bet we will call his Senate office on our Obamaphone and remind him of that one thousand times in the next several months!)
So UH OH, GOP! Will you even make it to 50 votes for your little repeal? What if Foster Campbell wins that Louisiana Senate seat for the Democrats on December 10? (GIVE HIM MONEY.)
As Amanda Marcotte notes, none of this will be possible without Constituents Like You calling your senators constantly, every night while they are trying to take their bubble baths, and remind them, if they are Democrats, to keep their spines and their cojones strong, and if they are Republicans, to remind them how bad it will be if everybody loses their healthcare all of a sudden.
But it does give us a glimmer of hope for the future, we guess, and that’s all we got at this point, because everything is otherwise terrible, horrible, no good and very bad.