But Kevin Drum may well be right: We don't know if the GOP health bill will pass the Senate next week.
It may not pass the Senate at all! Sadly, though, we have to say that Kevin Drum's assessment could be right.
Yesterday, Drum offered a set of predictions and possibilities. Every part of this could turn out to be right:
DRUM (6/23/17): This is just a note about the Senate health care bill. Do not believe any prattle about Mitch McConnell “being OK with a loss.” Or about “moderate Republicans” who will vote against it. Or about conservatives who are “revolting.” Or about “desperate attempts” to hold the Republican caucus together.It may not work out that way at all. On the other hand, those predictions could well be right. The bill will pass the Senate, then pass the House in identical form.
Next week the CBO will release its score of the bill. They will confirm that it doesn’t increase the deficit. The Senate will debate for a day or two; pass a few minor amendments; and then pass the bill. The vote will be 51-50, with Vice President Pence breaking the tie.
If Paul Ryan is smart, he will simply bring up the Senate bill for a vote and be done with it. It will pass because everyone will understand that this is their only chance. Either vote yes, or else give up on repealing Obamacare and give Democrats a big win.
We'll offer one small caveat. It concerns that 51-50 vote.
Why is Drum predicting that Pence will have to break a 50-50 tie in the Senate? Presumably, he thinks McConnell may grant "free passes" to two Republican senators. He'll let them vote against the bill for political reasons involving their standing in their (blue-leaning) home states.
That used to be the way it was done, but a problem arose. When an unpopular or controversial bill passes on a tie vote, or by a one-vote margin, that means that everyone who voted yes has "cast the deciding vote."
If the Republicans pass this bill on a 50-50 vote in the Senate, all fifty Republicans could be attacked that way in a future general election campaign. But hold on! If the bill passes the Senate on a 51-49 vote, that means that no one has "cast the deciding vote!"
For this silly rhetorical reason, the tactic has shifted away from passing an unpopular bill by the narrowest possible margin. In this case, that would mean that McConnell would grant only one "free pass," and the bill would pass the Senate, 51-49.
Pence wouldn't have to break the tie. He could continue to travel all over the country, nefariously raising buckets of money for his "legal defense," the way he's been doing of late in the fever dreams of our resistance.
(It's also possible, of course, that two Republicans will insist on voting no, producing that rhetorically unhelpful tie.)
Drum's predictions may all turn out to be right. Unfortunately, the rest of his post is accurate too—accurate and darkly illustrative:
DRUM (continuing): The only way to break this cycle is to generate some new opposition. Senate Republicans already know that Democrats oppose the bill, AARP opposes the bill, hospitals oppose the bill, and so forth. They don’t care. The Democrats won’t vote for them no matter what they do and the others aren’t threatening to withdraw campaign support. They oppose the bill, but only on paper. They also know that their bill will take away health coverage from millions. They don’t care about that either. They never have.There you have it. With one week left, Drum says we lefties need to generate new opposition to the bill.
This is it. There’s a week left. Lefties need to generate some new opposition to the bill that wavering senators are actually afraid of. Any ideas?
What he says may well be right. But it's much too late for our brilliant resistance to accomplish any such task. Who can we recruit, after all? We already have Johnny Depp!
This call for help is much too late. It's thirty years too late.
Over that stretch of time, we lefties have diddled and clowned and partied and played and let ourselves be endlessly conned by our putative intellectual leaders.
In truth, we just aren't especially bright. Our attention span? It doesn't exist. Gnats feel sorry for us!
Except within our own sweet dreams, we're remarkably ineffective. Making matters worse, we're almost insanely self-impressed and defiantly self-deluded.
According to U.S. officials, we're among the least savvy people who ever drew breath on the planet. Scientifically, this fact has been proven within the past year. But as proof of our general haplessness, we're unable to process this fact about Ineffectual Us.
We plan to return to the topic of health care next week, reviewing decades of liberal/progressive ineptitude. We'll also peruse this remarkable text at the new and improved Salon.
Truly, it's a seminal text. It portrays the self-defeating soul of the group known as Ridiculous Us. That remarkable text is built upon the rock of our tribe's self-delusion.