What we are witnessing in Washington over the repealing and replacing of ObamaCare is not what the media would have you believe—a doomed project marked by “division, disunity, discord, conflict.” Oh yes, it is a mess, writes Kimberley A. Strassel in the WSJ. As the talking heads on cable stations present a “nonstop loop of GOP naysayers and grandstanders (cue Rand Paul) who wish the bill ill,” Mr. Strassel suggests that perhaps even they can be forgiven.
The Obama administration marked one of the more dysfunctional and destructive periods in Washington—eight years of threats, executive rule, noncommunication and opposition politics. So it is undoubtedly confusing for some people suddenly to watch an honest-to-goodness legislative process, with all its negotiating, horse-trading and consensus-building.
Today’s negotiations over the health bill feature a White House that is working hand-in-hand with congressional leaders to get to yes. Even as the critics looped on cable TV, the Trump administration was working with House leaders on a substantive amendment to the bill to address conservative concerns before the legislation hits the floor.
Bills die when leadership stops pushing them. And, as Ms. Strassel reminds readers, Paul Ryan is not showing any signs of stopping the push for reforming ObamaCare.
This process takes time because the GOP is itself relearning the political craft. It was easy in the Obama years to back “perfect” House legislation, since it would never get through the Senate. It was easier to oppose than it is to propose. Some conservative lawmakers seem to have realized only now that they’d have been better off working in their committees to improve today’s health-care bill than to complain and then later ask for changes.
Reforming ObamaCare is not inevitable, but it also is not a lost cause. What it will be is “ugly and messy and painful. But only because that’s how real, old-fashioned politics works.”
Read more from Kimberley Strassel here.