014 – Alert! There has been a cojones sighting (albeit a fleeting one) in the Republican Senate. (An Editorial)

Some of you may have noticed that this is editorial #14, even though I only have written 12 previous editorials.  I skipped #13 because I didn’t want to take a chance on jinxing this editorial since I am finally able to be just a bit positive about a few Republicans.

Actually, the biggest cojones belong to a few Senators who only have figurative ones – Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.  They are to be credited for their willingness to buck McConnell all along.  They deserve the lion’s share of the credit for being consistent and steadfast in their opposition to any of the lame repeal and replace attempts.  But this editorial is mostly a shout out to the maverick who finally not only spoke a good game but actually backed it up with some action – John McCain.

The final attempt (at least the final attempt on Thursday night) to repeal any or all of the Affordable Care Act failed thanks to the three Republican votes of Collins, Murkowski and McCain.  As they say Down Under, “Good on ya, mates.”

Now to be fair, McCain did vote “Yes” on the two other versions of repeal which were both voted down, but by larger margins, whereas Collins and Murkowski were consistently “No” all along.  Frankly, who knows why McCain decided to vote “No” on attempt #3.  Maybe it was because when it came right down to it, he just didn’t trust Paul Ryan not to simply have the House Republicans just simply rubber stamp the so-called Skinny Repeal without working on the further reconciliation that McCain demanded, and that many other Republicans simply hoped for.   What a concept.  He didn’t trust Paul Ryan.

Strange Bedfellows is a term that may aptly sum up the alliances that formed to eventually defeat attempts to repeal.

  • John McCain. Who would have thought that he might finally step up to the plate?  Maybe that brain surgery was more successful than anyone could have imagined.  Maybe all of the recent Sessions trashing had a little to do with this as well.  Just maybe McCain was thinking even a little bit about sticking it to old Donny on behalf of all those fellow prisoners who got captured.
  • Lindsay Graham. Regarding the repeal and replace votes, in spite of his rhetoric, he was party line all the way along, in every vote – not once voting “No”.  He often talked a good game but finally, when Trump began dissing his Senate buddy Jeff Sessions, he seems to have drawn a line that even he was not willing to cross.  In fact, many Republican Senators have come to Session’s defense at the expense of their previously deafening silence when it came to any of Trump’s abominations.

Graham seems to now have his feet planted firmly against Trump being able to fire Robert Mueller as well.  Again it’s the Strange Bedfellow analogy.  It’s not like Graham would otherwise probably put up much of a fight if Trump decided to fire Mueller.  But doing so now at the expense of Sessions?  Why old Lindsay won’t have any of that.  Nothing like doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

  • Speaking of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, I have absolutely no love lost for him. He is quite possibly the worst possible Attorney General that Trump could have nominated, which is saying something when other possibilities like Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie existed.

To see and hear Trump trash Sessions so completely, and with such ridiculous logic ,,, well it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.  That said, if this is what it took to finally drive at least a little wedge into Trump’s blind Republican support, then more power to it.

  • The Freedom Caucus and particularly Rand Paul. Talk about a monumentally Strange Bedfellow.  The only reason Paul and his gang gave McConnell so much trouble early on was because they didn’t think the repeal efforts were mean enough!  But once again, let’s hear it for doing the right thing for, in their case, absolutely the wrong reasons.

There is an axiom that many outside the United States attribute to us.  “The United States can almost always be counted upon to do the right thing … after they have tried just about everything else.”

In the Republican’s case, I would slightly alter that.  “The Republicans can be counted upon to do the right thing … only when nothing else has worked that has been solely in their own self-interest.”

It is possible, regarding healthcare at least, that the point has now been reached.

For whatever the reasons, the results are what I think the vast majority of the country wanted – to put an end, for now, to this repeal nonsense.  Instead of just looking for anything that the Republicans, and Trump, could call a “win”, regardless of how mean and destructive their legislation was, now hopefully, just hopefully, both Republicans and Democrats can search for legislation that will be a “win” for the American public.