Saturday, March 25, 2017

Friday's GOP Defeat and Empty Victory

For America and its people, it was the best news of the calendar year: the  arrogantly slapped together, cynically altered and altogether horrendous Republican replacement for Obamacare died a hidden but ignominious death, because it couldn't get enough Republicans in the House (where they have a 44 seat advantage) to pass it by majority vote.

Then surprisingly, the White House regime and the R leadership announced that it would not be revised or revived.  The threats to healthcare are over for the foreseeable future.  It's too bad that sensible improvements won't be made in the current system, but that is far outweighed by the virtues and advantages that will remain, and that would have been ended or crippled, with vast consequences to a lot of people and eventually the American economy.

Obamacare, celebrating the 7th anniversary of its passage, remains the law of the land, with its highest number of insured and its highest poll numbers as well.

While most of the attention for the past several days was focused on the rabid right conservatives in the House opposed to the bill for not destroying enough, several accounts on Friday agree that the nails in the coffin--not just for this go-round but the near future--were hammered by "moderate" Rs and Rs from blue states, all fearful of these consequences to their constituents, especially the changes demanded by the rabid right and granted by the desperate House leadership and White House.  For example, the Atlantic:

And as opposition mounted, Republicans representing swing districts and Democratic states began to pull their support, worried about cuts to Medicaid, a broader projected loss of insurance coverage, and a potential backlash from voters in the midterm elections next year. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the proposal would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 24 million people over a decade, and a Quinnipiac University poll showed that just 17 percent of potential voters supported the plan, with 56 percent opposed."

It was widely reported as a serious defeat for the Rs and specifically for the apprentice dictator in the White House.  With the media's track record, that might be taken with a grain of salt, but there are some interesting numbers, for whatever they are worth.  The LA Times added:

"A Quinnipiac University poll published this week said that 56% of voters disapproved of how Trump was handling his job; only 37% supported him. Other polls have shown similar numbers. Worse for the president, some of the voter groups that have most strongly backed him have begun pulling away, the poll indicated.

“We’ve been polling for 24 years and have never seen anything like this,” said Timothy Malloy, the assistant director of the poll. “Far and away, the worst numbers ever seen in a president."”

The LA Times story echoed an observation I read earlier in the week, that part of the failure of Homemade Hitler to seal the deal with House Rs was his inability to defend what was actually in the bill--even to them.  That could definitely recur.

Repealing Obamacare was the national Rs main campaign promise; another was building the Keystone XL pipeline, which would add about fifty permanent US jobs while churning up a lot of carbon--perhaps enough to doom civilization--and lacerating habitat for threatened animal species down North America from the Alberta wastelands.  

The current regime announced Friday that it was approving this project, an apparent victory.  But several articles (in the Forbes business magazine, an oped in the Baltimore Sun newspaper as well as EcoWatch) said there were several reasons that the pipeline would not be built immediately and probably not at all.

The reasons range from litigation, state and local permits still needed, and the distinct possibility that the Canadian government might well not give its permission, in order to meet its Paris Agreement commitments on carbon waste.

 But the most compelling reason given may be that the expense of building the pipeline versus the much weaker market for coal sands oil as well as the overall steep drop in oil prices since it was first proposed, will mean that the company itself will drop out, because the damn thing won't make anybody any money.

1 comment:

Bill Thompson said...

"All politics is local" When the phenomenal level of protest arrived on the doorstep of Republican representatives and stayed there the die was cast and trumpcare was in peril. This persistent, vocal, and politely militant movement can take credit foe the demise of trumpcare. The marches, 1000 phonecall days,the persistent raucous and overflow town halls changed the landscape.
Republicans were caught between repudiating a seven year promise to repeal and replace made to a now almost silent local tea party or facing the increasingly well organized wrath of huge number of constituents.
Ryan gave them what they needed : a way out, no vote no record.

On the pipeline; The last point is likely to be the one that will prevent the pipeline. The current as well as the past political alignments seem to be incapable of understanding the timelines of the climate crisis. You cannot negotiate with physics and chemistry. You can only respond.
It is the lowering cost of green electricity and it growing availability that will strand the assets of the oil sands. We in Canada are now encouraged to call them "oil sands" because "tar sands" sounds so dirty. Oil or tar if there is no money to be made they will stay in the ground.
Oh and on the hope for the Canadian government saving the day; The Liberal environmental program is to be financed by oil sales. They have approved XL pipeline and are supporting a pipeline through the mountains of British Columbia and on to sensitive coastal environments over the objections of first nations in the way of the pipe line.
If you want to understand the wrath that the Canadian left has for the Liberal Party of Canada I refer you to Phil Ochs "love me I'm a liberal"

That's it for now from the climate changing North