GOP forms circular firing squad over Obamacare


It’s becoming increasingly clear that the exercise of political power appears to be a total stranger to congressional Republicans. As I said on Newsmax TV’s “America Talks Live,” congressional Republicans often act like they are one big “circular firing squad.”

Looking at the Ryan healthcare proposal in the House, and reactions in the Senate, as well as initial comments of Republicans on Trump’s first budget submission, the circle is already forming. It’s a death wish in the making!

I don’t get it
I don’t understand why Republicans and conservatives allow themselves to become divided, forsaking power for what they regard as “principle,” while Democrats unite for power and worry about principle (and details) later.

Remember Obama’s and Democrats’ blatant lies about keeping your doctor and your healthcare plan? Remember House Minority, then Majority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., saying, “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it”?

So much for honesty and transparency on the Democratic side on their Obamacare watch. At least House Republicans are being transparent!

The Democrats’ majority media has rarely compared those lies and secrecy to the transparency of the GOP on its proposal. However, they love to point out the GOP resistance. And resistance there is. In the House, because three Republicans voted against the proposal in the Budget Committee, the bill just barely passed 19 to 17.

May not pass
Notwithstanding the fact that the president has agreed to changes in the proposal in order to gain the support of some conservative members, the leader of the conservative Freedom Caucus said the concession was insignificant and that he believes there are enough votes to kill the bill when it comes to a final vote in the House.

In the U.S. Senate, some Senate Republicans joined the skeptics’ chorus without even having the benefit of seeing a final House version – Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Dean Heller, R-Nev., and, of course, Susan Collins, R-Vt., to name a few.

As if a collapse of the healthcare proposal would not be enough to sink the Trump agenda, the circle is also taking aim at Trump’s budget. It’s common knowledge that most presidential budgets are revised and reworked during the legislative budget process.

Can’t wait
But, right on cue, some Senate Republicans could not wait to run to the cameras to get ahead of the Democrats, firing the opening shots. Guess who led the charge? Who else but the twin Trump antagonists – Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

McCain: “It is clear that this budget proposed today cannot pass the Senate.”
Graham: “It’s dead on arrival. It’s not going to happen. It would be a disaster . . . “

I may have missed it, but I don’t recall them being as dogged in criticizing Obama initiatives as they have been Trump’s in his first two months.

Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and the entire Democratic Party are joined at the hip in rooting for conservatives – and the so-called moderates – in the House and Senate to kill any GOP healthcare proposal and gut the Trump budget.

Can’t get together
For seven years, Republicans have been rallying against Obamacare and big government by regulation. Now that they have control of the House, Senate, and the White House, they can’t seem to get their act together.

Healthcare reform is the lead locomotive on the Trump train’s agenda. If GOP leaders can’t come together and the locomotive is derailed, the entire train is derailed – and that includes tax reform.

If that happens, Democrats win without firing a shot!

High stakes involved
Do Republicans really want Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Nancy Pelosi in charge? Is GOP pettiness and inability to compromise and negotiate worth losing control of the Senate and its role in Supreme Court appointments?

With so much at stake, one would think they could at least say we have “a lot to discuss,” “we will see how it all works out” and at least keep Democrats and the media guessing.

On the budget, they couldn’t even mirror Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who set a better tone saying: “I look forward to reviewing this and the full budget when it is released later this spring.”

Whether the GOP circular firing squad will lead to the burial of the Trump agenda in the cemetery of GOP massive defeats in 2018 remains to be seen. We will soon know whether President Trump can herd the GOP cats – and his agenda – into a victory corral.

Clarence V. McKee is a government, political and media relations consultant and president of McKee Communications, Inc., as well as a contributor. This article originally appeared on


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