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A Rock and a Hard Place

It is almost enough to make you feel sorry for Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate minority leader. Almost, but not quite.

On one side, the Republican politician and former Kentucky senator who gave McConnell his first job in politics, says that McConnell has betrayed the people of Kentucky by mounting a crusade to repeal Obamacare. Why, back when McConnell was fresh out of law school, Senator Marlow Cook remembers how McConnell “worked and worked hard” to pass the Equal Rights Amendment for women, was skeptical about the Vietnam War, and was even inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement.

But now Cook has slammed McConnell for trying to kill Obamacare. He says: “If he had any knowledge of the lack of health and medical facilities in the hills of Kentucky, he’d know it’s a problem we need to solve. For Mitch McConnell to decide the new health program is not good for Kentucky — it tells me he’s not looking out for his own constituency.”

Cook goes on: “I don’t know what Mitch is doing. If he thinks this whole thing should be killed, it’s an awful crap shoot. Instead of stopping [Obamacare], they should be correcting the things in the bill that need correcting. But to say it should be killed? I know what the real, real conservative Republicans want. They would love to get rid of Medicare. They would love to get rid of Social Security.”

On the other side, McConnell is being challenged from the right by even more conservative Republican Matt Bevin. Naturally, Bevin also wants to kill Obamacare.

But here is where it gets ironic. At a campaign stop on Monday, Bevin told his audience that after leaving a job “My wife and I literally didn’t have health care for about a year because of a pre-existing condition.” That’s right, Bevin himself was denied health care coverage because of a pre-existing condition, a problem that the Affordable Care Act fixed.

So what was this pre-existing condition that cost Bevin his health insurance? Why, it wasn’t a condition at all. It was because Bevin and his wife adopted a child. That’s right, Bevin couldn’t get health insurance for his entire family because he adopted a child. In fact, Bevin has adopted four children from Ethiopia, something for which he and his wife should be lauded.

Despite practically being a poster child for the benefits of Obamacare, Bevin told the crowd that he remains committed to “100 percent repeal”. Even though 400,000 Kentuckians have gotten health care coverage through Obamacare, resulting in a 40 percent drop in people without health insurance in the state.

What will the Republicans do if they take over the Senate in the upcoming mid-term election? Once they have the votes in both the House and the Senate, will they really go nuclear and repeal Obamacare? Obviously, Obama would veto any such attempt, but it still would be costly to them politically, since by then Obamacare will be even more popular. But if they don’t repeal it, will challenges from ultra-conservatives like Bevin cause them even more problems?

Maybe, or maybe not. As the Washington Post notes, in the upcoming primaries next Tuesday, not a single Tea Party candidate is predicted to win.



  1. TJ wrote:

    I don’t feel sorry for him. Cook is 100% right in his comments here. McConnell should feel ashamed for his actions over the last 6 years.

    Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 1:16 am | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    So donate to Alison Grime’s campaign in Kentucky.
    In fact your article inspired me to give more.
    McConnell needs to go.

    Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 6:24 am | Permalink
  3. Michael wrote:

    I’ve had a growing suspicion for a while that Obamacare is the new legal abortion. That is, the GOP will use both issues to fire up the base and gain political power, but they will never actually repeal either. Sure, there are some true believers, but they’re a minority.

    House GOP members have been passing bills repealing the ACA left and right, because they know it’ll never pass the Senate. Assuming they take control of the Senate this year, they’ll continue to pass such bills knowing they’ll be vetoed. But they’ll never have the votes to overrule a veto, because the mainstream GOP knows that victory means they lose a very powerful tool. My prediction is that we’ll see this over and over for the next 2 years.

    Where things will get really interesting is 2016. If Hillary wins (because I really don’t see any other Dem beating her in the primaries), the process will continue ad nauseum. If the GOP ends up winning the White House, my prediction is that we will NOT see an ACA repeal. We’ll start to see squabbles over details and technicalities (full repeal vs. partial repeal of unpopular parts). Depending on who the President is, we may even see a veto.

    End result: We will never see a repeal of ACA, and that was never the goal of the GOP. All of this has been bread and circus designed to help the GOP retake the House and Senate. And, just like the abortion wedge issue, it has worked.

    Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Strongly agree.

    Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink