To be fair to the news media, John McCain‘s highly dramatic “no” vote on Senate Republican’s bizarre healthcare scheme was what was new about the news. It was bound to get all of the attention, and some will speculate it might have been orchestrated as such. Though, as large portions of the internet were quick to point it was Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine who deserved more of the credit. The pair of real mavericks had rightfully seen the farce of democracy that Republican Senate leadership was trying to ram through, and had broadcast their intent to vote no well ahead of time, thus setting up McCain’s chance to pull off a last minute twist.
While McCain had used his words to implore his colleagues to turn away from the current win-at-all-cost, us-against-them mindset in a hotly covered speech earlier this week, Murkowski and Collins had actually been living those words with their actions. Even though the pair of female Republicans are still against “Obamacare” and are on record with a desire to see it repealed and replaced just as much as the rest of their GOP colleagues, they weren’t comfortable with the divisive and possibly disastrous way the plan was being pushed through.
To recap: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican leadership had tried and failed to craft a health care bill largely in private, behind closed doors. With few options left, they presented the last-minute so-called “skinny repeal” bill, a piece of legislation that if adapted as written would have been an absolute disaster by most accounts (even by many who did end up voting for it). The idea was that the House and the Senate would then enter reconciliation and try to hammer out something workable. What that would have looked like we will now, most likely thankfully, never know.
In essence, the vote was Republican senators crapshooting on healthcare reform, and far too many of them seemed willing to take such a chance, even though the health, income, and indeed lives, of millions of Americans were at stake. In the process they would have walked away from the opportunity and duty to have more direct input into whatever healthcare plan took shape. It was clear: they were more concerned about their party and a political win than they were the healthcare of their constituents.
Murkowski and Collins were not having it.
“I didn’t come here to represent the Republican Party,” Murkoswki [reportedly](https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/26/us/politics/lisa-murkowski-health-care.html_ told President Trump to his face earlier in the week. “I am representing my constituents and the state of Alaska.”
The duo is getting props online, even (or perhaps especially) from those who likely disagree with them on actual matters of policy.
Of course, it would have been nice if it hadn’t come to this almost written-for-reality-TV moment in the first place. Last night and the moments that lead up to it were truly a gift to cable news, Twitter hot takers and assorted think piece writers, but a lump of coal for the American people.
Republicans have had seven and half years since the passage of Obamacare and the resultant crusade against it to actually rally around a workable alternative. President Donald Trump, of course, could have run on a platform that included an actual detailed health care reform plan (as opposed to his platform of a detailed series of complaints about Hillary Clinton) and used his win as proof of a mandate to push it through. Basically, Republicans could have done their actual job of putting forth workable, serious solutions and it wouldn’t have gotten here in the first place (conversely, perhaps Democrats could have rallied around a more compelling vision to fix and expand on Obamacare during campaign season and maybe we wouldn’t have been here either). It’s been all talk and no action in the first place. Lots of campaign promises and cable TV yelling, and very little of the tedious work of actually crafting legislation.
Murkowski and Collins are essentially getting praise for doing their jobs and putting their constituents first and not turning their vote into some “will she or won’t she” saga in the first place. They deserve it. We just wish it hadn’t come to that in the first place.
Donald Trump wants to make America great again. Maybe to do so we need to make politics boring again.
See What’s Trending in W Video: