Why Are Republicans Shooting Themselves in the Foot With a Health Care Bill?

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Ed Kilgore points me to The Hill today, which reports that House Republicans plan to draft a genuine Obamacare replacement bill later this year:

For years, Republicans have promised a “repeal and replace” strategy on ObamaCare, but have never coalesced behind one plan. President Obama has repeatedly mocked the GOP for not delivering an alternative.

[Eric] Cantor intends to move a repeal-and-replace bill before the midterm elections in November, according to a source familiar with the situation. He broached the issue at the House GOP retreat in Cambridge, Md., late last week.

“I think it is very likely that we’re going to have it before the election, we’re going to give the people — or at least we are going to try to give the people — a clear distinction of who we are versus who the Democrats are,” Florida Rep. Tom Rooney (R) said.

I’m genuinely baffled by this. Why bother? Republicans have spent years screaming “Repeal and Replace!” without ever offering up a replacement, and it’s worked fine. Sure, it invites mockery from folks like me, but has that ever done them any harm? Not that I can see.

On the flip side, any actual bill will be divisive within their own caucus and provide a rich target for Democrats at the same time. When it’s all just hazy smoke, Dems have nothing to get a handle on. Once there’s actual legislative language, all they have to do is find the least popular bits, twist them into granny-killing death panels, and go to town.

If there were an actual chance of passing this bill, it might be worth it. But there’s not, and as near as I can tell, it’s literally 100 percent downside and no upside. What on earth is the point?

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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