The Republican Knives Are out on Trumpcare, and They're All Pointing at Each Other

Trumpcare, Ryancare, Obamacare 2.0, Obamacare-lite: What it's called depends on which Republican you are talking to, and none of those names is offered in support of House Speaker Paul Ryan's attempt to repeal Obamacare and put big tax breaks for the wealthy in place of its guarantee of health coverage. The circular firing squad that has emerged in this key battle is a harbinger for what "unified" Republican government is going to look like—for as long as it lasts.

"Swampcare," the writer and radio personality Erick Erickson scoffed at the new American Health Care Act, the culmination of seven years of promises to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement. "Obamacare 2.0," declared "RINOCARE," Mark Levin wrote on Twitter, using the acronym for Republican in Name Only. […]

"I feel lied to," said Anna Beavon Gravely, the deputy state director of the North Carolina chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-backed group that is funding a grass-roots push against Republicans in Congress who want to stop short of an outright repeal.

"We trusted you because you said you were going to do something about this. And this is not it. Not even close," she added as she prepared to set out for the offices of North Carolina lawmakers with other activists from her state.

Paid protester alert!!!

Unified government was supposed to eliminate some of the infighting that plagued the Republicans during the Obama years, when the party's right flank brought down a House speaker, defeated a House majority leader and blocked another majority leader's ascent. Instead, it is underlining the difficulties of running Washington now that their party bears full responsibility.

"For a while, it did seem like Trump's victory had transcended the old political battles," said Matt Lewis, a conservative author, who added that the fighting was doubly odd because the repeal was not an issue central to Mr. Trump's immigration- and jobs-themed campaign. "This is not why people elected Donald Trump. And yet here we are."

Why anybody believed we were going to see a unified Republican party under Trump after a bitter primary and uncomfortable general election is a mystery. Why anybody thought that the Freedom Caucus and their well-heeled backers would roll over for the "establishment"—meaning Ryan and now Trump—is as much of a mystery. The Koch brothers, Heritage, and all the rest of these organizations are not Trump's buddies and aren't going to shut up now just because he's in the White House.

They've been unified for eight years by one thing: hating President Obama. Erasing every bit of the law that carries his name is the one thing that has consumed them for the whole of his tenure and now that they see it in reach, they'll accept nothing else. If Ryan and Trump can cobble together enough votes for Trumpcare in the House and by some miracle Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can do the same in the Senate, that won't be enough for them.

However they end up getting out of this, it's not going to unify Republicans. It's not going to strengthen either Ryan's or Trump's position within the GOP. And it's going to set the stage for an unhappy unified Republican government for as long as it lasts. 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.