GOP Senators who defect from ObamaCare repeal will hurt themselves, their party and the country.
By Fred Barnes, The Wall Street Journal
Politics is a team sport, and Republicans are playing it poorly. They have one more chance in the Senate to repeal and replace ObamaCare—possibly their last hope for a victory.
Democrats are performing like a well-coached team. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has all 48 members of his caucus on board with saving ObamaCare at all cost. It’s been a successful strategy.
It works for one reason: Republicans are divided. Their 52-48 majority in the Senate means they can lose two votes and still prevail, since Vice President Mike Pence is the tiebreaker. After promising to get rid of ObamaCare for the past seven years, it shouldn’t be difficult.
But as many as eight Republican senators opposed the first GOP bill, forcing Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to come up with a revised version. While an improvement, it has encountered opposition too. Mr. McConnell is skillful in bringing senators together. But here his task is more difficult than usual because the dissidents don’t all agree on what’s wrong with the bill. Appeasing one senator may alienate another.
This is an example of why legislative success depends on operating as a team. You don’t abandon your team just because you don’t get everything you want (or want left out). You hold your nose and vote for an imperfect measure, sometimes merely because it’s politically beneficial and better than the alternative.
This is especially true in dumping ObamaCare. The Republican alternative is a more free-market health-care system in which people can buy the insurance they want, not what government requires.
Sticking with the team makes that possible. But too many Republicans aren’t comfortable as team players. To them, it’s shady and unprincipled to vote for something about which you have serious doubts. Democrats are more realistic and less persnickety, so they’re better at uniting.