Republicans are just getting started on their years-long dream of repealing Obamacare, and already, there are fears that things are moving too fast....And I guess I'm expected to see this story as evidence that Republicans in Congress might hold Donald Trump's feet to the fire if he's overly cozy with shady pro-Russian characters or overly dismissive of the U.S. intelligence community:
Sen. John McCain told reporters Tuesday that he supports taking a slower approach to repealing the law, saying he is "always worried about something that took a long time in the making and we've got to concentrate our efforts to making sure that we do it right so that nobody's left out."
Newt Gingrich, the former Republican House Speaker and a close ally of President-elect Donald Trump, told CNN that a big risk for Republicans is getting blamed for taking away people's health coverage....
GOP Sen. Rand Paul cited potential insurance market problems if the law isn't replaced when it is repealed. "If Congress fails to vote on a replacement at the same time as repeal, the repealers risk assuming the blame for the continued unraveling of Obamacare," he said in an op-ed Tuesday. "For mark my words, Obamacare will continue to unravel and wreak havoc for years to come."
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Wednesday said he had more trust in the country's intelligence community than in WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.These apparent declarations of independence are catnip to the news media -- but how often do they amount to anything?
"I have a lot more faith in our intelligence officers serving around the world, very smart and experienced analysts that we have here in the nation's capital, than I do in people like Julian Assange," Cotton said on MSNBC.
Cotton's comments come after President-elect Donald Trump earlier in the day sent a tweet siding with Assange over the intelligence community regarding Russia's meddling in the U.S. presidential election....
"Julian Assange said 'a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta' -- why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!" Trump tweeted.
Remember the days before Christmas, when there were headlines such as "Bipartisan Call for Committee to Probe Russian Cyberattacks" and "Bipartisan Senators Call for New Committee on Russian Hacking"? If you just read the headlines, you might have believed that a significant number of Republicans wanted there to be a select committee to look into Russian electoral shenanigans -- but, in fact, only John McCain and Lindsey Graham were on board.
John McCain and Lindsey Graham are backing off of their push for a select committee on cybersecurity after Russian interference in the election, bowing to the political reality that the Senate Republican Conference largely does not back their idea....It's going to be like this over and over and over again -- whatever Donald Trump wants, or the House and Senate leadership want, is what's going to happen. There might be one or two grumblers in the GOP ranks, but the Republican Party is the Borg -- resistance is futile. The few who deviate from Correct Thinking are always brought back in line. (And in every case there are only a tiny few.)
"We're just going to move with the individual committees and see how that works. If it doesn't work, we'll regroup," Graham said in an interview.
McCain said he'd spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) about the matter. McConnell prefers to use the Intelligence Committee to spearhead the cyber investigation, and McCain said their discussions had done little to move the GOP leader.
"He said he doesn't think we need it," McCain said.
So never believe a narrative that relies on the possibility of Republican dissent derailing the plans of Trump, Ryan, McConnell, or their rich and powerful backers, whether in the fossil-fuels industry or in the Kremlin. It just won't happen.