Sunday, August 07, 2022


Maybe I'm naive, but this seems like an ill-advised vote in an election year:
Republican senators on Sunday voted down a cap on the price of insulin in the private market, removing it from Democrats' sweeping climate and economic package.

Democrats had tried to preserve the provision to cap insulin costs at $35 for private insurers, but that vote failed 57-43, with seven Republicans voting with them to keep the insulin cost cap in the bill, three short of what was needed.
You'd assume that the seven Republicans voting for the insulin price cap would include several who are running for reelection in November -- but only two of the seven, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and Louisiana's John Kennedy, are facing voters this year.
Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy of Louisiana; Susan Collins of Maine; Josh Hawley of Missouri; Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi; and Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska joined Democrats in voting to keep the insulin cap for private insurers on Sunday.
Quite a few of the Republican senators up for reelection this year are all but certain to win: John Boozman of Arkansas, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Todd Young of Indiana, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, John Hoeven of North Dakota, James Lankford of Oklahoma, John Thune of South Dakota, and Mike Lee of Utah. But Wisconsin's Ron Johnson trailed his likely Democratic opponent, Mandela Barnes, in an early-summer poll. He voted against the cap. Marco Rubio seems to have only a single-digit lead in his Florida race, as does Chuck Grassley in Iowa. They voted against the cap. South Carolina's Tim Scott wants to be reelected this year and then reportedly wants to be president, or possibly vice president. He voted against the cap.

This is the same Republican Party that seems surprised by voter backlash to the recent Supreme Court ruling on abortion. The party's message, dutifully parroted by Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman in The New York Times yesterday, is that, sure, Democrats seem to be doing much better in midterm polling and fund-raising than a party with an unpopular president ought to be doing, but that can't possibly last. Don't be fooled by the fact that they have the popular positions on gun violence (after several recent mass shootings), abortion (after Dobbs), and other issues -- none of that will really matter in November. (The story by Goldmacher and Haberman quotes six Republicans and only two Democrats, and not surprisingly, it seems to accept this framing.)

Republicans arrogantly believe that they can decide the terms of our political debate at any time, and Democrats never can. I admit that Democrats often fail to do this, but it's not because they can't. They appear to be doing it now.

Or you could say that Republicans are still deciding what issues we'll talk about, just not to their own advantage this time. In any case, they don't seem to believe it's even theoretically possible for them to lose on issues. We'll see if they're right.

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