For some reason, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace seems to think the GOP failure to pass Trumpcare's "skinny repeal" means Democrats need to start making concessions on health care.
Last I heard, Republicans tried (and failed) to steamroll their Obamacare repeal without even talking to most of their own party, much less the Democrats.
In fact the three Republican senators who sank their party’s latest repeal effort each specifically rejected the GOP-only crafting of the legislation.
But instead of leading a bipartisan effort, Donald Trump doubled down on Twitter yesterday and threatened to end subsidies [CSRs] for lower-income Obamacare customers.
Yet during an interview with Nancy Pelosi today, Wallace repeatedly suggested that the Republican disarray is due to Democratic failure to compromise. Even though Wallace acknowledged that she has already publicly offered to work with Republicans on bipartisan healthcare legislation.
Wallace was pretty darned condescending to Pelosi, too.
From the Fox News transcript, with my emphases added:
WALLACE: Let me just say, President Trump tweeted this yesterday: If a new healthcare bill is not approved quickly, bailouts for insurance companies, he’s talking about the CSRs, and bailouts for members of Congress will end very soon.
Here’s my question, Leader Pelosi—to keep those CSR payments, what are you as Democrats willing to give to get a real compromise?
[C]ompromise means both sides give, not one side gives and the other side takes. Republicans want to cut back on ObamaCare’s mandates, on ObamaCare’s taxes, on some of ObamaCare’s regulations. What are you willing to give? What are you willing to agree to as part of that that would allow a true bipartisan compromise?
Notice how Wallace suggested that Republican cuts to Obamacare were something they were giving to Democrats without getting anything in return?
I wish Pelosi had immediately called out this tactic. Fox News plays hardball with Democrats and they need to learn to play that game and win, not just get through an interview unscathed, which is what I'd say happened here.
Wallace began badgering Pelosi about what he thought Democrats should offer up as a compromise without saying what he thought Republicans should give up:
WALLACE: How about, for instance, you talk about free market, instead of mandating that people have it, what the Republicans were saying, forgive me, was of you don’t have it, and now you want to buy insurance, you got to wait for a while, or you got to pay a premium to get it. In other words, instead of saying, I’m the government, you have to buy insurance, why not say, there’s going to be a penalty if you don’t buy it?
Pelosi did an excellent job parrying Wallace’s attacks, in my view. But she never reframed the discussion to get off defense. Even worse, she thanked Wallace at the end for “for being a guardian of our democracy.”
Now, I am not one of those calling for Pelosi to step down. I think she is terrific at doing her job in the House of Representatives. I just wish she, as well as almost every other Democrat who goes on Fox, would be shrewder about its tactics.
And while it’s true that Wallace has some real journalistic scruples, this very discussion shows they don’t always trump Fox propaganda. We know that his “compromise” attack was planned in advance and shared with his producers because a lower-third banner “asked,” “WHAT ARE DEMOCRATS WILLING TO COMPROMISE ON?” before Wallace had even begun that line of questioning.
Watch it below, from the July 30, 2017 Fox News Sunday.
Here is another SIDE-SPLITTING PARODY that I just found on Facebook — its name is “Mitch McConnell Had A Bill” — it’s sung to the tune of that old children’s tune “Old McDonald Had A Farm”:
Mitch McConnell screamed for years
But he had no replacement plan
And he did not care!
So he bulls**t here,
And he bulls**t there,
Here a lie, there a lie,
It’s O-K if you die,
Mitch McConnell screamed for years
Mitch McConnell wrote a bill
That he could not pass
And when his bill went up in flames
He looked like an ass!
With a lost vote here,
And a lost vote there,
Here a loss, there a loss
Pissing off his Trump boss,
Mitch McConnell had a bill
That he could not pass!
First, I disagree Chris was badgering Pelosi. If she can’t handle these questions – and there’s nothing to indicate she can – she needs to get out of the way.
Like a dinosaur such as McConnell, Pelosi is a master parliamentarian. However, as a leader of the Democratic Party, she’s a dinosaur devoid of ideas, completely uninspiring, a boat anchor dragging down her party.
I’m not in the habit of offering Republicans helpful advice so I hope they keep the ineffective dinosaur McConnell. However, I desperately want the Democrats to sweep in the midterms and I fear Pelosi is blowing their chance. The “New Deal” slogan is a what the f&@k were they thinking moment. Worse, as proved in this interview, there’s nothing behind the slogan but vague regurgitated mush and waffling.
The clueless and sheepish Democrats seem to think Trump’s unpopular incompetence speaks for itself and guarantees a win. True, Trump’s dysfunction gives them a big chance. People are now willing to listen to an alternate message. Under Pelosi, the Democrats don’t offer one.
People keep acting as though the Right Wing is suddenly going to have a V8 moment and decide to start acting reasonably toward the Dems in Congress. Recent history shows us this is not likely. And the messaging from the Pence White House this weekend has been consistent on the matter. Pence has no intention of working with Democrats on this or any other issue. Trump has no intention of conceding a centimeter of ground here. They’ve declared the ACA dead, and it is dead. They will make sure of this. This is not a negotiation over how the law can be fixed or modified. It’s not even a discussion. This is Trump punching President Obama in the face and making sure Dem voters know to keep their heads down. If the Senate won’t give him what he wants (a modifiable bill that can be adjusted to something closer to a full repeal before it gets to Pence’s desk for Trump’s public signature), then Pence will just turn off the subsidies. And doing this allows him to take a nice cheap swipe at the congresspeople from both sides who didn’t hop to when they were told to do so. It’s not an accident that Fox News is repeating the names of any GOP senators not toeing the line.
I would love to be able to say that the ACA is somehow going to survive what Pence is doing to it, but that would be spreading a false narrative. A big part of Pence’s agenda is tied up in getting rid of the ACA and declaring the Obama Administration a total failure. This will also lead in to cuts in Medicaid and potentially Medicare. Keep in mind these guys will never give up on the notion of getting rid of anything they consider an “entitlement” – or to use the vernacular that Right Wing radio loves, a “handout”. One has to be impressed at the commitment of the Right in their work to obstruct and kill this law. Had they been this steadfast about Social Security and Medicare back in the 1930s and the 1960s, those programs would never have survived this long. My instincts say this is not just about the program, which they would never have allowed through if they could have killed it like they did Hillarycare in the 90s – it’s also about Barack Obama and their visceral hatred for him.
The smarter use of resources will be toward the 2018 midterms and the 2020 campaign. There will be millions of people losing their coverage who the Pence White House will try to convince that this was all caused by the Dems. It is extremely important to make sure these people understand who threw them off the rolls, and why. If the Dems blow another election, there will be far greater consequences than this one.
Oh — how I wish Ms. Pelosi had quoted Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in “The Godfather: Part II”:
“You can have my answer now, if you like. My offer is this: nothing.”