SO, support a bully, or expect to get bullied, later.
That’s how the fight surrounding the replacement bill for Obamacare is shaping up.
Even though it’s a stinker. It’s big government. And it’s not even remotely the fix conservatives wanted, President Trump wants it to happen and he’s willing to threaten opposition Republicans to get it.
The Washington Examiner is reporting on a Tuesday meeting between Trump and the House GOP Whip team, where Trump has threatened that either they get the votes for this monstrous bill, or he will primary those GOP members up for reelection in 2018.
Most of the Republicans who reject the Obamacare replacement plan are from districts that support Trump and are likely to lean heavily to his influence, as far as who to vote for.
If he starts traveling to speak for the primary challengers of sitting Republican lawmakers, you know it’s to punish them for non-compliance.
Party insiders say the president at that point could choose to make an example of one or two resistant Republicans to send a message.
Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, the primary group of House Republicans opposed to the healthcare bill, is a possible target. His western North Carolina district voted overwhelmingly for Trump in November, and Meadows has come out in opposition to the bill.
“The president has a very powerful bully pulpit and a very powerful tweet and so I would never want to take on the president in either of those realms,” he admitted.
And we know what havoc Trump’s tweets tend to create.
Another member of the Whip team, Rep. Tom Cole, of Oklahoma, said:
“I don’t think he has to threaten them. I think he does have to persuade them and make them realize, we fail at this, the first victims are going to be you guys, because you’re the ones up in 2018,” Cole said. “People have to decide, do you really want to hand the president a defeat on his first major initiative? I think that’s full of political consequences for people that do it.”
That’s a nice congressional seat you have there. It’d be a shame if something happened to it.
Trump’s loyalists are fanatical enough that a single tweet, substantiated or otherwise, is enough to set them off on tangents for months to come. Even when everybody else has pointed out how horrible it is, they’ll cling to what he says, and for those working in opposition to what he wants, it can be a disastrous career move.
Trump has held listening sessions with conservative advocacy groups that oppose the bill, and tried publicly to encourage Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to drop his opposition. He’s also dispatching Vice President Mike Pence to Louisville on Saturday for a rally with Gov. Matt Bevin to drum up support.
Trump first road trip to sell the health care bill is scheduled for next week in Nashville.
Meanwhile, the Whip team is going to provide him with a list of Republicans who see this bill as the nightmare walking that it is, in order that he might “persuade” them.
Something about going to sleep next to pods…
Trump will continue to have meetings with those lawmakers who remain unconvinced, as well as different coalitions.
Conservative critics of the health care bill are dismissing it as “Obamacare-lite.” They say it doesn’t go far enough in unwinding the Affordable Care Act or implementing free market reforms that would reduce premiums and improve access to quality care, and many are asking for a clear repeal bill, and then a fresh debate on its replacement.
Because that is what was promised, not some three-phase charade to bring the people right back to where they were.
This may very well come down to a case of messaging, and if Conservatives in the House can better convey to the people their reasons for opposing the bill, before Trump starts tweeting and attacking them, just before the midterm elections.