I still detest him, but McCain did one good thing

The latest iteration of the health care repeal bill was presented to the senate in the dead of night, while most of us were sleeping, and put to a vote. Three Republicans — Murkowski, Collins, and McCain — voted with the Democrats to kill it. The maverick was mavericky one more time.

But still…there were 49 Republicans, and Mike Pence waiting in the wings, willing to wreck the hobbling compromise that they call Obamacare. Remember that. All those other Republican senators who have been occasionally willing to complain about the fool running the country caved and were willing to go along with this abomination: Ryan and Graham voted for it. And remember most of all that McConnell is the arch-villain who has been orchestrating it.

Remember all of them. And remind everyone else when the next election rolls around.


  1. Larry says

    Don’t start measuring McCain for that halo just yet. In words after the vote, he said

    I’ve stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict-party line basis without a single Republican vote,” McCain said in a statement. “We must now return to the correct way of legislating …

    ACA was anything but “rammed” through Congress. The Democrats held innumerable hearings, accepting input, negative, as always, from the Republicans, but input the Democrats were not accorded to present by Yertle the Turtle McConnell during this sad episode. In fact, he kept details from all but his lieutenants up to the final vote. McCain knows that and still he tries to pass off the old “both sides do it” BS. No, McCain may have truly voted against this bill this time but it seems to be because his sense of how the Senate should operate was violated, not because the bill would be a total disaster for 22 million people. He’ll be more than happy to do that later, as long as the proper processes are obeyed.

    In my opinion, he’s still an asshole Republican who, on this one occasion, did the right thing but for the wrong reason.

  2. Don Quijote says

    I’m not American but the cynic in me says that McCain voted against it to shaft Trump for his remarks about him, not out of sympathy for the millions who would lose their healthcare.

  3. blf says

    Mostly leaving McCain out since this is clearly his last term… Collins and, perhaps especially Murkowski, whilst doing the correct thing this time, should nonetheless be handled with extreme care & special safety precautions, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski: the GOP Senate duo keeping Trump in check:

    Neither senator should be mistaken for a progressive hero. Both voted against Obama’s original healthcare legislation, and both voted in favor of confirming the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, with Collins offering a personal defense of the nominee, who she said is not motivated by racial animus.

    Like McCain, Collins (and even more so, Murkowski) are slippery thugs. Based on the above article, Collins does seem to be the sanest of the three, but you still need a trench to install a bar low enough for any of the trio to slither over.

  4. doubtthat says

    Politically, this was a no fail situation for Democrats (barring them tripping down the stairs and landing on the scissors they were holding while rollerskating blindfolded, as is their way):

    1. Republicans repeal and/or replace – obviously would be a horrible failure since there is no functional health care system that begins with the ideology of Paul Ryan.
    2. Fail to repeal/replace, they look like idiots and undercut any credibility they have.

    Both likely result in election victories. 2 doesn’t involve people dying and suffering, so whatever else anyone wants to say about the “moderate” folks who submarined this, it was the best possible outcome at the moment.

    Of course, we’ll see what horrors they inflict on us now. The law gives Trump a lot of leeway to mess things up.

  5. archangelospumoni says

    Ever since McCain nominated Caribou Barbie, he lost the moral high ground. He cannot regain it and only can chip away at the mess surrounding him now.

  6. blf says

    [the dummies trip] down the stairs and landing on the scissors they were holding while rollerskating blindfolded, as is their way

    Not doing so backwards, drunk, and wearing a knapsack full of nitroglycerin they were convinced — after getting drunk and signing away the keys & children — was the latest payoff, is a slight improvement…

  7. doubtthat says

    Being drunk helps the fall not sting so much. It makes perfect sense.
    Should mentioned I paid a consultant from the DCCC 6 figures for that strategy.

  8. Larry says

    Republicans repeal and/or replace – obviously would be a horrible failure since there is no functional health care system that begins with the ideology of Paul Ryan

    Sure there is: I’ve got my sweet, sweet tax-payer funded health care. You? You’re on your own

  9. whywhywhy says

    McCain is not that much of a hero. What you are seeing is politics in action. It was McCain’s turn to take the bullet. There are probably another 5+ Republican Senators who did not want this bill to pass and voted for it since they knew McCain, Collins, and Murkowski were insuring it would never see the light of day. Just look at the Senators who have voted against the measures of the last few days. They all want to see this fail and if it wasn’t McCain it would have been one of the others stepping up to take the political hit and risk being primaried.

  10. npdemers says

    @Don Quijote

    the cynic in me says that McCain voted against it to shaft Trump for his remarks about him

    Could be. My theory is that it allowed him to be hailed as a big hero one last time

  11. doubtthat says

    @11 medievalguy

    I assume this was a response to me since I brought up Ryan.

    Had the “skinny repeal” gone through, the plan was to let the bill be rewritten in conference committees with the House. That would allow the crazies in the House lead by Ryan to put the Medicaid cuts back in and all the other unholy bullshittery. In fact, Graham needed assurance from Ryan that the bill they voted on last night would not be approved by the House as written. It was just insanity.

    The first bill the Senate turned down was the House plan. The structure of this replacement was designed by Ryan – big tax cut for the rich, decimate everything else.

  12. tomh says

    @ #13
    I think it was a response to the OP saying, “Ryan and Graham voted for it.”

  13. doubtthat says

    Ah, makes sense. My bad.

    Ryan is the architect. He tried to give the senate cover to pass any old piece of shit bill on the promise the House would revise it, but is not a senator.

  14. Matt Cramp says

    Well, it’s nice that millions of Americans aren’t being murdered in their beds.

  15. Siobhan says

    @Matt Cramp

    Well, it’s nice that millions of Americans aren’t being murdered in their beds.

    I think the short term effects estimate 120,000 predominantly disabled and chronically ill Americans over the next few years at highest risk of death. Millions would lose their health insurance but all aren’t necessarily going to need it during that time.

    Not that I distinguish morally between 120,000 murders and millions of murders. Just want to recognise that the odds of surviving this are not evenly distributed across the population. Denial of care on a scale this large will hit the chronically ill and disabled much harder, to the point that I’d call it a genocide.

  16. robro says

    Interesting how the media focuses almost exclusively on McGain…and oh, yeah, those two women Senators who also voted against it. Their names come up in paragraph 2, maybe. Clearly only a man can be a maverick and a hero…duh. (And not to mention the Democrats who voted against all of the plans…but that’s a forgone conclusion.)

  17. says

    Denial of care on a scale this large will hit the chronically ill and disabled much harder, to the point that I’d call it a genocide.

    And, of course, it won’t impact the rich at all.

  18. robro says

    Also noted that the media’s focus is on the “sneaky repeal” (aka “skinny repeal”) but actually three different Republican healthcare plans were defeated in the last couple of days. McConnell is disappointed. His career as Senate majority leader should be devastated.

  19. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    One more thing about McCain: he voted against the “skinny repeal”, but he voted for the first “repeal and replace” (aka McConnellcare).

    I suppose you could argue that McConnellcare never had a chance, so his vote didn’t matter much. But he voted for it.

  20. doubtthat says

    @What a Maroon, living up to the ‘nym

    I would dare anyone to go over the 4 votes on health care – (1) vote to proceed to debate (2) House Plan (3) Repeal, replace later and (4) skinny repeal – and make any sense out of the people flipping. It was insane.

    McCain stands out since he voted to proceed to debate, lectured everyone on the ills of the process, declared he would never vote for the House version, voted for the house version, then voted against skinny.

    Glad it worked out, but WTF?

  21. michaelwbusch says

    Re. McCain

    Before the midnight session, a journalist apparently asked McCain how he would vote. His response was “wait for the show”: https://twitter.com/MattLaslo/status/890785171087147011 .

    The people of Arizona – and everyone else – deserves better representation than a Senator who would treat a vote on a bill that would have denied tens of millions of people healthcare as a public spectacle rather than a matter of life and death.

    May McCain get whatever healthcare he needs for the cancer that will eventually kill him. And may his successor do a better job.

    Re. the bodycount of an ACA repeal

    Following on from Matt Cramp, Siobhan, & Marcus Ranum:

    The best epidemiological work I’m aware of is that for every 830 Americans who have health coverage that meets ACA requirements, there is 1 less death per year: https://annals.org/aim/article/1867050/changes-mortality-after-massachusetts-health-care-reform-quasi-experimental-study

    The “skinny repeal” McConnell et al. tried to force through would have denied 16 million Americans health coverage in the next year. Doing the division, that works out to 19,000 people killed in 2018 alone from lack of coverage. The cuts to PP would have added another few hundred deaths per year by denying people cancer screenings, STI treatment, contraception, and safe abortions. The cuts to the CDC would have had a less-certain but significant bodycount. So 49 GOP Senators were willing to vote in favor of something that would have killed around 20,000 Americans per year – mostly people with disabilities, mostly poorer people, and mostly women.

    The AHCA passed by 217 Republican Reps would have killed slightly fewer people in 2018, but more people in later years.

    Every single one of the offending legislators needs to never hold political office again. And the same goes for Price, Pence, Trump and everyone else in the executive branch who wanted this evil.

  22. robro says

    doubtthat— I would like to read Franken’s new book about life in the Senate. I have a feeling it would provide some insight into just how insane the environment is.

    Here’s a line from the Washington Post’s The Daily 202:

    Battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, the maverick was willing to vote “no” on the “skinny repeal” amendment so that other GOP colleagues who were also opposed to the measure could vote “yes” to save face with the conservative base.

    And that’s the kind of BS that goes on in Congress all the time.

  23. doubtthat says

    At least in the primaries, that’s probably helpful for the Republicans. Opponents are going to run adds – you voted for this and this. They will respond, but I voted against this, and for this…it will all get lost.

    I am also looking forward to reading Franken’s book.

  24. monad says

    @12 npdemers: My theory is that it was determined to be just the right amount of good deed to come back as a force ghost, villain-but-saves-his-son style.

  25. Matrim says

    As has been said, the vote was pure theater. The Republicans are just as scared of a repeal as we are (though for different reasons). If they actually managed to repeal the ACA, they would be utterly savaged in the next two to three elections, and they’re already going to have a hard time of it as is. This way only three senators are at increased risk, one of whom is likely on his last term anyway. It’s theater, pure and simple.