My personality is such that once I start work on solving a problem or fixing some thing, however trivial it is, I will carry it out to its conclusion, usually working on it straight with hardly a break. This is true with yard work, work around the house, writing projects, science and math problems, anything. Once I start, and as long as I believe that I can succeed and that effort and my own skills should be sufficient in arriving at a satisfactory solution, it becomes a kind of obsession and I will plug away until I see it through to the end.
This came to mind when I read Kevin Drum’s question at the end of his post on the Graham-Cassidy health care-denying bill that will likely be put to the vote this week. Although there seem to be enough votes against it to kill it, this has not daunted the Republican leadership and there is a whole lot of arm-twisting going on to try and get the 50 votes to pass it.
Graham-Cassidy is—literally—opposed by every single constituency in the health care industry. That includes doctors, nurses, hospitals, patient advocates, and pharmaceutical companies. It is wildly unpopular, polling around 20 percent approval. The Republican base isn’t clamoring for it. It would leave more than 20 million people uninsured without saving very much money. It would remove protections for pre-existing conditions. And it would cost the country 580,000 jobs, tanking the economy for the next decade.
And yet Republicans are still trying to pass it. Can anyone explain why?
I think that the answer to Drum’s question is that repealing Obamacare has become an obsession with Republican members of Congress that long ago entered a region where rational thinking ceased to be operative and became an end in itself. They have become captain Ahab and Obamacare is their Moby Dick, the great white whale that they think they can capture though it remains just beyond the reach of their grasp. They will keep trying to destroy it even if (Spoiler alert for those who haven’t read Herman Melville’s book!) it ends up dragging them down.