Obamacare "loss" today gives republicans hard lessons that broken promises are nothing new in politics. Former presidents had their share of such. George H.W. Bush with no new taxes; Bill Clinton also broke his promise on middle class tax cut; and of course Barack Obama and his big promise on never closing Guantanamo Bay. Now, Republicans have also broken their promise on repealing Obamacare, though in much more complicated and critics say, more unacceptable fashion.
For one, Republicans ran on repealing and replacing Obamacare for seven years that spanned four election cycles. They won the House majority in 2010 in large part because of the public anger against the passage of Obamacare and on the strength of their promise to repeal and replace it. The troubles in the rollout of Obamacare again helped the Republicans win the Senate in 2014. From House candidates to Senate candidates, all the way down to gubernatorial and even state leg candidates, Republicans ran against Obamacare and won.
And of course, during last year's big presidential campaign, Trump consistently opposed Obamacare and even wisely used to his campaign advantage the rising premiums in the crucial weeks leading to the election. Each election cycle from 2010 to 2016, the Republicans' fight against Obamacare carried them to big victories. But now they failed on their long campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.
The blame game has started, too, for the sorry loss. There are those who want to place the blame on conservative hardliners in Congress for not supporting or even giving way to the replacement bill for Obamacare. On the other hand, some are also saying that the conservatives merely stuck to the original goal- a bill that will truly, effectively be different from Obamacare and much better. And for conservatives, the proposed replacement bill by the Republican House leadership was not just that. The most striking and even painful observation that the Republicans must consider is the one that says that the disgraceful thing that happened on Congress today is not the fact that Republicans failed to repeal and replace Obamacare, but that they did not really try hard enough.
Some were questioning if they even wanted it replaced in the first place. Much criticisms have been thrown against Obamacare. But what can not be denied is that at least Democrats and Obama worked hard in drafting it, campaigning for it, getting it passed. They put in the hours and the dedication to see it through. Now, some are questioning if Republicans truly worked hard on the replacement or many of them just wanted to speed through with it, without much thought and focus?
That railing against Obamacare was a great and even convenient campaign message tool for them, but when the game is on the line, when hard work was needed, they did not really got down to hard business. The Republicans and President Trump just lost their first major legislative agenda today. It is painful and even embarrassing with even discredited Democrats as Hillary Clinton celebrating, if not gloating. But it also offers them an opportunity to learn the lessons for their future, other big fights, especially the values of hard work and substance.