I say that because, between the two of them — him and Nikki Haley — I figure he’s the one more likely to listen to reason. At least, I would normally think that, although his recent behavior on this subject injects a large measure of doubt.
Here’s what I’m on about:
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday opened the S.C. front in the Republican Party’s battle to roll back health care legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama last year.
At a State House news conference, Graham and Haley took turns blasting the law as an expensive federal takeover of the nation’s health care system. Graham said the law, which won 60 votes in the 100-member U.S. Senate, was passed through a “sleazy” process that offered no opportunity for GOP input.
Graham also said he has introduced legislation to allow South Carolina and other states to “opt out” of the law, which is being challenged in federal courts.
“I’m confident that, if given the chance, a large number of states would opt out of the provisions regarding the individual mandate, employer mandate and expansion of Medicaid,” Graham said, referring to requirements in the law that individuals buy insurance, companies offer it and Medicaid be expanded to cover those without insurance. “As more states opt out, it will have the effect of repealing and replacing Obamacare.”
Last time, I was sort of seriocomic in warning Sen. Graham that he was goin’ to messin’, with my “Lindsey, fill yer hands; I’m a callin’ you out” post.
It’s not funny any more.
In fact, this is the one thing that leading Republicans (or anyone else who got such a notion) could do that would be totally beyond the pale, truly unforgivable.
Look, I get it: You don’t like Obama. No, scratch that: What I get is that your constituents don’t like Obama (in some cases for reasons that don’t bear a lot of scrutiny), so you’re playing to that. I doubt Nikki has any strong feelings toward the president one way or the other (she never even had occasion to think about him until she decided to become the Tea Party’s Dream Girl last year) and for his part Lindsey is perfectly happy to work with him in a collegial manner. But they’re trying to stay in the game with Jim “Waterloo” DeMint, and this leads to trying to fake the symptoms of Obama Derangement Syndrome.
I fully get the fact that since the defeat of November 2008 (when, it you’ll recall, I endorsed both John McCain and Lindsey Graham), the Republican Party has gone stark, raving mad, having concluded that its problem in ’08 was that it wasn’t extreme enough, not wacky enough, causing it, as it wandered lost in the post-apocalyptic landscape, to embrace the Tea Party in its lonely desperation. I get all that.
But that is a disgusting, absurd, inexcusable, disgustingly irresponsible reason to try to prevent the people of South Carolina — who have perhaps more need for health care reform than people in any other state — from deriving any benefit that might accrue from the federal health care legislation.
No, the thing dubbed “Obamacare” doesn’t accomplish much; it’s a bit of a Frankenstein of a bill. But it actually would do SOME people SOME good. And it at least has the one essential element that one would have to have in any attempt to address the crisis in paying for health care in this country, the national mandate — which, absurdly, is the ONE thing you object to most vehemently. (We’ve discussed in the past how there’s no point in talking about “reform” unless you start with the premise that everybody has to be in the game for it to work, so I won’t go on and on about it now.)
Yep, Obamacare is pretty inadequate. But you have NOTHING to replace it with, nothing in the wings (with any chance of passing, or any chance of doing any good if it DID pass) to do what little good Obamacare will do.
So trying to tear it down is nothing but an act of pure destruction. And the thing you’re destroying is the ONE thing that’s been done lately to address the one greatest domestic need in this country.
I expect this kind of nonsense from Nikki Haley (the Tea Party Nikki Haley that is, not the promising young House member I used to know). But Lindsey Graham is fully smart enough to know better.
Fine, have your little press conferences and make your symbolic gestures. But if you actually start to make this “opt-out” thing a reality, that will be unforgivable.