UPDATE: John McCain has just announced that he will also vote “NO” on Graham-Cassidy. Another grandstander. He’s not a scatterbrained dumb cluck, he’s just a sonofabitch. “…if I were a Russian operative, I would try to invent someone like John McCain, if McCain did not already exist.”
This sort of power should be reserved for only smart and honorable people. Scatterbrained dumb clucks like Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska should never be allowed to exercise this sort of power because they cannot be depended on to use it wisely. But that’s not the way the world works and it sure isn’t the way the United States Senate works.
It looks as though Murkowski will be holding the 50th vote in the Senate necessary to pass Graham-Cassidy partial repeal of Obamacare. Maine’s Susan Collins and Kentucky’s Rand Paul are apparently “NO” votes. Susan Collins is equally afflicted with dumb cluckism. Rand Paul is a smart man with some eccentricities. So Murkowski therefore holds the power to kill Graham-Cassidy, or see it pass.
One could say that Collins or Paul also hold the same power. But Collins is a woman without the power to ever change her mind, and Paul just doesn’t want to. They don’t hold much power over themselves much less 49 other Senators.
That Murkowski might kill Graham-Cassidy seems odd, very odd, because her State of Alaska has suffered under Obamacare with 300% premium increases and no doctors willing to accept Medicaid patients after the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare. In order for doctors to be able to pay their rents and salaries and have something left for themselves they must hold down the percentage of Medicaid patients in their practice. Obamacare expansion of Medicaid tried to force doctors to exceed that percentage by a whopping amount and they aren’t willing to do it.
Murkowski’s vote in July against the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare hurt her state when President Trump threatened to turn off the money spigot from lower 48 taxpayers that flows into Alaska for all sorts of goodies. Among these are subsidies for flights in rural Alaska, grants for weatherization, village water projects, salmon recovery, wildlife refuge payments, bridges to nowhere and upgrades for military bases.
These are all descretionary spending matters that Trump can curtail or stop altogether with the stroke of his pen. EPA administrator Zinke has warned Alaska governor Bill Walker that something like this will happen if Murkowski continues her grandstanding. Governor Walker is a rather mean-spirited goof himself not unlike Murkowski. [when I rode my motorcycle to Alaska in 2005 I got the impression that Alaska is sparsely populated by a lot of people who might have been tarred and feathered and run out of town in their previous lower 48 habitation]
The only thing Murkowski stands to gain by voting against Graham-Cassidy is some very short-lived respect from Anchorage’s liberal elite and media. In the next election it will be worth nothing. That elite will revert to its hatred of her and the horse she rode in on. She doesn’t get it and that’s why the charge of “scatterbrained dumb cluck” is a fair characterization.
Graham-Cassidy is not a good bill, it doesn’t repeal Obamacare but it does do away with some of Obamacare’s worst features, such as the individual mandate and the employer mandate. Getting rid of those two things alone will spur job growth in Alaska and elsewhere. It will give block grants to states for Medicaid funding and allow states much more control over Medicaid. These are good things and a step in the right direction. A root and branch repeal of Obamacare would be a lot better, but leaving Obamacare in place is the worst alternative.
Anyone who is not a scatterbrained dumb cluck will vote for Graham-Cassidy. They’d just have to give up grandstanding for once and do the right thing. I know, that’s a lot to ask of a scatterbrained dumb cluck.