Stop trying to make fetch happen, House GOP

Can someone please explain the point of the following to me?  (Via TPM.)

Two days after President Obama’s commanding reelection victory, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) solemnly declared Obamacare the “law of the land” — apparently signaling that it was time to move beyond the GOP’s now-hopeless quest for repeal.

The conservative pushback was swift and brutal. Immediately, Boehner’s office was forced to clarify that he remained committed to repealing the law.

And so House Republicans will vote on Thursday — yet again — to wipe out the Affordable Care Act. By their own count, it’ll mark the 37th time they’ve voted to fully repeal or partially dismantle the President’s signature achievement.

Seriously, this is yet another of those political phenomena with a purpose that eludes me entirely.

Given the monument to ineptitude and dysfunction that is the US Congress, there are plenty of wholly legitimate issues on which we can hope to make zero progress in the foreseeable future.  Gun control was one recent casualty of the partisan split, and I suspect immigration reform will be another.  Pretty much anything that isn’t a non-binding resolution in praise of apple pies baked by Jesus gets a one-way ticket to Impasseland these days.  I get it.

But with those other issues, there is at least a gesture toward tackling a problem that both parties pretend they want to fix.  They disagree on how to fix it (background checks vs something something mental health care for gun violence, path to citizenship vs border security for immigration reform, etc), but there is at least some kind of shared notion that Something Must Be Done.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act?  Not so much.  Is there a single human being on the face of the earth paying the merest scintilla of attention who thinks there is any chance at all that it will get repealed, at least during this session of Congress?  Even the most violently frothing Obama hater out there must recognize the utter, unalloyed pointlessness of holding a repeal vote in the House, right?

Fine, sure, OK.  I can grok why House Republicans would need to have a vote to repeal it.  Dumb, but marginally understandable.  But multiple votes on the same issue that will accomplish diddly-squat?  WHY?!?  How could anyone think that’s anything other than a tremendous waste of time?

I swear, the only truly reliable thing about this Congress is that no matter how stupid I think it is, it will always find a way to act stupider.

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.


  1. Sorry Russell. The unalloyed O haters do think they will repeal the ACA. I’m sure the recent IRS scandal has just ramped up True Belief that impeachment is just around the corner and salvation is at hand. These people are Patriots after all, how can their motivations be questioned. They are simply fighting the Good Fight and won’t stop because winners never quit and quitters never win. So Huzzah and keep holding repeal votes.

    • After I wrote this and stopped beating my head against the wall, I took time to muse that yes, indeed, there are probably a whole mess of enraged anti-Obama voters (to be fair, I’m sure there are a large number of similarly-ignorant supporters) who genuinely do not know how Congress works… or, more accurately, “works.” They don’t understand that the House is only one half of Congress, and that nothing gets made into law without the Senate and the President or a veto override.

      I just… GAH!! Such a transparent play to stupid voters, PREDICATED ENTIRELY on their stupidity… GAH!!!

      • Well yeah…its not like the R’s in the House could be, ohhhh i don’t know, trying to work with D’s to fix the problems with the ACA or in our health care system. I do hear tell that R’s have all sorts of ideas about fixing the HC system.

        • Maybe one day they’ll tell us. That voucher thing has to be a joke.

    • The dream of impeachment is especially dumb because even if they did somehow get removal it’d just put in Biden as Prez. Unless they’re thinking Removal + huge wave of GOP Senate victories giving them filibuster (and veto) proof majority it ain’t happenin’ — and to think that is to think leprechauns are real.

      • The dream of impeachment is especially dumb because even if they did somehow get removal it’d just put in Biden as Prez.

        Well, now that you put it that way, I’m for it. If we can’t have a good president, at least we can have an entertaining one.

      • The point, I think, is that impeachment would damage the Democratic brand and mean victory next time, no matter what kind of idiot the GOP nominates.It worked in 2000.

          • The same way they remember who was president at the time of Ruby Ridge.

  2. Nobody thought Prohibition would be repealed, either, up until everyone realized that they were waiting for someone else to jump first.

    • Axes and hatchets make surprisingly good psychological weapons.

  3. This is just a “binding ritual,” like an Elk’s meeting or a confirmation.

    It is no more about health care than about space travel. It is a group getting together and performing a ritualistically impossible action.

    I think they should wear funny hats.

  4. Actually, I remember reading an article that there were a chunk of freshmen elected in the 2012 Election for the GOP that wanted to be able to say to their constiuents, “I voted to repeal Obamacare,” since there hadn’t been a vote to repeal Obamacare since the 2012 Election.

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