If at first you don't succeed, the saying goes, try, try again. But if you try again and fail, and then you keep trying until you've tried and failed 36 times, maybe it's time to just give up and find something more productive to do with your time. That's the advice one might give to Senate Republicans today, after an amendment offered by freshman Senator Ted Cruz of Texas to repeal the Affordable Care Act failed. Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat, said that by his count it was the 36th such unsuccessful attempt; the tally in the House passed 30 last summer, so there it may be even higher by now.
Look, Republicans, we get it: You really, really don't like Obamacare. If you could repeal it, you would. But you can't. Even if you could muster the votes in both houses of Congress, which you can't, President Obama would veto the repeal anyway. Because, as you may remember, he got reelected in November. So what's the point of having all these repeal votes?
Whatever it is, they just can't quit. They keep holding the votes, Paul Ryan releases a budget that includes a repeal of all the insurance coverage provisions in Obamacare, and they all act as though this isn't an argument that's been well settled. But the law was passed, the Supreme Court weighed in, and then so did the voters. Who knows, maybe everything Republicans have said about it will turn out to be true—it'll destroy the economy, wreck the health care system, and our children will look back at the time before 2009 and pray that one day Americans will be able to breathe the sweet air of freedom once more. But until then, they really ought to give it a rest.
So They Say
"It’s a good problem to have. We have enough of us now that we can negotiate in the ladies’ room.”
— Senator Debbie Stabenow, on the record number of female senators, and their bathroom-stall shortage
Daily Meme: Sweater Vests in Space
- BREAKING: You guys, we missed out on a general election with Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum!
- But, as Jonathan Chait notes, "given our current primitive gene-splicing technology, it would not have been possible to actually merge the two figures into one unstoppable helmet-haired, sweater-vested, world historical political giant with an epic Tiffany’s account and a gross sexual neologism."
- So, the political marriage floundered, brought down by the fact that neither man could decide who was most fit to be the presidential candidate, and who was merely sidekick material.
- Comedy Central has the solution: "Easy answer: neither. Neither of you gets to be president."
- As Gawker puts it, "Picture it: This past January, our nation's greatness restored, as the Capitol dome and God's eyes gazed down on the inauguration of President Santorum President Gingrich No, Santorum.Get serious, obviously it should be Gingrich.
- Jonathan Bernstein's like, that would have been a DISASTER.
- One right-leaning blog's summation: "Well, this would have been weird."
- A Daily Kos blogger writes, "Team Unity would have been unstoppable! Assuming the election was held on a moon base with no blah people."
- Amy Davidson highlights one clear ramification the Unity Ticket could have had: the primaries would have lasted forever. "Would they have just kept circling each other until the convention, and then let Clint Eastwood decide?"
What We're Writing
- The American public is fed up with both imperial overreach and the erosion of civil liberties at home. Jeremiah Goulka lays out the statistics that support—and the overwhelming obstacles that will inhibit—the reform of our military-security-industrial complex.
- Abby Rapoport reports on how the GOP defunded political science research because they're terrible, and they're afraid that more research will let more people know how terrible they are.
What We're Reading
- Sorry ladies, minorities: The rotunda's just not that into you. Tim Murphy tallies the number of non-white dudes in Statutory Hall, and the results are dismal.
- In the same vein, The New York Times reported on the 20 women in the Senate and pointed out, sadly, that all 44 women who have ever served in the Senate can fit comfortably on one infographic.
- Jonathan Bernstein analyzes the Ben Carson phenomenon—and the GOP's restless search for a savior.
- The Wall Street Journal on Paul Clement, who'll defend the Defense of Marriage Act in the Supreme Court next week: "Mr. Clement, 46, counts several liberals among his friends and frequents alternative-music clubs."
- Democrats have enjoyed five months of self-congratulation since the elections, and the GOP's battle over internal reform this week capped it all off. But if the bluer party wants to extend its lead, it'll need to do some soul-searching too.
- The New York Times mini-profiles Brian Brown, the Quaker-cum-Catholic who'll be leading a march on the Supreme Court next week to defeat the gay agenda.
- A county prosecutor in Ohio has decided that winter is getting Game of Thrones long and that all the "global warming" hokum isn't doing its job. So he's trying to kill Punxsutawney Phil.
Poll of the Day
Public Policy Polling headed down to Florida and came up with a surprising set of results. Floridians don't want to see either Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio run in 2016; only 33 percent want to see Bush on the campaign trail, and only 37 percent say the same of Rubio. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has the favorable opinions of 56 percent of Florida voters, and leads both potential foes by double digits in head-to-head matchups.