Colossal GOP failure and not just on health

Colossal GOP failure and not just on health, by Glenn Reynolds.

The plan to replace Obamacare with a new bill crafted by House Speaker Paul Ryan has failed, and embarrassingly so. And that failure is part and parcel of a larger failure of the Republican-led Congress to push an agenda in the new administration.

Talking to a friend at lunch not long ago, he expressed his amazement that the House and Senate leadership didn’t have bills “lined up like airplanes on a runway” ready to take off in the new year. I was surprised, too.

It’s not like the need to do something about Obamacare was a surprise. Republicans have been promising to repeal it for most of a decade. And it’s not like Obamacare was popular or successful. …

For years the congressional GOP leadership failed to deliver on promises to constituents, and offered the excuse that it couldn’t do anything without control of the White House. Well, they’ve got that, so what’s their excuse now? And where are the bills on infrastructure, on tax reform, on free speech?

“At the state level, the GOP has been remarkably effective at ushering in reform over the last seven years; at the federal level, by contrast, it has been able only to hold the line.” … One thing that’s different at the federal level is that the major news media have much more impact on national politics than they have on state politics: State legislators rarely have to worry about what The New York Times, The Washington Post or NBC News has to say about their issues. And while they have local media to consider, those are usually less monolithically left-leaning and less influential. (Indeed, the reduced influence of the Democrat-favoring national media out in the states may explain why the GOP has done better in state, local, and congressional races than in national races over most recent elections). But is that enough to explain it? I’m not sure.

The PC media would be my explanation. The media train politicians: if a politician wants positive coverage (and they do!) they need to say something PC. Or don’t be PC, and the media ignores them — or worse, say something anti-PC and the media crucifies the politician!

The media are unaccountable but, now that they are nearly all on the same page, wield far more power in setting national policy than mere elected officials.