The party of Lincoln has no soul — the GOP and its toxic healthcare bill
© Keren Carrion

There is not enough space to properly list all the things wrong and ugly that exist in the Republican Senate version of the Health Care bill. It is mean, cruel and without a heart.

Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump: McConnell 'helpless' to stop Biden from packing court Senate GOP opens door to earmarks McConnell sidesteps Trump calling him 'dumb son of a b----' MORE (R-Ky.), the Republican majority leader, has no shame. He symbolizes and personifies the GOP, which at its core, and with very few exceptions, is the Selfish Party. I've got mine and the rest of you are on your own.

A piece of legislation that deprives 22 million Americans of health insurance. That doesn't seem to bother McConnell one bit.

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You would think one group of citizens who he would be concerned about are the residents of his own state of Kentucky. Under Obamacare, Kentucky the largest reduction of uninsured people of all the states in the country.

 

No, McConnell's first priority is making sure the very wealthy can get a tax cut. The poor, low-income, disabled — they belong to a voter bloc he does not need.

"Those people" aren't useful to him.

If this awful bill passes the U.S. Senate, I believe this will be the scenario.

The vote will come down to 50 to 50.

A tie vote which Vice-President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceBiden's policies are playing into Trump's hands Pence pleaded with military officials to 'clear the Capitol' on Jan. 6: AP The Hill's Morning Report - Biden: Let's make a deal on infrastructure, taxes MORE will break by voting yes.

Sounds and looks familiar.

Remember that was the exact vote which allowed Betsy DeVos, among the most unqualified Trump cabinet nominees, to be confirmed.

This is how it will all come about.

The four most rabid and extreme conservatives will yell and scream that the bill is too kind and generous and then after a decent interval, fold. Put senators Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBoehner: 'There's a lot of leaders in the Republican Party' Biden picks vocal Trump critics to lead immigration agencies Boehner: Trump 'stepped all over their loyalty' by lying to followers MORE (R-Texas); Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHillicon Valley: Biden nominates former NSA deputy director to serve as cyber czar | Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after all | Biden pressed on semiconductor production amid shortage Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after pushback from Klobuchar, Lee Biden picks vocal Trump critics to lead immigration agencies MORE (R-Utah); Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonBiden picks vocal Trump critics to lead immigration agencies Trump's early endorsements reveal GOP rift The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE (R-Wisc.) and, last but not least and probably the loudest, Rand Paul (R-Ky.) into that group.

Then some decent moderates who are truly and sincerely torn with doubts won't be able to stand the partisan pressure. Yes, they will speak with conviction and principle, but in the end they just won't have the courage to vote no.

Unfortunately, put these senators in the above mentioned category: Senators Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFive reasons why US faces chronic crisis at border Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain Former GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' MORE (R-Ariz.); Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoBiden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start Moderate GOP senators and Biden clash at start of infrastructure debate America's infrastructure: You get what you pay for MORE (R-WV); Bill Cassidy (R-La); Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanHillicon Valley: Biden nominates former NSA deputy director to serve as cyber czar | Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after all | Biden pressed on semiconductor production amid shortage Bipartisan lawmakers signal support for Biden cybersecurity picks GOP Ohio Senate candidate asked to leave RNC retreat MORE (R-Ohio) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiNixed Interior nominee appointed to different department role  Against mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan GOP Senate campaign arm awards Trump as he rails against McConnell MORE (R-Ak).

Portman and Murkowski deserve special attention. Both are smart and honorable.

Portman just got re-elected by a wide margin in 2016. He repeatedly makes statements that demonstrate an admirable degree of independence. He is not afraid to stray from the party line, but in the end I don't think he will have the guts to say no to his party.

Murkowski I will remind you was not elected as a Republican. She won as a write-in and an Independent. Quite a feat. She too will sadly buckle. She will forget her belief in Planned Parenthood and expansion of Medicaid to her rural poor residents and vote with McConnell.

She voted against DeVos, but she will not be a profile in courage this time.

The two Republicans who said they will vote no and mean it are senators Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsAgainst mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan Trump's early endorsements reveal GOP rift The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE (R-ME) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (R-NV).

Collins is a true moderate. She's proud of her thoughtful and conscience-driven political philosophy. She practices what she preaches. Her word means something.

Most of all the voters of Maine like what they see and want her to continue to be the way she is.

Heller is the very most vulnerable Republican up for re-election in 2018. In fact not one of the other 7 Republicans up in 2018 have anything to worry about. Most of them are locks for re-election.

Nevada is a state which Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHow Democrats can defy the odds in 2022 Close the avenues of foreign meddling Pelosi planned on retiring until Trump won election: report MORE carried in 2016. Quite simply, Heller wants to keep his job.

Mitch McConnell will proclaim victory by the barest of margins. But politics is a game of wins and losses. It doesn't have to be pretty or neat.

Trump will sign anything presented to him. All he has ever cared about is that he be called the winner. Content and substance, he doesn't care. He doesn't have the time, energy, discipline or interest to pursue.

This scenario I outlined feels right to me. I really hope I'm wrong.

Republican senators — surprise me. Prove me wrong. Show me there are at least three of you who will not play the game.

I don't think it will happen.

It's 2017 and the Republican Party is devoid of a soul.

Mark Plotkin is a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a columnist for The Georgetowner. Previously, he was the political analyst for WAMU-FM, Washington's NPR affiliate, where he co-hosted the "D.C. Politics Hour With Mark Plotkin." He later became the political analyst for WTOP-FM, Washington's all-news radio station, where he hosted "The Politics Hour With Mark Plotkin." He is a winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in writing.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.