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 McConnellCNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Impeachment throws curveball in Iowa to sidelined senators 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 PencePence meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican Schumer urges declassification of letter from Pence aide Majority of voters don't believe new info will be revealed in Senate trial 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 CruzJordan says he thinks trial will be over by next week The Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power GOP-Biden feud looms over impeachment trial MORE (R-Texas); Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe self-fulfilling Iran prophecy No patriotic poll bump for Trump, but Soleimani strike may still help him politically Senators are politicians, not jurors — they should act like it MORE (R-Utah); Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGraham vows Biden, Ukraine probe after impeachment trial GOP warns of 'drawn out' executive privilege battle over Bolton testimony  Senate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses 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 FlakeThe Hill's 12:30 Report: House managers to begin opening arguments on day two Flake: Republicans don't speak out against Trump 'because they want to keep their jobs' GOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials MORE (R-Ariz.); Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoDemocrat Richard Ojeda announces Senate bid after dropping out of presidential race Spending bill to address miners' health care, pensions Manchin warns he'll slow-walk government funding bill until he gets deal on miners legislation MORE (R-WV); Bill Cassidy (R-La); Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses Collins walks impeachment tightrope The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions MORE (R-Ohio) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSchiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Nadler calls Trump a 'dictator' on Senate floor 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 CollinsSchiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Schiff closes Democrats' impeachment arguments with emotional appeal to remove Trump Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment MORE (R-ME) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerLobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play This week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report 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 ClintonSanders to Clinton: 'This is not the kind of rhetoric that we need' Sekulow vows Bidens, Ukraine will be part of Trump impeachment defense Elizabeth Warren: More 'Hillary' than Hillary 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.