Albert Einstein is attributed with defining insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” Accordingly, one can only describe this year’s Republican presidential primary season as insane.
The cast of the 2012 campaign season consisted of an expansive offering of exceptional candidates including, in alphabetical order, Michelle Bachman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, John Huntsman, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and eventual nominee, Mitt Romney. The defining issue of the 2012 campaign was Obamacare. Americans felt frustrated and betrayed by politicians of both parties. The Democrats had voted lock step with their leaders to make Obamacare the “law of the land” by reconciliation, against the will of the people, along strict party lines, amidst the perfect storm of single party control of the White House, House of Representatives, and Senate. The all-talk-no-action Republicans then failed to act on campaign promises to “Repeal and Replace Obamacare” after the 2010 midterm election swapped them for the pass-it-so-you-can-see-what’s–in-it House Democrats. It was all about Obamacare. After a brutal primary, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney ultimately became the presidential nominee. Amazingly, from this impressive cast, the Republicans successfully nominated the only man in the world who could not launch an all out campaign assault on Obamacare, because he was in fact the father of its predecessor in Massachusetts, Romneycare.
Barack Obama won reelection easily and proceeds full throttle with his fundamental transformation of the U.S.A. Having successfully infected us with Obamacare, Obama moves down his list of transformational action items. A key component of Obama’s second term agenda is his relentless refusal to enforce existing immigration laws, thus allowing millions of people from around the world to enter the United States illegally. Immigration now reigns supreme as a 2016 election issue, which brings us to this year’s cast of candidates.
The Republican primary season opened with 16 viable candidates. As Super Tuesday looms, five are left. It’s all about immigration.
Flashback to one year ago: I was in DC for a healthcare policy meeting on Capitol Hill as part of my ongoing (futile) struggle to get government out of medicine and preserve the patient-physician relationship. Our group was informed by a Republican leader that the 2016 GOP nominee would without question be Jeb Bush. I was stunned. Another Clinton-Bush election? Really? How out of touch with the American people could our elected representatives be?
There is no word to accurately describe how out of touch they truly are. The meeting turned out to be a heartbreaker, culminating in passage of MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015) by the House of Representatives. MACRA was sold as the “Doc Fix”, a replacement for the despised Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) passed under President Bill Clinton via the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, that empowered Congress to control payments to physicians. In reality, MACRA is a fast track to single payer socialized medicine and creates Alternative Payment Models (APM’s) and a Merit-Based Incentive Plan for physicians, whereby government gives physicians a Composite Performance Score from 0-100 based on how well they comply with government metrics and which determines whether they get a positive, neutral, or negative payment adjustment in the ultimate conflict of interests. It was supported by hospital and IT lobbies that stand to bank $Billions. Ironically, this bill (H.R.2) was introduced by a Republican Congressman from Texas, who is a physician no less, demonstrating the definition of “out of touch.” It bears mention that presidential candidates Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were two of only eight Senators to vote against this overreaching law.
Flash-forward to today: the American people have matured from feelings of frustration and betrayal to rabid anger and absolute mistrust of politicians. Jeb Bush will not be the Republican nominee. We the People are waking up. But, what about the leaders of the two political parties? They are becoming more and more indistinguishable. On February 24th, during a town hall on Fox News, John Kasich, one of the 5 remaining Republican candidates, outlined his plan to replace Obamacare for moderator, Megyn Kelly- and he regurgitated everything that is in MACRA to a tee. He proved he is a big government guy when he expanded Medicaid in Ohio, but this virtual recitation of MACRA qualifies him to run on Hillary’s ticket in the Democratic primary. Indistinguishible.
So who’s left?
In alphabetical order:
- Dr. Ben Carson, who has a stellar health policy as well as policy papers on all major issues including immigration.
- Senator Ted Cruz, a brilliant defender of the Constitution who has proven he will stand against the Washington cartel on everything from Obamacare to immigration.
- Senator Marco Rubio, who was part of the illustrious, one big party, “Gang of 8” on immigration.
- Billionaire reality TV star, Donald Trump, who says he will build a wall, get Mexico to pay for it, and “round ‘em up and move ‘em out.”
Who will the Republican Party back now that their pick, Jeb Bush, is out? Many predict they will, no doubt, begrudgingly support Senator Rubio-and only because John Kasich is too far behind in the polls.
If they do, once again, the GOP will back the only candidate who cannot defend his position on the number one issue of the presidential campaign. Like Romney/Romneycare was to healthcare in 2012, Rubio/Gang of 8 is to immigration in 2016. From every potential candidate in the world, could it be that the Republican Party will once again endorse the single candidate who can’t defend himself on the biggest issue? Will this self-destructive, out of touch party epitomize Einstein’s definition of insanity once again?
And lose. Again.
Now that we know how insanity is defined, how do we break the losing cycle? We must take bold action, vote for who we want to elect not for who they tell us is electable, and pray that Republican leaders actually get in touch with the American people, take a big dose of reality, and resist their urge to back Rubio this time around. We the people must spell this out for them loud and clear. If we do not, there is no doubt “Insanity” will forever be spelled: G. O. P.