Flip-Flops That Really Do Matter

I’d say most of us have ambivalent feelings about media “fact-checkers,” since one person’s facts are another’s clever lies. But they can be very helpful in sniffing out self-contradictions and hypocrisy, which is exactly what WaPo’s Glenn Kessler did today in recalling what some of the cheerleaders for King v. Burrell said back when the Affordable Care Act was first enacted.

Kessler goes far out of his way to accept some excuses from Orrin Hatch, Paul Ryan and John Barrasso for flip-flopping on the subject, but not for refusing to acknowledge it. And he pretty much nails John Cornyn for making statements entirely inconsistent with what he’s saying now, which is especially interested because the Texan is, as Greg Sargent points out, “lead signatory on the [amicus] brief siding with the challengers.”

The important thing to understand is that this isn’t just a game of “gotcha” aimed at Republican pols who have conveniently flip-flopped: the basic argument the challengers are making is that any reasonable person should have assumed the ACA only extended subsidies to people in states with state-created exchanges. It could be devastating to their argument to find so many of their allies failing that test.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.