The GOP Chasm Deepens

I guess I should have waited a couple of days to write about the chasm that is growing within the ranks of Republicans, because lately things are on the brink of open warfare. It seems that no one in the GOP is quite ready to put the fiasco of their failure to repeal Obamacare aside.

Jonathan Swan provides a quote from a White House source:

This was never about policy. This was about people wanting to oppose each other and it’s such a divided conference at the moment it’s hard to get things done. We were the ones caught in the crossfire.

The president took to Twitter in order to target the House Freedom Caucus.

One member of the HFC responded by wondering who has the president’s ear. But in a sign that things have deteriorated to the point that Trump’s wrath doesn’t carry the punch is used to, some members shot back.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) felt the need to remind the president that he’s dealing with a “swamp, not a hot tub.”

There had been talk of a meeting between the House Freedom Caucus, their allies in the Republican Study Committee, and moderates who are members of something called the Tuesday Group to discuss how to move forward on health care. That isn’t going to happen.

The centrist Tuesday Group affirmed at a meeting Wednesday that it will not meet with the conservative House Freedom Caucus to negotiate changes to an ObamaCare replacement bill, according to Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.)…

“I think the Freedom Caucus is simply trying to shift the blame for this bill going down to someone else, and the thought that they could say, ‘Oh, we’re willing to meet and negotiate with the Tuesday Group,’ is absurd on its face,” Collins said.

The spokeswoman for the Freedom Caucus shot back on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Speaker Ryan’s main concern is that all this infighting among Republicans could actually lead to some bipartisanship (oh, the horrors!)

In an interview with “CBS This Morning” that will air on Thursday, Ryan said he fears the Republican Party, which failed last week to come together and agree on a healthcare overhaul, is pushing the president to the other side of the aisle so he can make good on campaign promises to redo Obamacare.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) responded:

We have come a long way in our country when the speaker of one party urges a president NOT to work with the other party to solve a problem.

Contrary to our tendency to always see conflicts from a limited binary viewpoint, this one looks like a multi-headed monster. There are still likely to be places where people who are in conflict on some things can align on others. But one thing that runs through many of these factions is a higher commitment to ideology than governing. So getting a majority to “yes” on much of anything is hard to imagine.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.