‘If It’s a Lie, Then We Fight on That Lie’

Jeff Stein interviewed nine Republican senators in an attempt to get an answer to a very basic question: “What problems does the Graham-Cassidy bill solve in the health care system?” Martin quoted some of the answers yesterday, including this one from Senator Pat Roberts:

Pat Roberts: Look, we’re in the back seat of a convertible being driven by Thelma and Louise, and we’re headed toward the canyon. That’s a movie that you’ve probably never seen —

Jeff Stein: I do know Thelma and Louise, sir.

Pat Roberts: So we have to get out of the car, and you have to have a car to get into, and this is the only car there is.

That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. But as Martin said, it is actually more like “jumping out of Thelma and Louise’s car and directly into a live volcano.”

In the interests of trying to be helpful, I thought I’d provide Republicans with another analogy from the entertainment field. Here’s how Sen. Chuck Grassley explained his support for Graham-Cassidy to a group of Iowa reporters:

“You know, I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered,” Grassley said. “But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. That’s pretty much as much of a reason as the substance of the bill.”

Once again, not exactly a ringing endorsement. It sounds an awful lot like a clip from the HBO series, The Wire. The context is that Stringer Bell had been trying to talk Avon Barksdale into getting their organization out of the illegal drug trade and invest in legitimate businesses. This clip comes after Bell has been killed and Barksdale begins to wonder if perhaps he was right. Slim Charles sets him straight (warning: NSFW).

Fact is, we went to war. And now, they ain’t no goin back. I mean shit, it’s what war is, you know? Once you in it, you in it. If it’s a lie, then we fight on that lie. But we gotta fight.”

That is basically what Grassley’s argument in favor of this bill comes down to.

Next week Republicans plan to vote for a bill that will take health insurance away from 20 to 30 million people. But they went to war on Obamacare based on a lie. Now they’ve decided that they have to fight on that lie.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.