Derek Donovan

Derek Donovan: The Republicans’ bewildering political rush to repeal and replace

House Speaker Paul Ryan walks to the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 4, 2017.
House Speaker Paul Ryan walks to the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 4, 2017. AP

Why did they have to pull the trigger on May 4?

D.C. has always been about the numbers game. Still, for all our talk about political calculus, it usually comes down to simple arithmetic: Do they have the votes?

But the beeline repeal-and-replace of the Affordable Care Act right now makes it feel like the GOP is running the wrong race.

It has been less than six months since the most combative presidential election in modern history. The polling couldn’t tell a clearer story: Congress and the chief executive aren’t quite beloved, to say the least. And Obamacare, for all its manifest faults, has seen a recent surge in popularity.

One of the sharpest arrows in the GOP quiver remains Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s 2010 remark: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” While it’s usually taken out of context, the quote exemplifies the perception that Democrats didn’t do their homework and rammed through a doomed, half-baked policy behemoth.

There’s no election to win in the spring of an off-cycle year, but there’s plenty to lose in 2018 if Republicans don’t deliver. And President Donald Trump has been writing some spendy health care promise checks.

Derek Donovan, ddonovan@kcstar.com

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