Slate's Jeremy Stahl has a couple of good questions about House passage of the American Health Care Act:
How did Republicans wrench victory from the jaws of defeat? How did Democrats do the opposite, and why were they so complacent to the renewed threat that had emerged in the past few weeks?
There were several reasons, including the shifting focus of the Resistance to other issues, Paul Ryan playing rope-a-dope, and the belief of Republicans that they had to pass something, anything, in the face of the staggering decline in the number of Americans who Donald Trump was keeping his promises.
Stahl's colleague Jim Newell fears that the Senate will pass a bill so that the GOP isn't viewed by the popular base as having ratified Obamacare. Nevertheless, he recognizes
.... that plenty of House Democrats and their political operatives didn’t mind seeing the bill pass their chamber to get vulnerable Republicans on the record supporting something that had been polling at 17 percent—if it was just going to die in the Senate anyway.
However, as Stahl notes, "It wasn't until Wednesday- less than 24 hours before a final vote- that Republicans appeared to have the votes to pull it off." Before that, GOP chances appeared bleak.
It was nearly midnight Monday when Jimmy Kimmel presented the now-famous monologue about his son who was born with a pre-existing condition, commenting (beginning at approximately 1128)
Before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you'd never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition. You were born with a pre-existing condition. If your parents didn't have medical insurance, you might not live long enough to get denied because of a pre-existing condition.
If your baby is going to die and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make. I think it's something, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, or something else, we all agree on that, right? I mean, we do.
Whatever your party, whatever you believe, whatever you support, we need to make sure that the people who are supposed to represent us, people who are meeting on this right now in Washington need to understand that very clearly.
Let's stop with the nonsense. This is not football. There are no teams. We are the team. It's the United States of America. Don't let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants.
The mommy party immediately went into action, almost literally living up to its nickname as Barack Obama tweeted "Well said, Jimmy. That's exactly why we fought so hard for the ACA, and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy. And congratulations!" Stahl pointed out that Senator Warren on Tuesday began
treating the issue as a live one again on her Facebook page, linking to Jimmy Kimmel’s impassioned health care monologue. It was the same from other Democratic leaders. Bernie Sanders only started posting on his Facebook page about health care on Wednesday, also mentioning the Kimmel video. Joe Biden, meanwhile, tweeted his opposition only after the bill passed. Hillary Clinton sent out one tweet about the Kimmel video on Tuesday and then another crying shame at Republicans after the bill passed.
At a minimuim, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Barack Obama all were impressed by Jimmy Kimmel's impassioned plea or at least believed that it would make passage of the punitive Republican bill less likely. Yet as Steve M. found, a Fox News story on Tuesday resulted in many vicious comments directed toward Kimmel. Two days later, the deeply-flawed AHCA gained the support of 217 of 237 House Republicans.
Ninety-two percent of the members of the daddy party voted to repeal the health care bill, the signature issue of the guy who tweeted "well said, Jimmy. That's exactly why we fought so hard for the ACA, and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy..." Meanwhile, very few Republicans agreed with the ex-President or with the other Democrats overcome by Kimmel's plea.
It shouldn't be surprising, though. Kimmel himself managed to go through the 18 minutes without once mentioning the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare" while blaming "partisan squabbles." That seems to suit many important Democrats just fine, and that applies especially to Barack Obama, who after 96 months as President and 3+ months afterward, still hasn't figured it out.
The GOP popular basis, unlike the Democrats' popular base, has no problem with hyper-partisanship. Its voters disagree with Democrats, they don't like Democrats, believe they share few if any values with Democrats, and their representatives aren't going to throw them to the wolves. And it's now clear, as the heavily-favored Democratic presidential nominee (bolstered by heavy support from the show business community) went down to defeat and Jimmy Kimmel's plea on health care was ignored, they are far less enamored of Hollywood than is the Democratic establishment.