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Today in Conservative Media: Who’s to Blame for Trumpcare Failing? Everyone’s a Target.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

A daily roundup of the biggest stories in right-wing media.

The conservative media erupted in frustration over the latest stumbles of Senate Republicans trying to advance Trumpcare. The Federalist’s Ben Domenech pointed a finger at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “This is a failure of imagination and policy,” he wrote, “and a reminder that moderation does not equate to intelligence.”

He spent years discouraging Republicans from advancing replacement plans with the stated reason being that he alone would be in a position to forge a deal that allowed such plans to come to fruition. He maintained an image of confidence that when the time came, he would be able to balance the needs of insurers and providers, conservatives and moderates, reformers and those who favored the status quo in such a way as to achieve repeal and replacement. While the House of Representatives let a dozen plans bloom with co-sponsorships and internal debate, McConnell squelched any possibility of pre-gaming consensus on the Senate side. It was a gamble, a bet on his own ability as leader, and he lost.

At RedState, Joe Cunningham thanked conservative Sen. Mike Lee for opposing the bill. “The bottom line is that the bill was atrocious,” he wrote. “There was nothing about it that was truly good. The people who will claim Lee and the others are ‘making the good the enemy of the perfect’ are fooling themselves into thinking they were doing a good thing. The bill was anything but that, much like the House bill, and killing it now means work can actually get done.”

The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro criticized moderates who shot down a potential clean repeal of Obamacare after voting for repeals under Obama. “This is an excellent opportunity for conservatives to find out who was serious about Obamacare repeal, and who wasn’t,” he wrote. “This should be a litmus test for conservative primary challengers. While President Trump is focusing, laserlike, on offing Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for the crime of not being sufficiently deferential to Trump himself, Republicans should focus on whether they need Senators who vote to keep in place bad Democratic legislation out of a desire to expand government.”

At the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin argued against blaming moderates:

It’s not the moderates who have been disingenuous here. They actually took seriously the position that a better health-care bill could be devised. They were not the ones who insisted on making this a tax cut for the super-rich by removing the funding mechanism for health-care reform or by throwing Medicaid cuts into the hopper. They wanted to solve the problem Republicans had identified originally—health-care exchanges in the individual market that did not provide affordable (enough) health care and that suffered from an acute case of adverse selection despite the individual mandate.

On Twitter, the Weekly Standard’s Jay Cost avoided laying blame on particular factions altogether:

I think, institutionally speaking, this was always going to be a heavy lift. For starters, the law itself was built in a way to integrate 2/

— Jay Cost (@JayCostTWS) July 18, 2017

with existing programs, and work to the benefit of stakeholders (i.e. interest groups). Repeal is more like detangling a knot. 3/

— Jay Cost (@JayCostTWS) July 18, 2017

And doing so under the strictures of reconciliation (because c’mon, there’s no consensus between the GOP & 8 Dems on this). 4/

— Jay Cost (@JayCostTWS) July 18, 2017

And doing so when you have Collins and Paul in the caucus, who for all intents and purposes were not going to go along with it. 5/

— Jay Cost (@JayCostTWS) July 18, 2017

Additionally, conservative writers hit President Trump for saying he would not “own” Obamacare’s failure and praising Republicans for coming so close to passing a bill.

When you’re the guy campaigning and being elected on "I’m the only one who can fix it", like it or not, you will own it.

— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) July 18, 2017

Donald Trump:
"The buck doesn’t stop here."
"Actually the buck doesn’t even visit here."
"Now that you mention it, what’s a buck?"

— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) July 18, 2017

Fox’s Sean Hannity endorsed repealing Obamacare and moving on with the rest of Trump’s agenda.

I can live with the 2015 Repeal and a transition. Then implement the @POTUS economic plan and pay for the wall.

— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) July 18, 2017

The Resurgent’s Erick Erickson tallied the administration’s lack of achievements thus far:

1. Obamacare is not repealed and even if the McConnell plan passed, it would not be repealed.

— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 18, 2017

2. Filibuster reform is a fig leaf because the GOP couldn’t even get 51 votes for their plan.

— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 18, 2017

3. There is no wall. There is not even substantive funding for a wall.

— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 18, 2017

RedState’s Jay Caruso agreed and criticized Trump’s “failure of leadership” in his first six months. “President Trump’s inability to maintain a cohesive mindset on any one issue for more than a few days at a time is partially why he sits so low in the polls,” he wrote. “He constantly contradicts his people. He’ll do something relatively well only to blow it up within days because of his complete lack of impulse control.”

The Daily Wire’s John Nolte admonished the Republican establishemnt for failing to meet expectations over the course of the past eight years.

For eight years these establishment Republican grifters lied to us. Remember this… "How can we cut taxes, repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood without control of the House," the Republicans cried! So in 2010, in a wave election, we gave them control of the House. And still they did nothing. "But how can we cut taxes, repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood without control of the Senate," the Republicans whined! So in 2014, in another historic wave election, we gave them control of the Senate. And still they did nothing. "But how can we cut taxes, repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood without the presidency," the Republicans wailed! So in 2016 we gave them control of the presidency. And still today, with 100% control of every level of the federal government, Establishment Republicans have accomplished nothing.

“Who will ever again trust these con men when they try to raise money off of a cause we now know they have no intention of doing anything about,” Nolte asked. “Who will ever again put any effort into voting for a political party that not only lies to its constituents about its intentions, but is utterly useless in the only two ways that matter: 1) passing promised legislation and 2) defending our president from the fake news media’s conspiracy theories?”