• McCain: In our opinion, a lot of space is being wasted speculating about where John McCain comes down on this bill. To us, it’s simple: he’ll likely vote for it. We think the Arizona Senator’s bluster about how he wants “the regular order”, and his fond remembrances of how bills used to be passed after amendments and debate are just his way of saying he’s reluctant to do what he’s about to do. Not that McCain is wrong: fast-tracking as much as possible and passing stuff willy-nilly just because you have a window sets a dangerous precedent, and one the President wants as the rule going forward, not the exception.
• Rand Paul: His voice has been the loudest and most eloquent in opposing Graham/Cassidy among Republicans and Democrats alike. (In his case because he says it doesn’t go far enough). But will he have the guts to cast the single deciding “no” vote if that’s what it comes down to? Don’t be so sure about that… Remember, Paul was also vehemently opposed to earlier attempts to repeal Obamacare, until he wasn’t. And even though he seems more dug in this time, we think he’s a definite “no” only if the bill isn’t going to pass anyway.
• Lisa Murkowski: Last time, Republicans stacked piles of money in front of her and she didn’t budge. They are again. This time the code words are “low density state”. In fact, using the sparseness of its population as an excuse, Republican leadership looks ready to propose Alaska keep its full complement of Obamacare funding. In exchange for Murkowski’s vote, of course. (Which begs the question: if the new bill is so great, why does Republican leadership view an offer of letting Alaska keep Obamacare as the most persuasive perk?)
Although it wasn’t widely reported, after Murkowski’s earlier “no” vote, the Trump Administration halted all federal grants to Alaska. This went on for several weeks. Just a warning…
• The Upshot: If McCain’s a “lean yes” and Paul’s “maybe not, if I’m the last man standing”, then even if Murkowski and Susan Collins end up as “no” votes, some “mystery” Republican might have to step forward for the bill to fail. Who? Keeping our eyes wide open, and so should you. If anyone over the weekend hints at moving in that direction, they’ll need our encouragement and support.
(This story originally appeared in The Chaos Report newsletter. https://thechaosreport.com/subscribe/?scr=Medium)
TCR Brief: What’s Up With John McCain? Rand Paul? Lisa Murkowski? Others? Some Predictions was originally published in The Chaos Report on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.