We said so at the time, you know. Cassidy managed to get a little national publicity when he crossed the aisle a bit and used the left-wing late-night comedian’s personal story about his son’s medical issues to establish a standard for health care reform called the Jimmy Kimmel test – meaning that everybody’s kid should be able to get the same access to health care Jimmy Kimmel’s son got.
And that led to his being invited on Kimmel’s show, and a not-terrible segment where Cassidy didn’t get chewed to pieces on air and even managed to make a couple of points about how whatever comes can’t just be a federal behemoth that breaks the economy. It wasn’t a disaster, and at the time it looked like Cassidy might emerge somewhat unscathed from his flirtation with Hollywood lefties like Kimmel.
But that was at a time when Cassidy’s health care reform bill was on the sidelines and didn’t have much chance to become law. Now that it’s moving toward potential passage next week, we’re seeing the Political Education Of Bill Cassidy.
To wit, this happened…
If you can go through the whole seven minutes, you come to one conclusion, which is that if you’re a Republican the last thing you want to do is get yourself mixed up with any of the late-night comedians or put yourself in a position to get burned by them. Because you will be.
Kimmel throws out the lie that “30 million Americans will get put off health insurance.” That is complete bunk. It comes from an exaggeration of a dishonest narrative the Congressional Budget Office continues to promulgate; their number is 20-22 million people who supposedly will no longer have health insurance if Obamacare is repealed, and that would supposedly happen because when people no longer are legally required to have health insurance they won’t buy it. Think of that – we’re castigating an Obamacare repeal for “putting people off health insurance” when those people choose not to have health insurance they don’t want and can’t afford.
That’s an indictment of Obamacare much more than Cassidy’s bill. And by the way, that number assumes that the market won’t create insurance products people do want to buy and can afford. The market creates pretty much everything there is a demand for; if a bill allows states to run their own insurance markets and they don’t screw them up, why would you think insurance companies wouldn’t create low-cost, functional health insurance for people who need coverage?
Then he uses a lot of Democrat spin and talking points to trash Cassidy on his other points, like pre-existing conditions, lifetime insurance caps and so on, to allege that not only does Cassidy fail the Jimmy Kimmel test but he fails the Bill Cassidy test. Essentially he calls Cassidy a liar for seven minutes. It’s vicious, and painful, and oh-by-the-way there isn’t a lick of humor in any of it. We’re not sure how anybody could call Jimmy Kimmel a comedian after last night – he’s a political commentator now, and a poorly-informed one.
So Cassidy had to do damage control, and this morning he was on CNN attempting to do just that…
— New Day (@NewDay) September 20, 2017
All of this – all of it – was foreseeable.
Of course there would be an organized hit job on Cassidy’s bill. Cassidy’s bill replaces Obamacare. These people don’t want Obamacare replaced, no matter how egregious and destructive it is, and so anything – other than maybe a Bernie Sanders single-payer socialist utopia – put forth as a replacement is going to get the treatment Kimmel and his writers gave Cassidy.
He knew this, and he still reached across the aisle.
There were two facets to that decision. One was that Cassidy figured if anything would pass that would replace Obamacare he had to find a way to attract some Democrat support. So he ginned up the Jimmy Kimmel test in order to create a bit of a kumbaya scenario where maybe some Democrats could sign on to a plan that had support from one of the late night comedians who apparently control the Left’s narrative in this country. That’s a little on the cynical side, but it’s probably not a terrible idea – if you’re going to peel these people off the Democrat pickets you have to give them some pretty good cover, and this was more ambitious than anything else the GOP has tried in order to get bipartisan support for a health care reboot.
But the other was naivete. Cassidy put himself out there as the guy who would go on Kimmel’s show and try to sell a Republican health care reform as a caring, compassionate plan which wouldn’t be killing kids to enrich insurance companies, as though that show of good faith wouldn’t get him burned. Of course he was going to get burned – the only thing that would have prevented that is if Cassidy’s plan didn’t go anywhere.
The lesson from this is you can’t win with the Jimmy Kimmels of the world, just like you can’t win with the Chuck Schumers of the world. You have to beat the Schumers into submission at the ballot box and in the legislative process, and you have to ignore the Kimmels when you’re not castigating them. There is no common cause to be made with these people.
The good news for Cassidy is this won’t kill his bill. No Democrats are supporting it anyway, and his Republican colleagues will probably give him sympathy for getting assaulted last night rather than lose confidence in the legislation. Maybe Kimmel’s broadside will backfire.
But for right now, every left-wing media source you can name has jumped on this controversy and they’re all calling Cassidy a liar for posing the Jimmy Kimmel test in the first place. You knew that was coming, right?