The Republican effort to overhaul the nation's health care system obviously hasn't turned out well for the party. One of the key questions now is what lessons, if any, GOP leaders have learned from their most recent fiasco.
Given the rollout of the Republicans' tax "framework" this week, there's reason to believe the party is repeating some of its more glaring mistakes.
A familiar closed-door process
The GOP health care proposals, in both chambers, were written in secret, with a small group of like-minded partisans crafting plans behind closed doors. This made bipartisanship practically impossible, and limited the ability of those affected by the legislation to buy into the proposed reforms.
On tax policy, Republicans are doing ... the exact same thing. In fact, just yesterday, Gary Cohn, the president's top economic adviser, told reporters, "Our opening offer and our final offer are on the table." Despite Donald Trump's talk that the tax plan could receive bipartisan backing, Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs chief, was part of the secretive "Big Six" talks that were limited to Republicans.
Unrealistic promises the GOP can't keep
One of the most amazing things about the Republicans' health care pitch was that the party promised that their plans would reflect Democratic priorities: Americans could take comfort in the fact that there'd be universal coverage, protections for those with pre-existing conditions, low consumer costs, and an emphasis on protecting families and their interests.
All of this, of course, was intended to make the Republicans' pitch more politically palatable, but it failed spectacularly when the public realized GOP officials had no intention of keeping any of their promises.
The rollout of the tax plan seems eerily familiar. The GOP "framework," Republicans insist, is also shaped to reflect Democratic priorities, with a focus on the middle class and small businesses, not the wealthy. All of this can be done, GOP leaders assure us, in a fiscally responsible way.
It's taken very little time to realize that the pitch is a sham: the bulk of the benefits would go to corporations and the very wealthy, while some middle-class households might even see their taxes go up, not down. What's more, Republicans have no idea how to pay for any of this.