It's not surprising that Republicans are eager to move on from the health care fight they picked. The entire endeavor was an embarrassing failure, exposing intra-party divisions and governing challenges that are likely to dog the GOP for many months to come.But their Democratic rivals intend to make sure the political fallout is even more painful. NBC News reported
over the weekend:
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is launching its first ad campaign of the 2018 election cycle Monday, targeting 14 Republicans who voted for earlier versions of the bill in House committees. [...]That starts with the members of three House committees that took up and passed draft versions of the Obamacare repeal bill - the Budget, Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce Committees. Fourteen of the DCCC's targeted Republican lawmakers voted for the bill in one of those committees.
To see the message Democrats are pushing, the party posted this sample clip
, targeting Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.). The ad-buy appear to be modest -- the DCCC is apparently targeting digital platforms, at least with this initial rollout -- but as the NBC report added, the spots are "a glimpse of what voters will see on their TVs soon."Which makes a lot of sense. The House didn't end up voting for the wildly unpopular GOP health care plan, but Republican leaders pushed the bill quickly through three committees, which put a series of GOP lawmakers on the record, voting for the legislation before it was derailed.Each of them are now vulnerable to attack ads that will have the benefit of being true: these Republicans knew the bill was a mess; they knew the American mainstream hated it; and they knew it wouldn't work -- but they voted for it anyway, ignoring the chance to kill it.What's more, plenty of other House Republicans went on the record ahead of Friday afternoon, stating publicly their intention to support the bill on the floor (when they assumed there would be a floor vote). They, too, made themselves vulnerable by directly tying themselves to the doomed legislation.A New York Times report
added over the weekend:
They went to unusual, even dangerous lengths to support President Trump's unpopular health care bill, facing down protesters at home and begging for special accommodation from House leaders in Washington. John Faso of New York negotiated a side deal for his state in exchange for backing it. Mike Coffman was the lone Colorado lawmaker to endorse the bill, while his Republican neighbors agonized and stalled.But with the collapse of the legislation on Friday, such Republican representatives now have nothing to show for their trouble. They ventured far out on a political limb, only to watch it disintegrate behind them. And when they run for re-election next year, they may have to defend their support for a politically explosive bill that many Republicans backed only reluctantly, and that never came close to reaching the president's desk.The fiasco in Washington is already rippling at home: Back in their districts, there are early signs of backlash against these lawmakers, including from constituents who voted Republican last November.
Many GOP officials probably thought Friday marked the end of this mess. In electoral terms, it was likely just the beginning.