This was predictable. The wacko hyper-conservative Club for Growth has announced it will be targeting 10 moderate House Republicans with a $1 million ad campaign in an attempt to frighten these sane few pols who insist on maintaining a degree of compassion in GOP repeal and replace healthcare legislation.
The logic is that moderate Republicans need to sell out their own principles so hard-right Freedom Caucus member don’t have to sell out theirs.
Club for Growth sees a path to the bill’s passage: convincing more moderate — or less stridently conservative — Republicans to swallow a proposal favored by the House Freedom Caucus that would allow states to seek waivers of several Affordable Care Act insurance mandates. Those mandates form the core of the ACA’s protections allowing Americans with preexisting medical conditions to buy affordable insurance plans, and numerous lawmakers have balked at the request.
Reps. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) are two moderate Republicans to be targeted. Club for Growth says they will identify more soon.
Most interesting is that moderate Republicans are being squeezed from both sides with a liberal advocacy group “encouraging” several so-called moderates in swing districts to oppose repeal and replace entirely.
Sure, Trump placed blame for the failure of repeal and replace on the Freedom Caucus, not moderates, and it’s very possible Trump knows he will look very bad if anything like the draconian provisions Club for Growth and the Freedom Causus prefer ever get enacted. Recall that Trump made some very generous pledges during the campaign about the extent of healthcare coverage he favoured.
All of that makes the ad campaign an odd one as it encourages moderates to honor Trump’s mandate by undermining Trump’s campaign rhetoric on health care.
It’s a tough choice for moderate Republicans: Either get primaried from the right for lack of ideological purity, or get defeated by a Democratic challenger for being a heartless bastard.