To say the dog has caught the car may be a cliche, but I can't think of anything more appropriate right now.
Today's events, including a congressional Republican meeting with Mike Pence, has made it crystal clear that the GOP has no idea what they're doing. They aren't sure which parts of Obamacare they will keep and which parts they will repeal. They don't have a plan to pass a replacement. They don't even have a plan for repealing it.
What they do know, and what they're now realizing, is that they will own whatever comes next.
A Republican senator on condition of anonymity said the details of the repeal bill remain very uncertain. Originally, Republicans were planning to simply bring back the bill they put on Obama’s desk last year for his veto.
But that bill was written knowing it wouldn’t become law, and now some Republicans want to make tweaks to soften the blow of repeal.
"Even people who voted for this before are, ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute, we knew that wasn’t going to happen,’" said the senator. "There were no consequences." He said there’s a growing sense among some of his colleagues that they need to have a replacement for Obamacare ready soon "because we’re going to own this."
Just before the Christmas break, I quipped that the only way Obamacare will survive is if Republicans are simply too incompetent to repeal and replace it.
I still believe they will repeal it, but there will be no replacement. I believe the best case scenario for beneficiaries is if repeal is delayed long enough for Democrats to regain control of Congress or the White House or both.
Republicans are reportedly considering setting a 3 to 4 year timetable for repeal, so that may be possible. That is assuming we don't all die in a nuclear winter between now and then.