No One Embodied This Failure Of GOP Leadership Better Than Tom Price
President Trump’s Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price is out of his job after wasting over a million dollars in taxpayer money on travel expenses.
Price’s main job for the White House was to get an Obamacare repeal passed through Congress — a job he failed miserably at. However, that failure is now likely going to be overshadowed by his extensive misuse of public money.
The former Georgia congressman was very much a representative of the traditional Republican establishment. His policy agenda was all about taking away government benefits from average people while he lived a life of luxury on the back of the taxpayer. He had hardly any charisma and he wasn’t good at getting the one thing done all Republicans campaigned on doing for the last eight years.
With all of the screw-ups to remember Price by, there’s one memorable TV performance by the former cabinet secretary that illustrates an important failing of the GOP establishment.
It didn’t have anything to do with corruption or a lack of charisma. Rather it was a perfect representation of how Republican leaders accept the ridiculous moral framework of their liberal opponents.
In a May interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, the TV host made this statement about the GOP health care bill. “When we looked at the Rose Garden and the celebration of this on Thursday, they were mostly all men and white men at that. There was no diversity there. Women’s health issues arguably are going to be disproportionately affected.”
Mitchell was damning Republican efforts solely on the basis of it being spearheaded by white men, which is a bad thing. Apparently, in order for the bill to have any merit, it must be crafted by a sufficiently diverse team, according to the NBC host.
That is an obviously ridiculous argument and should have easily been dismissed as dumb pandering to identity politics. But Price accepted the premise that a bill can only be good if it has “diverse” crafters and lamely tried to argue that Republicans had plenty of women involved in the process.
“Look at that picture,” Price replied. “Congresswoman Diane Black, the chair of the budget committee, I was standing next to her, Seema Verma, the administrator of CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services], I was standing right next to her.”
Mitchell then destroyed his whole response by saying that wasn’t enough. “Out of a group of dozens and dozens of people, you can cite two or three women?”
Price fell back on saying that they did have women leading health care reform, conceding the argument to the journalist.
This is a common problem for Republicans. Party leaders are constantly on their back foot when it comes to contentious issues and ineptly try to defend their stances.
A prominent example of this poor messaging is debate over immigration. Liberals and Democrats immediately seize the moral high ground by claiming immigration is what makes America great, everybody is an immigrant except the Native Americans, only racists want immigration reduced, etc.
Republicans typically concede those arguments to liberals while flailing about only wanting to stem the tide of illegal immigration and help national security. That’s why liberals usually win debates over immigration because they make it a moral issue and resort to emotionally-charged arguments about race.
Instead of making the interests of citizens the priority, Republicans are left fighting for their policy in the framework created by their opposition.
The same thing happened with attempting to repeal Obamacare, the issue Andrea Mitchell was able to attack for the lack of diversity among its crafters. Democrats shrieked that millions of people were going to die thanks to evil white men while Republicans made obscure arguments about federalism.
There’s a reason Obamacare has survived repeal after multiple attempts by Trump and his allies in Congress.
Tom Price will be remembered for that failure and the poor ethics that led him to splurge on himself with taxpayer money.
But we should also remember him as an example of the worst traits of the GOP establishment. In love with government benefits for himself while trying to take them from others, obsessed with policies that don’t interest regular Republican voters, and completely surrendering to the framework set by the Left.
It’s not just Trump who needs new leaders in his White House, so does his party.