Ben Domenech at the Federalist does not depend on access to leadership for his own career advancement and, consequently, is able to provide you a far more honest take than many of the talking heads in the Beltway. This should be your must read on the Senate play by play.
“At the end of the day, it wasn’t small government ideology that killed this bill. Mitch McConnell’s crafted backroom solution couldn’t even get the support of Jerry Moran. The joint announcement yesterday that neither he nor Mike Lee could support this bill was a kindness, saving face after it became clear this was headed toward defeat – and not because of Ted Cruz, who was always going to get to yes, but because of a collection of moderates who spent years lying about their opposition to Obamacare for political reasons. Murkowski, Hoeven, Capito, Heller, Portman, and Collins wanted to have it both ways: they wanted to defend the Medicaid expansions that bolster the budgets of their states while making noises about fixing the private insurance markets that have devastated their middle class. This is a failure of imagination and policy, and a reminder that moderation does not equate to intelligence.
You’re welcome to disagree with this frame of what has happened to health care on the Senate side. But if you do, you’re wrong. Sources on all sides of this have reached the same conclusions, and the line used most often by staff and Senators as far apart as McCain and Lee is: ‘the last straw.’”