Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., participates in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, where he and fellow GOP members of the committee voiced their opposition to President Barack Obama’s plan to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Will John McCain Kill Tax Reform?

Fresh off getting its butt kicked in Virginia on Tuesday night, I warned the GOP that its defeat had less to do with the unpopularity of Donald Trump and more to do with the Senate’s utter inability to move anything that resembles a conservative agenda forward.  Their last big failure came courtesy of Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain, who torpedoed Obamacare repeal even after voting for it repeatedly while Barack Obama was president.  Now it seems that the World’s Greatest Deliberative Potty has moved on to strangling tax reform in the cradle, and guess who’s hands are doing the dirty work again?

As you might expect, Collins is also back on board to sabotage the GOP’s one last shot at redemption because she thinks it’s unconscionable that people shouln’t have to turn over half of their estates just because they kick the bucket.  Joining the list of usual suspects is Bob Corker, who after announcing his retirement from the Senate is in full kiss-my-ass mode and figures he might as well give Trump the finger on his way out.

Those two plus McCain equals three, which means only 49 GOP votes left—and no tax reform for you.

McCain is ostensibly applying the bipartisan standard, in which he says he can’t in good conscience vote for something that doesn’t have at least some Democrat support.  Would that the Democrats had paid him the same courtesy when they shoved Obamacare down the country’s throat without a single Republican vote.  It doesn’t really matter, though, because McCain doesn’t mean a word of it.  If he did, he would have voted for a clean repeal on principle, so that Democrats and Republicans could then craft a truly bipartisan solution for health care.  Instead, he’s content to saddle the country with an unsustainable  program that is causing real hurt for the middle class.

The same goes for taxes.  What we have right now is a hopelessly complicated system riddled with so many special interest carve outs and favors that nobody can possibly understand it, which also makes American business less competitive and incentivizes them to park mounds of cash overseas.  Reforming that system could bring that money back and unleash the power of the American economy, while giving real relief to people who haven’t seen their real wages rise in years.  As an added bonus, it would also rally voters back to the GOP and prove that it can actually get things done.

Instead, McCain would rather stick a finger in the eye of the president just because he can.

What he seems to forget—or maybe McCain just doesn’t care—is that there are millions of us out here in the country who will have to pay the price for his vindictiveness.  The GOP will also suffer—because if they fail yet again, it’s a virtual guarantee that what happened on Tuesday will repeat itself on a national scale.

Then again, maybe that’s all part of the plan.  Maybe the establishment is content with seeing the GOP majority wiped out, just so they can halt the Trump agenda and show him who’s really boss.  And if a Dem-controlled House votes to impeach him, so much the better.  That’s what an outsider gets for daring to shake up the Washington status quo.

The swamp will not be so easily drained.

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Marc Giller

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