Please, no more tagging GOP senators as 'moderate' and 'maverick'

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

Ladies and gents of the Fourth Estate, please no more baloney about “moderate” and “maverick” Republican senators.

All 52 of them are set to please the narcissist-in-chief--and the GOP donor class--by passing the tax bill.

Naturally, the biggest beneficiaries are rich people like Trump and, not coincidentally, most Republican lawmakers. The legislation is more proof, as if proof were needed, that the likes of the Koch siblings ultimately get what they pay for.

Oh, “moderates” Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and “maverick” John McCain stampeded from trail boss Trump's herd and voted against gutting the Affordable Care Act to finance big tax breaks for the rich.

But Collins, Murkowski and McCain are back with the other bovines and mooing contentedly for Trump and ramrod Rowdy McConnell. 

The legislation is Christmas-come-early for Trump, McConnell, Ryan and their bankrollers.

The GOP-majority House has already approved a shaft-the-working-class tax bill. Differences between the two measures almost certainly will be ironed out. You can bet the plutocrats will get their handsome reward in the final version.

Meanwhile, the Senate bill fatally wounds the ACA by repealing its individual mandate, which requires uninsured people to buy health insurance or pay a fine. Axing the individual mandate will cause premiums to rise. 

"Now some Republicans [including Collins] are talking about passing yet another piece of legislation, in order to make sure insurance markets don’t deteriorate," Jonathan Cohn wrote in The Huffington Post. "It’s not a crazy idea. But the new legislation would have only a modest impact ― and, even then, only on a temporary basis.

"Premiums would still go up. More people would still end up without health insurance, struggling to find care when they need it or facing the prospect of crippling medical bills. Insurers would still have new reason to leave.

"And that’s assuming this new proposal could even get through Congress, which is no sure thing [italics mine]."

Anyway, “moderate” and “maverick” are media-made terms. They are relative at best and false at worst. 

Collins and Murkowski are conservatives. They are "moderate" only by comparison to the rest of the hard-right GOP majority. 

The "maverick" McCain has seldom strayed from the herd. He has supported 84 percent of Trump-backed bills, according to "Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump: An updating tally of how often every member of the House and the Senate votes with or against the president."

Murkowski stands at 86.3 percent for Trump. Collins's score is 80.8, the lowest among Republicans. 

A New York magazine story by Eric Levitz just popped online. "John McCain caps political career by declaring himself a fraud" the headline reads.  

"In 2001, John McCain stood on the Senate floor and denounced the very concept of supply-side tax cuts," Levitz wrote.

"'I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief,' the Arizona senator said, explaining his decision to vote against George W. Bush’s signature tax package. Two years later, McCain voted against renewing those tax cuts because they were still 'too tilted to the wealthy' — and, also, because it he felt it fiscally irresponsible to cut taxes when no one knew how long or costly the war on terror would prove to be.

"Sixteen years later, economic inequality in America is dramatically more severe than it was when McCain said those words; the United States military is still fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq; and the Republican Party is pushing legislation that raises taxes on many middle-class families — and increases the deficit by at least $1.5 trillion — in order to finance a gigantic tax cut for corporate shareholders, millionaire business owners, and the heirs of multimillion-dollar estates.

"And McCain will vote for the Trump tax cuts, anyway."