So that mini-revolt over today’s motion to proceed wasn’t just for show, huh.

Next stop: The White House.

It’s hard to have a policy discussion with 100 people and policy isn’t, ah, Trump’s main area of interest anyway, so I assume this is mostly about putting the fear of God into wary Republicans. Point one: If this bill goes down, McConnell will have no choice but to approach Schumer and negotiate an ObamaCare rescue plan before the exchanges collapse. Point two: If the GOP fails to undo ObamaCare, conservative voters will never trust them again and the midterms will be a wipeout. Never mind that both of those points contradict Trump’s oft-stated assertion that if Republicans just sit back and let O-Care fail, Democrats will bear the brunt of public ire. That was never as true as he made it out to be, and the further along the road the GOP gets towards its own bill, the less true it becomes. When you have total control of government, you’re expected to fix the country’s problems. No matter who was responsible for creating them.

For that reason, I don’t buy the theory that McConnell secretly wants the bill to tank. But I admit, this gives me pause:

Why not? There are more moderates who have problems with the current bill (Collins, Murkowski, Portman, Heller, Capito) than there are conservatives (Paul, Lee, Cruz, Johnson). The more you appease the latter, the more you risk alienating the former. The only way it makes sense for McConnell to do that is if he’s convinced the bill is going down and wants the base to feel that their concerns, at least, were met in the final draft before it tanked. Then they can blame Collins et al. for the bill’s failure; meanwhile, Collins and the moderates will be perfectly happy to negotiate with Schumer and the Democrats on an O-Care salvage bill once TrumpCare is finally dead. If he’s got to pander to one side or the other knowing (or strongly suspecting) that this is a lost cause, McConnell’s smart to pander to the caucus’s right wing.