GOP Congressman: John McCain Lost the House Majority For Us

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Rep. Jason Lewis lost his Minneapolis-area seat in the House of Representatives last week to Democrat challenger Angie Craig, a defeat that went hand in hand with GOP election losses all over the country. This string of defeats allowed the Democrats to take back the House for the first time since 2012, leaving the country subject to what will surely be two years of unending, go-nowhere partisan investigations into the president.

But Lewis believes that the seeds for Republican defeat were sown long before November 6. As far as he’s concerned, Republicans lost the House in the summer of 2017, when late Arizona Sen. John McCain strolled out to the floor of the Senate to give his infamous thumbs-down on the repeal of Obamacare. It was from this disaster, Lewis argues in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, that Republicans could not recover.

“The Republican Party lost its House majority on July 28, 2017, when Sen. John McCain ended the party’s seven-year quest to repeal ObamaCare,” Lewis wrote. “House leadership had done an admirable job herding cats. On the second try, we passed the American Health Care Act in May. Then McCain’s inscrutable vote against the Senate’s ‘skinny repeal’ killed the reform effort.

“McCain’s last-minute decision prompted a ‘green wave’ of liberal special-interest money, which was used to propagate false claims that the House plan ‘gutted coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.’ That line was the Democrats’ most potent attack in the midterms,” he continued.

About that last sentence, Lewis could not be more correct. Even with the subject of healthcare largely out of the media spotlight, House Democrats turned it into their #1 campaign issue, and it was not one well-defended by the Republicans. Since, after all, what could they defend it with? The party utterly failed to repeal and replace Obamacare as promised in 2017, and while you can’t put all of that failure on McCain, you can damn sure put quite a bit of it on him. Especially since he was one of the loudest voices calling for a repeal of the law. You know, until such time that he could use it to get revenge on the man who dared question his “war hero” status.

Naturally, Lewis’s column was met with criticism, including from McCain’s daughter Meghan. She tweeted: “This is abhorrent.” Apparently her father is now a saint beyond any and all reproach.

But Lewis’s point wasn’t really even about McCain. It was about the larger (though mercifully dying) NeverTrump movement. It was about Republicans willing to sacrifice monumental, conservative legislative achievements…simply because they don’t like the guy in the White House. It was a message to Republicans on Capitol Hill right now: Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. We might not ever get a chance this good again.