Everyone’s taking a turn batting savagely at the GOP’s Affordable Care Act replacement plan: insurgent Republican representatives; conservative and more moderate Republicans alike in the Senate; conservative groups; Breitbart; Democrats, of course. The White House spent much of Tuesday trying to clean up the mess. At the White House press briefing, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price made use of the administration’s favorite prop, stacks of paper, in the bill’s defense. Obamacare’s replacement is physically smaller than Obamacare. This, he insisted, is of profound importance.
Of course, the size of a printout of legislation or law does not inherently mean anything. That hasn’t stopped the GOP from regularly appealing to size for rhetorical effect. We are routinely promised that we’ll be able to file our taxes on a postcard someday; the next proposal may well be for tax forms small enough to fit in the palms of our president’s tiny hands.
This kind of thing is actually effective if delivered with confidence, as Price did. Look, idiot. Long bills are bad. Short bills are good. Obviously. Next question. If, however, the message is delivered with anything less than complete self-assurance, its silliness is impossible to disguise, as White House press secretary Sean Spicer demonstrated after Price spoke.
For all the people who have concerns about this, especially on the right, look at the size. This is the Democrats, this is us. There is—I mean—you can’t get any clearer in terms of this is government, this is not.
Until Monday, Sean Spicer was White House communications director. Anyway, Twitter’s having a bit of fun with this moment, which almost demands another Saturday Night Live jaunt in the White House briefing room.