When I was a kid, my older brother and I were in the Boy Scouts. One year we were at summer camp and, unbeknownst to me, one of the scout leaders had coached my brother on how to tell a scary story around the campfire.
At the end of our week of camping we would have a huge bonfire to celebrate the last night. It was also traditional at this bonfire that there were plenty of jokes as well as scary stories. It was here that many kids first heard about guys like Three-Fingered Willie.
Anyway, this particular year my brother got up and told a story that, I’ll admit now, was pretty spooky. But being a proper obnoxious little brother, I loudly scoffed when he was done. So the scout leader called me out.
“What’s the matter Dave?” He inquired.
“That story was stupid!” I declared.
“Do you think you could do better?” He asked.
“Anyone could do better than that stupid story!” I bragged.
And so, he asked me to stand up and do so, right then and there.
Suffice it to say that I didn’t do such a hot job. It’s one thing to make fun of someone else when they’re doing something like that. It’s another to get up and do it without any practice, or plan… or skill for that matter. I was embarrassingly bad.
I tell you this story because it’s what popped into my mind as I sit here and watch the Republican Party, who have acted like the obnoxious little brother I was, when it comes to the Affordable Care Act. They too are now getting a chance to stand up and show how ill-prepared they really are.
They campaigned on repealing it. They raised money on repealing it. They got elected on repealing it. And they have voted over 50 times to repeal it. And now, they finally are getting a chance to repeal it. But like me at that bonfire, they don’t seem to have a plan. And as the headiness and adrenaline of being in power wears off, the reality of needing something more than empty promises and political venom is setting in.
Each and every one of them now remind me of myself all those years ago, full of piss and vinegar, without a plan in sight.