The closing argument was a curious one: Vote yes, Republican leaders told the holdouts in their conference. We promise it will never become law.
After seven years of railing against the evils of the Affordable Care Act, the party had winnowed its hopes of dismantling it down to a menu of options to appease recalcitrant lawmakers — with no more pretenses of lofty policy making, only a realpolitik plea to keep the legislation churning through the Capitol by voting to advance something, anything.
They ended up with nothing.Mike Allen:
McCain's maverick moment ... Amazing CNN video gives a second-by-second breakdown of the wee-hours death of the Republicans' health-care repeal plan, one of the most dramatic moments in Senate history: "1:29 a.m.: Senator McCain reenters the chamber. ...
"McCain waves his hand to get the attention of the Senate clerk, pauses for just a moment, and gives a dramatic thumbs-down. ... Audible gasp on the Senate floor, and then commotion. ... Republicans like Senator Marco Rubio stare in disbelief ...
"Senator John McCain turns around and walks back to his chamber desk, all alone."
P.S. Axios' Caitlin Owens emails me: "Heard at House [Republican] conference meeting [yeseterday] morning, this was the reaction to the health care bill: 'Lots of Senate blaming. Lots of McCain blaming. But a surprising number of members [standing] at the mike in conference blasting Trump.'
"One called him an 'embarrassment.'"