Can Mitch McConnell Teach a Horse to Sing?

Chris Kleponis/CNP via ZUMA

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Which health care bill will the Senate vote on today? Apparently the answer is “all of them.” According to reporters on Capitol Hill, there might be three votes today:

  • A vote on the 2015 “repeal only” bill. It’s expected to fail, as well it should since it’s insane.
  • The full BCRA magilla, complete with Cruz Amendment. However, that can’t pass under reconciliation, so it will need 60 votes. Obviously it’s expected to fail.
  • A “skinny repeal” bill with just a few minor provisions. It’s not a serious piece of legislation, just a placeholder to allow negotiations with the House to begin.

In other words, give up and punt the whole thing to a House-Senate negotiating team. Maybe they can come up with something that the Senate couldn’t figure out on its own.

That’s not likely. But you know the story: I might die, the king might die, or the horse could learn to sing.¹ You never know what might happen when you buy yourself some time, even in a hopeless cause.

¹You’ve never heard this story? Seriously? Fine, here it is: A thief was on trial before the King and sentenced to death. The thief asked the King to spare his life. “You don’t know it, but I am the greatest teacher in your land. If you spare my life, I promise to teach your horse to sing.” The King smirked but accepted the offer. You have a year, and if the horse cannot sing, you will be killed.

Daily, after that, the thief spent his entire day singing hymns to the horse. His friends laughed as they saw him and asked what he hoped to accomplish. “Many things can happen in a year,” the thief told them. “The King may die, the horse may die, I may even die. Or … maybe the horse will learn to sing.”

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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