John Thune breaks the Internet with insane Obamacare argument

Yesterday, Senator John Thune (R – Reaganland) distilled the Republican argument in King v Burwell, the Supreme Court case that could wipe out Obamacare subsidies for over 6 million Americans due to a typo in the bill, to its purest form: “I know you are, but what am I?”

In a tweet that was seemingly memetically generated in order to grate his nails across the chalkboard that is political Twitter as loudly as possible, Thune argued that if the Supreme Court invalidates federal insurance subsidies for consumers whose states did not set up their own health insurance exchanges, it will be President Obama’s fault for signing a bill that covered those consumers in the first place:

On a scale from one to trolling, that tweet is straight out of Lord of the Rings. Thune is basically saying that if the good parts of Obamacare are overturned, it will prove that Obamacare is bad.

The Internet yesterday (image via Imgur

The only reasonable reaction to Thune’s tweet (image via Imgur

Of course, the Republican-controlled Congress could step in at any time and pass a bill to fix the drafting error in Obamacare, which would render this whole Supreme Court case moot and guarantee that no one loses their subsidies. But they won’t, because that would mean that journalists could write articles that put the words “Republican,” “vote for” and “Obamacare” in the same sentence, which could then be used in ads run by primary opponents.

All of this underscores a point that Chris Trejbal made late last week: No matter what happens in King v Burwell, Republicans lose. If the court rules that the subsidies are okay, in keeping with the clear intent of the bill, then Republicans will have brought a frivolous lawsuit that put 6 million Americans at risk of losing their health coverage. If the court invalidates the subsidies, then Republicans will have actually taken away health coverage from 6 million Americans with absolutely no fallback option to restore them. That they’re field-testing arguments that not only defy logic, but flip logic the bird and insult its mother, only makes that all the more clear.

That didn’t stop Twitter from taking Thune’s argument and running with it:

Even conservative lawmakers joined in to pile on Thune’s idiocy:

And to think this guy was being taken seriously as a presidential contender not that long ago.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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17 Responses to “John Thune breaks the Internet with insane Obamacare argument”

  1. HeatherENowak says:

    53$/[email protected]


  2. ComradeRutherford says:

    Conservatives political philosophy: I am going to close my eyes and swing my fists and if you get hit it’s all your fault.

  3. devlzadvocate says:

    Another republican wears the dunce hat and yet another reason they shouldn’t be allowed to govern.

  4. Bill_Perdue says:

    I prefer the Cuban model. They have a humane health care system, as opposed to Obama bankster model.

    “The GuardianTuesday 17 June 2014 15.27 EDT – Study by Washington-based foundation says healthcare provision in the US is the worst in the world. … The same study also castigated healthcare provision in the US as the worst globally. Despite putting the most money into health, America denies care to many patients in need because they do not have health insurance and is also the poorest at saving the lives of people who fall ill, it found.

    The report has been produced by the Commonwealth Fund, a Washington-based foundation which is respected around the world for its analysis of the performance of different countries’ health systems. It examined an array of evidence about performance in 11 countries, including detailed data from patients, doctors and the World Health Organisation.

    As the first nation to dedicate hundreds of health care workers to West Africa, Cuba is an unlikely hero in the Ebola outbreak. … In spite of not being among the wealthiest countries, Cuba is one of the most committed when it comes to deploying doctors to crisis zones. It has offered more than 460 Cuban doctors and nurses to West Africa, and currently, 165 are working there under the direction of the World Health Organization (WHO). More than 50,000 health care workers from Cuba are working in 66 countries around the world.

  5. Bill_Perdue says:

    Keep paying the insurance companies until we win socialized medicine.

  6. 2karmanot says:

    Idaho—one potato, two potato, three potato none. ” I’m laughing all the way to the Idaho exchange.” me too!

  7. BlueIdaho says:

    Idaho established an exchange last year although most of the legislature didn’t want it. Our illustrious governor, “Butch” convinced them that they didn’t really want the feds coming into Idaho and telling them how to run their insurance business. Now if the supremes invalidate this portion of the ACA, they will all be kicking themselves in the ass. Because what they hate more than the feds telling them what to do is low-income people getting any government benefits. I’m laughing all the way to the Idaho exchange.

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  9. BeccaM says:

    The sad thing? There’ll be no shortage of Teabaggers and Rethuglicans happy to re-tweet Thune’s idiocy.

  10. emjayay says:

    Which we don’t have and there is no way that was going to happen. Is “socialized medicine” the UK model (the only thing close) or just the French model or the German model or the Taiwan/Canada model the even more mixed Netherlands model or the or the Japanese model or the Swiss most like the ACA except a lot better model?

  11. BeccaM says:

    Yeah, we do. We need single-payer and there were a few rumbles in my state (NM) about it being considered. It’d be great if it happens.

    But in the meantime my Gold plan $290/month insurance (I was able to ditch BC/BS and join a local medical co-op group instead this year), which was only possible because they passed the requirement that people couldn’t be rejected for pre-existing conditions, is still way the fuck better than nothing.

  12. BeccaM says:

    Your premise, Perljammer, is missing one essential detail: At the time the bill was drafted in 2009/2010, this theory that the gov’t was trying to create a massive incentive for every state to make their own exchange did not exist, was not being discussed, and was never part of any statements on the part of Congress, the Administration, or CBO calculations.

    I don’t know if you noticed, but afterwards Gruber walked back those remarks, referring to them as a misstatement. Or to use his term “a speak-o” — the verbal equivalent of a typo.

    Gruber’s habit of essentially talking out of his ass on these and many other issues have led to him being labeled as something of a pariah in politics and public policy. Repeatedly, it seems like he gets it in his head he knows of some intentional and rational reason that some mistake was made and speaks as if he’s an authority on it, only later to be discovered to have been completely wrong.

    There is more than ample evidence that what happened was (1) initially it was assumed by the PPACA bill drafters that of course every state would join in, in every aspect, including the exchanges and free Medicaid expansion. (2) GOPers shocked no one by being complete dicks, because for them a political statement is more important than the lives of their constitutents. (3) So the bill drafters decided that instead of having the Federal exchange just be a temporary help for states not quite ready during the planned 2012 full roll-out, they’d make it an alternative. (4) They f*cked up and didn’t find every single instance in that rather massive bill where it referred to the state exchanges, missing one clause.

    Shit happens, Perljammer. People screw up. Normally with any bill, there are nearly always typos and mistakes, and the normal practice is there’s a determination of what was the obvious intent of Congress, the typo or drafting error is ignored and the measure goes forward.

    The drafters of the PPACA in Congress were asked repeatedly whether they intended to withhold subsidies for states without exchanges and unanimously the answer was no.

  13. 2karmanot says:


  14. Indigo says:

    Dear Teapublicans, All your stupids are belong you.

  15. perljammer says:

    Irrespective of your view of the ACA, it’s pretty clear that what is being characterized as a typo and/or a drafting error was in reality a deliberate means to attempt to force states to set up their exchanges. Jonathan Gruber explains in this video from 2012 (the pertinent section begins at 31:25) that “What’s important to remember politically about this, is that if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits. But your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying that your citizens are going to pay all the taxes and help all the other states in the country. I hope that’s a blatant enough political reality that the states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges and they’ll do it, but you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this.”

  16. guest4455 says:

    The GOP will literally be responsible for throwing MILLIONS of Americans off their health insurance if the partisan SC throws out the subsidies. Expect a typical 5-4 vote with all of the partisan conservative activists throwing millions off their health insurance.

  17. Bill_Perdue says:

    It’s not Obamacare, it’s Humana/Merckcare. They get rich, we pay the bills. We need socialized medicine.

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