I’ve known Congressman John Faso for many years. I’ve followed his career since he was a member of the State Assembly, through his time as leader of the Assembly Republicans, when he ran for governor and then when he became a successful lobbyist. Now Faso has made a colossal mistake which may well cost him his job.
His error was to back Donald Trump’s disastrous, ill-conceived, punitive, life sucking “American Health Care Act.” This miserable bill has thrown Trump for a loop and may well have veered his presidency so far off track that it’s possible he will never recover. He may even become more of a pre-Fascist bully than he has been up to now. Having run as a populist candidate, a lot of people thought Trump would, as president, play it down the middle. On the contrary — he has proven himself to be a raving right winger who has awakened the political middle, including Democrats, moderate Republicans and Independents. Remember that about half of this country never votes in presidential elections. I can tell you that more Democrats don’t vote than Republicans don’t vote. But Donald Trump has gone and done it. He has galvanized the middle class and nonvoting Democrats to such an extent that the Democratic National Committee ought to be paying the guy. Of course, he has almost four years to put it all back together but as of now he remains the most unpopular president in the history of the country, at least at this stage of his presidency. By putting up a Health Care Bill that would deprive so many Americans of basic health care (and make no mistake — we are talking about millions of people here), he is sinking even deeper. Taking away emergency room visits and maternity care from people who never had such things in the past? Disgusting!
Obviously, Trump was in real trouble. The dark money, right wing guys who can’t begin to spend all the money they have accumulated, wanted this bill to pass in the worst way. In order to do that, they gave a lot of money to Trump and sponsored ads supporting the Trump health care bill. They also tried to do it the good old fashioned American way — by buying Republican Congressmen with campaign money which is not legally bribery but is certainly done to bring them around.
Remember this was an appalling, terrible bill. I have spoken with John Faso about the legendary Republican Congressman, Silvio Conte, who was my Congressman when we moved to the Berkshires. He was a hero to Democrats and Republicans alike. When a Republican bill stank, he said so and voted against his party. I told John Faso of Silvio’s exploits but he didn’t listen. He took the money and he stayed true to his Republican-at-all-cost convictions.
Faso ran a very competitive race against liberal Zephyr Teachout. During his campaign, he talked like a moderate. He said that he would be his own man. But when it came down to the stinking Trump Health Care Act, he voted for it. Obviously, he knew that he was in trouble and he took credit for introducing a loopy part of the bill that would have, he said, saved the taxpayers by making the State of New York pay for Medicaid costs instead of passing some of that cost on to the upstate (but not New York City) counties. Taxpayers got it. One way or another, they were going to have to pay for it. Governor Cuomo blew a gasket and seemed to make political hay.
So Faso said that he would vote for a losing proposition. People who once thought he was a moderate no longer have any reason to believe that. This was a first class error. He should have listened to Silvio.