A Conservative Fallacy: Dualism (Bust It or Bust)

#ryancare | #trumpcare

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump (left) meets with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI01; center) and Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., 10 November 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Joshua Roberts)

This is a basic conservative fallacy:

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is selling the Republicans’ health care bill the same way he did the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. But on the health front, his pitch is falling flat with conservatives.

“Binary choice” is the phrase the Wisconsin Republican used during the presidential election to describe his reason for supporting Trump over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Ryan acknowledged throughout the campaign that both candidates were flawed but Trump was the better of two options, the only one who would help Republicans advance their legislative agenda.

“It really comes down to a binary choice,” the speaker said Thursday during his weekly press conference about moving forward with the GOP’s plan or leaving in place the 2010 health care law.

“This is the closest we will ever get to repealing and replacing Obamacare,” Ryan said. “The time is here. The time is now. This is the moment. And this is the closest this will ever happen.”


The only subtlety about it is Speaker Ryan’s lack of subtlety.

That is to say, the nuance about such superficial dualism arises in trying to explain its apparent lack of nuance. It is one thing to exploit the traditional Democrat-Republican dualism, but this idea that people somehow owe Republicans support because “this is the closest we will ever get” to what the GOP has spent the last seven years failing to addressα is pretty stupid; we might wonder just how it works in Mr. Ryan’s mind.

The idea that this is what Republicans came up with after all this time and complaint? Therein lies the binary choice: You will support the bill or not because after all this time, this vague, uninformed, pathetic excuse for a bill is the best the GOP intends to bother with.

This is why, as conservatives say, “goverment doesn’t work”.

And now they’re making good on their promise.


α We might recall Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), earlier this week, ducking questions about funding the bill: “Well,” he said, “it just got launched yesterday”. And, yes, it did, after seven years of careful consideration. Right? Or was it simply, after seven years?

Image note: Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters.

McAuliff, Michael. “Mitch McConnell Can’t Explain How He’ll Pass Or Pay For The GOP Health Care Bill”. The Huffington Post. 7 March 2017.

McPherson, Lindsey. “Paul Ryan Returns to ‘Binary Choice’ Rhetoric”. Roll Call. 10 March 2017.

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