He said publicly he could not support moving forward with the Obamacare repeal legislation. As Ben Domenech and others have noted, Lee said publicly what more than a half dozen of his colleagues were saying privately. But that made him the bad guy.
Hugh Hewitt, who never misses a chance to praise Republican leaders (see e.g. the nomination of Harriet Miers), and Avik Roy, who fancies himself as the expert of experts on healthcare from the right, both claimed Lee was preserving Obamacare and flat out ignored that the McConnell legislation itself preserves Obamacare, which is Lee’s major problem with it.
“I don’t see him looking for a path to yes. It seems like he’s against everything right now,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). “That’s the way it looks to me.”
Had Hatch bothered to talk to Lee, as I have and as others have, he would learn that Lee is actually pretty committed to getting to yes to the point of being willing to vote for a measure that does not fully repeal Obamacare. But Lee understands the present legislation will not really lower costs, but the Cruz amendment would allow people to buy cheaper health insurance.
Hatch, who has rarely been opposed to anything his party proposes, sees a guy who actually has principles and who is actually willing to fight for those principles, and deduces Lee must actually be opposed to getting anything done. The reality is that Lee is one of the few senators who is not programmed with the “just do something” virus that compels him to do half measures and then lie to claim they are full measures.
Mike Lee actually wants to work towards keeping promises and not have to rely on Republican courtiers and leadership whores to lie to the public for their leaders.