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EDITORIAL: Capito proving loyal to state

The Journal editorial

If there is one thing certain to get the hackles of West Virginians and East Ohioans up, it is telling us that trying to do the right thing is, well, wrong.

Two of our U.S. senators are being accused of just that.

It has proved so difficult to repeal and replace the Obamacare health insurance law that some in Congress are thinking of repealing now and replacing later. That is, they want to enact a bill that would do away with Obamacare within two years, but without having a replacement plan in place.

Among senators who have said they cannot go along with that are Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; and Rob Portman, R-Ohio. Both have said such action would be a disservice to many of their constituents.

Portman, Capito and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, have become targets of critics who hope to pressure them into changing their minds. The three have one thing in common: In 2015, all voted for a proposal to repeal Obamacare. They are being called hypocrites for refusing to go along with simple repeal now.

But this is not 2015. The political realities are much different. For one thing, the outlook two years ago was that if Obamacare was repealed, it could be succeeded quickly by a reasonable replacement.

Capito, Portman and Murkowski now know that such a smooth transition is not in the cards.

One television commentator accused the three of not being “true to their party and maybe not true to their country.” Another referred to them as “traitors.” A third asked rhetorically, “Are they going to be loyal to the Republican Party, or starting out on their own path?”

Let’s hope so. We cannot speak for Alaskans, but we feel confident in judging that the overwhelming majority of West Virginia and Ohio voters who cast ballots for Capito and Portman did so in the hope they would protect our interests in Washington. Rightly or wrongly, both senators believe they are doing just that.

Good for them.

And about those who demand Portman’s and Capito’s primary loyalty ought to be to the Republican Party — or anyone else above their constituents:

You’ve got to be kidding.

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