Ohio Governor John Kasich has evidently seen the light with regard to the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion and is now embracing it. That's a smart thing to do, given that the expansion is incredibly generous and allows states some breathing room in their budgets.
Logic has never been a characteristic of the Tea Party, however. American Majority, the Koch-funded "grassroots" arm of the GOP, was furious.
“I think it’s definitely going to weaken him with the conservative base,” said Chris Littleton, the Ohio director for American Majority Action. “It’s not a good idea to expand your No. 1 budget item in the middle of this kind of instability. The conservative grass roots and average voters are not going to support this in any way, shape or form.”
Tea party groups gave the decision a big thumbs down, a rare moment when they’ve been at odds with Kasich.
On Sunday, Freedomworks sent out an email blast calling on members to oppose exchanges, and pressure their state governments to join the resistance by visiting their BlockExchanges.com website and rising up against the evil goal of helping everyone get access to affordable health care.
Oh, the horror of it all. But wait, more Kochheads weighed in:
“Medicaid is a broken, costly system that needs meaningful reform; expanding the system to include another 365,000 individuals is exactly the wrong policy for Ohio families,” said Nicole Kaeding, state policy manager for Americans for Prosperity. “Instead of trapping families in a system that doesn’t work, Gov. Kasich should devote his efforts and activities to forcing Columbus and Washington to pass badly needed reforms.”
From the Ron Paul side of things:
“How can that be good for Ohio to have more people dependent on government?” asked Ted Stevenot, president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition. “How can it be good for us politically, economically? I just don’t see it.”
And still more Kochheads:
“He can’t do what most governors do, by pretending that that money is free. He knows better than anyone that that money is not free,” said the Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon. “Every dollar that is spent on Medicaid expansion increases the deficit.”
That great divide between conservative idealist hardliners and pragmatic types is now drawn darkly and starkly. The Rove-Tea Party war is only one aspect, though we really should stop calling them the Tea Party and just call them right-wing Republicans.
Kasich, once the darling of the Koch set, is now a pariah for daring to actually implement something that will help the people of his state. Move over, Chris Christie, and make room on the naughty seat for Kasich.