Poor Ohio Governor John Kasich…he had so much potential as a success story in the GOP. A former investment banker, cut-and-slash budget-maker, Obamacare repealer, and one-time FOX “News” talking head, this solid Bush-era corporate conservative had all the makings of the GOP’s next failed presidential candidate. But instead of joining the Heavenly choir of martyrs like Dole, McCain and Romney…well, John had to go and end his story by accidentally telling the truth.
On Monday, Kasich gave an interview with the Associated Press for an article on the pointlessness of trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. After 50-some-odd votes and millions of taxpayer dollars wasted, committment to repealing a successful law that’s been on the books for years has become something of an article of faith among Republicans. In fact, it’s almost impossible to get a Republican nomination without being a member of The Repealers.
But Kasich ignited a firestorm with his statements to the AP. From AP’s Big Story:
Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he doesn’t think there will be a repeal in Washington, even if Republicans win a Senate majority and consolidate their hold on the House in next month’s election.
“That’s not gonna happen,” the Republican governor told The Associated Press during a recent re-election campaign swing.
Kasich called The Associated Press Monday night to clarify that he was speaking specifically about a repeal of Medicaid expansion and not of the entire Affordable Care Act __ although opponents in Washington don’t usually draw such distinctions.
He said he believes the ACA “can and should” be repealed, but that opposition to the Medicaid expansion “was really either political or ideological,” adding, “I don’t think that holds water against real flesh and blood and real improvements in people’s lives.“
He has cast the Medicaid expansion in Ohio as a moral choice to help the poor. While “repeal” remains the mantra for many Republicans in Washington, it’s up against some hard facts.
As Kasich suggested, millions of people now have a tangible benefit that would be taken away if the health law were repealed. Any GOP replacement law would probably have to give most of those people a way to remain insured, and that would involve considerable taxpayer expense and government regulation.
Of course, Kasich has long been a proponent of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, and drew some heat from Ohio’s right-swinging legislature when he embraced that part of the law. But, unfortunately for any member of the now too-radicalized-for-reason GOP, embracing any part of of Obummercare (which conservatives previously swore would end civilization as we knew it) is tantamount to embracing a naked leper with genital warts.
The backlash was immediate, and Kasich quickly went into full-on spin control:
But, unfortunately, the damage is done…because even this reminder of a Republican backing any part of the ACA brings back to light a terrifying reality for the Republican base:
That they’re actually agreeing with liberals.
It’s been known since the first days of Obamacare that it was effectively just a re-branded version of something conservatives have been pushing for years. Conservatives including Mitt Romney, Bob Dole and yes, even John Kasich. These Corporate Era Reagan Republicans (as quickly as they’re being replaced by Far Right nutjobs in the party) crafted plans very similar to Obamacare. So similar in fact that even in the heat of battle, a fair number of Liberal and Progressive voices decried whole thing as a manufactured fight for defeat.
Suddenly finding themselves fighting for a healthcare law that only ten years before they opposed, Progressives were forced into backing a Corporate Conservative plan. And the Far Right nutjobs…well, they were dragged uncomfortably close to the people they were instructed to hate.
So, maybe John Kasich is right to feel a bit indignant — he’s not saying anything he hadn’t been saying for years. And it’s perfectly reasonable that he’d do so.
But, the GOP is these days about as far from “reasonable” as Heaven is wide…and Kasich’s rapid fall from grace will be the story of them all.