The incoherence of John Kasich’s cave-in on Obamacare

Cross-posted from Rare.

Voters who treat politics as a process of picking and then sticking with a party or politician rather than wrestling with principles should consider the cautionary tale of Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Gov. Kasich was elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010. “I think I was in the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party,” Kasich – a plainspoken critic of Obamacare, leftist labor unions, and big government in all its forms – told Ohioans in January 2010.

If John Kasich was the first arrival to the Tea Party, he certainly wasn’t the last to leave.

Since signing a repeal of Ohio’s death tax, battling a union smear campaign against public union reform, and balancing the budget without hiking taxes in 2011, Kasich has devoted most of his energy to the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, a tax hike on fracking, and picking winners and losers via JobsOhio.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the governor is privately promising union bosses he will oppose citizens’ efforts to make Ohio a Right to Work state, though both Indiana and Michigan adopted Right to Work in 2012.

On Medicaid expansion, Team Kasich has offered sad leftist talking points in lieu of any coherent argument. The expansion is a key component of Obamacare, but Kasich insists he opposes Obamacare while simultaneously pressuring legislators to embrace the law’s Medicaid expansion.

Kasich is so eager for billions in promised funding from a federal government nearly $17 trillion in debt, he’s willing to saddle Ohioans with hundreds of millions per year in new Medicaid costs – despite his professed disdain for deficit spending.

Gov. Kasich now emphasizes the importance of the State caring for “the least among us,” as if forcing taxpayers to expand a broken, unsustainable entitlement program is the moral equivalent to charity.

Kasich has even suggested legislators will be denied entry to Heaven if they don’t vote for the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

With Ohio’s economy slowly rebounding from years of devastating job losses, how much credit should be given to Kasich and how much to the General Assembly is up for debate.

A number of facts, however, are beyond question: State spending has grown dramatically since Kasich took office; Kasich has sought to redistribute energy company earnings for nakedly political reasons; Kasich is fighting to implement the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

That’s not to say Gov. Kasich has done nothing to advance the cause of liberty, but how much good policy would it take to balance the impact of Medicaid expansion alone?

Like so many Republicans before him, John Kasich seems happy to serve as standard-bearer for a political philosophy whose central tenets are contradictory: a limited government, but not so limited that it doesn’t care.

If you’re curious as to the extent of Kasich’s control over the Ohio Republican Party, ask a state or local party official about the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. Instead of a debate over any of the substantive issues conservatives have raised in the past six months, you’ll be met with debunked Kasich Administration rhetoric and instructions to ignore malcontents who disagree with the governor.

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