How long can John Kasich keep lying about Obamacare?

When you’re a Republican presidential candidate, hanging new welfare spending around taxpayers’ necks is a problem — but only if you get caught.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is banking on not getting caught. While Kasich’s Obamacare expansion has cost federal taxpayers over $4 billion, he says it’s all “Ohio money” he’s “bringing back” from DC.

Note the difference: If Kasich’s Obamacare expansion is paid for with “Ohio money” as opposed to new federal spending, Kasich can still credibly claim to be a fiscal conservative.

It’s not. And he can’t.

You could say Kasich is stretching the truth, but let’s call a duck a duck instead of just “some bird” or “a waterfowl.” Kasich has been lying about billions of dollars in new federal spending for more than two years.

(Warning: According to John Kasich, disagreeing with John Kasich’s stance on Obamacare may be the only thing God’s grace does not cover for entry into Heaven)

August 31, 2015: WDIV-TV, Detroit
“Look, the fact that I do care about poor people, and that I’ve chosen to take some of the federal dollars that we send to Washington, to bring them back, has not only a moral side to it but also an arithmetic.”
August 2, 2015: Fox News Sunday (Fox News Channel)
“Well first of all, I’m opposed to Obamacare and I’ve been clear on that. Medicaid has been expanded, was expanded by Ronald Reagan I think three or four times. […] In regard to Medicaid, however, two points: One, we bring our money back to treat people here in Ohio, cause the federal government has no money […]”
August 1, 2015: Fox and Friends (Fox News Channel)
“I’m not for Obamacare and I didn’t join forces with the president — all I know is that Ronald Reagan expanded Medicaid I think about three times, and I had a chance to bring Ohio money back to Ohio. And to me it’s a conservative principle, Ed[…]”
July 28, 2015: The Situation Room (CNN)
“Look, you know, Ronald Reagan expanded Medicaid, I don’t know, three or four times, Wolf, and we’re bringing 14 billion over 7 years back to Ohio to treat the — to treat the mentally ill, the drug-addicted and to help the working poor get on their feet. I think it’s — and it’s working here in Ohio.”
July 25, 2015: NPR interview
“[…] Ronald Reagan expanded Medicaid a number of times and he didn’t need Obamacare, ok? And my feeling about Medicaid is we’ve been able to manage this program, and by bringing Ohio money back to Ohio to treat the mentally ill, the drug-addicted and the working poor, we’re not only ahead on an arithmetic basis but we think it’s the right issue in terms of giving people a chance and an ability to be lifted.”
July 22, 2015: Kasich 2016 Town Hall, Portsmouth, NH
“I get criticized because I took money, Ohio money from Washington to Ohio, to treat the mentally ill, the drug-addicted and the working poor. […] The reason why I brought that money back – it’s called expanding Medicaid, let me just explain it to you […]”
July 21, 2015: Hannity (Fox News Channel)
“First of all, we brought our money back to Ohio, 14 billion…”
July 14, 2015: Speakeasy with John Harwood (CNBC)
“There is no money in Washington, it’s money we send from our state of Ohio to Washington that I was able to bring back to help the mentally ill get on their feet.”
July 7, 2015: Special Report (Fox News Channel)
“We brought Ohio money back to Ohio to treat the mentally ill […] But we’re all made in the image of the Lord, and I think that by us bringing those resources back, our people – there’s no money in Washington. It’s our money. We brought it back to Ohio and we’re fixing vexing problems.”
June 28, 2015: Face the Nation (CBS)
“In regard to Medicaid, you know, I think there we ought to be block-granting money back to the states so states can be empowered to treat the poor. And we’re going to ask for some waivers in that program. But what’s most important there is I brought Ohio money back to treat the mentally ill, the drug addicted, and to help the working poor so they’re not in the emergency rooms. And so our mentally ill and drug addicted are not in prison.”
June 24, 2015: Greater Des Moines Partnership Candidate Forum, Des Moines, IA
“…we brought a lot of our money back from Washington to begin to treat these people.”
June 18, 2015: Fox & Friends (Fox News Channel)
“By bringing money back from Washington to Ohio, I can help treat the mentally ill. […] Getting our money back – so-called expanding Medicaid – has allowed me to give everybody a chance, to get ’em on their feet […] All it is, is bringing the money that taxpayers send to Washington and bringing it back to our states.”
June 15, 2015: Capital Tonight, Time Warner Cable News Central NC, Charlotte, NC
“We’ve taken $14 billion over the next seven years back to our state, of Ohio money that we sent to Washington.”
June 5, 2015: NPR
“It’s not federal money. I decided to bring Ohio money back to Ohio, because there is no federal money. In Washington, they think there’s federal money, but it’s what we send to Washington.”
May 28, 2015: Alan Colmes Show (Fox News Radio)
“I expanded Medicaid because I can bring $14 billion of Ohio money back to Ohio”
May 27, 2015: The Lead with Jake Tapper (CNN)
“I don’t support Obamacare, I wanna repeal it, but I did expand Medicaid, because I was able to bring Ohio money back home […] expanding Medicaid is a separate issue, [Supreme Court Chief Justice] John Roberts gave all the states the ability to decide that, and I’m gonna bring $14 billion of Ohio money back to Ohio”
May 26, 2015: New Day for America campaign stop, Fulton County, GA
“Now I went and brought 14 billion, I’m in the process of bringing $14 billion back from Washington to help solve – it’s our money, it’s Ohio money, there’s no money in Washington, by the way, it’s all ours, we send it there – so I’m bringing as much of mine as I can get back […] Here’s how it works: again, we brought, we are bringing back $14 billion. The first, I don’t know, 2, 3, 4 years, the federal government just sends our money back, which is our money.”
May 2, 2015: National Review Institute Ideas Summit, Washington, DC (interview with Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore)
“Well first of all, I’m for getting rid of Obamacare because it’s a top-down plan. The last person who expanded Medicaid was a Republican, and happened to be Ronald Reagan. Now, what I’ve done is, I got a chance to bring Ohio money back to Ohio to solve some of our most vexing problems. […] What are we doing with this money that we’re bringing back that’s Ohio money? Well first of all, we’re putting it in our local communities to treat the mentally ill.”
May 1, 2015: Christian Science Monitor Breakfast, Washington, DC
“Let’s just get to the nub of Medicaid, ok? First of all, ya know, the last Republican that I can think of who expanded Medicaid was Ronald Reagan, people tend to forget that. Here’s what I’m faced with, and if other people don’t wanna take the money, that’s up to them: I got money I can bring home to Ohio. It’s my money – there’s no money in Washington, it’s my money. It’s the money of the people who live in my state.”
April 24, 2015: New America 2015 annual conference, Washington, DC (interview with CNN host Gloria Borger)
“My goal is to take these folks, and get our money back from Washington, 14 billion to help our local communities to deal with these folks.”
April 23, 2015: The Atlantic Summit on the Economy, Washington, DC (interview with ABC host Jon Karl)
“I wanna take 14 billion of Ohio money back to Ohio, away from Washington, in this whole Medicaid thing.”
March 31, 2015: The Sean Hannity Show
“I’m not for Obamacare — I never have been. I have been in favor of bringing Ohioans’ money back to Ohio, which is Medicaid expansion.”
January 22, 2015: Special Report with Bret Baier (Fox News Channel)
“I brought Ohio’s dollars back to Ohio to deal with the mentally ill and the drug-addicted”
January 21, 2015: Balanced Budget Forever press conference, Helena, MT
“John Roberts gave me an opportunity in the Supreme Court for the state to make a decision as to whether they want to reclaim this money or not. There’s no money in Washington, it’s my money, okay? And so, I brought my money back to Ohio.”
January 21, 2015: Meeting with Republican state legislators in Helena, MT
“Well, I mean first of all, we have an opportunity to bring our money back from Washington to Ohio.”
January 20, 2015: Meeting with Republican state legislators in Pierre, SD
“Well, the first thing is that the money that we in Ohio send to Washington is not somebody’s money down there, it’s our money. John Roberts and the Supreme Court said that states could decide whether they wanted to expand Medicaid.”
December 7, 2014: This Week with George Stephanopoulos (ABC)
“Now on Medicaid expansion, I’m able to bring Ohio money back to Ohio – cause I know what they do with it in Washington – and I can use it to treat the mentally ill, I can use it to treat the drug-addicted. Why wouldn’t I do that, George? That’s common sense, to me.”
November 19, 2014 Republican Governors Association annual meeting, Boca Raton, FL
“Now, I can get my money back from Washington – and I want it back in Ohio because I know what they do with it in Washington. And, I get to bring that money back, and I get to free up money at the local level so that the mentally ill, the drug-addicted, the working poor and a much broader set of services are available to people that live in the shadows[…]”
October 14, 2014 Dix Newspapers interview
“Look, I have a chance to bring $14 billion of Ohio dollars back to Ohio. Unfortunately, I happen to know how they spending money in Washington, so I wanted to get it back here.”
September 18, 2014 Gannett interview (no longer available online)
“Ya know, it was a very easy decision for me – ya know, I get a chance to bring $14 billion of Ohio money back here, to give to our local partners who are dealing with some of the toughest issues.”
March 23, 2014: Fox News Sunday (Fox News Channel)
“I have a chance to bring back $14 billion in Ohio dollars back to Ohio, to do what? To strengthen our local communities as they treat the most significant problem of drug addiction and the problem of mental illness.”
March 18, 2014: Your World with Neil Cavuto (Fox News Channel)
“I had a chance to bring $14 billion of Ohioans’ money back […] we get that money back here to Ohio and deal with some of our significant problems, that’s the right thing to do”
November 15, 2013: The O’Reilly Factor (Fox News Channel)
“I had a chance to bring Ohio money back to Ohio […] if I don’t bring Ohio money back, they’re not gonna put it in a piggy bank […] I have a chance to bring $14 billion out of Washington to me, to the people here in my state who need this help”
October 27, 2013: Meet the Press (NBC)
“I’ve articulated my opposition to Obamacare. But Chief Justice Roberts gave every state an opportunity to try to get federal dollars to improve Medicaid. […] So Ohio gets a good deal. We get $14 billion of Ohio money back to Ohio to deal with some of the most serious problems.”
August 26, 2013: Joel Riley Show (610 WTVN Columbus)
“Well, the Medicaid expansion is different than Obamacare. Basically, what we wanna do is to be able to bring back $14 billion of our money, Ohio taxpayer money, to distribute to people who treat folks who are addicted, the alcohol and drug community organizations.”
July 9, 2013: Medicaid expansion rally, Ohio Statehouse
“…but I don’t want our dollars to be spent somewhere else, cause, ya know, I worked in Washington long enough to know they never save anything. And secondly, their inability – their inability – to solve a problem that ultimately will be solved in a responsible way should not prevent Ohio from reclaiming our dollars to deal with our problem.”
February 19, 2013: Ohio Governor’s 2013 State of the State address
“We should not shoot ourselves in the foot and send our tax dollars to another state to be spent […] if we don’t do what we should do on Medicaid, they’ll be spending it in California. You count on it. […] We have an unprecedented opportunity to bring $13 billion of Ohio’s tax dollars back to Ohio to solve our problem.”

Note: This isn’t meant to be a complete list, as there’s no doubt Kasich has repeated his “Ohio money back to Ohio” lie at countless campaign events where legacy media outlets didn’t notice and didn’t publish audio or video.

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The Governing Wing is Here to Help

A union-backed “centrist” group led by Speaker John Boehner’s friend Steve LaTourette is looking to flex its muscles in the newly Republican-controlled Congress.

Republican Main Street Partnership, which calls itself “the governing wing” of the Republican Party, claims the loyalties of 68 sitting members of Congress. LaTourette, a lobbyist and former congressman from Boehner’s native Ohio, has been president and CEO since leaving the House in 2013.

LaTourette was elected to Congress in the 1994 GOP wave, and for the past 20 years has called himself a conservative while using “govern” as a synonym for “pass the legislation unions pay me to pass.” He’s an Americans for Tax Reform pledge breaker with lifetime ratings of 35 percent from Heritage Action and 45 percent from Club for Growth.

LaTourette has elevated sneering appeals to pragmatism and compromise into an art form. He openly despises free-market groups – perhaps none more than Club for Growth, which he attacked as part of “the grifting wing” of the GOP in a Politico column last August.

“This isn’t about ideology,” LaTourette wrote.  “The Republican Party is a conservative party. This fight is about whether we will govern or continue to let the grifters profit off of the dysfunction in Washington.”

If “grifters” seems severe, consider that LaTourette raged against the “bloodsuckers” at ATR in one of his final speeches on the floor of the House. In the past two years he has called Club for Growth “a cancer on the Republican Party” and described the Club and its allies as “an Ebola virus that spreads” and “messes up the process.”

“The atmosphere today no longer encourages the finding of common ground,” LaTourette complained when announcing his retirement in 2012.

Contrary to LaTourette’s assurances conservatives should blithely vote Republican and let the pros do their thing, his continued influence proves the need for more and better-organized advocacy of limited government.

Main Street Partnership, through vehicles including its heavily union-funded super PAC, spent millions in 2014 in what LaTourette hilariously described as an attempt by big-government Republicans to “level the playing field” against Club for Growth, Heritage Action, and Senate Conservatives Fund.

“Political grifting is a lucrative business,” LaTourette wrote in his Politico piece last summer. He would know.

During the 2010 and 2012 campaign cycles, around half of LaTourette’s top donors were labor unions. He resigned from Congress after Republicans refused to support a union-handout highway bill and his alternative budget, which included smaller spending cuts and larger tax hikes than Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget.

“We’re talking about building roads and bridges for Chrissakes,” LaTourette griped, fuming that conservative intransigence prevented “getting the no-brainers done and governing.”

Pining for the days before the Tea Party, LaTourette said, “Things that needed to be done to move the country forward, like student loans, like the farm bill, like the highway bill, they got 350, 400 votes and there was no such thing as a Republican bridge or a Democratic road.”

LaTourette’s decision to drop out of his cakewalk reelection race in the summer of 2012 also coincided with his failure to win a coveted leadership spot on the House Transportation Committee. He insisted this had nothing to do with his resignation.

Observing one of Capitol Hill’s most hallowed traditions, LaTourette was announced as head of a new lobbying office at D.C. law firm McDonald Hopkins within a week of his January 2013 departure from Congress. He was named president of Main Street Partnership the same day.

One of few Republicans to ever vote for the AFL-CIO dream policy of card check unionization, LaTourette owes his political success to his Big Labor backing, his earmarking prowess, and his friendship with Speaker Boehner.

LaTourette’s passion for lobbying – and lobbyists – isn’t new, either.

In 2004, Congressman LaTourette admitted to having an affair with his former chief of staff, Jennifer Laptook. According to his wife of 21 years, LaTourette told her over the phone that he had a girlfriend and wanted a divorce.

By the time LaTourette and Laptook were married in 2005, Laptook was vice president of D.C. lobbying firm Van Scoyoc Associates, having capitalized on connections she made while sleeping with her former boss.

In a fawning profile on LaTourette’s retirement, Slate’s Dave Weigel described him as “a pragmatic conservative and ally of John Boehner, there when the party needed him, and there to shame extremists when they blew up a compromise.”

As LaTourette told The Hill in 2012, “when you say that I have to believe in X, Y and Z to be a good Republican, that isn’t what the Republican Party stands for.”

Standing for things is not what the Republican Party stands for, and don’t let the extremists who say otherwise get you down. Steve LaTourette is from the governing wing of the GOP, and he’s here to help.

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Beltway pundits keep up clueless Kasich ’16 buzz

The Washington Post and other noted experts on the hearts of GOP primary voters continue building up Ohio Governor John Kasich as a viable 2016 presidential candidate. You’ll be shocked to learn their reasoning is myopic at best.

Since Democrat Ed FitzGerald’s long-shot campaign crashed last month, beltway bobbleheads have been chattering about the message Kasich’s likely landslide reelection victory will send.

“Look out for Governor John Kasich,” advised an August 29 WaPo blog post by Ed Rogers.

“If former Florida Governor Jeb Bush decides not to run for president, Kasich will have a lot of room to maneuver within the 2016 field,” Rogers wrote. Bush’s absence certainly would open up space in what’s likely to be a crowded Squish Niche.

But then Rogers flew to Fancyland, asserting that Kasich’s “performance as governor speaks for itself, and as a congressman in Washington he was an anti-corporate welfare budget hawk.”

Search the post for the words “Medicaid” or “Obamacare,” and you won’t find either — although Kasich spent most of 2013 hammering critics of Medicaid expansion before unilaterally expanding the program with Obamacare money.

The price tag for that expansion, 90% of whose enrollees will be working-age, able-bodied childless adults according to the left-leaning Urban Institute? Oh, around $60 billion in new federal and state spending through 2022.

“Kasich represented tea party values before the tea party was cool,” Rogers added.

And then he was elected governor, and he stopped representing them. Not that WaPo would know the difference.

On September 7, a blog entry at The Hill listed Kasich as one of four dark horses who “could make some noise” if he chooses to run in 2016.

The story identified pros and cons for each dark horse candidate… and didn’t mention the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

When a poll came out showing Kasich 19 points ahead of FitzGerald in the governor’s race, WaPo and BloombergView both rushed out stories about what a great candidate Kasich could be in 2016.

How did WaPo’s Jen Rubin and Bloomberg’s Jonathan Bernstein shrug off Kasich’s relentless demonization of Obamacare critics as misinformed heathens, his lies about Medicaid expansion funding, and his end-run around the state legislature to expand the state’s biggest entitlement program?

Rubin conceded that Kasich’s “expansion of Medicaid did not sit well with many conservatives” before insisting “he illustrates the difference between a fiscal conservative and a libertarian.”

The following video illustrates what Kasich has done to his “fiscal conservative” credentials.

Rubin then continued, well, Rubin-ing.

“In contrast to the sort of tea party candidates who wiped out in the Senate primaries, Kasich doesn’t see government as the enemy. As a governor he’s been expected to improve government, not dismantle it. At a time when reform conservatives are getting attention, he may be in keeping with the current Zeitgeist in the GOP.”

“As far as I can tell, the only policy mark against Kasich (for the nomination) is that he accepted Medicaid expansion in Ohio,” Bernstein wrote.

“I’m skeptical that would be a knockout blow. If Republicans could nominate Mitt Romney in 2012, I find it hard to believe that a little minor unorthodoxy on Obamacare would be disqualifying.”

Emphasis added, because seriously.

“A little minor unorthodoxy on Obamacare” might be refusing to take a stand on Medicaid expansion, quietly letting the GOP-dominated Ohio General Assembly block it.

“Not-so-minor unorthodoxy on Obamacare” might be endorsing the expansion and then throwing up your hands at your GOP-dominated legislature’s refusal to play along.

What John Kasich did was railroad Obamacare Medicaid expansion critics as enemies of Ohio’s hospitals, Ohio’s poor, Ohio’s economy, and Jesus Christ.

That sounds insane, doesn’t it? It sounds like I’m exaggerating for effect — because if I weren’t, not even the dopiest beltway lefty would be treating John Kasich as a credible Republican presidential nominee.

And yet, here we are.

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Cut the Kasich ’16 Talk

Cross-posted from Townhall.

Conservatives talking up Ohio Governor John Kasich as a potential 2016 GOP standard-bearer ought to stop kidding themselves.

Unless you’ve managed to block out coverage of the 2016 field, you’ve heard the Kasich Admin spin: pragmatic conservative John Kasich saved Ohio from disastrous Democrat Ted Strickland, and has been cuttin’ taxes and creatin’ jobs ever since!

While there is truth to this narrative – Kasich is certainly superior in many respects to Strickland, whose record of failure landed him at the Center for American Progress – the devil’s in the details, and it’s the responsibility of citizens to shake him out.

Is Ohio’s economy recovering? Yes, but not as quickly or consistently as it should be after years of decline that began long before Strickland took office… and our labor force is in the pits.

Is Kasich cutting taxes? Yes, but instead of shrinking the state government Kasich has hiked taxes elsewhere and taken advantage of a cyclical uptick in revenue.

In this case, it’s unnecessary to argue about the quantities of tax cuts or job growth a state should expect under a Republican governor with a Republican legislature; even if you accept Kasich’s talking points asterisk-free, there are glaring reasons to reject the Kasich ’16 buzz.

Since it’s baseball season, let’s go with a three strikes theme.

Strike 1 – Common Core: Ohio signed on to Common Core under Gov. Strickland, but Kasich and his legislative allies have made sure the state doesn’t back out. Asked about Common Core in a recent radio interview, Kasich replied, “that program is written by local school districts.”

Strike 2 –Medicaid expansion: Kasich handled this issue so horribly, the Obamacare expansion alone should disqualify him from presidential consideration.

While insisting the Obamacare Medicaid expansion has nothing to do with Obamacare, Kasich lied about how the new entitlement will be paid for, said it’s what God wants, and circumvented the Ohio General Assembly to ram it through.

Strike 3 – Energy: Kasich has fought for a tax hike on fracking for two years,pitching a plan to soak Big Oil (and Appalachian Ohio landowners) and redistribute the revenue as a statewide tax cut.

Want to argue that Kasich got a piece of that pitch, since he was swinging for income tax reduction? Well, Kasich also threatened to veto a permanent freeze on Strickland-era “green” energy mandates, demanding a 2-year freeze instead.

The electricity mandates were supported by Republicans in 2008, and the approach to repealing them is illustrative of how Ohio’s political process works under Kasich.

  1. Ohio Senator Kris Jordan introduces repeal of “green” energy mandates;
  2. Ohio Senate leadership torpedoes repeal bill, fiddles with freeze for months and months;
  3. Kasich says he won’t sign freeze unless it’s dramatically watered down.

Good policy gutted in three easy steps!

Now, if you’re like me you don’t want to even think about 2016 yet. Unfortunately, the chatter has begun in earnest, and Kasich’s time as a Fox News host means that national commentators whose opinions carry weight are giving Kasich more credit than he deserves.

Kasich has grown government, has lied about it, and has attacked advocates of limited government while doing so. He’s basically a less-orange Charlie Crist who wants to change his party instead of his party affiliation.

Philosophy and politics overlap in ways that can make policy successes – and failures – tough to measure. That makes it all the more important to hold elected officials accountable on issues where it’s obvious what course they should take.

An important part of that is laughing at GOP flacks who treat criticism of big-government Republicans as a shameful lack of devotion on the critic’s part.

Assuming our fiscal canoe hasn’t gone over the waterfall by 2016, why would conservatives rally behind a Republican who has paddled toward the edge and spit in the eye of anyone telling him not to?

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Compassionate Conservatism is a Love Song to Big Government

Cross-posted from Townhall.

Few aspects of the Republican Party affair with the welfare state are worse than the crooning from politicians who offer “compassion” as an excuse for betraying conservatism.

By muddling messaging and helping the press dismiss anyone to his right, a big-government Republican who claims he’s a limited-government Republican can undermine conservative principles in ways honest leftists cannot.

The story’s as old as boy meets girl: Politician is elected to tackle runaway welfare spending. Politician decides goosing welfare spending would be easier than tackling it. State-worshiping media sigh about what a pragmatic wedding it was as politician and welfare spending leave the chapel hand in hand.

Spending money that isn’t yours is not generous. Promising benefits that taxpayers can’t afford – and that often hurt the recipients, regardless – isn’t compassionate. These are not difficult concepts.

But when a “conservative” decides growing government is his best career move, he further entrenches broken programs both by expanding them and by insulating stupid arguments from the public shaming they deserve.

Think back to all the times you’ve heard variations of, “cut Bush/Dole/McCain/Romney some slack, we agree 90% of the time,” or, “you guys loved spending on this when Dubya backed it!”

The first thing a compassionate conservative will tell you about his decision to spend more of your money on some failed entitlement program is that he’s not motivated by politics.

This is a dead giveaway that he’s motivated by politics.

Consider Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican who ran against Obamacare in 2010 and is now one of America’s foremost advocates of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

To name only a few of the problems with the Obamacare expansion, Medicaid is already rejected by 28% of Ohio doctors, Medicaid expansions in other states have failed by nearly any metric, and DC is already $17 trillion in debt.

With that in mind, Gov. Kasich could have stopped an estimated $53 billion in federal spending and $4 billion in state spending through 2022 by refusing to expand Medicaid.

Instead, Kasich spent a whole year serenading the Obamacare expansion with lyrics asserting Ohio must claim its “fair share” of federal money to help Ohioans who are living “in the shadows.”

Repeatedly insisting that God supports Medicaid expansion, Kasich has used everyone from drug addicts to the mentally ill to veterans as props for new federal spending – because obviously Ohio’s governor cannot help Ohio’s disadvantaged except by digging DC deeper into debt.

How has one self-described conservative’s advocacy of bigger government echoed through state and national politics?

Hospital executives and the rest of the entitlement lobby have showered Kasich with praise; everyone loves being handed more of someone else’s money.

The legacy press has cheered Kasich’s awkward embrace of the welfare state, pretending his lunge to the left proves the worst policy enacted in Ohio in 30 years has no credible critics.

Since the Ohio Republican Party only cares about winning elections, Party flacks cover for Kasich by repeating his awful rhetoric, telling adherents to shun critics from the right, and then changing the subject.

Everything the national GOP and GOP-friendly pundits know about what’s happening in Ohio comes from the state GOP, so Kasich’s abandonment of principle has little impact on 2016 presidential chatter.

Meanwhile, John “Caring” Kasich has handed the Obama Administration a much-needed Obamacare win, making it tougher for conservatives in other states to stop their own treacherous Republicans from chasing “free” Medicaid expansion money.

Does this sound like a formula for a compelling limited-government narrative?

Of course not, but it’s a cover of a song you’ve heard a hundred times before. The next election is never far away, so conservatives can either sing along or shut up.

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Gov. John Kasich – Ohio’s Own Obama?

Cross-posted from Townhall.

Ohio taxpayers are being treated to an unwelcome taste of DC, as Governor John Kasich brings President Obama’s favorite policies and tactics to the Buckeye State.

Narrowly elected as a small-government conservative in 2010, Kasich has veered sharply to the left despite Republican supermajorities in both houses of the Ohio General Assembly.

Candidate Kasich warned that the Obamacare Medicaid expansion would “stick states with large and unsustainable costs.” But after failing to trim public unions’ power in 2011, Kasich decided last winter that he’d show what a caring moderate he is by hanging the millstone of Medicaid expansion around Ohio’s neck.

Kasich used laughably false talking points to undercut conservative critics, saying the Obamacare expansion would be paid for with “Ohio’s tax dollars” and warning that Ohio’s slice of some imagined funding pie would be served to other states if Ohio rejected it.

Although political wrangling over Medicaid expansion was big news for most of 2013, Ohio’s dino-media let Kasich lie about billions in taxpayer money without batting an eye.

Sound familiar?

Coordinating messaging with the entitlement lobby the same way Obama frequently does, Kasich developed a “compassionate conservative” stump speech that would make a Clinton blush.

Kasich even improved on Obama’s routine of torching straw-men opposed to big government: just add brimstone. Frustrated by opposition to the Obamacare expansion, Kasich warned his foes that they may be securing themselves a place in Hell.

Nonetheless, Ohio’s legislature – lobbied by grassroots groups the press acknowledges only to sneer at – stripped Medicaid expansion from the state budget and even passed language explicitly forbidding it.

Kasich responded by line-item vetoing the Medicaid expansion ban, and thenunilaterally expanding Medicaid when several more months of emotional blackmail didn’t work.

The legislature wouldn’t grow government the way Kasich wanted, so Kasich took a page from Obama’s playbook and pretended the huge policy decision was an executive matter.

Ohio’s newspapers cheered along, but the leftist press is only part of the state’s problem.

Like Obama, Kasich is the shark in a bristling ecosystem of political suckerfish eager to help grow the welfare state.

“I guess for some people in Ohio, unless you are a card-carrying Nazi you can’t be a Republican,” a GOP lobbyist and Kasich advisor told The Daily Beast in an autumn story about intra-party strife.

“Conservatives all oppose Obamacare and Ohio’s Republican leaders have helped lead that opposition,” Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges said in a hilarious announcement the day Kasich made official his move to expand Medicaid over legislative opposition.

“On the separate matter of Medicaid, good conservatives have worked to make the program better and engage in a healthy debate on its future,” Borges added.

The Ohio Republican Party’s idea of “healthy debate” involves branding critics as secret Democrats and instructing party faithful to blacklist them.

Probably the first obvious red flag of Kasich’s tenure was when the governor created JobsOhio, a secretive, publicly-funded nonprofit later described inFortune as an “Obama-like jobs plan.”

Before spending most of 2013 pushing Medicaid expansion, Gov. Kasich was using Obama-worthy class warfare rhetoric to hawk a tax hike on fracking.

In 2012, Kasich toured Ohio promising his fracking tax proposal would redistribute money from rich, out-of-state Big Oil companies in the name of fairness and job creation.

Sure, Kasich’s plan – which the legislature and industry now tepidly support, after watching him ram through Medicaid expansion – would also hit Appalachian landowners, but Gov. Kasich cares about personal property rights about as much as President Obama does.

On school choice, the Second Amendment, and the rights of the unborn, Kasich has signed some good policies sent to his desk by a legislature pushed in the right direction by Ohio taxpayers… but even excluding Medicaid expansion, both of Kasich’s budgets have increased the reach and cost of the State.

Lately, it seems the main difference between John Kasich and Barack Obama is that Obama doesn’t claim to be a limited-government conservative.

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Gov. John Kasich’s Medicaid expansion is a faith-based mistake

Cross-posted from Washington Examiner.

Ohio’s Republican Gov. John Kasich seems to have settled on “it’s what God wants” as his best talking point for the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, which he has been fighting to implement for more than eight months.

In his State of the State address in February, Kasich cited his “personal faith” and lessons “from the Good Book” as driving forces behind his embrace of the Obamacare expansion.

Kasich made it clear he viewed Ohio’s options as expanding Medicaid or leaving the poor “out in the street. The Lord doesn’t want us to ignore them.”

Discussing Medicaid expansion with reporters in June, Kasich said he had told a conservative legislator that Saint Peter is “probably not gonna ask you much about what you did about keeping government small, but he’s going to ask you what you did for the poor.”

Ohio’s traditional media treated as a charming personal anecdote the governor’s warning that opposing him on Obamacare could mean an eternity in hell.

During an August radio interview, Kasich again insisted the Bible demands bigger government to serve the poor, adding, “we have to help them, and we’re expected to do that, and I believe the Lord expects us to do that.”

He reiterated the message with an “it’s what the Lord wants” comment during a September response to Medicaid expansion questions from statehouse reporters.

At an annual “Celebration of Goodness” luncheon in Cleveland on Sept. 12, Kasich was honored for supporting Medicaid expansion and for working with Cleveland’s Democratic mayor on school reform.

After singling out a local legislator who hadn’t fallen in line for the Obamacare expansion, Kasich said, “we need this program because we need to treat the addicted, and we need this program because we need to treat the mentally ill, and we need this program because we need to treat and help the working poor get comprehensive health care.”

Kasich said “all these decisions are, frankly, pretty easy for me,” then said “the Lord created the world, and He created us, men and women, to manage that creation.”

Kasich spoke at length of the need “to repair that creation in whatever way we can,” describing a broken world he seeks to fix with increased entitlement spending.

The former congressman who was elected Ohio’s governor in 2010 — who said at the beginning of that election year that he “was in the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party” — would be appalled at Kasich’s use of Christianity to validate his generosity by increasing the reach and cost of state government.

On Sept. 12, Kasich mentioned studying “the great theologians throughout history,” but late 20th century philosopher Puff Daddy best justified Kasich’s push for Medicaid expansion: It’s all about the Benjamins.

For the next three years, Obamacare promises to pay 100 percent of the coverage costs for newly eligible Medicaid recipients in states that agree to the law’s Medicaid expansion. The federal government will supposedly pay 90 percent of states’ expansion costs into perpetuity.

Concurrent with his “compassionate” equation of coercion with charity, Kasich has deceptively warned that Ohio’s Medicaid expansion dollars will go to other states if the Buckeye State rejects the expansion.

Kasich also falsely claims the billions in new federal funding Ohio could secure through compliance with Obamacare would be made up entirely of “Ohio’s tax dollars.”

Kasich’s arguments have won the hearts and minds of the media, at least. Across Ohio, reporters have spent the past seven months belting “The Battle Hymn of The Bankrupt Republic”:

“We love to tell the story of more gover’ment free stuff;

“While the bill goes to somebody else, the karma comes to us …”

Because the press shares his new-found faith in big government, Kasich is cheered as the victor in a debate that hasn’t taken place.

The Columbus Dispatch is even encouraging the governor to circumvent the General Assembly, expanding Medicaid by executive order and then asking the state Controlling Board to appropriate the resulting Obamacare funds — which may be illegal, but seems the path Columbus insiders now expect Kasich to take.

Although Kasich’s crusade for the Obamacare Medicaid expansion is backed by the traditional media and an army of lobbying groups, the governor’s sudden interest in a federal balanced budget amendment suggests his advisers realize he has damaged his credibility for 2014 and beyond.

While a balanced budget amendment is a great topic for a presumed presidential hopeful to discuss on national talk shows, in Ohio, the campaign serves to highlight how far Kasich has strayed from his stated principles by using pseudo-Christian emotional blackmail to enact a vast expansion of the welfare state.

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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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Medicaid Expansion: Beating a Trojan Horse

Who would have guessed so many states that sued DC for the freedom to opt out of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion would even consider opening their gates for new entitlement funding from a government that’s effectively bankrupt?

To describe the arguments for Medicaid expansion as “bad” would be like calling Oedipus Rex “kind of a downer.” Consider the latest example from here in the Buckeye State: “Medicaid expansion would cost Ohio less than doing nothing, study shows.”

That’s not a satirical blurb I made up to mock liberals – that’s a headline from The Columbus Dispatch, the most influential newspaper in the state.

See, in January the Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cincinnati Enquirer, Toledo Blade, and Akron Beacon Journal each endorsed the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, and every paper did so while leaning on projections from a Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) study.

The January HPIO study was a shining tribute to The Broken Window Fallacy, framing Obamacare funding as free money that would create jobs and pump up tax revenues in the state.

Through some combination of ideology and ignorance, the editorial boards all agreed HPIO’s study proved Governor John Kasich, supposedly a small-government conservative, had made a bold, pragmatic choice by caving to Obamacare – and it showed in each paper’s news coverage.

Fast forward to the August legislative recess, after “flint-hearted,” “off-the-chart right” House Republicans dashed the hopes of Gov. Kasich, progressive activists, the hospital lobby, the Chamber of Commerce, and the media by stripping the Obamacare Medicaid expansion from Kasich’s biennial budget.

The big papers have ensured no criticism of Medicaid expansion sees the light of day in theirreputable publications, but in a state where all 88 counties voted for a Healthcare Freedom Amendment in 2011, the Obamacare Trojan horse needs a little extra varnish.

What better way to rustle up support for a key component of President Obama’s imploding health law than with another HPIO study founded on ridiculous fallacies?

The Plain Dealer editors have openly encouraged “casting Medicaid expansion as Medicaid reform,” telegraphing which lies Obamacare advocates should tell. This month, HPIO delivered with a report designed for muddling Medicaid expansion and Medicaid reform in the minds of low-information voters.

In its new study, HPIO compared Ohio’s estimated future Medicaid spending with two scenarios that both assumed Ohio adopts the Obamacare expansion while putting ambitious caps on Medicaid spending growth.

The study concluded that by holding spending growth far below its expected trend, Ohio could save enough money to cover the cost of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion… and the press reported this as “YOU GUYS, expanding Medicaid would save money!”

Think about that: Ohio reporters think Ohioans are so stupid, we’ll believe it would cost less than nothing to expand Medicaid to unknown hundreds of thousands of able-bodied childless adults under the age of 65.

Unfortunately for Obamacare backers and the state-worshiping press, it gets easier every day for citizens to find information online, check competing arguments for themselves, and reach out to friends, family, and their elected officials with what they learn.

This story was originally published at FreedomWorks.

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DNC Delegates Boo as God, Jerusalem Are Restored to Party Platform

Today around 5:00pm something crazy happened: delegates to the Democratic National Convention (DNC) were asked to add references to God and Jerusalem back to the 2012 Democrat platform, and the true face of modern liberalism was captured on camera.

Ted Strickland – one of last night’s speakers at the convention in Charlotte, an ordained Methodist minister, and a failed Ohio governor – was recognized by DNC chair Antonio Villaraigosa as chairman of the platform drafting committee and invited to offer two amendments to the party’s 2012 platform.

In an apparent nod to the Democrats who aren’t terrorism apologists and/or militant atheists, Strickland introduced two amendments to put God and Jerusalem back in the Democrat platform. Approving the amendments required a 2/3 voice vote, which C-SPAN footage indicates the amendments did not receive.

Democrats being Democrats, Villaraigosa “deemed” Strickland’s amendments passed after three voice votes which seemed to get progressively worse for the “Yes” side. So much for quickly resolving a couple issues that made you look like fringe-left cranks, Democrats!

Because I haven’t seen it posted elsewhere, here, word-for-word, are the apparently objectionable amendments Strickland introduced to what sounds like at best an even split among Democrat delegates. First, the “God” amendment:

We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.

Second, the “Jerusalem” amendment:

Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.

Fun context: Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles, said in a Fox News appearance on Sunday that the GOP’s platform “looks like the platform of 1812.”

Get it? Because Republicans are bigoted, patriarchal racists. Because when your leaders’ economic policies have failed so dramatically that even the Left’s patented class-warfare lines are looking shaky, racism and sexism are always waiting right there in the background to shelter Democrats from cruel mathematics.

Meanwhile, Democrat delegates appear to be split down the middle on unquestionably mainstream concepts like tipping your hat to an amorphous “God” and respecting the sovereignty of America’s only ally in the Middle East.

Over the next two months, how much will we hear from devoted leftists about any inclusion of a capital-G God is theocracy? How much will we hear from the Israel-haters who are quite obviously more than a marginal contingent at the DNC?

In other news, Barack Obama hasn’t solved that pesky squabble between Israel and the bloodthirsty maniacs dying to push Israel into the sea. He also hasn’t done quite the bang-up job he promised bringing a unifying new tone to American politics… but hey, he’s only human!

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