Governor Kasich is all over the board these days with his policy positions and some may feel, a bit hypocritical. It is fair to say that no one really knows if Kasich is for Obamacare or against it. And now the governor is pushing for a balanced budget amendment while simultaneously calling for the expansion of a major entitlement.
Even Kasich admits he is hard to nail down. In a recent Columbus Dispatch article which highlighted the governor’s conflicting policy positions, Kasich exclaimed,
“What I have said about Obamacare is right, but I’m the guy pushing Medicaid expansion, so try to figure me out.”
Part of the problem is that Kasich’s poll numbers remain high, despite his lack of conviction on health care and fiscal restraint. His seeming popularity could be going to his head. That may be why he daydreams of conversations with St. Peter and an EZ-pass through the pearly gates.
It will be interesting to see if Kasich’s poll numbers hold up as there is a great deal of unreported disgust over his policy flip flops. Many Ohio conservatives understand how harmful Kasich’s lack of consistency has been to the efforts of those in elected office and in the liberty movement who are working to right our fiscal ship and to defeat Obamacare.
March of 2013 was not that long ago; in fact it was just after Governor Kasich began his call for Medicaid expansion. But, it was in March when congressional Republicans led by Rep. Paul Ryan passed a balanced budget in the US House of Representatives. The single largest cut in the Republican budget was Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, $815 billion across all states. Where was Governor Kasich’s call for a balanced budget when Paul Ryan was leading the charge against profligate spending? Kasich was pressing to expand Medicaid in the Buckeye state and claiming if Ohio doesn’t spend the money, some other state will.
Ohio has stood strong against expansion to date, and the federal government will spend $13 billion less on Medicaid as a result. Thanks to the 26 other states which have also opted out of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion or are exploring different options, another $600 billion in federal tax dollars have been saved, not to mention a major component of Obamacare has been blocked in half the country. Notable achievements to be sure; and the Republican governor from Ohio who now demands a balanced budget amendment played no role in either.
And so its a shame. Here in Ohio, a key swing state, with a strong Republican congressional delegation led by the House Speaker, a Republican statehouse, and a robust and active liberty movement, we did not have a governor with the vision to see the opportunity which lay before him. Kasich did not understand the impact he could have made nationally by leading the charge to thwart Obamacare by taking advantage of the Medicaid expansion opt-out handed to him by the US Supreme Court. He failed to capitalize on the chance to join forces with the twenty nine other Republican governors to demand more control over Medicaid spending and health care policy in general so as to craft real solutions and confront Medicaid fraud, waste and abuse head on. Doing so meant serious budgetary gains as Paul Ryan’s budget reflected. All of this was there for the taking, but it required conviction, leadership and dedication to a cause greater than oneself. Sadly, the lure of free federal dollars and presidential aspirations got in the way.
True leaders develop naturally from the respect and admiration their beliefs and actions engender. Kasich may once have been that kind of leader, but he is a vastly different man today and as such his ability to lead is in jeopardy despite what polls say. No one can follow the mix messaging the Kasich camp now spews – “stand up to Obamacare”, “expand Medicaid”, “pass a balanced budget amendment”, “if we don’t spend it, some other state will”. The more Kasich speaks in circles, the more the people of Ohio will look for alternatives to his leadership. That may mean a new governor for Ohio or it may mean a liberty movement which continues to push its own agenda irrespective of the priorities of Ohio Republican Party leadership.
A map of the states which have opted out of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion can be found here.