I was just reading an article by Ed Kilgore over at Political Animal, ‘Twas a Famous Victory. It is about how a lot of liberals are making a big deal of the fact that Pennsylvania has more or less agreed to join in Obamacare by accepting piles of federal money for a Medicaid expansion. Kilgore rightly notes that this is entirely due to the fact that expectations have been so lowered since the Supreme Court first said that states could opt out.
I’m not quite so pessimistic as he is. I figure in the coming years, Republicans will get past this and finally yield to medical providers at least, who do not like the extra cost of treating people who don’t have insurance. There will, of course, be a great deal of unnecessary suffering during that time. But what else can we expect when Republicans are in control? They are going to make life for the poor as bad as possible. As I often say: the only way forward is to destroy the Republican Party.
But there was something in Kilgore’s article that really struck me. After mentioning that it looked like New Jersey was going along with the Medicaid expansion, he wrote, “Chris Christie had vetoed legislation simply accepting the expansion and was preparing his own ill-defined plan.” As regular readers know, I really dislike Christie. He’s a bully and I hate that. But more substantively, he is extremely conservative—especially on economic issues. And he really wants to become president. So I wouldn’t doubt that right now he is pretending to go along just so as to not hurt his re-election chances. I won’t be surprised if he comes up with a reason after the election to kill the Medicaid expansion. That would be an excellent way to shore up support with the national Republican base.
This would, of course, be SOP for Republican governors in blue and purple states: claim to be a moderate and once you are (back) in office, go full Ayn Rand on the liberal rubes who voted for you. After all, even if you have to run for office again, just say a couple of liberal things in the months before the election and all will be forgiven—or forgotten, as the case usually is. Part of this really exasperates me. In North Carolina, I have to stop myself from saying, “Well it’s your own damned fault!” But it is important to stay focused on the positive: next time it will be easier to make the case.
In Chris Christie’s case, it is clear what the appeal is. New Jersey is a very liberal state. Christie has done all kinds of things that the people dislike. But he’s always done it in the same old asshole way that says, “I’m one of you!” Except that he isn’t one of them. He’s just a corporate owned and operated politician who’s watched The Sopranos too many times. I’ve been to New Jersey many times and that isn’t how people act at all. The way Christie acts is the way that many people in New Jersey want to think they act. But that’s because they too have watched too many mob movies and television series. I’m expecting major buyer’s remorse fairly soon. Fantasies only last so long and after his re-election, Christie’s only constituency will be the Republican base.