Thursday, February 21, 2013

Haslam Wrings Hands as Hardliners Trash Rick Scott

Posted By on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Florida Gov. Rick Scott's spectacular flip-flop on ObamaCare gives massive political cover for our own governor to accept Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. That's one way to look at it. On the other hand, Scott is coming under heavy criticism from his party's hardliners ("I am very disappointed in Governor Rick Scott," says Erick Erickson; "It is too easy for politicians to spend other people’s money," say the Koch brothers) and we imagine Gov. Bill Haslam this morning really wringing his hands as he tries to make up his mind on this one.

The betting here is that Haslam is too afraid of his party's base to follow Scott and the rest of the growing number of Republican governors who can do the math and recognize the obviously overwhelming benefits to their states. If he bucks the base, it'll be the first time. Even if he does, then he'd have to fight to win the legislature's approval. Haslam didn't become "the GOP star you've never heard of" by fighting with wingnuts, or anyone else for that matter.

Update: In this week's MetroPulse, Frank Cagle calls Haslam's Medicaid decision "a real test on whether the Republican majority can govern responsibly or whether a minority of loud members will be allowed to rule. It will also be a test to see if Gov. Bill Haslam will have the courage to step up."

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