Ohio

MSNBC, Leading Democrats Love Gov. Kasich’s Lunge to the Left

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Hosts and contributors at MSNBC, leading Democratic Party officials, and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman have celebrated Governor John Kasich’s implementation of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion and the rhetoric he has used to justify circumventing Ohio’s legislature.

Though Gov. Kasich, a Republican, has sought to distance himself from Obamacare while embracing a central provision of the Democrats’ 2010 health law, Obamacare supporters have pointed to Kasich’s expansion of Medicaid as proof Obamacare works.

“And you’ve got some Republican governors, like Governor Kasich of Ohio, who’ve put politics aside and they’re expanding Medicaid through this law to cover millions of people,” President Obama said during an October 30 Obamacare speech in Boston.

On October 21 when the Ohio Controlling Board approved the use of Obamacare funding for the Medicaid expansion Gov. Kasich enacted unilaterally, Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett announced on Twitter that she had spoken with Kasich “and congratulated him for providing insurance to 270,000 previously uninsured Ohioans.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) tweeted on November 6 that Kasich and the three other Republican governors who have pushed Medicaid expansion through in their states “are helping Americans access health care by embracing Obamacare and expanding Medicaid coverage.”

In addition to giving cover to Obamacare in particular, Kasich has advanced the cause of big government in general with his attempts to position himself as a “compassionate” conservative for his 2014 reelection and the 2016 presidential primary.

Gov. Kasich’s frequent references to Christian charity and his attacks on critics of billions in new entitlement spending have aided leftists who insist conservatives don’t care about the poor, especially with a quote in an October 28 story in The New York Times.

“I’m concerned about the fact there seems to be a war on the poor. That, if you’re poor, somehow you’re shiftless and lazy,” Kasich told the Times.

“Obviously Mr. Kasich isn’t the first to make this observation. But the fact that it’s coming from a Republican in good standing (although maybe not anymore), indeed someone who used to be known as a conservative firebrand, is telling,” Paul Krugman wrote in his October 31 column.

Krugman continued, “Republican hostility toward the poor and unfortunate has now reached such a fever pitch that the party doesn’t really stand for anything else — and only willfully blind observers can fail to see that reality.”

“What Kasich is doing, which is commendable — he’s still conservative in a lot of ways — is showing how far the party and conservatives, the whole conservative movement, has moved to the right,” Mother Jones DC bureau chief David Corn said on the October 29 episode of MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.

“The other thing here that John Kasich is shining a light on, perhaps to the annoyance or irritation of fellow Republicans, is that Obamacare works! I mean, not the website, but hundreds of thousands of Americans have gotten health care through the expansion of Medicaid, which is a significant — one of the biggest parts of Obamacare,” Corn added. “So here’s something, again, how are they gonna repeal this?”

“Parts of Obamacare are working as promised; it’s not the news you get these days, for good reason, but John Kasich has now become an ally of sorts of the White House on that front,” Corn concluded.

“And John Kasich is making the case, publicly, that this Medicaid expansion is a good deal for Ohio, which means it’s a good deal for the other states that haven’t taken it,” O’Donnell replied.

On the October 29 episode of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, Hayes speculated that Gov. Kasich’s embrace of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion was motivated by some combination of political calculus and “actually standing up against the right-wing elements in Ohio because he believes it’s wrong and inexcusable to make more than 270,000 poor Ohioans go without health coverage for no reason other than spite.”

“In Ohio, there are pockets of poverty and misery that John Kasich, who used to be a doctrinaire Republican congressman, now as governor must deal with,” Howard Fineman of The Huffington Post said on the October 30 episode of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews.

“And that sort of mugging by reality that John Kasich has experienced in Ohio has made him and put him in the traditional mainstream of Ohio Republicans, who, if anything, are among the most practical,” Fineman added.