While Washington is again bedeviled by the kooky return of Paul Ryan’s latest version of a drive-by budget, Gov. Kasich is finding himself bedeviled by of all people, Republicans, for his own budget proposals that spread sales taxes while accepting an expansion of Medicaid with federal dollars.
For a governor girding for a reelection campaign, a family fight can be the sort of distraction that will test Kasich’s presumed invincibility as the budget fracas betrays any sense of solidarity within the GOP ranks. And with the Tea Party managing some of the dissent, it could be a long hot summer. That outfit, as we have seen, takes no prisoners.
The key to this rare exposure of disunity is the icy opposition to any hint of tax increases that the Tea Party has used to club Republicans into submission. Among the first to parrot its disdain for Planet Kasich’s proposal was State Treasurer Josh Mandel, who had been less visible for a few months after losing his challenge to Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in November.
It shouldn’t surprise anybody that he is chanting the Tea Party’s mantra these days by urging the legislature to reject any expansion of Medicaid. If you really want to get to the core of the anti-Medicaid slander, hear this “explanation” from Maurice Thompson , of the right-wing 1851 Center for Constitutional Law. He declared on no uncertain terms that Kasich was a “consequentialist” and not a “free marketer”.
He said what? I don’t know how much currency consequentialism has in the supermarket checkout line, so I can only add “Huh?” and maybe another “Huh?” while we’re at it.
Meantime, back at the Statehouse, House Speaker Bill Batchelder was telling people in less lofty terms that his Republican caucus is dead-set against Obamacare, which includes the Medicaid thing.
And State Auditor Dave Yost , a conservative with Tea Party tendencies, has subpoenaed the financial records of JobsOhio, Kasich’s pet conversion of the Ohio Department of Development into private hands, cleverly isolating the supporting state money from public view.
Each day, public school administrators are expressing their dismay that the proposed budget, once believed to help shore up squeaky-tight school finances, would actually trim state support. Or as today’s headline in the Plain Dealer declared: “Kasich’s school funding plan cuts state aid for half of Ohio districts.”
It could take more than the governor’s boasts and bluster to find a short-term safe haven for his business-as-usual routine under fire from the anti-tax flash mob.