GOP Death Panels

In his column* today, Paul Krugman points to a RAND corporation study that found if 14 states whose GOP governors were opposed to the Medicaid expansion ultimately refused to adopt it, it would cause about 19,000 deaths a year.

Right now, it looks as if more than 14 states, more like 24 or 25, won’t expand Medicaid under Obamacare, so that means even more deaths.

* “The Spite Club,” NYT

GOP Govs Assume the Pretzel Position

What do GOP governors hate?  They hate those Washington bureaucrats, with their one-size-fits-all rules and regulations.

What do GOP governors want?  They want more power to decide what works best in their states, for their people.

Except when they don’t.

The Obama Administration just announced that states can apply for waivers under the federal welfare law that would allow them to test other strategies for increasing employment.

You’d think conservative governors would be delighted to get more flexibility and control.  But of course they’re outraged instead.

Asked to explain why this was a bad thing, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad couldn’t.  He immediately began spouting nonsense about President Obama’s “entitlement mentality.”

“What do we want?”  “States’ rights!”  “When do we want it?”  “Um, not now, maybe some other time.”

Tea Party Excess in the States Will Help President Obama Win

Conventional wisdom says that in a presidential election year, turnout for state offices is increased because more people come out to vote for our highest office.  Winning presidential candidates have “coattails” and help pull their party to victory in the down ballot races.

But I believe that this year Americans will be highly motivated to turn out for their state races, to swing a pendulum that moved too far to the right after the 2010 triumph of the Tea Party.  2010 saw the GOP win many gubernatorial races and take total control of many state legislatures.

People who thought they were voting for smaller, more efficient government found that once these candidates were sworn in, it was all abortion, all the time.  While voters certainly wanted negotiation with public unions, such as on health care and pension contributions, they didn’t want those unions to be stripped of all their rights.

Angry voters showing up to fix things in their state houses will help President Obama stay in the White House.  I believe there will be reverse coattails in 2012.

Yes, gas prices and the unemployment rate matter for him.  But so do transvaginal ultrasounds.

Hubris and over-reach are consistent losers for both political parties.