Griffinelection.com has been no fan of Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia in the past, mostly because he is a squishy politician.
But McDonnell is at it again, this time coming out with statements seemingly supportive of Medicaid expansion.
The Supreme Court ruled in its healthcare decision that states could opt out of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion without being penalized (or taxed). So many states are doing just that. The Republican Governors of Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina have all signaled that they will opt out of the program.
The thing to like about accepting federal dollars to underwrite the expansion in Medicaid is that the feds will cover the costs for three years. Three free years of Medicaid! However, at the end of three years, the onerous will be put onto the states to pony up to cover millions of poor people.
Most of these state governments are currently solvent, but adopting Washington budgets that have no hope of being paid for is going to put conservative states in the same position that many left-leaning states are in – constantly facing a shortfall.
McDonnell expressed concern for low-income Virginia residents who would get neither expanded Medicaid or applicable tax credits. Which should be a concern, but with the financial crisis in this country, our leaders seeking higher office cannot give equal weight to “compassionate conservatism” when contrasted with unpaid entitlement programs.
McDonnell’s ambition to run for higher office is so naked that it has blinded him to the realities of his political base that got him elected in the first place. Since being elected, McDonnell has done more to maintain the status quo than move forward and it is beginning to show. He hasn’t taken a breath from promoting Virginia’s wineries and yet he has done little to move the cause of increased Virginia business down the field.
Transportation in NoVa is still a mess.
He failed to lead on the UVA leadership issue.
Last week Virginia fell to number three in CNBC’s annual “Best state to do business in” competition. Last year, Virginia was number one. We fell in six ranking categories.
Likewise, McDonnell lost the ultrasound informed consent debate by refusing to defend the republican bill and instead, burying his head in the sand. He has a record of squishy policy. Bob wants to be all things to all people and thus fails to stake out a position. Thus, his tenure will continue to be narrated by other people.
McDonnell’s latest comments on Medicaid are concerning, not only because it puts him in the middle with a foot in both camps. But because, McDonnell has a way of undercutting the momentum of fellow republicans when they are winning an argument. He has the potential to be a dangerous national figure.
Virginia’s republicans should focus on smart fiscal policies, not only in this term, but in the terms to come. McDonnell will undoubtedly want it both ways but he shouldn’t do so at the risk of bankrupting Virginia in the long run. And that is exactly what is at risk.