the national interest

Republican John Kasich Just Got Extremely Real on Obamacare

TOLEDO, OH - NOVEMBER 16: Ohio Gov. John Kasich listens to a speaker at the Toledo Assembly Complex on November 16, 2011 in Toledo, Ohio. Chrysler Group LLC says it will add 1,100 jobs at the Toledo, Ohio assembly complex along with a new body shop and quality center as part of an overall $1.7 billion investment to build a new generation of Jeep sport utility vehicles. (Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)
John Kasich, R-Ohio, who is probably now being spirited out of the country under an assumed name for his own safety. Photo: J.D. Pooley/2011 Getty Images

There are certain rules you have to play by in order to be a part of the Republican Party today, and one of the most important is never to say anything nice about Obamacare. Even if you are trying to push the party toward the center on Obamacare, you must pay fealty to the belief that the law is horrible and must be replaced. Ohio Republican governor John Kasich just committed the ultimate taboo:

“That’s not gonna happen,” Kasich told The Associated Press during a recent re-election campaign swing.

The opposition to it was really either political or ideological,” the Republican governor added. “I don’t think that holds water against real flesh and blood, and real improvements in people’s lives.”

Obamacare … helps people? The opposition is political or ideological? It should therefore be judged by its actual effects on human lives? Those ideas may be bleedingly obvious, but you can’t say them.

Kasich either has no interest in running for president or possibly remaining in the Republican Party at all, or he will soon be delivering a groveling apology.

Update: Some are wondering why Kasich’s statement is so shocking, given that he, and several other Republican governors, have already accepted Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

The answer is that accepting the Medicaid expansion, which was already contentious and possibly disqualifying for a potential president, required a series of evasions. Republicans would portray Medicaid as having nothing to do with Obamacare. Or they would argue that the law is horrible, and they would love to repeal it, but until that happens they can’t turn away free money for their state.

What no major Republican has done is depict the law as a positive good while dismissing opposition.

Second update: …aaaand here’s Kasich claiming the AP is “wrong,” without explaining what part about the quote is wrong:

John Kasich Just Got Extremely Real on Obamacare