Thursday, 17 April 2014 00:00

Is Cantor the key to Medicaid expansion in Virginia?

Written by  Norman Leahy and Paul Goldman | The Washington Post

Seventh District Republican Rep. Eric Cantor has helped lead the fight against Obamacare. But the Republican majority leader’s continued tenure in the House of Representatives may be the key to allowing Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to win the Medicaid expansion envisioned by the very law Cantor opposes.  While counterintuitive, let’s examine this political logic.

In a last-gasp effort to avoid going the way of the Know-Nothings of the 1850s, Virginia Tea Party luminaries have united in an effort to defeat Mr. Cantor in his upcoming primary. We have previously written on his challenger’s generally lackluster campaign. But underdog Dave Brat’s backers say their low-key strategy is purposeful, centered on this mathematical calculation: A depressed turnout increases the importance of the Tea Party’s small but passionate voting constituency.

We are skeptical. But primary elections amid rampant anti-Washington feelings worry establishment figures such as Mr. Cantor. He is rumored to be preparing a full-scale campaign to avoid any surprises arising from complacency. The first signs of that effort appeared Wednesday, as Cantor rolled out his first television ad.

Watching the Cantor-Brat contest closely are Republican lawmakers in the House of Delegates. The great majority of them share Cantor’s situation: They are overwhelming favorites to win the 2015 general election in a gerrymandered Republican district. Their vulnerability, though, is in a low-vote nomination process with a challenger running as the “true Republican” against a RINO — “Republican in Name Only” — incumbent.

Cantor’s former statehouse colleagues view him as the canary in the coal mine. What if the House majority leader and heir apparent to Republican Speaker John Boehner fails to win easily?

The answer: They will likely eat ground glass before voting for anything a primary opponent could label as Obamacare. This already helps explain their current “Hell, no” to McAuliffe’s push to expand Medicaid, since many Republicans see it as little more than an extension of Obamacare.

The Cantor-Brat primary isn’t until early June. This is nervously close to the June 30 date when the current state budget expires. Unless the General Assembly agrees on new spending authority, Virginia faces a possible government shutdown on July 1. This has never happened before in Virginia.

We believe both parties are engaged in game of chicken, even as each side claims to be standing on principle.

Link to original article from The Washington Post

Read 2341 times Last modified on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 13:53

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