The Right Opinion

Gov. Scott to Voters: Never Mind

By Cal Thomas · Feb. 26, 2013

ORLANDO, Fla. – Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) was one of those tea party stars whom voters believed had the courage of his convictions when he promised, as recently as last summer, to block The Affordable Care Act in his state. But last week, writes the Orlando Sentinel, “Scott made an abrupt about-face, embracing a three-year expansion of Medicaid coverage for about 1 million low-income Floridians that will be paid for by the health care law.”

Scott said, “I think this is a common-sense solution to dealing with this for the next three years where it will give us the time to think about how we can improve the system.” Sounding like a Democrat, he added that the state is obligated to help “the poorest and weakest among us.” No, governor, charities and religious bodies are obligated to help the weak and poor. State and federal governments have no such obligation. To claim they do empowers bureaucrats and politicians who are having a difficult enough time fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities. It also undermines the work ethic.

After (borrowed) federal money runs out in three years, Florida will be expected to kick in some cash and carry on with the funding. Scott says his commitment is only for those three years, but as Ronald Reagan once wryly observed, “…a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!”

Scott, whose favorability rating was 36 percent in a December Quinnipiac University poll, is clearly looking at his vulnerability in next year's election. Apparently, he thinks sounding more like a Democrat will convince voters to give him another term in office. Perhaps he thinks the tea party votes he is likely to lose will be made up for with purchased votes from those who will line up at the federal ATM.

Scott is a former health care executive. The health care industry has spent millions lobbying to influence health care reform legislation, including Medicaid. They also are the largest employer in many states. Should Scott lose next year's election, taking federal Medicaid money won't hurt his chances of a high-paying position in his former profession.

The Orlando Sentinel examined Scott's rapid turnaround on other issues dear to conservative hearts. It said he “…has barely looked like the same guy who ran for governor in 2010” and cited examples. After large initial budget cuts, Scott “…proposed the largest budget in state history and said his top priority was a $2,500 raise for teachers, whom he infuriated during his first year in office by passing a merit-pay law while cutting education spending by $1.3 billion.”

Scott has also said nothing in several months about illegal immigration. He once pledged to back an Arizona-style immigration law that would require police to check the legal status of people they suspected were illegal. He has since backed away from this pledge.

Slade O'Brien, the Florida director of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, told the Sentinel he was “flabbergasted” by Scott's decision, saying it went beyond even his budget proposal that didn't cut spending and the teacher pay raises. “For the governor to reverse that position, I felt incredibly shocked and so did many of his base,” he said.

A few Republican governors have turned down federal money to expand Medicaid in their states. So far, Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) is not one of them. Last week he made his intentions clear when he said, “We're not going to be expanding Medicaid in Texas. The reason is because it's a broken system. It's moving our state – and I'll just speak to our state – towards bankruptcy if we expand the current program.”

As for Gov. Scott's turnabout, a paraphrase of the wisdom Forest Gump's momma gave him might fit: Politicians are like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're going to get until after they're elected.

© 2013 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

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4 Comments

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

Typical politician, promise the voters they will change things and will not go along with the status quo. No sooner than they are sworn in they start to renege on those promises. Rick Scott has turned into a RINO overnight and will be so throughout his term. God save us from lying politicians, administration elites, and absolutly the worst president this country has ever had. Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Clinton, and Carter could almost be considered mediocre as compared to this clown. The entire scheme of the Community Organizer-in-Chief is to cause the downfall of the US so it can be built back as a Socialist, Marxist/Communist paradise. Guess who will be the Great Leader when this is accomplished? The American people better wake-up before it is too late.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 10:05 AM

wjm in Colorado said:

In order to be a successful politician today, you must also be a successful prevaricator. They lie to get elected then do what they want once they get in office. This is what happens when you have an uninformed electorate voting as if it was a High School popularity contest election. We have a government composed of traitors and idiots, often one and the same.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Anton D Rehling in Olympia, WA said:

Play ball or get destroyed is the message from our tyrannical despots. This is clear by those that do not have the will to stand for their convictions.
Few are paying attention and could care less because they do not believe what is happening. our POTUS and MSM lie to those that will listen to their propaganda. Hello Comrades, this is Ivan Tellalie from National True TV, "Nothing is wrong."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 2:50 PM

Alex in NJ said:

Christie just did the same thing in NJ...he said at least twice, "let me be clear"...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 6:36 AM