All They Need’s the White House (In Some States)

As a follow-on to my Watchdog column, this week, Megan McArdle’s thoughts on the Democrats’ electoral fate in the Obama Era raise a telling point, from a Rhode Island point of view:

Many of [ObamaCare’s] subsequent struggles have stemmed from the apparent belief that [Democrats] didn’t need down-ticket races, or public opinion; all they needed was Barack Obama sitting in the Oval Office.

Kentucky illustrates the dangers of this strategy. Most policy happens at the state and local level, not federal, something that’s easy to forget as local media outlets fail and news coverage becomes increasingly focused on national elections. Under outgoing Democratic governor Steve Beshear, Kentucky was a poster child for the success of Obamacare; under incoming governor Matt Bevin, it may well become a poster child for its failure.

Sitting here in the Democrat-run Ocean State, I’d caution McArdle not to be overly skeptical of the strategy.  Our state’s health benefits exchange (also created by questionable executive order) lived off federal funding and administrative changing of the law for development and a couple of years of operations.  Now, it looks likely to survive by being embedded in the larger Unified Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP), for which the federal government has largely paid.

HealthSource is a good example of the Rhode Island reality that, if the federal government can find a way to pay for it, state policymakers will go along.  The lesson may have limited application across a large, diverse country, but it is an indication of what the Left will strive to do with its control of the federal bureaucracy, judiciary, and whichever elective offices it can win.

For our part, Rhode Islanders should take it as a point of personal shame that our state and our liberties are so easily bought.



  • Rhett Hardwick

    With an election year coming up, a thought comes to mind. Sometime ago, Massachusetts was the only state not to vote for Reagan (perhaps Nixon). Does anyone know if that effected the flow of federal funds (i.e. the taxpayer’s money)

    • ShannonEntropy

      Massachusetts voted for Reagan in both ’80 and ’84. But in 1972 Mass was the only State not to vote for Nixon. By then Tricky Dick was too busy with Watergate to bother with petty political retribution

      But back in ’68 Li’l Rhody made the mistake of voting Blue. Nixon retaliated by pulling the North Atlantic Destroyer Fleet out of Newport. Some say that was the most devastating blow to the Rhodent economy since the Great Depression

      But then in ’69 Nixon appointed former Gov John Chafee to be his Secretary of the Navy. Both NUSC and the Naval War College were and remain in Newport

      Rhody voted for Obozo both times … so he thanked us by pulling the last de·commissioned destroyers out of their berths in Middletown. Thanks, Barack !! As Ann Coulter says … ” Never trust a Liberal over three “

  • Mike678

    “Our state’s health benefits exchange (also created by questionable executive order) lived off federal funding and administrative changing of the law for development and a couple of years of operations.” It may be more accurate to say it lived off of federal funding enabled by an enormous accumulation of debt. One wonders what happens when that gravy train stops….

    • Tommy Cranston

      No need to wonder; just look at Greece or Zimbabwe to see the endgame of progressive math.
      Or the RI pension system 2011 for that matter.

  • guest

    I was expecting a column about how the media is unfairly treating the fraudulent claims of Dr. Carson. What’s wrong, Justin? Won’t the Koch’s let you write about that?

    • The Donald

      Has anyone seen his birth certificate?

    • Mike678

      Since you like logical fallacies: Have you stopped kicking your dog?

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