What a difference a day makes.
Rob McKenna, Washington State's right-wing Attorney-General and now Republican Gubernatorial candidate, joined the lawsuit against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("PPCA").
He did this against the wishes of the Governor, and against Washingtonians. At a time of a severe budget crisis, he spent the state's money and sullied Washington's reputation by associating himself in the lawsuit with such people as Texas AG Greg Abbott, a Rick Perry lackey, whose state has 25 percent (6.1 million) uninsured -- and they appear not to be embarrassed by it.
Texas values are not Washington State values.
Now, after the Supreme Court sent him and his right-wing fellow travelers packing, McKenna has decided that he accepts our new health care system and suggests, get this, do an even better job of implementing it than his Democratic opponent. He is even going to work with the legislature to determine how to implement the expanded coverage under Medicaid for the working poor. Sure, he will.
Jay Inslee, the Democratic Gubernatorial candidate, is a former Congressman who not only voted for our new healthcare system, but helped write the law. While the lawsuit was pending, McKenna tried a great ruse by claiming he was only against the individual mandate.
But, Congressman Inslee told McKenna that he should withdraw from the case because, among other things, the individual mandate was a key element to making the other parts feasible. Inslee told McKenna that, by siding with his radical right-wing brethren, he was threatening the people of Washington: Washington children with pre-existing conditions, Washington women's reproductive and cancer-screening services, Washington breast cancer survivors who could not get health insurance, credits and subsidies for Washington's small businesses and individuals that wanted to offer healthcare but could not afford it, Washington children up to age 26 staying on their parents' health care, just to name a few of the many benefits that would be taken from our people if the law were invalidated.
Now, what a different tune is played by him. It is obviously, as FDR put it, "a tune played against a sounding board of election day. It is a tune with overtones that whispers -- votes, votes, votes".
Here is what McKenna says now about the individual mandate: "it should stand, for now, because it's so tied to key features in the law, such as coverage of pre-existing conditions." Jay Inslee has been telling him that for months. If he always liked the pre-existing conditions part, and he recognizes that the mandate is tied to it, then why did he threaten our people who have pre-existing conditions by suing to have the law overturned?
From still another side of his mouth, McKenna says that we erred in passing "such a big bill without bipartisan support." But, the truth need be told: The law was hatched in the Heritage Foundation, a Republican think-tank, and first enacted by Mitt Romney, a Republican Governor. How do Democrats show more bipartisanship than by enacting the other side's law?
And, if you have any doubt about where the Court might have wound up -- invalidating the entire law, and all these benefits -- just read the ranting dissent by Justice Scalia.
When faced with the choice between the people of Washington State and his radical right-wing friends from Texas, McKenna chose his right-wing friends, not Washington children, not Washington women, not Washington small businesses, not Washingtonians with pre-existing conditions.
But, now McKenna says, he wants the PPCA, including the mandate, to stand.
He is, to my knowledge, the first major defector from the radical right. After his defection, especially high-profile because he actually sued to have the law invalidated, it will be interesting to see whether major out-of-state right-wing money keeps pouring into to help his election. We shall be watching.
But, no matter what, he does not get to run away from his record, and the high risk to which he, for his own personal gain, was willing to subject the people of our state.
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