President Obama, Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Democrat-led Senate and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. don’t care that a majority of Americans favor repeal of Obamacare. To them, government can do anything it can get away with to consolidate federal power; that government derives its power from the consent of the governed is ignored. This isn’t so in the states, where conservative governors are stepping up to resist Washington’s biggest-ever power grab.
Sunshine State Gov. Rick Scott is leading the charge. He told The Washington Times over the weekend, “Florida will not implement Obamacare.” Palmetto State Gov. Nikki Haley is standing firm as well. “We’re not going to shove more South Carolinians into a broken system,” her office said of the health care law’s planned Medicaid extension to those over the poverty line, according to the Nation magazine. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who heroically took on Badger State labor unions and won, says the November election is central for repeal. “I am hopeful that political changes in Washington D.C. later this year ultimately will end the implementation of this law at the federal level,” he said. Until then, the cheesehead governor isn’t taking action to implement any of the law.
Republicans control 32 governorships. At least 24 of these state leaders have announced they will not implement Mr. Obama’s and Chief Justice Roberts’ Affordable Care Act or are on the fence about what parts of it to implement and what to ignore. The list of those saying in clear language that they will refuse to implement Obamacare in their states includes Ohio’s John Kasich, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, Kansan Sam Brownback, Georgia’s Nathan Deal and Alaska’s Sean Parnell. Those who are pushing back against certain parts or are supporting legislative repeal are New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Arizona’s Jan Brewer, Mississippi’s Phil Bryant, Tennessee’s Bill Haslam, Alabama’s Robert Bentley, Idaho’s Butch Otter, Iowa’s Terry Branstad, Texan Rick Perry, Virginia’s Bob McDonnell, Utah’s Gary Herbert, Wyoming’s Matt Mead, Nevada’s Brian Sandoval, Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett and Maine’s Paul LePage. These states represent over 117 million Americans. This overwhelming show of defiance to a federal dictate sets up a states’ rights war not seen in decades.
The response was a little wobbly across the Potomac River from the capital, where the Old Dominion’s Mr. McDonnell capitulated, “Virginia will evaluate the steps necessary to comply with the law” - although he hopes it’s repealed. He needs to seek more advice from Ole Virginny’s rock-solid Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who filed suit to contest Obamacare the day it became law. Others surrendering were New Mexico’s Susana Martinez and North Dakota’s Jack Dalyrymple. A handful of holdout state executives are still deciding what to do.
In the latest Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday, 52 percent of likely voters favor repeal of Obamacare. This is a huge election issue for elephants if they play their cards right and don’t chicken out of this important fight. According to CNN, GOP standard-bearer Mitt Romney now leads Mr. Obama in 15 swing states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. “We can’t be Democrat Lite,” Florida’s Gov. Scott warns of the states’ rights showdown over Obamacare. That’s what Republicans have to remember in the march to Election Day.
Brett M. Decker is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. He is coauthor of the new book “Bowing to Beijing” (Regnery, 2011).