Recently re-elected New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made the rounds on Sunday news shows this week, and faced a tough question from ABC News’ George Stephanolpoulos: how could he oppose Obamacare, after having accepted Obamacare’s expanded Medicaid funding? The governor’s answer was that he was doing what was in the best interest of the people of New Jersey. Christie went even further, however:
See, here’s what makes me different than a lot of these other guys. I’m going to do what I think is right for the people who elected me, and a lot of these other folks are always trying to put their finger in the wind and see which way the wind’s blowing that day.
Christie’s attempt to put himself above politics is familiar: President Barack Obama often does the same. Like Obama, however, Christie is not quite telling the truth.
At first, Christie suggested that he would not accept the Medicaid funding, and backed Mitt Romney’s “repeal and replace” policy. Then, after the 2012 election, and facing his own re-election, he reversed his position and announced that he would accept the funding after all. Christie wants the best of both worlds: to be able to tell conservatives he opposed Obamacare, while bringing Obamacare funds to his own state.
Sometimes good governance calls for such nuances. But by Christie’s own admission–both before and after his apparent flip-flop–the new Medicaid funds do not amount to much in New Jersey’s already large program. His shift looks very much like the sort of “finger in the wind” gesture he claims that the “other guys” do.
Voters are already tiring of Obama’s “above it all” routine. Christie might be advised to drop his.