Our politicians should make own decisionsPublished 9:48am Thursday, September 12, 2013
The debate over expanding Medicaid in Ohio has put a spotlight on the ugly side of modern politics, a culture where lobbyists and special interest groups wield enough power to sway elected officials from doing what they believe is right.
Nothing personifies this more than the Medicaid fight.
Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, created a plan to expand Medicaid, which is a key part of Democratic President Barack Obama’s health care law. Of course this hasn’t set well with Kasich’s fellow Republican lawmakers who removed it from the budget. They have been saying they will come up with an alternative that will provide health care to the state’s most at-need citizens, a promise that hasn’t gone anywhere so far.
Meanwhile, conservative groups have vowed they will prop up candidates to run against any incumbents who support Medicaid expansion, a threat that certainly seems to be eroding public support by the GOP.
So far Rep. Barbara Sears from Toledo is the only Republican in the legislature who has broken party lines and she is now being targeted by conservatives in her district.
John McAvoy, the founder of the Toledo Tea Party, is a prime example of this and his comments illustrate the ridiculousness of today’s political climate.
“It would be nice if they were making this decision from the heart, but if it takes a threat to do it, that’s OK, too,” McAvoy said about the GOP’s position on Medicaid in an Associated Press report. He went on to say that his group has agreed with Sears on “probably 99.99 percent of the issues” but that healthcare expansion will be a deal breaker.
So groups like this are OK with bullying lawmakers to vote the way they want – virtually every single time – or lose support.
That isn’t democracy.
Any elected official who accepts the support of groups like this doesn’t deserve to be in office. Our state — and our nation — needs leaders who can think for themselves and make decisions based on what they feel is right instead of ones who are looking over their shoulders at special interest groups that helped get them elected.
That is the principle our nation was founded on and it will be those same principles that will return Ohio and America to greatness.