Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has earned much conservative praise for her colorful duels with President Obama. Now out-of-state Republicans are shocked to find her transformed into a passionate Obamacare booster.
Earlier today, Brewer challenged the authority of the Republican-led state legislature and rammed through a vast expansion of the Medicaid program through Obamacare. A “Brewer Coalition” of every Democrat and a handful of Republicans engineered a 3:40 a.m. house vote, refusing to answer any questions about the controversial measure. The legislation was rushed through the state senate and is now on the governor’s desk.
Brewer’s unprecedented power play outraged the conservative leadership along with the grassroots.
[Conservatives] complained the process shut out the public and most members of the GOP, which hold majorities in both chambers. They said the bills were not fully vetted in committees and caucuses, and they were forced to make important policy decisions on more than 600 pages of amendments in a matter of hours.
To make matters worse, they said, the coalition members refused to answer questions from the conservatives.
“How are you not embarrassed for yourselves?” said Rep. Javan Mesnard, R-Chandler. “Is anyone going to stand up and give a defense?”
But time after time, in both the House and Senate, no one did.
The likely explanation is all-too-familiar: cronyism. Brewer’s right-hand man is lobbyist and political consultant Chuck Coughlin — a man insiders refer to as “the real governor of Arizona.”
Last year, Coughlin created a massive coalition of hospitals, insurance companies and other health care insiders to push for Obamacare-approved Medicaid and the billions of dollars that come with it. By forcing through this vote, the well-connected get a huge payday on the taxpayer’s dime.
Far-left outlets like ThinkProgress have praised the governor’s sweetheart deal as “sticking by her convictions.” Meanwhile, conservative publications like National Review have excoriated Brewer for betraying her party, her state and basic economics.
Arizona conservatives have vowed to launch a referendum effort to stop the Medicaid expansion. But, at least for today, Jan Brewer and her Democrat allies are celebrating an unexpected victory for Obamacare.