Idaho Governor Faces Primary for Not Nullifying Obamacare

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 22 2013 11:59 AM

Idaho Governor Faces Primary for Not Nullifying Obamacare

118458280
Does Butch Otter look like a sellout to you?

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter was nobody's idea of an Obamacare sellout. The libertarian-leaning Republican, who'd been safely re-elected in 2010, did more than oppose the law. In 2011 he backed an attempt by the conservative edge of his party to nullify it.

Advertisement

But then the Supreme Court upheld the law, and Barack Obama won re-election. This summer, Otter did a 180—or maybe a 179. Like Florida's Rick Scott, he explained powerfully that he still opposed Obamacare, but, well, it was time to set up an exchange. "I had a philosophical problem with Obamacare from the get-go," he said, "but I'm satisfied that Idaho is doing its level-best to be organic in determining what's best for Idaho." 

This defied the request of the GOP supermajority in the state legislature. One of the most ambitious state senators, a soldier in the anti-Obamacare campaigns, is now challenging Otter, citing the Obamacare flip as a casus belli. Says Russ Fulcher*:

By the next election, Governor Otter will have already served two terms in office, and I am concerned that he has lost touch with the will of the people of Idaho. His regrettable decision to voluntarily thrust Idaho into Obamacare exemplifies this.

Republicans are by and large pleased that SCOTUS's 2012 ruling gave states the flexibility to turn down Medicaid money; they have succeeded frequently in stopping exchanges from being put together. Here's their dark side: Anyone who stops trying to nullify starts being a traitor.

*Correction, Oct. 22, 2013: This post originally misstated Idaho state Sen. Russ Fulcher’s first name as Rich.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technocracy
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.