Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cuomo's got his own Hagel-like Headache

The New York Daily News on big questions over NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new nominee to the state's high court.

Senate Republicans appear on the verge of delivering a rare rebuke to Gov. Cuomo and his nominee to serve on the state’s highest court, City University of New York Law Prof. Jenny Rivera.

The Senate Judiciary Committee late Monday afternoon put off a vote on Rivera’s nomination until Tuesday morning following a nearly- four-hour hearing in which several Republicans questioned her lack of court room experience and whether she had the necessary background to serve on the Court of Appeals.

“The governor is asking this body to make a leap of faith from someone in academia to the highest court and from what we hear today everyone will make their own judgments,” Judiciary Committee Chairman John Bonacic (R-Orange County) said after Monday’s lengthy hearing.

Bonacic declined to say whether Rivera had enough support to survive a committee vote but made it clear the nomination is by no way assured.

“I will to say to you I think there has been sufficient concerns raised by these writings and her testimony today that will give people pause to reflect,” Bonacic said. “But I don’t know how this committee is going to vote.”

And while we're on the topic of 2016 presidential prospects whose last names start with a "K"-sound, let me point you to National Review and its op-ed today, rebuking Ohio Gov. John Kasich for backing an expansion of Medicaid with federal money.

Ohio governor John Kasich has joined the dishonor roll of Republican leaders backing an expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Our earlier criticism of Arizona governor Jan Brewer applies equally to the case of Ohio: The governor has allowed himself to be bought off by the false promise of “free money” from the federal government.

Acceding to the Medicaid expansion, Governor Kasich reasons, “avoids leaving Ohioans’ federal tax dollars on the table and keeps the federal government from simply giving them away to other states.” Kasich does have a kernel of a point; in general, fiscally conservative governors should not be expected to decline benefits while their constituents’ federal tax dollars continue to fund such benefits in liberal states. The critical difference between the Medicaid expansion and most other federal subsidies is that governors are in a position to resist the expansion of Medicaid if they so choose: The Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear that the federal government may not coerce the states into cooperating with the Medicaid expansion, and if enough states opt out, the expansion cannot work. Governor Kasich is marching in the Obamacare parade by his own volition.

.... Like Governor Brewer, Governor Kasich has sold himself and the people of his state far too cheap.

Politically, this suggests that Kasich is more concerned about his 2014 reelection race than a 2016 presidential bid.

While you've still got that question Kasich for President? floating over your mind like a wasp over a garbage can with Britney Spears' lunch in it (even wasps have standards), the reason I listed Kasich as a possible '16 candidate is that Politico recently reported he was thinking about it.

Probably, I'd guess, because he's a Republican governor in Ohio with an improving economy. That's a pretty good profile to start with, but I'll explain later this week in my forthcoming GOP Power Rankings why that probably won't matter much.

UPDATE: Kasich defends his decision over at Red State.