BY JORGE BONILLA
Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) has just handed Florida progressives a golden talking point, by asserting that failure to expand Medicaid per ObamaCare is somehow similar to attempts to nullify implementation of Brown v. Board of Education.
Via the Tampa Bay Times:
Florida has no choice. It must expand its Medicaid program under the federal law known as Obamacare, Senate President Don Gaetz says.
The handwriting is literally on the wall.
That would be the cursive and angry script that flowed from the hand of former Gov. LeRoy Collins one day in 1957, and it holds a prominent place on the wall of Gaetz’s cavernous Capitol office.
To Gaetz, the current Medicaid debate is not unlike what happened that year in Tallahassee — when the issue wasn’t access to health care.
It was race.
An all-white, rigidly segregationist, unrepresentative Legislature, controlled by rural “pork choppers,” passed a resolution that said Florida would not integrate its schools “with all deliberate speed” in accordance with the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Brown vs. Board of Education.
There it is, in crayons and construction paper: opposition to the Medicaid expansion is racist, you racist racists. Except that ObamaCare is not the 14th Amendment, and the Medicaid expansion is not Brown v. Board of Education. To somehow imply that the two are alike in any way, shape, or form, is -beyond galling- and insult to our intelligence.
Thus far our political discourse has fallen, that opposition to an unfunded mandate imposed by an unpopular, invasive law is somehow akin to a Supreme Court ruling that sought to undo the perversion of Plessy v. Ferguson and the “Separate but Equal” doctrine it spawned. Sunshine State Sarah rightly calls for clarification. Go to her post to see how she calls Gaetz on both his analogies and his facts. The whole purpose of this debate is that the state exchange has not yet been agreed to, hence, it is not the law of the land.
It’s one thing for Gov. Rick Scott to go wobbly ahead of a tough reelection. It’s another for half of our legislative leadership -the state’s likely last bastion against full implementation- to do the same.
In a rush to mislabel this a 14th Amendment issue, let’s not abdicate our responsibilities under the 10th.
UPDATE: That was fast… — Capitol Vanguard (@CapitolVanguard) February 26, 2013
— Capitol Vanguard (@CapitolVanguard) February 26, 2013