Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) answers a question during a news briefing at the 2013 Republican Governors Association conference in Scottsdale, Arizona November 21, 2013.  REUTERS/Samantha Sais (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX15NG2
The annual Republican governors' conference is going on this week in Scottsdale, Arizona, where a sharp divide has been exposed. There are the ones who want to run for president by competing over who hates President Obama and his dastardly plan to get people to buy insurance they can afford, the one who wants to run for president as the "establishment" guy, and the very, very few who actually do kind of care about the people who elected them.

The rabid ones:

“I said no,” Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin said, “because if I took the Medicaid expansion I’d be dependent on the same federal government that can’t get a basic website up and going even after two and a half years to come through with payments for Medicaid in the future when they start weaning off paying for 100 percent of coverage.” [...]

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who also turned down the Medicaid money and is thought to be considering a second presidential run, used even more vivid language. “It’s like putting 1,000 more people on the Titanic when you knew what was going to happen,” he said.

The establishment guy is Gov. Chris Christie, who is mucking up the works just by existing, making hardliner Gov. Nikki Haley (“we didn’t just say no, we said never") have to try to figure out how to moderate that stance just in case the guy she was sitting next to at the news conference becomes the nominee. She ended up with a lame “I don’t think that the people of South Carolina will make a decision on one issue."

Then there's the few who actually seem to show a bit of humanity.

“I always try to put myself in the shoes of somebody else to say: ‘How would I feel if I didn’t have health insurance? Are you kidding me?’ ” said [Gov. John] Kasich, who has been mentioned as a 2016 hopeful, his voice rising. In defending Medicaid, he spoke at length about the scourge of drug addiction and challenges faced by those with mental illnesses.

“It’s going to save lives,” he said. “It’s going to help people, and you tell me what’s more important than that.”

He's not sounding much like a 2016 hopeful there, is he. Same goes for Indiana's Mike Pence, who kind of sort of thinks maybe he could run (because, face it, all governors think they could be president) and kind of sort of wants to help his people and is maybe leaning toward finding a middle ground: "I believe it could be a pilot program for the kind of health care reform that is grounded in the principles of consumer-driven health care." There, he threw in the magic Republican buzz words, "pilot program" and "consumer-driven," to secure his bona fides. Like that'll work.

Let the 2016 GOP primary begin.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 10:15 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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