S.C. Senator Vincent Sheheen dealt his 2014 gubernatorial aspirations a serious (and entirely self-inflicted) blow earlier this year when he jumped on board the liberal bandwagon calling for the expansion of Medicaid in South Carolina as part of “Obamacare.”
You can read all about Sheheen’s colossal pooch screw in this post, but the bottom line is his mistake is a rare political “two-fer” which will accrue to the decisive benefit of his opponent, incumbent Gov. Nikki Haley (RINO-Lexington).
First – and most damaging for Sheheen – he has opened himself up to the predictable (yet incredibly effective) “Obamacare liberal” line of attack. In fact the S.C. Republican Party is already hard at work cranking out this narrative (here and here). But Sheheen’s choice has also deprived him of the opportunity to criticize Haley for her own reckless expansion of Medicaid (a.k.a. “Haleycare”).
Why did Sheheen make such a boneheaded move?
Democratic strategists claim to have poling showing the strategic soundness of Sheheen’s move – but these are the same strategists who have managed to produce one gubernatorial victory in South Carolina over the last quarter century (former Gov. Jim Hodges freak win over incumbent David Beasley in 1998).
A much more likely scenario? Sheheen was forced to endorse the Obamacare Medicaid expansion – or risk being cut off from national Democratic fundraising support. In fact two highly-placed Democratic operatives in Washington, D.C. tell FITS that’s exactly what happened.
One of these operatives explicitly referred to Sheheen’s embrace of the Obamacare expansion as “purely transactional.”
We don’t understand that logic … at all. For staters Sheheen out-raised Haley in the most recent fundraising quarter (without an influx of national cash). Also it’s no secret that there is plenty of special interest money ready to be pumped into the race on his behalf from in-state donors.
Why does Sheheen need Obama’s money?
Also, in the event a Democratic candidate in South Carolina were on the verge of upsetting a “Republican” governor – which Sheheen appeared poised to do several months ago (prior to his Obamacare endorsement) – does anyone really believe the national party would sit the race out under any circumstance?
Of they wouldn’t …
The electoral impact of Sheheen’s Medicaid miscalculation is likely to be catastrophic. In fact despite Haley’s glaring problems – her crappy economic record, habitual hypocrisy/ dishonesty and total lack of legislative accomplishment – she is at this point the odds-on favorite to win a second term. The only real chance for Sheheen?
A third party candidate jumping into the fray …