Agony of the Florida Tea Folk

As you might imagine, Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s decision to support the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion (at least for three years) has not only brought down scorn on him from national conservative groups, but was particularly painful to his back-home Tea Party supporters, many of whom probably found him attractive in the first place because of his history of battling anything remotely like universal health coverage. The Tampa Bay Times‘ Adam Smith quickly concluded Scott’s relationship with the Tea Folk is broken beyond repair:

With his Medicaid decision this week, Scott officially and forever cast off his image as a tea party standard-bearer. Just glance at most of the recent comments on his Facebook page if you have doubts.

“Agreeing to expand Medicaid in Florida is your ‘Charlie Christ hugs Obama’ moment. Very disappointed in your decision. . . . Be proud to call yourself a RINO (Republican in Name Only),” wrote Jackie Soler-Gonzalez.

Smith also reports Scott’s jilted fans are actively looking for a primary challenger. After all, it worked when Charlie Crist strayed off the right-wing reservation.

Crist, of course, is the likely Democratic candidate for governor in 2014. So you could have “true conservatives” battling not one but two of their former political allies in what is already looking to be one of the most expensive political races in the history of the planet. It could get really crazy.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.