By Editorial Staff
It is no secret that Republican State Senator Bob Krist has ruffled the feathers of his political party several times. Krist has had open feuds with the Governor and several members of his party over votes and policy. Nothing showed this growing divide more than his co-sponsoring of LB 577 which is the state expansion of Medicaid. Krist was called a RINO (Republican in name only) publicly and perhaps much worse behind closed doors. With the legislative session on the horizon and Medicaid expansion most likely on the table, this might be the last straw for Republicans and their support for Krist.
What is notable is Krist’s rather odd behavior since LB 577. Krist took to Facebook bashing the Douglas County Republican Party, American’s for Prosperity, and the Tea Party after conservatives questioned why a Republican was carrying the water for welfare expansion in the form of Medicaid. That Facebook post is below.
When Krist was questioned by Nebraska Watchdog on April 16th, 2013 about his Republican bona fides, here is what he had to say.
“When people call me not a real Republican, at this point it shakes my inner being because I am a Republican. I will not change party affiliations.”
After that statement it should be clear that Krist is an unwavering Republican right? Let’s fast forward to July 11th, 2013 less than three months after swearing his allegiance to the party.
The Omaha World Herald asked Krist about his higher political aspirations and if he ran for higher office would he switch parties.
He said he’s not sure whether he would run as a Republican or Democrat. “That’s really part of my whole decision process.”
After co-sponsoring Medicaid expansion and wavering on whether he would run as a Democrat or Republican, it is no wonder many Republican insiders question if the R next to Krist’s name is simply for political expedience in a district that leans right.
In Krist’s defense, he has always stated that he does what he feels is best for the people he represents and that is admirable. However, if Krist decides to spearhead a push again this legislative session to expand Medicaid you can bet that the Governor-appointed Krist will have a primary challenger in the spring. It is too early to tell if Krist will go the way of Brad Ashford and switch political parties over ideological differences, but if he does it could be a very amicable separation.