This morning, Kasich announced he was joining four other Republican governors in agreeing to expand Medicaid under Obamacare and pass the bill on to federal taxpayers. “It makes great sense for the state of Ohio because it will allow us to provide greater care with our own dollars,” he said at a news conference, as reported by the Huffington Post’s Jeffrey Young.

Whatever justifications Kasich may give, the actual explanation for his embrace of the Medicaid expansion is political cowardice. Chastened by his failed attempt at public sector union reform and Obama’s victory in the state, Kasich is up for reelection next year. And he’s afraid to stand up to the inevitable onslaught of attacks from Democrats who would charge that he was refusing to accept free money to bring health care to poor Ohioans. The end result is that a politician who ran for office claiming to have been “in the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party” is now actively embracing a policy that the Tea Party movement was born to oppose.

This should serve as a sober reminder to conservatives that no matter how big of a disaster Obamacare is when it’s implemented in 2014, the nation is almost certainly stuck with it. More broadly, it’s a demonstration of how difficult it is to defeat big government.