Will Republicans slow down on the crazy after their election defeat?

Well, the first test is here, and the answer is: Not even close, so far.

States must decide this week whether to set up their own exchanges under the Affordable Care Act or to enter the federal exchange. That’s it. The ACA is happening either way; it’s just a question of whether they want their own state exchanges or not.

So what’s happening? Conservatives are, naturally, pressing Republican governors to pass on state exchanges. Why? Well, leaving aside that these exchanges are intended to facilitate market-based insurance, there’s really no reason. After all, either way the citizens in these states will be able, if eligible, to get their insurance that way; it’s just a question of whether the state will run it. Normally, of course, these folks are eager to extol the virtues of the states compared to the federal government, but not this time.

So why not state exchanges?

As far as I can tell, pretty much the most rational possible explanation would be spite. Working down from there, you get the bizarre idea that implementing a law they don’t like in a way they might hate somewhat less would be toxic for Republicans. Or the possibility that the people pushing against state exchanges don’t understand the alternative. Or the possibility that the governors themselves don’t understand the alternatives.

I’ll go with spite.

And perhaps by 2016 Republicans will have given up this kind of politics. But perhaps not.