Mitt Romney once (well, on several occasions) supported an individual health care mandate on a national level. We’ve known this simple fact for quite sometime. I’m shocked this story is just barely catching steam. The last time Romney ran for president, he clearly stated he likes mandates. It’s almost impossible to imagine Romney winning the health care debate against Obama once he clinches the nomination (and he will clinch the nomination…sorry Newt, Santorum and Paul fans—this thing is over).
The fact is RomneyCare was the blueprint for ObamaCare. Some of Romney’s old advisers even helped the president craft his national healthcare plan. I don’t think health care will be a major issue in the general election, but the Obama team will be able to use Romney’s ever-shifting position on this issue to help in their effort to paint him as someone willing to say and do anything in order to get elected.
Wyden-Bennett, the solution Romney supported in the above clip, included an individual mandate on a national level. Erick Erickson of RedState is absolutely correct: “Mitt Romney lies each time he says he never supported a national individual mandate.”
In 2009, Romney wrote an op-ed where he clearly stated he supports a national individual mandate. Our good friends over at Mitt Romney Central helpfully archived Romney’s op-ed entitled “Mr. President, What’s the Rush?”
The real story here isn’t the fact Romney supported an individual health care mandate on a national level. Like I said before, we’ve known this for quite some time. The real story is he’s about to win the Republican nomination even though he supported the one aspect of ObamaCare conservatives loathe the most.
The conservative wing of the Republican Party looks weaker than ever. For the second election in a row, a moderate will win their party’s nomination. Conservatives can be forgiven for nominating John McCain in 2008. He was a legitimate war hero, there wasn’t a true conservative in the race, and he really did look like the party’s best shot at beating either Hillary or Obama.
There were true conservative candidates in the race this cycle (Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman), but the conservative wing chose to ignore the credentials of those candidates in favor of three moderates (Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Romney) and a candidate who doesn’t even want to win (Ron Paul).
Perry actually could have and should have won the nomination, but he was just a terrible, awful debater. Perry was great on the stump, great at fundraising, and was as talented a candidate you will ever find—except he just couldn’t condense his positions into a 30-second soundbite. He was ill-served by his advisers who believed debates didn’t matter, and he didn’t help himself by entering the race so late in the game with such little preparation.
I’ll never understand why conservatives immediately rejected Huntsman just because he served in the Obama administration and believes in evolution (you seriously have to be insane NOT TO believe in evolution). Huntsman’s record and the policies he promoted while running for president were as conservative as it gets. He was far more electable in a general election than Romney, and unlike any other candidate in the race he was refreshingly authentic. Huntsman didn’t seem to give a shit about what the pundits or the base of his party wanted him to say. He said what he believed and stood by his principles no matter what…even though it was pretty obvious early on it would cost him the nomination. Like Perry, Huntsman was also ill-served by his advisers (no one should ever hire John Weaver…EVER), but if the right-wing is willing to forgive Romney for being on the wrong side of every issue they hold dear throughout his political career only to suddenly flip just in time to run for president, why not forgive Huntsman for serving this administration in a position he was clearly qualified to hold?
Conservatives, you can bitch all you want, but it’s your fault the most moderate candidate in the field is about to clinch the nomination. It didn’t have to be like this. You could have rallied around someone who had a record of conservative accomplishments. The Republican Party’s presumptive nominee supported and still defends an individual health care mandate. Congratulations, conservatives, you lost the health care debate before it even started. You have no one to blame but yourselves.
George Will seems to think Mitt Romney doesn’t have much of a chance of beating Barack Obama. I completely disagree, but I found his article fascinating nonetheless. It’s true Romney is losing ground with independents, women, and hispanics at an alarming rate; and of course there is no question Republicans should be worried about Romney’s inability to connect with voters. However, it’s impossible to predict what will happen between now and election day. The president has to be worried about rising gas prices, rising tensions between Israel and Iran, and the economy not improving at a fast enough rate. I expect it to be a toss-up. Romney may not be a great candidate, but anything can happen in a general election.
“If nominated, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum might not cause such subtraction. Both are conservatives, although of strikingly different stripes. Neither, however, seems likely to be elected. Neither has demonstrated, or seems likely to develop, an aptitude for energizing a national coalition that translates into 270 electoral votes.
If either is nominated, conservatives should vote for him. But suppose the accumulation of evidence eventually suggests that the nomination of either would subtract from the long-term project of making conservatism intellectually coherent and politically palatable. If so, there would come a point when, taking stock of reality, conservatives turn their energies to a goal much more attainable than, and not much less important than, electing Romney or Santorum president. It is the goal of retaining control of the House and winning control of the Senate.
Several possible Supreme Court nominations and the staffing of the regulatory state are among the important reasons conservatives should try to elect whomever the GOP nominates. But conservatives this year should have as their primary goal making sure Republicans wield all the gavels in Congress in 2013.
If Republicans do, their committee majorities will serve as fine-mesh filters, removing President Obama’s initiatives from the stream of legislation. Then Republicans can concentrate on what should be the essential conservative project of restoring something like constitutional equipoise between the legislative and executive branches.
Such a restoration would mean that a reelected Obama, a lame duck at noon Jan. 20, would have a substantially reduced capacity to do harm. Granted, he could veto any major conservative legislation. But such legislation will not even get to his desk because Republicans will not have 60 senators. In an undoubtedly bipartisan achievement, both parties have participated in institutionalizing an extra-constitutional Senate supermajority requirement for all but innocuous or uncontroversial legislation. This may be a dubious achievement, but it certainly enlarges the power of a congressional party to play defense against a president.”
“Rarely has an intelligent man been so wrong.
By every objective measure, the GOP has a reasonable chance to defeat President Obama—probably between 1-in-3 and 1-in-2. Given this opportunity, it would be crazy not to do everything one can to effectuate an outcome so devoutly to be desired. This doesn’t mean falling in line early behind an inevitable nominee or suppressing criticism of the likely nominee. If some of us have tried to expand the presidential field, it’s because we’ve been unconvinced that the current field offers us the best hope of victory. If some of us have resisted Romney inevitability, or an early Romney coronation, it’s because we don’t think that Romney’s nomination—or at least his easy and early nomination—would increase Republican chances of winning the presidency. Others differ on these questions. But whatever differences conservatives have in March about candidates, strategy and tactics should not affect our determination in the fall, when there is a Republican nominee, to turn our energies to defeating President Obama.
Why? Obamacare. Iran. Debt. The military. The Court.
Obamacare can’t be reversed from Congress. Iran can’t be denied nuclear weapons by Congress. The debt crisis can’t be fundamentally addressed by Congress. The military can’t be protected from being hollowed out by Congress. Judges can’t be appointed by Congress.”
If you read just one worthwhile observation today—make it this one. This is the best article on Mitt Romney’s evolving position on abortion I’ve ever read. Hell, this is the one of the best articles on Mitt Romney’s approach to politics, period.
“(Romney) can frame his complex thoughts on abortion either way. Since he views the issue as a political threat, he navigates it by negation. He chooses the position least likely to derail his candidacy or his agenda. The two positions he has taken—individual choice and state choice—are attempts to make the issue go away. Throughout his career, Romney has treated abortion as a question of identity, not policy. His focus isn’t on promoting life, but on being seen as pro-life.”
Saletan argues Romney has always been pro-life, but in order to run for Governor of Massachusetts he had to convince voters he was pro-choice. Saletan finishes this lengthy, well-researched piece by saying, “Romney’s soul isn’t in the five minutes he spent as a pro-lifer in that interview, or in the two seconds he spent as a pro-choicer. It’s in the flux, the transition between the two roles. It’s in the editing of his record, the application of his makeup, the shuffling of his rationales. Romney will always be what he needs to be. Count on it.”
This Romney-Paul possible alliance story is pretty damn weird. Ron Paul doesn’t agree with Mitt Romney on nearly anything. Romney is by far the most moderate candidate in the race. Romney has no conservative credentials, and has done absolutely nothing to advance the conservative cause in his entire career. Paul is a conservative hero. Romney has proven he’s willing to sacrifice his principles in order to win elections. Paul has proven principles are more important than winning. So, why in 20 debates did Paul not go after Romney a single time?
The Paul camp argues they’re not competing with Romney for votes. They are absolutely wrong. Forget for a moment Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are the only two people on the Virginia ballot, which would mean they’re literally competing against each other and only against each other. Paul has had three opportunities to win a caucus: Iowa, Maine, and Washington. In all three of those contests, Mitt Romney was the candidate Paul needed to steal votes from, and in all three of those contests Paul refrained from going after Romney for who the hell knows what reason, and Romney ended up beating Paul.
Santorum and Gingrich voters will never vote for Paul because they believe his foreign policy is insane. The base of the Republican Party completely disagrees with Paul when it comes to foreign policy. The base of the Republican Party has been voting for Santorum and Gingrich. Romney has been winning the votes of moderates and independents—two groups Paul’s message is more likely to resonate with than the base of the Republican Party.
Romney is and always has been Paul’s biggest obstacle to the nomination. I’m not sure if there’s an alliance between the two campaigns, but it’s pretty clear the Paul campaign isn’t interested in winning this election. Why else would they be implementing such an absurd strategy? It’s impossible to win an election if you’re unwilling to engage in a debate with the frontrunner.
More worthwhile observations: