Time for another “see, I told you so” moment.
Honestly, I wish I were wrong about Romney all along. Like all conservatives, I have such a burning desire to defeat Obama, and wish Romney were truly the savvy Juggernaut of a candidate that his supporters claimed he was during the primary. But all along we pointed out how insane it would be to nominate the father of Obamacare during an election that should largely be fought over repeal of Obamacare. Our fears were well founded.
Following Obama’s accusation that opponents of Obamacare would let people die of cancer due to lack of insurance coverage, Romney had an opportunity to stand for bold colors. He could have cited the incontrovertible evidence that Obamacare has led to a precipitous increase in the cost of insurance, will cause many employers to dump coverage, and will inexorably push most of the country onto government-subsidized healthcare that is hopelessly rationed in order to contain costs. That would have been the smart thing for Romney to do. Instead, Romney spokesman Andrea Saul said the under Romneycare, the person who died of cancer (referenced in the vicious attack ad) would have had insurance coverage.
Essentially, she was agreeing to the premise of Obamacare that government-run healthcare is not the cause of crushing healthcare costs, but the solution. So how the hell will Romney effectively prosecute the case against Obamacare for the rest of the election? The answer is that he won’t.
For a trip down memory lane, here are the concerns I laid out about Romney and healthcare during the heat of the primary last December:
Romney owes Republican primary voters answers to two questions; one ideological and one political.
1) If Romneycare is built on such inviolable conservative principles; if Romneycare has been such an auspicious healthcare reform plan, then what is so terribly offensive about Obamacare? Yes, we’ve heard that dubious distinction between state governments having the ability to promulgate tyranny, whereas the federal government is constrained by the constitution. But why not amend the constitution so we can implement Romneycare (Obamacare) on a federal level? Why not share your paramount success with the rest of the nation?
Moreover, as conservatives, we believe the most offensive part of Obamacare is that it permanently raises the cost of healthcare and health insurance on everyone in the country. It represents the motherload of all market-distorters in an industry that is already plagued by high costs, due to the lack of a free-market. It also dumps scores of people on Medicaid. It is incontrovertibly clear that MassCare has engendered the highest premiums in the nation (indeed the other 92% of Massachusetts residents were affected after all),while dumping thousands of people onto federally funded Medicaid and disincentivizing people not to earn more money. Sounds a bit like Obamacare, huh?
Nevertheless, Romney obdurately denies these studies and insists that 92% of Massachusetts residents weren’t affected by implementation of MassCare. Let’s concede the point for a moment and say that Romney is correct. Now if Romneycare was so successful, and in fact, was not a catalyst for major spikes in premiums and increase in Medicaid enrollment, isn’t Obama correct when he says that most Americans who like their current insurance will not be adversely affected by Obamacare?
Again, how is Romneycare fundamentally conservative and a great success, yet Obamacare is supposedly the worst thing in the world? Is it the fact that Obamacare is funded by tax increases? Then lets just repeal the tax hikes and fund this laudatory and necessary program through deficit spending, like a good old compassionate conservative. The infinitesimal differences between Romneycare and Obamacare fail to account for the wide bifurcation of Romney’s attitude towards the two programs. The reality is that both programs are incompatible with American values of limited government; both seek to undermine individual liberty and responsibility.
2) Politically speaking, if Romney were to be the nominee, how can he assure us that he will be able to effectively use Obamacare – our biggest political weapon – to our advantage? Even if we concede that there are some differences between Romneycare and Obamacare, are they evident enough for him to feel comfortable while attacking Obamacare?
The bottom line is that we all know he will avoid Obamacare like the plague in the general election, thereby disarming Republicans of their most potent political weapon.
Welcome to the twilight zone with McCain 2008 2.0.
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