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December 21, 2011

Romney: Health Care Mandates Are A Conservative Solution, So Long As States Impose Them

I've suggested that I would be okay with nominating Romney. Because he's generally conservative (ish) and probably a good enough manager.

The problem is just that Romney is unacceptable to around half of the party. And he is unable to make himself acceptable. And in fact he keeps making it worse.

Requiring people to have health insurance is "conservative," GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney told MSNBC on Wednesday, but only if states do it.

...

"Personal responsibility," Romney said, "is more conservative in my view than something being given out for free by government."

"There were two options in my state," he said. "One was to continue to allow people without insurance to go to the hospital and get free care, paid for by the government, paid for by taxpayers."

"The best idea is to let each state craft their own solution because that's, after all, the heart of conservatism: to follow the Constitution," he said.

The guy is throwing away the presidency because he can't say "I erred."

Romney has the makings of an argument here, but I've never heard him make it.

He can claim (and I think this is true, or true enough for politics, leastaways) that Massachusetts already had a heavily subsidized/socialist-leaning health care system, with lots of taxpayer money diverted to pay for the indigent's health care.

He can attempt to distinguish himself from Obama by claiming that in Massachusetts, where socialized medicine already existed, prior to his governorship, that his plan pushed the state's health care to the right from its initial left position.

And he can go on to say that given that America, the nation, does not have a socialized health care model as an, ahem, pre-existing condition (oooh, you can use that, Mitt, gratis), Obama's effort pushed health care in the wrong direction, to the left, away from personal responsibility, away from personal ownership and private contract, towards government takeover.

A doctor must treat his patient as he finds him, after all. He cannot tell a man dying of lung cancer to go back in time and stop smoking 30 years ago.

He can make the case that RomneyCare was an attempt to push the heavily-socialized and therefore dysfunctional health care system of Massachusetts to a slightly more responsible, "conservative" place, whereas imposing such a system on a nation that still had voluntary health care insurance was anti-conservative.

This isn't a very strong argument, but it's the only one he can make. And I suppose he is sort of implying some of this; he should say it directly.

Because he's not going to win if he keeps insisting that the individual mandate -- which is our best hope of defeating ObamaCare, both in the courts and legislatively -- is a good, proper, "conservative" measure.

To some extent we conservatives have seized on the Individual Mandate opportunistically -- we don't like it, of course, but we don't like much about ObamaCare; this just seems like our bet hope of undoing it all.

Romney is essentially telling us, then, "Give up on fighting ObamaCare, and you can then have me as President."

That's an exchange few of us are willing to make. If the choice is between defeating ObamaCare and getting President Romney... uh, that's not really a choice requiring much thought. You lose.

But he's continuing on and on like this.

Which actually makes me doubt he's really as smart as he's cracked up to be, or as electable as claimed.

If he can't figure this much out -- we want to repeal ObamaCare far, far more than we want President Romney -- then his political instincts are not merely poor, but outright atrocious.

Say what you will about Perry, but this belief of Romney's -- that the party will give up its best weapon against ObamaCare just for the dubious benefit of electing Mitt Romney as President -- is far stupider than anything that's come out of Perry's mouth.

"Heartless"? Perry was desperately appealing to emotion when confronted with a tough attack, on the spot. But Romney's had years to see this problem coming and years to formulate a response.

And what he's come up with, thus far, is that "the individual mandate is actually quite conservative."


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posted by Ace at 02:05 PM

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