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January 30, 2012

Newt on ObamaCare, May 2009

"We believe that there should be must-carry, that is, that everyone should have health insurance, or, if you're an absolute libertarian, we would allow you to post a bond."

Note that he's speaking about "must carry" -- the individual mandate -- in a federal bill.

He ties this into the end of the pre-existing conditions clause. He says that if the law says everyone is must-carry, then insurers can be mandated to be must-issue (that is, if everyone's mandated to carry insurance, insurers don't have to worry about gaming the system, and can be mandated to issue a policy to anyone who asks, minus the pre-existing condition clause).

That sounds like it kinda-sorta makes sense, but...

As I've said, there has been a sea change in conservative opinion in just the past few years. The Tea Party was an enormous change in thinking, but before that, a proto Tea Party emerged to defeat Comprehensive Immigration Reform. What was billed as "conservative" five years ago is defined as anti-conservative now.

And that's fine. Movements change, they clarify.

But there it's an ahistorical vanity to punish a politician over-much for subscribing to conservative doctrine as he understood it at the time. Much of what is "conservative" now was, until three or four years ago, "libertarian" or "paleoconservative" or just plain "radical."

That said, this gets at my objection to claims that Gingrich is deeply conservative. Many of his policy responses remain in the category of "agreeing broadly with the goals of the liberal welfare state, but proposing that those goals be satisfied by ostensibly pro-business mechanisms or market-disciplined widgets."

That's not the worst policy impulse I can imagine, but that's very far from the "revolutionary" posture he's now assuming, and which his supporters are claiming on his behalf.

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posted by Ace at 11:04 AM

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