Mitt Romney urges Republicans not to defund ObamaCare

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, spoke against the push by conservatives in Congress to defund ObamaCare during a fundraiser last night in New Hampshire and fretted about the electoral consequences of a government shutdown:

Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney tonight waded into the debate among Republicans on Capitol Hill over whether to allow a government shutdown to occur if the Affordable Care Act is not defunded as part of the continuing resolution, saying “there are better ways to remove Obamacare.”
“Emotion is understandably at play in Washington among some of our fellow Republicans. I badly want Obamacare to go away, and stripping it of funds has appeal. But we need to exercise great care about any talk of shutting down government,” Romney said at a private fundraiser in Wolfeboro, N.H., according to prepared remarks.

“What would come next when soldiers aren’t paid, when seniors fear for their Medicare and Social Security, and when the FBI is off duty? I’m afraid that in the final analysis, Obamacare would get its funding, our party would suffer in the next elections, and the people of the nation would not be happy,” he said. “I think there are better ways to remove Obamacare. And we should work to replace it with healthcare reforms that actually lower costs and give patients — not government — control over their own healthcare.”

Because if there is anyone who knows to lose an election, it’s Mitt Romney, a caricature of what’s wrong with the Republican Party. What? Too soon?

Ronald Reagan said it best during a 1975 speech to the Young Americans for Freedom. “Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?” he asked. “Let our banner proclaim our belief in a free market as the greatest provider for the people.”

Most in the Republican establishment of the day dismissed Reagan, warning that his view of government would hurt the party. He eventually went onto inspire a country that previously believed its best days were behind them, winning the presidency twice in electoral landslides and implemented policies that created economic growth.

While the merits of a showdown over ObamaCare are worth discussing, Republicans haven’t shown a lot in terms of bold moves to offer a distinction between their agenda and that of President Obama and Democrats. Sure, they’ve held repeal votes on ObamaCare, but those are for show, something to use against vulnerable Democrats in 2014.

Republicans should be cautious before they take their cues from the architect of ObamaCare. Romney lacked both the ability to inspire Americans, mainly because he was insulting a large chunk of them, and the courageousness to offer them a bold agenda.

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