Mitt Romney

Romney’s defense of health care law slammed

The hits keep on coming against Mitt Romney. Despite presenting the case for the health care law he pushed while Governor of Massachusetts against criticism, most observers remain unmoved.

While lementing that it’s Romney’s “turn,” Mark Steyn notes how damaging this health care proposal is to his prospects in the fall of 2012:

Unfortunately for [Romney], his signature legislation in Massachusetts looks awfully like a pilot program for Obamacare. So in recent days, he’s been out yet again defending his record: If I understand him correctly, his argument is that the salient point about Romneycare and Obamacare is not that they’re both disasters, but that one’s local and the other’s national, and that Obama has a one-disaster-fits-all approach to health care whereas Romney believes in letting a thousand disasters bloom. Celebrate diversity!
American conservatives’ problem with Romneycare is the same as with Obamacare — that, if the government (whether state or federal) can compel you to make arrangements for the care of your body parts that meet the approval of state commissars, then the Constitution is dead. And Americans might as well shred the thing and scatter it as confetti over Prince William and his lovely bride, along with an accompanying note saying, “Come back. It was all a ghastly mistake.” For if conceding jurisdiction over your lungs and kidneys and bladder does not make you a subject rather than a citizen, what does?

I doubt Romney thought about it in such terms. In 2006, he was not a philosophical conservative. Like Donald Trump today, he sold himself as a successful business guy, a problem solver who knew how to make things happen. So he made things happen. And, as a result, he made things worse. How does that happen?

Romney offers a poor defense of health care record

Nearly four years ago, during the height of the last fight for the Republican nomination for president, Mitt Romney gave a speech about religion, which was seen as an attempt to play down his Mormon faith to skeptical socially conservative voters. He received decent reviews from the right. And though he didn’t win the Republican nomination, the issue of religion seemed to be less of a factor from that point forward; though it should never have been an issue at all. But it looks like his magic of taking an issue head on in hopes of making it disappear won’t happen when it comes to RomneyCare.

Yesterday, Mitt Romney offered a defense of the health care plan he was able to push through the legislature as Governor of Massachusetts essentially by defending ObamaCare. Over at Reason, Peter Suderman writes:

[Y]ou know what Mitt Romney loves? RomneyCare—the suspiciously-similar-to-ObamaCare health care overhaul he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts—and, in particular, its individual mandate to purchase health insurance. No, he said, it’s not a perfect system, but compared to ObamaCare’s “government takeover,” RomneyCare is a “more modest proposal,” and he remains proud of it: “I in fact did what I thought was right for the people of my state,” he said.

Mitt Romney backed the individual mandate at the federal level in 1994

“Mr. Romney could push someone out of an airplane and blame the ground for killing him.” - Wall Street Journal

While Mitt Romney is pushing his plans to repeal ObamaCare - a goal I hope we see attained - in USA Today, more information showing a desire to bring the individual mandate to the national level is coming to the surface. Via Dave Weigel comes this quote from 1994:

The question about Romney is where he would stand in Congress’s internecine battles. Would he side with Republicans such as John Chafee who have tried to develop constructive alternatives to Democratic legislation or with Republicans such as Phil Gramm and Newt Gingrich who have been willing to paralyze Congress for the sake of embarrassing the Clinton administration? Romney has indicated that he would side with the moderate wing. He endorsed the crime bill and refused to back Gingrich’s jejune “Contract with America.” He told me he would have backed Chafee’s health care bill. “I’m willing to vote for things that I am not wild with,” he said.

I realize Romney does well in polls, generally in the top two or three, and that he is the choice of many “business” types. However, his inconsistencies are essentially drowning his credibility on health care, which will be one of the bigger issues the eventual Republican nominee with have to deal with in a general election against President Barack Obama.

Latest polling shows Trump on the decline (not that we’re complaining)

Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm based in North Carolina, brings us the latest numbers in the Republican presidential primary, which show that the attention Donald Trump received over the birther issue was short-lived.

  • Mike Huckabee: 19%
  • Mitt Romney: 18%
  • Newt Gingrich: 13%
  • Sarah Palin: 12%
  • Ron Paul: 8%
  • Donald Trump: 8%
  • Michele Bachmann: 7%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 5%
  • Other/Undecided: 11%

But if Trump opts not to run, which is likely considering how dumb he has looked in the last two weeks, here is how the field looks:

  • Mitt Romney: 21%
  • Mike Huckabee: 20%
  • Newt Gingrich: 15%
  • Sarah Palin: 14%
  • Ron Paul: 8%
  • Michele Bachmann: 7%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 6%
  • Other/Undecided: 9%

Tax Hike Mike and Sarah Palin have not announced plans to run at this point. It’s unlikely Palin will since she hasn’t made any sort of move showing a national organization or setting up potential campaign structures in early primary states. But the tax hike-loving former Governor of Arkansas is rumored to still be considering a bid.

Doubling down on RomneyCare

Tomorrow, Mitt Romney will make what is being billed as a “major” speech on health care, laying out plans to repeal ObamaCare. Apparently, Romney will also stand by the reforms enacted while he served as Governor of Massachusetts:

Former Massachusetts Governor and likely Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will outline his approach to health care reform in Michigan Thursday, announcing a plan to “repeal and replace” the law that Democrats enacted last year.

As governor in 2006, Romney signed Massachusetts’ bipartisan health reform law. It required everyone in the state to obtain health insurance and became a model for the controversial law that national Democrats enacted for the entire country in 2010.

The speech Thursday at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center will focus on “rolling out his plan to repeal and replace” the national health care law, according to one senior aide.

Romney’s greatest hurdle as a Republican presidential candidate will be squaring his status as the father of health reform in Massachusetts with the near-unanimous opposition the national law faces among Republicans.

A Romney adviser tells ABC News that he will address his own record on health care reform but that it won’t be a major focus of his speech.  While Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has apologized for his past support for legislation to enact a “Cap and Trade” system to cut down on carbon emissions, calling it a “clunker”, don’t expect Romney to do the same on health care reform. Look for Romney to continue his federalism defense: the plan he enacted was right for Massachusetts, but not for the entire country.

GOP presidential candidates to debate tonight

Republican vying for the their party’s nomination in 2012 will square off for the first tonight in Greenville, South Carolina at the Peace Center. The debate will carried live by Fox News, which is a sponsor, beginning at 9pm.

The debate will feature:

  • Herman Cain
  • Gov. Gary Johnson
  • Rep. Ron Paul
  • Gov. Tim Pawlenty
  • Sen. Rick Santorum

Noticably absent is Mitt Romney, who declined an invitation to attend even though he recently launched his exploratory committee and attended a presidential summit hosted by Americans for Prosperity last Friday. Rep. Michele Bachmann is also absent; who, like Romney, attended the AFP summit. Others note the absence of Sarah Palin and Tax Hike Mike Huckabee, but neither have begun putting a campaign team together.

Speaker Newt Gingrich is expected to announce his campaign any day now, but won’t participate in this debate either.

Just so you can get an idea of the themes for this cycle, here is video the recent AFP summit:

RomneyCare five years later

In an excellent article at Forbes, Sally Pipes explains why Mitt Romney’s health care experiment in Massachusetts has been a disaster; and why it offers a preview of things to come after passage of ObamaCare:

Earlier this month, the landmark Massachusetts health care reform law turned five years old. Democrats were quick to applaud the anniversary, as the Bay State law is the model for the federal health care reform package that passed last year.

The anniversary has proved especially inconvenient for former Massachusetts Governor and probable Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who argued forcefully for his state’s reforms. In 2006 he boldly stated, “Every uninsured citizen in Massachusetts will soon have affordable health insurance and the cost of health care will be reduced.”

Five years later, that prediction has proved false. Worse, the Massachusetts experiment offers an ominous preview of what lies ahead for the rest of the nation under ObamaCare.

When signing the bill into law, Romney claimed that it would “take about three years to get all of our citizens insured.” In 2006 the number of uninsured in Massachusetts ranged from 372,000 to 618,000. Five years later, over 100,000 remain uninsured.

So more Bay Staters do have insurance. But that doesn’t mean they’ve been able to get care.

The Massachusetts Medical Society found that 56% of physicians are not taking on new patients. Wait times for appointments are climbing. Just two years after reform took root, one clinic in Western Massachusetts had amassed a waiting list of 1,600 patients.

CNN: GOP field essentially sucks

CNN reports that less than 50% of Republican voters are less than thrilled with their potential candidates for 2012, which is hardly surprising.  Conversations with Republican voters have revealed the same thing to me.  This could be a potential problem come November of that year, but there’s a possibility that there’s a silver lining for libertarians.

You see, the lack of a true front runner means that there are a lot of votes still out there.  Without a candidate to rally behind, Republicans can take a look at the field with a more open mind.  In a GOP that is starting to see benefits from a Tea Party movement that often shuns social issues, instead focusing on fiscal matters.

The door is open, at least for the time being.  However, it’s essential that libertarian leaning candidates to make the most of it.  They will need to make their cases clearly and coherently, but also understand that winning elections means not just using statistics, but emotions.  Far to many people vote with their hearts, not their heads.  However, that’s grounds for another post at another time.

For now, let’s take a look at the pathetic field the GOP has so far and it’s less than inspiring.  Donald Trump is the only one I want to last the whole way, and that’s purely for entertainment value, not any real grasp of policy.  After all, the man who believes Obama wasn’t born in this country thinks that there might be a right to privacy.  Might.  Let’s look at the rest of the field.

Sarah Palin -  Enough said.

Mike Huckabee -  Oh yeah.  Raise my taxes.  Please.  What I really want is socialism with a religious flare instead of Obama’s socialism with a populist flare.

Mitt Romney -  Well, we already have ObamaCare, so his worst screw up in Massachusetts won’t be replicated.

Newt Gingrich -  See Sarah Palin

Mitt Romney announces exploratory committee

Yesterday, Mitt Romney announced the launch of his exploratory committee for the Republican presidential nomination with this video posted on YouTube:

This isn’t a surprise. Romney is considered by many to be one of the frontrunner for the nomination. But his announcement came on the day that Democrats and conservative/libertarian critics were taking note of the fifth anniversary of the fifth anniversary of RomneyCare, the 2006 health care legislation that he pushed and signed into law.

As David Boaz and Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute point out, RomneyCare is awfully similar to ObamaCare, and they wonder how Republicans can be serious about nominating him:

GOP Presidential debate pushed back

Due to the lack of candidate annoucing early for the next presidential election cycle, a debate sponsored by NBC and Politico that was originally planned for early May at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library has been pushed back to September 14th:

The first GOP presidential primary debate of the cycle has been pushed back from May to September.

The Ronald Reagan Foundation announced Wednesday that the debate will take place on Sept. 14.

The decision was made due to the lack of candidates who have taken tangible steps toward running for president. In addition, hardly any candidates had committed to attending the debate.

“Although there will be a long and impressive list of Republican candidates who eventually take the field, too few have made the commitment thus far for a debate to be worthwhile in early May,” John Heubusch, the Reagan Foundation’s executive director, said in a statement, according to NBC. “The Reagan Foundation’s first Republican presidential primary debate will move to the fall, allowing enough time for the full slate of candidates to participate.”

You can’t have a debate without candidates. Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain have formed exploratory committees. Gary Johnson is expected to formally announce his campaign next month (he’ll skip the exploratory phase). Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Tax Hike Mike Huckabee, Haley Barbour and others have played coy about their plans for 2012.

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