Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Obama Did It

I apologize for writing about health care again. I promise I will turn my sights to something different for a while. But the following post from Ben Smith so evidently shows the absolute, mindless, craven, delusional hypocrisy that consumes the modern conservative movement.
Marco Rubio just announced a staff led by Mitt Romney's former policy director, Sally Canfield, and a reader sends over Canfield's spirited November, 2007 defense of Romneycare -- which now reads like a relic of a forgotten Republican era:

It should be a shock to no one who believes in deregulation and individual choice that premiums are falling as competition is introduced into the health care market. As a result, today, in Massachusetts, residents can obtain comprehensive, quality health care insurance for as little as $175 a month.

In bringing free-market forces to Massachusetts, Governor Romney has won the praise of conservative organizations. One of the primary supporters of the Massachusetts plan was the Heritage Foundation. They have said, "Those who want to create a consumer-based health system and deregulate health insurance should view Romney's plan as one of the most promising strategies out there." The Club for Growth stated that "Governor Romney deserves credit for proposing a plan that encourages individually-owned health insurance…"
There is one reason why Republicans now consider a plan with an individual mandate a "government takeover of the health care industry." The answer can be summed up in three words: Obama did it. 

Remember the comment from the Club for Growth's vice president for government affairs this summer? He stated unequivocally that Romney's plan is not conservative. Of course, the recent comment came after 'Obama did it.' I have already posted at length about the Heritage Foundation's mind-boggling hypocrisy. They are the ones who developed the basics of Obamacare/Romneycare. Now they are against their creation. Why? Because Obama supports those ideas.

And then you can point to former supporters of Romney as well. Rick Santorum just cited Romneycare as a reason why Republicans should look elsewhere in 2012. Of course, Santorum didn't mind Romneycare in 2008 when he supported Mitt Romney for president. What happened between then and now that made Romneycare so corrosive?

Obama did it.

In 2007, Jim DeMint was anxious for the Bush administration to push a health care plan that was based off of Romneycare. At the time, DeMint supported Romney for president. Now DeMint seems to be keeping his distance from Romney. In September, he said he wanted to see who else "would step up to the plate." Has Romney done anything since 2008 to warrant DeMint's chilly approval? No, but Obama has.

The reason why so many conservative leaders secretly admire Romneycare, but then outwardly put on a frowny face is because these leaders are mob driven, instead of policy driven. There are reasons to hesitate on the individual mandate, but no policy prescription is perfect. And to date, the individual mandate and health care connector remain the best options for spreading out high risk costs and thus lowering premiums. They also, despite some sudden amnesia, remain free market positions, created and championed by conservatives for more than a decade.

That is, of course, until Obama did it.


David said...

Hi Pablo,

Excellent post.

I think with DeMint, he feels Romney has not committed yet so why make any announcement.

He does mention Romney most of the time in interviews as being on top of his list.

Bosman has a video of DeMint back in 2008 praising Romney and MA Health Care and you're correct, Nothing has changed other than the Tea Party movement.

My guess is that once Romney announces his candidacy, DeMint will support him again and begin to point the better qualities of the original Romneycare that he liked. But more than likely, will focus on Romney's Business and Turn around expertise (Staples, Dominos, etc).

Why show your cards if you're still in the game?

Doug NYC GOP said...

Pablo - Good Post.

You raise many good points and it will be interesting to see how the new GOP Congress tackles this issue -- as well as some of the other 2012 potentials. many want to throw this thing out, but they need to have some reform plans, as this issue won't just go away with repeal.

Pablo said...

Another issue to deal with --- The CBO has already stated that Obamacare will shave off $100 billion from the deficit in the next ten years, and much more in the period after the ten years. So if Republicans are going to repeal it, will they ask the CBO to crunch the numbers, thus telling the public that repealing Obamacare will put that $100 billion back on the deficit? Probably not.

Ezra Klein points out that Republican hopes of repealing Obamacare hinge on keeping the public ignorant about the deficit and the health care bill. As long as the public thinks that Obamacare will put us more in debt, they will be against it.

Anonymous said...

Good article Pablo. I know that the general mood is that mandates are bad, and so we can expect our politicians to pander and reflect that, but isn't the point that they are fighting a national mandate, whereas Romnney led a state experiment? Isn't the mandate constitutional at the state level? Could the republicans be considered consistent if they were just discussing Obamacare's mandates, a national, and therefore possibly unconstitutional solution?


Pablo said...


A national mandate may be unconstitutional. We will have to let the courts decide on that. And there are philosophical differences between doing things at the national level and doing things at the state level. But from a policy standpoint, it doesn't make sense for anyone to argue that Obamacare is socialism and Romneycare is good. They both have the individual mandate and health care connector. There are other minor differences, but the basics are the same.

Those who are against Romneycare, are against it because it is similar to Obamacare. And most of those who are now against Romneycare, were not against it when it was first enacted or when Republicans were opposing Hillarycare in the early 90s.

Pablo said...

David Frum is copying my work.

Actually, he posted this one hour before I did, but I swear I did see until just now.

Pablo said...

I didn't see it until now... Lol

BOSMAN said...

I like the mandate in Massachusetts, because it stopped the freeloading. If I LIVED in another state other than MA, and they had a freeloader problem, I'd be for it there as well. But I DON'T, so I'm not for it outside of my state.

Anonymous said...

With insurance, one gives up certain amount of privacy and so when you can afford not to have insurance and prefer to pay as you go, one can keep the prying insurance industry out of one's personal affairs.

For this reason and to preserve individual liberty, Romney preferred an option to show good faith in paying one's medical bills as an alternative to insurance. The good faith effort would take the form of a security bond of some sort. Too bad the Massachussetts liberals shot down this idea. I rather liked it.