When Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney delivers his health care speech today, the question on everyone’s mind will be whether and how he will try to square his support for repealing President Obama’s government takeover of health care with the fact that he imposed an identical government takeover on Massachusetts when he was that state’s governor in 2006. The answer is: he can’t.
Romney bears as much responsibility for ObamaCare as any Democrat, and all the Republican health policy boilerplate in the world won’t change that fact. The Washington Post has unearthed an interview where Romney fantasized about “a nation that’s taken a mandate approach.” If “Mandate Mitt” once again clings to his untenable position that RomneyCare is good but ObamaCare is bad, he will reinforce the perception that he has no principles and will say anything to get elected. But admitting that RomneyCare was a mistake would also reinforce that perception -- he was for RomneyCare, before he was against it.
If Mandate Mitt finally chooses the latter course, he will finally make the below video moot. So, I’ll post it in the hope that this will be my last opportunity to do so:
If Republicans pick Romney as their standard-bearer, they will be choosing someone who, as the Wall Street Journal editorializes, is either a leftist on health care, too clueless to realize the Left played him for a fool, or so unprincipled that he doesn’t care. The Obama campaign would like nothing more. The attack ads write themselves. Romney would become a laughingstock -- if he isn’t already -- and would drag the ObamaCare-repeal effort down with him.
If Romney really wants to repeal ObamaCare, here is the best that a man in his compromised position can do. First, don’t just apologize. Explain why RomneyCare was a mistake: it relies on government planning to allocate health care resources, which will make health care more costly and scarce. Second: encourage the state officials whose campaigns he is supporting not to create any type of health insurance Exchange -- neither the kind he created in Massachusetts, nor the kind Gov. Jim Huntsman (R) created in Utah -- because creating any Exchange is a vote to preserve ObamaCare. Third, announce that instead of running for president, he will run for governor of Massachusetts on a “repeal RomneyCare” platform. He’s just the man to do it.