Romney Can’t Keep Running From Romneycare

April 11th, 2011 at 4:41 pm David Frum | 36 Comments |

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Mitt Romney’s announcement video leads with jobs. Good. It cites Romney’s real world business experience. Good.

It treats his healthcare plan as an embarrassing incident best left unmentioned. Good try.

Masscare was Romney’s signature achievement as an elected official. If it was a mistake, it’s very hard to explain why its author – as opposed to any of a thousand other successful business leaders – should be president. It’s not as if there is a vast repertoire of other governing accomplishments that could compensate for the putative error of this one.

And if Romney believes that Masscare was not a mistake, he’d better defend it. After all, his party critics and opponents will not refrain from attacking it.

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36 Comments so far ↓

  • Saladdin

    Romney defend healthcare? Please. Plastic man will pander, pander, pander until the cows come home. It would be great if Mitt actually stood for a principle instead of slogans (no apologies, really?)

    • Carney

      “No apologies” is a nice encapsulation of Romney’s positive view of America. While Obama was touring the world apologizing for our nation and reinforcing the narrative that we are a bully and villain, patriotic people at home seethed, Romney among them. When Romney denounces such anti-Americanism, he speaks for me and millions of others.

      And if Romney were such an inveterate panderer, explain this: “There are some for whom these commitments are not enough. They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it is more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts. That I will not do. I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers – I will be true to them and to my beliefs. Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it.”

      • ottovbvs

        “No apologies” is a nice encapsulation of Romney’s positive view of America. While Obama was touring the world apologizing for our nation and reinforcing the narrative that we are a bully and villain, patriotic people at home seethed,

        Spare us the nonsensical rants against Obama Carney. Romney is the flip flopper par excellence. He should be proud of Romneycare, it’s his signal political achievement, and he has deny it in order to pander the the far right fundies in the GOP and it’s going to win him no brownie points.

        If he’d any sense he’d embrace and go for broke but he won’t because he’s obviously a political coward. And your suggestion that he’s being heroic in fessing up to being mormon. What option did he have since he’s a leading member of the mormom community? Denhying it would like Obama saying I’m a whitey. Honestly you are hilarious at times

        • Carney

          otto, I agree he should go for broke on his health care achievement. As for calling a man a coward, it’s easy for you to say. Political careers are easily broken in this 24/7 cable, attack ad, YouTube era. Darwinian process weeds out the reckless.

          Given the enormous stakes, he is in general wise to be cautious and measured in his statements. When Obama does it he is praised for having a cool temperament.

  • Carney

    I agree with Frum. Romney’s caution and “don’t blow it” instincts are commendable generally, but he needs to define or re-define his health care efforts.

    • ottovbvs

      “don’t blow it” instincts are commendable generally

      Er you mean his pandering?

  • Frumplestiltskin

    Carney, do you really think his not disavowing his own religion constitutes as not Pandering? Talk about setting the bar low. All politicians pander to some degree, it is his flip flopping that is so disgraceful. He was for gay marriage, now he is against it, for Romneycare, now he is against it.
    Outside of his ambition to be President I have no clue what kind of President he would be.
    His flip flopping is so brazen there is actually a website dedicated to it:

    ‘It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam.’ [1]
    ‘I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there.’

  • Frumplestiltskin

    Here are some more ‘I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.’ [1]
    ‘I did not see it with my own eyes.’ [2]

    ‘When I first heard of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, I thought it sounded awfully silly.’ [1]
    ”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has worked well.’ [2]

    ‘Based on the numbers of American Muslims… I cannot see that a cabinet position would be justified.’ [1]
    ‘A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith.’ [2]

    ‘Roe v. Wade has gone too far.’ [1]
    ‘I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it.’ [2]

    ‘I’ve been a hunter pretty much all my life.’ [1]
    ‘Any description of my being a hunter is an overstatement of capability.’ [2]

    ‘I supported the assault weapon ban.’ [1]
    ‘I don’t support any gun control legislation.’ [2]

    As I said, when a website can dedicate itself to his flipflopping you know that the man is utterly a phony. The sheer volume makes it seem pathological

    • Carney

      The web and YouTube make such games easy to play on anyone.

      • ottovbvs

        The web and YouTube make such games easy to play on anyone.

        Yeah the web. Where would we be without it. It’s not a game, it’s a fact that you obviously are in deep denial about. This is not just the odd incident, it’s a pattern of lying, distortion and pandering. A lot of it is hilarious like many of your comments on various subjects. Is being funny a requirement for being a member of the Romney fan club?

  • Scott Johnston

    He’s got one chance to get over Romneycare:

    1. say “we tried, but it was a mistake”
    2. say that states are where policies like this should be made, even if they’re not executed right – one size fits all is never a solution

    He never gets nominated if he doesn’t do #1. #2 can spin it into something positive, states rights.

    • Carney

      No, #1 is wrong substantively as well as politically. He’s already tagged as a “flip flopper” – he cannot do it again, and especially not on his health care plan.

    • ottovbvs

      one size fits all is never a solution

      Really? We should have 50 navies, choose which side of the road we drive on, 50 different currencies, one could go on

      E Pluribus Unum ?

  • Frumplestiltskin

    “Frumple, JFK all but did so in Houston.” Carney, that is a lie.
    From the Catholic world report I read that:
    JFK had vetted the Houston speech with Jesuit theologian John Courtney Murray, a leading American Catholic intellectual and chief architect of the Second Vatican Council’s landmark affirmation of religious freedom, now Murray did not completely agree with everything said, the fact that Kennedy went through the church showed he made an honest effort to get their opinion.

    Kennedy believed in God and attended Mass regularly, but he was more attracted to the American ideal of the independent, self-made man than the Catholic ideal of the humble, obedient servant of God. As Lawrence Fuchs wrote in his book, John F. Kennedy and American Catholicism many of Kennedy’s favorite writers had been zealous anti-Catholics and one of his favorite poems, William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus,” reads more like an agnostic manifesto than a Christian one. In the poem, Henley thanks “whatever gods may be, for my unconquerable soul,” and concludes with these lines: “It matters not how straight the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.

    Do you doubt Kennedy’s speech accurately reflected his own beliefs?

    Romney is a devoted Mormon (for whatever inexplicable reason as the religion, sad to say, was founded by a pure charlatan) do you really think Kennedy was a devoted Catholic?

    • StarSpangledSpanner

      A man who believes in the Mormon faith and it’s magic beginnings and ceremonies is not really fit to be President of the USA. It shows that he can believe utter twaddle.

      You would have to question both his soundness of mind and commitment to the country.

    • Carney

      Frumple, Kennedy basically disavowed and disowned Catholicism. Saying that he would have an absolute separation and never let his views or values influence his public policy decisions. It was a complete sellout, maybe necessary in an anti-Catholic era, but a sellout just the same.

      • SFTor1

        Carney, you have got to get a grip.

        He said that he is an American first, a Catholic second. You call that a sellout?

        Anyone who cannot put their fate in its proper place should run for election in Afghanistan, and not here.

  • think4yourself

    I say give the man a chance to make his case. Has he changed his position? Yep, lot’s of times. I guess that makes him a politican.

    Let’s say you’re really a moderate Republican who wants to be President. You believe that your experience as a business leader, Governor and all around good guy makes you qualified to serve and that you can make a difference for America (and you’re personally ambitious). The reality is that you’re probably not much different from the current office holder – he is center left and you’re center right. When Governor of a mostly liberal state, you took positions that were generally Left of what you believed in order to get things done. The problem is, as a Republican the nominating process takes you through the extreme Right and the rise of the Tea Party complicates that. So you must take positions that are generally Right of what you believe in, just for the chance to win the nomination. Then you want to show America who you really are – but whom do they believe? The Governor of Mass, or the red meat Primary winner?

    Life’s a Bitch when you have ambition.

    • think4yourself

      I’ll add. I think the moderate candidates have the best shot (I think all of them are a long shot in 2012). Romney, Huntsman, Pawlenty, Daniels are the best general candidates (okay, maybe only my wishfull thinking to have grown ups in an election). Can either of these guys win the primary? Who knows – maybe it’s Bachmann or Gingrich. In fact maybe that’s the GOP ticket (notice I had Bachmann first, I don’t see her playing second fiddle to anyone, if asked to be VP I think she would just become an independent candidate.

      • Saladdin

        Think, I agree. But what I expected was a pro-business political pragmatist, like the WSJ used to be. Now he’s the WSJ redux after Murdoch bought it. I don’t know what to think of Mitt, honestly. What’s the saying in Michigan? “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes.” Either that, or he tends to come off as superficial and akin to the 13th century french revolutionary. “Tell me what my people think so I can lead them.”

        • Bunker555

          ^+1 Saladdin

          The WSJ used to be a great newspaper. My friends now call it The Wall Street Urinal or FauxNews+

  • Watusie

    Romney has a well-documented history as a job-destroying, asset-stripping corporate raider who abuses off-shore tax havens. It won’t come up in the primaries becasue your modern Republican doesn’t necessarily think those are bad things. However, if he is the nominee he is absolutely going to get the bark stripped off him in the general.

  • Reactionary

    I’d say Romney is playing this just right. No one gets elected president without dissembling, and from what I have seen Romney has a long way to go before he gets as good at it as Barack Obama.

    If I were Romney, I would just say this:

    Reporter: Governor Romney, extreme voices in your own party are saying RomneyCare was a mistake. Do you agree?

    Romney: I am very proud of what we accomplished in Massachusetts, and I am both honored and humbled when I hear it described as RomneyCare. It was my signature accomplishment during my term. However, you need to remember it was a plan designed to meet the needs of the people of Massachusetts. It was never intended to be a model for the whole country. Next question.

    • ottovbvs

      However, you need to remember it was a plan designed to meet the needs of the people of Massachusetts. It was never intended to be a model for the whole country. Next question.

      So Mr Romney what’s different about the people of MA? Are they the only people in the country with health problems?

  • TerryF98

    Romney’s launch is turning into a bit of a joke.

    He steals Kerry’s slogan from a loosing campaign and his logo is a poor ripoff of a toothpaste advert!

    9 out of 10 dentists recommend OMNEY. It has the ADA Seal of Approval!

    Who the hell is Omney? Whoever selected this logo deserves the sack.
    Romney/Omney ’12

    H/T Wonkette.

    • Carney

      Pretty funny.

      I prefer his logo from last time around (still have the bumper sticker).

      But if you’re going to nitpick learn the difference between “lose” and “loose” OK?

      And I thought Kerry’s slogan was “A Stronger America”…

  • StarSpangledSpanner

    Didn’t Romney once strap his Irish Setter dog to the roof rack of his car and drive with the family from Boston to Ontario? What sort of person does that!

    • Carney

      For the record, the dog was in a dog carrier, not exposed, and they had a windbreak up to protect the dog from buffeting, and the dog loved it (all dogs love to stick their heads out for example).

      Anyway, it’s the ONE remotely odd or colorful thing this earnest whitebread straight-arrow has done in his whole life.

  • Bunker555

    Romney comes across smelling like roses when you stack him up against a lying, thieving former Speaker or a know nothing half-Governor.

  • Telly Davidson

    I’m especially avid to see how Romney handles RomneyCare once Anthony Kennedy has his judicial finger on the on/off switch to its respirator — which he probably will by the time 2012 is really under way.

    I must say, though, from cursory inspection of this thread, I’m slightly surprised to see Otto taking such a hard line on Romney’s flip-floppery. I seem to remember another thread where he touted a ruling-class politician’s “right” to have double, even hypocritical standards, and even referenced a book on the ‘uses’ of political hypocrisy. (E.g., it being OK for Al Gore to tell the proletarians they must cut back for a cleaner environment, while he himself drives block-long luxury cars to his 8-bed, 5-bath , probably-army-of-servants palace in Oprah’s ‘hood above the ocean.) Doesn’t Romney deserve the same ‘professional courtesy’ of being a hypocrite, as long as he campaigns for the ‘right’ things in his public life?

  • nuser

    ” Fagin renounce your faith and I will spare your life.”
    ” Fagin: Oh , Sir I couldn’t do that.” He was hung.
    Fagin rose to the occasion , why can’t Romney.He did well with the Healthcare.