The Romney We Need

September 12th, 2011 at 11:48 pm David Frum | 91 Comments |

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Mitt Romney arrived loaded for bear this evening, pointing out, for example, that Rick Perry’s Texas created jobs at barely 1/3 the rate of Anne Richards’ Texas.

On Social Security, Romney battered Rick Perry’s call to have a debate about Social Security … some time in the far, far future, in a galaxy far, far away.

Rick Perry was reduced to his now familiar babbling incoherence, promising not to take away a program he has condemned as unconstitutional. Mitt Romney caught, diced and spliced Gov. Perry in deceitful misquotation.

All in all – a good night for Romney, a bad night for Perry.

But there was something else I’d have liked to have seen. When Perry attacked Romney for his Massachusetts health plan, I’d have liked to hear Romney speak for himself, rather than side-step, and say something like this:

I oppose President Obama’s attempt to build a permanently bigger government funded by permanently higher taxes.

But I don’t believe that freedom requires that we let the sick go uncared for. ‘No government’ is not the appropriate response to big government.

In Massachusetts, we required all citizens to buy health coverage, with government assistance for those who needed it. It’s the same principle that inspires Republicans to favor charter schools as a way to educate all our kids. Or to support personal accounts in Social Security. We want basic insurance for everybody – but we rely on on free enterprise to provide the product and we allow individuals to select from a menu of choices.

We covered everybody, unlike Texas, which leaves 1 in 4 of its citizens uninsured. Maybe that’s why Massachusetts has the best infant mortality rate in the nation.

That’s not to say we did everything right. The program in Massachusetts is not doing a very good job controlling costs. That’s a problem to correct – which is exactly why it’s so important to experiment at the state level rather than impose central solutions from Washington. It’s easier to adapt and improve closer to the people.

But look – leaving people without coverage also has its costs. The National Academies of Science report that uninsured people get sicker. They die earlier. People uninsured in childhood children do worse throughout their lives.

That’s not acceptable to me. It shouldn’t be acceptable to you. If anyone on this stage should be apologizing for his healthcare record, it’s the governor of Texas.

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91 Comments so far ↓

  • mannie

    But he dident say that. Obama would have said something like that. If Romney doesent get the GOP nod, will you vote for Obama, David? By the way, this is my first night here, and I really like the board. Also used to really like your mom.

    • Bulldoglover100

      Who David votes for is his business and simply because he apparently is not willing to be a robotic party like voter due to unelectable candidates does not mean, nor point, to any willingness to vote for Obama.
      I personally do not know who I will vote for in 2012 but I can say this based on educating myself to the facts regarding all candidates on the stage last night…it will NOT be Romney or Perry. Obama will clean Romney’s clock and Rick Perry? would become tongue tied in a debate with someone who is truly educated as to the facts. His pursed lips last night showed his anger at being attacked and he ain’t seen nothing yet! A school yard bully feeding red meat to the uneducated. Ron Paul scares the daylights out of me and the only one who seemed to really understand what is at stake here was Huntsman but I fear he could not beat Obama either.
      David is facing the same dilemma most moderate Republicans are these days…. is there anyone sane and electable in 2012?

      • mannie

        Have you considered the fact you cant find a moderate candidate may be due to the fact that the whole GOP has flipped out, has completely lost their attachment to reality? I think they are suffering from shell shock, as everything they swore by for the last 30 years has blown up in their faces, and to add insult, as the Emperor stands naked, they see supply-side never diid work that great, and always seemed to require the support of heavy borrowing. I think Obama is the only rational choice for a center-right Republican. At least the President has a decent understanding of the issues, and I think the ability to reinvent himself and lead the Democrats in a meaningful reinvention effort.

        • Drosz

          Honestly, I don’t think businesses have responded to an Obama presidency in a manner that we can afford another 4 years. Whether their reaction has been wrong or right, that’s the way it is. Better to have a moderate and competent Romney than Rick Perry. I just don’t trust that guy with the Executive Branch.

        • mannie

          But business dident respond much to GWB either. If you notice, the American trade deficit soared under Bush, and that was in spite of what should have been a stimulative declining dollar.

        • Drosz

          But they were still expanding. The trade deficit is measuring something else.

        • Primrose

          On that theory, America should be a one party system since only the party business likes should be elected?

  • balconesfault

    Mitt Romney arrived loaded for bear this evening, pointing out, for example, that Rick Perry’s Texas created jobs at barely 1/3 the rate of Anne Richards’ Texas.

    Great. So Romney is going to simply go the way of anyone who offers up facts that dispute a deeply embraced right-wing myth.

    The fastest way to becoming irrelevant in any discussion with conservatives these days is to point out that something they all believe is wrong. And offering facts to buttress your assertion simply makes you more suspect.

    For Romney to challenge the myth of Texas’ superior job growth while Perry, with his anti-regulation, corporate friendly, low tax, low social service ideology, has governed the state, is to challenge the basic economic platform of the GOP.

    • think4yourself

      +1 Balcone.

      Frum would like Romney to say that “No Gov’t is not the appropriate response to big government” and to stand up for the mandate in MA. But Romney won’t and can’t if he wants to win the nomination, because the people he is trying to get the nomination from would rather have no gov’t, Federal or State. I didn’t see the debate, but I’m told there was big audience response when Perry suggested that if someone chose to be uninsured we did not have the right to just let them die and the audience thought we ought to just let them die. That’s your GOP primary voter.

    • Banty

      Ron Paul should have put that nail in the coffin by observing that most of Perry’s new jobs are *government* jobs.

      But no one pays attention to him.

      I wish people would. He’s out in left (well, OK, right) field with his doctrinaire libertarianism. But he is the guy that points out all the naked emperors.

  • lizerdmonk

    Frum I hope your right because from the pitch fork crowd they seem to cheer for Perry and all I see is an empty suit who looks like and sounds just like Bush and has nothing to offer other then Texas Swagger and if he is the nominee Obama will win in a landslide.

  • Graychin

    Do you seriously believe that liberals in general, Obama in particular, want “to build a permanently bigger government,” just for it’s own sake? Your fallacy is that you see opponents as your mirror image. Since ANY government expansion violates your dogma, opponents must want the opposite! Logical, eh?

    Not so much, actually. But it probably is a good line for you to be putting in your boy Romney’s mouth. It’ll fire up the base, who aren’t very discerning.

  • Graychin

    You run a campaign with the Romney you have, not the Romney you wish you had. :D

    But Romney is definitely the Wish Fulfillment candidate. At one time or another he is sure to have held a position that you agree with.

    Is an empty suit like Romney with no center really the best that the GOP has? Yes – it appears so.

  • Grace

    Uh, Mr. Frum, did you miss the cheers for the prospect of a 20-something without health insurance dying for lack of intensive care? Mittens was supposed to argue that it should be unacceptable to Americans for a large segment of the population to go without health coverage, to that crowd?? He wasn’t participating in a Dem debate; we’re talkin’ Teanuts here, people who a week ago were cheering a man who executes 200+ people without a moment’s qualm.

    Maybe we should start a pool on what will be cheered next time, to make the debate-watching experience more sporting. Torture? Enslavement of illegals? Indentured servitude for recipients of “free” ER care? Printing the names of women who have abortions in the newspaper? Outlawing Islam?

    Sadly, any of those seem just as likely as anyone expressing that it should be unacceptable for a good portion of Americans to be without health coverage.

    • Elvis Elvisberg

      Yep, this is the point. As Graychin/Rumsfeld said in other contexts, you campaign for the votes of the GOP electorate you have, not the primary electorate you wish you had.

      Romney will say anything to anyone to win the election he’s fighting for at any given moment. He had to run to Ted Kennedy’s left on abortion and gay rights. Now, he’ll run to Perry’s right if that’s what it takes. Say what you will about Romney, but he does love to say things people want to hear. He has been running for president full time for about five years. He is only saying what he thinks he has to say.

      The Republican debate audiences cheer for executions and deaths of uninsured youths. The Republican Party is the bread & circuses vote, minus the bread.

      • Bulldoglover100

        The Tea Party is the party of the Know Nothings from the past. They just kept breeding until they locked down 9% of the population. Thank Goodness that is not enough to win a National Election.

      • Graychin

        Bread and circuses?

        Bread would be “socialism.”

      • Grace

        “Yep, this is the point. As Graychin/Rumsfeld said in other contexts, you campaign for the votes of the GOP electorate you have, not the primary electorate you wish you had.”

        The GOP electorate in the audience at these debates is the most gobsmacking spectacle here. Politicians have pandered since the dawn of time, so it’s not noteworthy that these candidates do so in these debates, but it’s the utterly insane and sociopathic beliefs that have been cultivated in their base that must be pandered to that is the real story this time.

        Jonathan Bernstein muses on the debate audience:

        “At any rate, the GOP keeps spinning farther and farther from the general election median voter every week. And, in many cases, reality — do these folks really believe that the biggest economic problem today is runaway inflation? That Americans are desperate to rid themselves of Social Security? That policies enacted by Barack Obama and the Democrats in 2009 (whatever you think of those policies) caused a recession that began in 2007? That “exceptionalism” is the beginning and end of foreign policy?”

        Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/the-tea-party-debate/2011/09/12/gIQAOxaJOK_blog.html?hpid=z3

    • Primrose

      These are the same people who listen to Beck and Coulter, people who could turn against the families of 911 victims and still pull the patriot card. These people don’t care about other people. They don’t believe in a better society because they think they don’t need it.

      I have to agree with the crowd here, wake up and see what your party has become. I don’t expect you to become a Democrat, but stop towing the party line. Your party is broken.

      • Drosz

        I am definitely not one to defend the Tea Party people, but one must understand where they’re coming from. Above all, these folks believe in personal responsibility; and they take it to the extreme. No matter what the outcome for someone, they should have to take full responsibility for all their fortunes and misfortunes…no matter the outcome.

        The insurance thing is a perfect example. “Guy didn’t buy insurance and died? Well, he should have bought insurance, not my fault!” In their minds, they weren’t cheering the death of someone per se. (Although to you and me it was repulsive.) They were cheering the fact that that person would have to live, or die, with the consequences of his decisions. They don’t care if he died, he should be held accountable for not buying insurance when he should have. They don’t think of someone who can’t afford it, they think of people taking advantage of the system. And to them, that’s simply unacceptable.

        That they don’t think rationally about it, is scary, to say the least. Those of us who don’t like the way the Tea Party has skewed the Party need to stand up and say something. Hopefully there’s still quite a few of us left. I think Frum is on the right track.

        • Primrose

          But they don’t believe in personal responsibility… That’s the great lie.

          When they fail at their job so totally they wreck the economy, they still demand their outsize bonuses. When they fail at defending the country from terrorism, they keep their jobs. When they lose an election, they claim the winner it didn’t count because the winner wasn’t born here. When reality doesn’t support their argument, they say reality is biased.

          Most importantly, when they need help from people, they take it. When other people need help, they are losers who should pull themselves up from their bootstraps. I’ve seen it in my own family. My mother-in-law’s boyfriend had to hide all his assets so his last wife could go in a nursing home on the government’s dime. (So much for responsibility,eh.)Because of this he wouldn’t splurge for health insurance for my mother-in-law (they live together so she wouldn’t be eligible for medicaid.)

          Not unexpectedly, a medical scare puts her bills over the edge, she has to declare bankruptcy. Don’t ask the details. We don’t know. Sitting in the office to declare bankruptcy, she has the temerity to turn her nose up at those sitting around her, telling us later that our laws are too easy since there were people there who’d declared before.

          Though even if all you said was true about them, it still doesn’t forgive them.

          I am not a pacifist, nor a vegetarian. I accept the occasional necessity of war and killing things to eat. I don’t celebrate it. I don’t clap when I see an animal slaughtered. I don’t get all excited because one of our soldiers’ died.

          The idea that one might celebrate the death of a worthy, hardworking, but unlucky, fellow citizen in the prime of their life for any reason is sociopathic —clinically so. Those who do are completely and utterly unable to empathize with their fellow human beings. In real life, this would have been some mother’s darling, possibly some child’s parent, or someone’s sweetheart or spouse.

          It is not excusable.

        • Banty

          A lot of these folks were born on third base and think they hit a triple.

          And your observations on what these folks do in real life, is spot on.

          I have a Tea Party neighbor hassling another neighbor over the extra driveway pad they put in when their four kids (triplets, and a singleton one year older) all hit driving age. They didn’t think about pulling a permit for it when they first set it up, but legalized it with the town later, with a supportive petition from the rest of the neighbors. He’s still up in arms about it. I wonder – - I thought the Tea Party was about individual freedom from unnecessary gub’mint intervention???

        • anniemargret

          That’s the perfect word for it, Primrose….sociopaths.

          They are narcissists and they like narcissists. Now that they ‘got theirs’ to hell with everyone else. And here’s the real kicker….they go to church. Most of them will proclaim loud and clear that they are ‘Christian.”

          I went to Catholic schools for 12 years. Christianity is not turning one’s back on the needy or poor, or ignore the plight of those in trouble. Christianity asks a lot from the individual, because it requires self-sacrifice for the greater good of God’s world .

          They make a mockery out what is true Christianity. Make no mistake…these people, no matter how many times they can quote the Bible, or go to church, they belie the principles of Christ’s teachings.

          And they make me sick….and fill me with dread that our country should now have given birth to such a selfish crowd.

        • Primrose

          Annie Margaret, I do not call myself a christian now but I went to church when we moved to the south and know lots of people who call themselves christians, but only some who seem to honestly strive to be one, and even fewer who actually are.

          All too many people are like Ann Coulter who thinks Christ’s call to care for those in trouble is an ancillary message, overhyped by liberals. It’s all about the salvation. Yet even here, they fall short, Ms. Coulter can say that Christ did this even though we aren’t worthy and then precede to castigate others for being unworthy. If we are “poor sinners all”, then we are all poor sinners. Some sinners are not better than other sinners.

          But they know in their heart of hearts, that Christ did enjoin his followers to care for others because they put so much focus on the Christ that is to come, the avenging christ; Christ the reboot, retooled for a new audience, with all new action sequences.

          It is impossible for me to take these people’s avowals of faith seriously. When they say I don’t respect people of faith. I want to say, sure I do. Show me one.

  • hjmangalam

    How about if he had said some thing like this:

    It’s time for the greatest nation that the world has ever seen to take the next step, that we need to as a great society, add the right of healthcare to the Bill of Rights. I promise that if elected, I will work to create a single-payer healthcare system so that the cost of healthcare is contained, and all citizens are protected by a decent safety net. This is what all first world democracies worthy of the name employ to cover their citizens. This system will not prevent private companies from competing for our healthcare dollars, nor will it prevent private citizens from seeking private healthcare. What it will do is provide preventative and continuing healthcare for our citizens at about half the cost of the current system and further reduce the stress and crippling financial burden that a catastrophic disease or accident can bring to a family. When I leave office, I want nothing less than 100% of our citizens covered by decent healthcare. For did not Jesus say “as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.”?

    Of course, he wouldn’t get elected (not even as Dem), but the epitaph might be more significant than the office. However, the idea of a LBO vulture speaking these words is making me giggle.

  • Mercer

    I think if Romney said what David suggested above he would have been booed by the crowd. Romney did well by saying he is for enforcing the law on immigration after Perry restated his support for in-state tuition for illegals.

    I thought Perry did better this time. The major revelation from the debate came from the vaccine exchange: It takes more than a measly 5000 dollars to bribe Rick Perry. Further debates should establish just what his price is.

  • arvan

    Teabaggers cheer the execution of hundreds of people, they cheer the prospect of a young hard-working man dying for lack of healthcare, they threaten violence against “enemy” politicians…. they are a pack of wild dogs, and represent the greatest threat this country has seen since the Civil War. And these cowards in the Republican Party are terrified of confronting them. They know the pack would turn on them and tear their throat out in a heartbeat.

    If I didn’t live here, I’d almost want to see Republicans back in power, just so that the dogs could suffer and die in squalor and poverty. It’s no more than they deserve. But alas, they would bring kind, honest people down with them, so we all have to fight tooth and nail to ensure that that doesn’t happen. Much like Sodom and Gomorrah, if there’s even one good person who would suffer, then it’s not worth the price. And it’s safe to say there’s at least one decent person, even in the reddest of districts.

  • Rillion

    While David might think Romney had a good night, I believe Perry is continuing to solidify his support among the base of the party. Romney is not going to win the nomination of a party that cheers people being left to die because they don’t buy health insurance. While Perry irritates me, I bet he plays well this those people that have “miss me yet” W bumper stickers and also with those thinking his folksy quips are Reaganesque.

    I was really waiting for someone to ask exactly how much it does take to bribe Rick Perry, or perhaps saying, “Rick, no one thinks you would sell out for $5,000, we all know you prefer to sell out for much more valuable land deals.”

    • balconesfault

      Romney is not going to win the nomination of a party that cheers people being left to die because they don’t buy health insurance.

      Best line of the night.

  • Bunker555

    Unfortunately Romney will not get the time during a debate to rip Perry to shreds. Also, Tea Baggers’ attention spans are as long as their noses. They understand sound bites containing “no taxes”, “no immigrants”, constitutional amendment, ………., ………….

  • Oldskool

    All the years the GOP spent pandering to the baser instincts of people they purposely enraged through their media is on display in this campaign.

    Karma is a pain in the ass sometimes.

    • Bulldoglover100

      Could not agree more Oldschool

      • Graychin

        These faux Christians don’t believe in the pagan doctrine of karma.

        For them: “As you sow, that shall you reap.”

    • Drosz

      Sadly, conservative media created a monster and now the GOP establishment doesn’t know what to do about it. What can they do? Give in? (Perry, Bachmann) Ignore ‘em and talk about shit no one cares about? (Gingrich, Santorum, Paul) Act like you’re a little “off” and lie to ‘em; then do something entirely different while in office? (Bush, and maybe Romney?)

  • hisgirlfriday

    But I don’t believe that freedom requires that we let the sick go uncared for. ‘No government’ is not the appropriate response to big government.

    Anyone who believes this, let alone says it publicly, does not belong in the 2012 Republican Party.

    Compassionate conservatism no longer exists.

    In fact, “compassionate” conservatism only ever existed to the extent that the sociopathic strategists running the Republican Party conceived it was in their self-interest to dump lavish prescription benefits on seniors in exchange for votes and Big Pharma campaign cash.

    These sociopaths have now deduced that being overtly sociopathic and plutocratic is a better vote-getter and campaign fundraiser, so compassion is out this election cycle.

    Sorry you missed the memo, David.

    • Bulldoglover100

      Republican Party conceived it was in their self-interest to dump lavish prescription benefits on seniors in exchange for votes and Big Pharma campaign cash.

      Really? and you think David missed the memo? LOL Have you even bothered to educate your self regarding Medicaid prescription? Apparently not. Lavish? Your comment is a joke right? Even with Medicaid millions of seniors go without their medication needed to survive. Check the facts then comment, gives you a tad more credibility.

  • Jon

    I am just embarrassed there were that many Tea Partiers in Tampa.

    Was shocked they weren’t playing dead in the aisles wearing Confederate regalia.

    • ottovbvs

      It was tea party CNN sponsored event. Taking the long view I’m all for giving these fruitcakes more exposure. Really the country doesn’t realise how crazy they are and because they are essentially regared as an arm of the Republican party then the GOP and they are essentially seen as one. This will not redound to the credit of the Republican party believe me.

      • IntelliWriter

        Amen. To reasoned, thinking people it was a horrifying display.

      • Cforchange

        These recorded events will morph into countless campaign ads. Ads against Republican contenders that is.

  • Biped

    Romney has a mediocre intelligence and understanding; He is not of the quality of a Michael Bloomberg. It is really outrageous folly that the nitwit and opportunist wings of the Republican Party have so much influence that the Party would ignore the suitability of a fearless and able conservative leader who really has had superior experience and success in business as well as government, and is, besides, a highly popular politician with the common touch who has twice been re-elected mayor of the biggest city in the US. The GOP has no time for a Mayor Bloomberg. Instead, it whores after mentally deficient demagogues and liars.

  • overshoot

    “Mitt Romney caught, diced and spliced Gov. Perry in deceitful misquotation.”

    That’s not going to go over well with the base.

    I wish more comment sections had a guide with the comment dialog showing allowable markups.

  • ottovbvs

    Didn’t watch it so am reliant on press reports and impressions. Apparently Romney took Frum’s advice and went on the offensive last night so Frum is definitely carrying a torch for him this morning. Obviously no knock out blows were landed so this is going to get progressively nastier as Romney tries to derail Perry. And what of La Bachmann? Was she rendered invisible?

    • PracticalGirl

      Bachmann was “home with the TPers and held her own. Blitzer did a good job of pulling everybody into the conversation, a good thing since it was a two hour debate.

    • Watusie

      Collectively, it combined the intelligence of George W. Bush, the charm of Dick Cheney, the foresight of Donald Rumsfeld, the energy of John McCain and the integrity of Sarah Palin.

      • PracticalGirl

        And the campaign standards/skill set of Lee Atwater. Which scares the hell out of me.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    I watched the debate and methinks David saw the debate he wanted to and not the debate that was. I don’t like Perry but on a few occasions I actually had sympathy for him…as when he had to defend providing vaccines to prevent cervical cancer in women providing a government service that assuredly benefits all of society (what is one vaccine compared to the tremendous cost of treating cancer) with the people having the right to opt out. The look on Santorum’s face as he railed against showed a truly ugly human being. I felt the same way with regard to tuition tax credits for illegals. Texas and Mexico share a huge border, there should be such programs along the frontera as it benefits both countries. If we had a vigorous e-verify program than these Mexicans would be nothing more than consumers, getting an education and then returning to Mexico.
    I think Perry is the only one who can get any Latino votes on his own, Romney now has no choice but to take Marco Rubio on his ticket, Perry doesn’t have to.

    • bdtex

      The Vice-Presidency is a political deadend. Why would a rising star like Rubio want that?

  • TJ Parker

    C’mon, Frum. Get on your knees with Rick and ask Jesus for jobs!

  • PracticalGirl

    David, I’m glad you saw the Romney you think needs to be out in front to win.

    Unfortunately, I saw a base that said “YES!” to letting Junior die, cheered for the “treason” tag as applied to Bernanke, and went a bit wet and wild when abolishing the Department of Education was mentioned. It’s also a base that (check the blogs, listen to the TPer spin on CNN after the debate) is ready to give Perry a pass on the Texas Dream Act because at least he has the balls to stand and defend his position. Jesus, when a TPer media spinner says on national television that the base is looking for somebody with steady positions that don’t change over time (meaning Romney is a flip-flopper and ignoring the fact that Perry had to change PARTIES to be relevant), you know there’s trouble.

    Sure. This is the same base that made up the lie about pulling the plug on Grandma so they could feign outrage and disgust for Obama, the same base that has bitched about education standards slipping under Obama, and the same base that has skewered Obama over his own dreams of a Dream Act. But they don’t care about any of that anymore. Romney could create 5,000 jobs tomorrow, and if Rick Perry told the base that it didn’t happen they’d believe him.

    Rick Perry is them and they are your Republican base.

  • TexasDog

    I won’t be long now. With the help of the other candidates people are starting to learn more about Rick Perry. The more you know about Gov. Perry the less you will like him. His days as the front runner are numbered.

    • balconesfault

      This is perhaps true of most Americans … but remember that Perry handily fended off a primary challenge from Kay Bailey Hutchison last year. Among Republicans the man’s shit don’t stink.

      • PracticalGirl

        Bingo. I wish I could attribute this, but I’ve lost the article that I saw it in:

        A Texas political pundit responded to Gov’s weak debate skills: Perry always underwhelms. And he always wins.

      • wileedog

        The guy goes jogging with a loaded laser-sighted pistol to take out coyotes. How the heck is a Mormon Wall Street exec from New England who instituted Obamacare in his state going to compete with that?

        • PracticalGirl

          The guy goes jogging with a loaded laser-sighted pistol to take out coyotes.

          Sure, because in the multi-million-dollar-homes, West Austin urban enclave he’s ensconced in has abundant wildlife. :) Do love the narrative, though.

        • balconesfault

          ok, so I live in a West Austin enclave, albeit one that’s not gated. And I do regularly go running on trails out in the Greenbelt behind my house … and at night I can hear coyotes howling in those woods.

          But I’ve never seen a coyote out there despite probably having logged well over 10,000 miles on those trails in the last couple decades. The reality is that coyote attacks on humans are phenomenally rare, and almost all happen to small children who the coyotes probably mistake as their normal game. They’re afraid of humans, with or without laser sited pistols.

          I have seen feral pigs out there, right around dusk. And that scares the crap out of me – those are mean suckers with no fear whatsoever. And a laser sited pistol would likely do you no good, particularly at short range in thick juniper woods.

        • Primrose

          I’m with Balcone’s fault here, I don’t really get the need for laser rifle. We hear coyotes occasionally where I live, and very, very occasionally see them. Never been threatened by them, nor as far as I can tell have my cats.

          But even in rural Tennessee, on my parents farm, they don’t go after people, cats, rabbits, very occasionally calves and the odd, fainting goat (well, I mean can you blame them for taking such easy prey?)

          But coyotes really aren’t much of a threat, in the twenty plus years my parents lived on the farm, only once did my father have to take a gun out, because it was chasing one of our pets (probably a dog) and then only to scare it away. My Dad has been out in the back field, away from people, with no problem, as have various farm hands.

          Bobcats are far more likely to be dangerous, and as Balcone’s fault mentioned they prefer smaller prey.

          I can’t believe a simple air gun wouldn’t be enough to scare even the most fearless off. Let alone needing to be accurate. This seems more of a macho act than a necessary one.

  • MSheridan

    I don’t see the idea of “the Romney we need” as even valid. Sure, had he been the GOP candidate back in 2008, Mitt Romney might have had a very good chance at beating Barack Obama. He certainly would have done far better than John McCain, because he would have been accorded the presumption of fiscal competence, something McCain forfeited. But at this point, many people for whom Romney would have the greatest appeal probably don’t have major problems with the President. More important, Romney can not and will not attract the slightest interest from the Tea Party wing of the GOP. The man has no ability to be populist. None. The common touch is not in him. His appeal is and has to be competence, both in governance and in business. The Tea Partiers don’t value that. If he gets the nomination, they will stay home or vote for some third party candidate.

    • Drosz

      All he needs to do is win the nomination. The TPers will vote against Obama every day of the week and twice on Sundays…literally. They will hope there’s someone crazy to vote for ala Bachmann or Perry, but if its not and turns out to be someone like Romney, they’ll mumble angrily and still pull the lever for him.

    • Curiosity

      “But at this point, many people for whom Romney would have the greatest appeal probably don’t have major problems with the President.”

      I agree with this point. I don’t think Romney would govern very differently than Obama has.

      However the Tea Party will vote for anybody that isn’t Obama at this point. Also, Romney is talking the Tea Party talk. It’s very easy for people to be blinded by what they want to see.

  • Diomedes

    Here is the question I wish they asked Perry:

    “Mr. Perry. You recently held a state-wide day of prayer, organized and sponsored by your office. This day of prayer was meant to ask God for help with the severe drought plaguing your state. Subsequent to the day of prayer, it seems your state is now on fire.
    My question is: what have you done or what stances do you currently hold that would cause God to respond vindictively to your prayers as opposed to providing rain? Additionally, will you be holding a ‘day of pagan rain dances’ next?”

    :-)

    • balconesfault

      More than one pundit down here has been suggesting that perhaps we’re suffering some kind of divine retribution for continuing to elect Perry over and over.

  • torourke

    David,

    In arguing on Twitter that the individual mandate is needed to keep the cost of health insurance down, and at the same time arguing that Romney’s health care bill–which has an individual mandate–didn’t do a very good job of keeping costs down, then aren’t you acknowledging/admitting that the individual mandate is not a very good way of keeping costs down?

    • ottovbvs

      “the individual mandate is needed to keep the cost of health insurance down,”

      The purpose of the individual mandate is NOT to keep costs down, it’s using basic actuarial principles to spread the expenses and risks of the entire program over the greatest number of participants thereby minimising premiums. Apparently you don’t understand the most basic principles of the ACA or indeed how health insurance in general is funded.

      • balconesfault

        +1

        The mandate is about accountability.

        • ottovbvs

          torourke says this on a day it’s announced we’ve got 50 million people without health insurance and we’re 40th in life expectancy despite spending 17% of GDP on our system…twice as much as anyone else. What is wrong with this man’s reasoning equipment?

        • torourke

          But the individual mandate in Massachusetts has not reduced the cost of insurance, and no one has been able to point out improvement in health outcomes as result of Romneycare, so today’s figures could just as easily be placed at the feet of those who think our health care system would be great if we just had more central planning. And my reasoning equipment is just fine. Better check yours before scoring another own goal.

        • torourke

          Conservatives have argued in favor of in the individual mandate using the accountability argument, and liberals have adopted that argument to some extent as well. Yet the broader policy argument that liberals use is that you cannot have guaranteed issue and community rating without the individual mandate, as it would lead to the sort of adverse selection death spiral that David mentioned on Twitter. In other words, liberals know they are turning health insurance into a product that becomes a terrible deal for young, healthy people. That’s why they need to force them to buy it.

      • torourke

        Oh, so spreading out the risk over a greater number of people…which presumably would mean that insurance companies could spread the cost of insuring said people…thereby lowering the cost of their insurance…which would be borne out in lower premiums, is like, totally different from arguing that the individual mandate is needed to keep the cost of insurance down.

        Apparently you think you’re refuting my point, when you’re actually reinforcing it, and too dumb to know the difference.

        • Primrose

          Firstly, since companies are required now to insure those with pre-existing conditions, the inclusion of the healthy, young mitigates the increase in costs that that group brings.

          Second, yes health insurance seems bad deal for the healthy young, but the trick is, you don’t know how long you will be healthy.

          You could get hit by a drunk driver and spend five years in physical therapy learning how to walk. You could get testicular cancer as an athletic classmate of mine back in the day got. You could be like my husband and discover you have PKD, an obscure disease, never mind that it is largely inherited, and rare, you are the 2% of those with the disease that got a random mutation. It is nearly guaranteed to end in kidney failure. You could be like my friend and discover you have Crohn’s disease, a disease which can be managed but will kill you if you don’t get an operation when strictures and blockages occur.

          All young, all healthy. All facing death without significant medical intervention at some point in their life. But in the past, it was too late to get insurance at this point.

          And of course, as Otto keeps trying to explain to you, what Mr. Frum is talking about in lowering costs is the cost of care. We do too many unnecessary tests. We spend a large portion of care to help those at end of life.

          And at the beginning. I do not have a friend who’s had a baby recently who has not been induced at doctor’s orders. Most of those go on to have caesareans which means any subsequent children are caesarean. This increases costs. The physician receives 5000k more for such a delivery and that doesn’t count the anesthetist, the extra hospital stay, the overnight nurse, the IV ect. And since children that come from caesareans are more likely to need help themselves, more costs there as well.

          This is what everyone is talking about, not premiums.

        • torourke

          Primrose,

          I responded to your comment at the end of the thread.

    • SpartacusIsNotDead

      Like all GOPers today, David doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about when it comes to health care reform so it’s a little unfair to expect him to see the flaw in his statement.

      • ottovbvs

        To be fair Frum was probably talking about the cost of participation not the cost of healthcare delivery/funding admin. torourke clearly doesn’t know the difference.

        • SpartacusIsNotDead

          You give him far more credit than I do. After his post in which one of his 3 big ideas for health care reform was to suggest that insurers should *start* haggling with providers over prices it became painfully clear that he knows very little about this issue – and that would be ok if he only acknowledged as much.

        • ottovbvs

          “one of his 3 big ideas for health care reform was to suggest that insurers should *start* haggling with providers over prices”

          I assume you’re not kidding so I can only roll my eyes.

        • torourke

          Ottovbvs,

          Based on what you have offered to this point, I’m pretty confident that I understand the nuances of this issue better than you do. Try to come up with something more substantial to bolster your jabs, and then maybe we can get somewhere.

        • Primrose

          I’m not sure how you come that conclusion.

        • torourke

          Go back and read what I wrote versus what he wrote and I think the conclusion is pretty easy to come by.

  • rbottoms

    What is he, The Dark Knight?

    I think he’s more like Two Face.

  • ottovbvs

    I picked this up from Frum’s tweets:

    “Worst performance: the audience at the debate. Applause was directly proportional to the awfulness of statements.”

    Say’s it all really doesn’t it. And yet Frum this is the base of your Republican party. The submerged 4/5ths of the iceberg made up of ugly, angry, violent and ignorant people who in many cases are too dull to understand where their own interests lie, let alone those of the country. Would anyone want to be in a club of which these folks were members? So why is Frum?

  • Polifan

    Come on Jon Huntsman!!! Otherwise it is Romney but…

    Frum, perhaps it is time to ask Mrs. Frum to run for office! :)

  • anniemargret

    otto: “Would anyone want to be in a club of which these folks were members? So why is Frum?”

    Why, indeed. It is still astounding to me that any rational, educated, clear thinking person could associate with the neanderthals now comprising the Republican party. They have abandoned all reason, all common sense. It is now a knee-jerk emotionalism that drives the party, to such lengths that given a free rein they would destroy the country if they had a chance.

    Why would anyone want to belong and/or associate with such riff-raff? These are not Americans, patriots, looking for ways for the betterment of our nation, but anarchists, whose ideology is so borderline insane, ugly, vicious, hateful, fearful, that most people turn away in disgust.

    Why, indeed?

  • JoeWalton

    Health care providers typically provide necessary care to uninsured people who can’t pay. They recoup the unpaid fees by charging their insured patients more than they would otherwise. Insurance rate payers subsidize the emergency health care of the uninsured.

    Our insurance companies are usually national in scope. If Texas has a much higher percentage of uninsured patients than Massachusetts, does this not mean that Texas health care is being subsidized by Massachusetts?

    So much of the conservative complaint about universal health care is simple childishness: People expect to be taken care of when they get sick, but don’t feel they should have to pay into the system when they are healthy. It’s the opposite of personal responsibility.

  • torourke

    Primrose,

    I’ll respond to your paragraphs in order.

    1. I’m aware of the liberal argument for the individual mandate. I restated it myself in my response to balconesfault. I still think it’s a bad argument because I think there is a better way to take care of the health needs of the poor and those with pre-existing conditions than forcing young, healthy people to see more of their wages eaten up by regulations foisted on them by liberals.

    2-4. I think you can reform the law that requires hospitals to take all comers regardless of costs. Signing up people who qualify for Medicaid and then paying their expenses retroactively for one. For young people who can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it? They play they pay. If they have to go through bankruptcy, then so be it.

    It’s worth pointing out though that the number of young healthy people who are struck by the sort of tragedies you outline is very small. And it’s not like the individual mandate is for catastrophic coverage only. In Massachusetts, the legislature worked hand-and-glove with lobbyists to make sure that the defined minimum coverage included as much as possible, including plenty of mandates that had nothing to do with uncompensated emergency care and nothing to do with the average health status of your young healthy person. It turns out that a government that can force you to purchase a product can also tell you which kind of product you must purchase. All of this has led to higher insurance costs and higher premiums, which is difficult for young people–who are not as wealthy–to bear. Liberals claim to care about stagnating wages, and then do everything possible to show that they actually don’t care about stagnating wages at all.

    5-7 These paragraph makes no sense. You and Otto seem to think that the cost of care and the premiums you pay on your insurance are somehow not connected. They are. If the cost of health care continues to go up, so will your premiums. Otto and David Frum said nothing about end-of-life care. The individual mandate has nothing to do with end-of-life care because those people tend to be on Medicare. You’re right about unnecessary tests at the end of life, but that is because of the defined-benefit, Fee-For-Service model of Medicare where doctors are reimbursed for any test they provide to a patient on Medicare, regardless of its effectiveness. Obamacare keeps this in place, and Ryan’s plan for reforming Medicare would end it.

    Your point about the number of Caesarian sections performed is an example of defensive medicine practiced by doctors who have been sued by ambulance chasers like John Edwards for years. It also has nothing to do with the individual mandate.

    http://influencepeddler.blogspot.com/2007/07/john-edwards-rise-in-c-sections.html

    Again, the rise in the cost of care is reflected in your premiums. That’s the major reason why real wages have stagnated over the last decade. David Frum has made this point repeatedly. To argue that the cost of care and premiums are somehow not connected makes no sense.