Why Romney’s candidacy must be rejected


Last week I spoke of the absurdity of Romney as the head of a party that is seeking to repeal a federal health care bill that is identical in key respects to the bill he supported and signed into law as governor of Massachusetts (and with a smiling Ted Kennedy standing behind him, no less). The people at Cato Institute agree. Watch the video featuring David Boaz and Michael Cannon of Cato, which is posted at the Washington Examiner. As Boaz says: “How can he lead the charge against the health care plan that is modeled on his own?”

In 2007-2008 I pushed as hard for Romney’s nomination as anyone in the blogosphere, arguing that while Romney had a liberal background in some ways, he was, as I put it, an opportunist one could trust. Since he had committed himself as candidate to stand for certain conservative positions and be the leader of conservatism, if he were elected he would strive to do that. Did I know that he could be trusted? Of course not. But it seemed a reasonably good bet, in a field of candidates the rest of whom were all terrible without a doubt. These considerations, combined with Romney’s outstanding intellectual abilities, made him by far the best pick. But on health care that argument will simply not carry. The contradictions between what Romney supported and signed into law as governor, and the position he’s taking now, are too stark. The thing just won’t fly. Republicans need a standard bearer who is 100 percent in favor of 100 percent repeal, and Mitt is not that man.

I’ve always liked Romney and I have always disliked the libertarian ideologues at Cato. But here the Cato people are telling the truth, and Romney—when he keeps saying that Romney Care is very different from Obamacare—is manifestly lying. You can even see it in his face. A winning party, a confident party, a good party, cannot be build on such a gross lie. I swallowed Romney’s contradictions in ‘08, but now they’ve gotten way too big for me or anyone to swallow. I oppose his candidacy.

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This comment came in while the above entry was being prepared for posting.

Ian B. writes:

What do you think of this article in the American Spectator, “How Romney Could Kill the ObamaCare Repeal Movement”?

The article concludes:

Just as John McCain was able to win the Republican nomination in 2008 despite his problems with the conservative base, Romney may be able to overcome his health care record in the primaries. And perhaps there are circumstances under which he could beat Obama by emphasizing economic and foreign policy issues. But win or lose, Romney would not be able to credibly campaign against the national health care law. And as a result, were he the Republican nominee, it would kill the movement to repeal ObamaCare.

For my part, I agree with it. While Romney was the most qualified of the sorry lot of candidates we had going into the end of the nominations in 2008, it’s absolutely vital that he lose this time. No matter what arguments he tries to make to take it back, his very presence would fatally undermine the effort to repeal Obamacare, and take all the wind out of the opposition’s sails. There’s simply no principled way in which he could argue against it without coming off as a huge fool.

LA replies:

The Spectator article makes a powerful point. If the Republicans nominate Romney and he won the presidency, the repeal movement would fail. Romney still says he supports the individual mandate.

N. writes:

If, as the American Spectator article reports, Mitt Romney truly still supports the individual mandate then that alone proves him to be unfit for the Presidency. There are several reasons for this.

First and most obvious, it shows him unable to understand certain elementary aspects of politics: right now, a great deal of anger and energy exists to repeal the ghastly and unworkable Obamacare. Any candidate who supports the individual mandate is accepting a fundamental premise of Obamacare, and thus will be unable to harness that anger and energy, and therefore likely will lose. Successful politicians do not attempt to fight the electorate within their own party, they understand that will suppress voter turnout and lead to losing the election!

Second, it indicates that Romney is unable to admit error, to learn from mistakes. The news out of Massachusetts on health insurers gets worse by the week, as the obvious economic foolishness of the individual mandate in conjunction with forcing insurers to take on any client no matter their condition plays out. There are insurers in Massachusetts that are paying out in claims more than they take in in premiums on a regular basis. In the not very long term, this guarantees bankruptcy. The alternative for such companies is to withdraw from the Massachusetts market, and we are seeing the number of insurers declining steadily. In time there will only be a handful or no insurers, and they’ll have to be regulated like a utility in order to continue to exist. Or the state of Massachusetts will have to become the “insurance company.” Either way, it should be obvious that this approach is a failure. Whatever the reason, Romney is simply wrong in continuing to support the individual mandate: actual testing in the real world is showing it to be a bad and unworkable idea.

Third, Romney apparently won’t even discuss alternatives such as the Ryan plan, health savings accounts, and other means to decouple health insurance from employment. Whether he’s just stiff-necked, or doesn’t understand the alternatives, or prideful, etc. isn’t clear, but it indicates he isn’t willing even to look at other solutions than his own. This indicates to me an executive who will not be effective in other areas as well. True, any executive must have a set of core beliefs that are not to be compromised but those relate to fundamental issues such as honesty, respect for the law and so forth, not “my way or the highway” when it comes to policy.

To sum up, Romney’s response to the disaster he has created in Massachusetts indicates to me his unfitness for the office of President.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 16, 2010 12:37 PM | Send

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