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Romney defended the mandate
in the 2008 campaign
So Mitt Romney is finally going to do it: he's going to put health care reform at the center of his campaign, delivering a major speech on Thursday in Michigan.

But if you are hoping he's going to address the individual mandate featured in the plan for universal health care that he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts, you're probably going to be disappointed.

In the speech, Romney won't spend much time talking about Massachusetts, and the plan he signed that now requires the state's citizens to buy health insurance — an individual mandate that was included in the federal law and drives Republican fury. And he'll move beyond the explanation he's been offering so far about how he can defend the Massachusetts plan — he's said he's "proud" of it — and still oppose the Obama plan.

Instead, Romney will once again make his case for repealing federal health care reform and replacing it with something else. Basically, there's going to be nothing new in what Romney proposes, it's just that he'll be doing it in the guise of a major policy speech.

As Greg Sargent argues, Romney's approach is doomed. He's trying to deflect attention from the similarities between the plan he signed into law in Massachusetts and the plan President Obama signed into law last year by talking about a plan to repeal and replace health care reform, but the problem he has is the mandate he signed into law, and deflecting attention from that problem won't make it go away.

If Romney really isn’t going to back off Romneycare — and won’t fully repudiate the individual mandate at its core — then it won’t matter what he proposes. His speech won’t solve his political problem at all, at least with conservative opinion-makers.

They are angry with Romney because he employed a policy tool that they have come to regard as tyranny, now that it was used as the lynchpin for Obamacare. Romney has countered that his plan employed the mandate on the state level, while Obama’s is federal...[but] many conservatives don’t care about the state-versus-federal distinction he makes. They hate the mandate whether it’s employed on the state or federal level.

I'd also add that until President Obama took their advice, Mitt Romney and his supporters argued that what he did in Massachusetts was a national model. Check out the video at the top of this post, or watch this video of Jim DeMint in 2007 arguing that RomneyCare should be implemented throughout the country:

Now, of course, Romney won't dare defend the mandate, and DeMint is eager to denounce it. The only question is who to believe? DeMint and Romney then, or DeMint and Romney now? Or, perhaps, none of the above.


Will Mitt Romney directly address the health care mandate he signed into law in Massachusetts?

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm curious about (6+ / 0-)

    what he is going to suggest to "replace" it since most of his fellow Republicans have showed their hand and dropped the "replace" part of "repeal and replace." They think our completely useless, bankrupt (and bankrupting) system is fine as it is because THEY get affordable comprehensive health care, subsidized by tax dollars.

    Jennifer Brunner for Governor of Ohio 2014

    by anastasia p on Wed May 11, 2011 at 07:42:40 AM PDT

    •  I think they want to replace it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tvanel, tuma, Jeff Y

      with the system of exchanges and vouchers to purchase private insurance that Paul Ryan proposed with Medicare -- only with an individual mandate to make sure people "take responsibility' and don't game the system.  In other words, as Jim DeMint says, Romneycare for the whole country :)  The policy is fine, as long as it's named for a tallish white man.  

      By the way, how come that clip of DeMint wasn't played on a continuous loop during the HRC debate?  Why is this the first I've seen of it?

      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by Loge on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:02:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What about? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trillian, Matt Z, Jeff Y

      "Leave it up to the states."  They LOOVE that Federalism.

      "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

      by gsbadj on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:10:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  GOP: The party of "something else" (7+ / 0-)

    It's almost perfect for our 'reality TV' culture...

    The GOP will give you 'something else'.

    Health care?  Don't worry - we'll give you "something else".

    Retirement and Social Security - "something else".

    Workplace protections and living wages - how about "something else".

    National Security?  "Something else"

    Something else...

    I'm pretty sure that's how Homer Simpson got elected sanitation commissioner.... pity that the GOP lacked the attention span to get to the end of the episode.

    I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

    by zonk on Wed May 11, 2011 at 07:46:39 AM PDT

  •  if he ever survived the primary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Victor Laslo, mjd in florida, Matt Z

    Romney is the one candidate I would worry about in the general election. He knows how to say things that appeal to Democrats and indies from his time as Massachusetts governor.

    But he won't survive the primary, so I don't worry too much about it. There's no way he's going to thread this needle with teabaggers.

    "We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin

    by CaptUnderpants on Wed May 11, 2011 at 07:50:19 AM PDT

    •  If he survived the GOP Nomination... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...he'd run the risk of spawning the GOP version of a Wallace Candidacy in a handful of Deep South States.

      And that candidate wouldn't even have to win any electoral votes to upset the applecart. Being on the ballot and siphoning off just 5% of the otherwise GOP vote would (for example) allow POTUS to win Georgia's electoral votes. 10% "leakage" and Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and maybe even South Carolina (!!!) are very much "in play."

      The so-called "rising tide" is lifting only yachts.

      by Egalitare on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:07:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That would be so great, (0+ / 0-)

        but who? Ron Paul won't do it because it would tarnish Rand, Palin wouldn't because it would require hard work, Bachmann? Newt?

        "We believe that the people are the source of all governmental power; that the authority of the people is to be extended, not restricted."-Barbara Jordan

        by sancerre2001 on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:59:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I believe he's the only one who can beat (0+ / 0-)

      Obama, just for that very reason.

      If Romney ends up getting the nomination - and that is a really big if since far right conservatives really dislike him - those same conservatives would vote for him while holding their nose because they hate Obama more.

      But, as you say, he will appeal to indies and moderate Dems (at least fiscally moderate Dems).  If gas prices are this high in a year and food prices keep going through the roof, Romney could win.

      One way he does survive the primary is if the field is very crowded and the votes are splintered among several candidates.  We'll hear from Newt today whether he's in or out.

      •  Romney appeal to Indies? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sancerre2001, Matt Z
        as you say, he will appeal to indies and moderate Dems

        ...what's his stance on Bush cuts? on medicare? On SS? does he run away from Ryan? The GOP has very unpopular ideas about these corner stone appeal to indies one has to run away from the GOP logic about them...but if you run away, aren't you a copy of Obama then to the GOP?
        How can you say you want o end Bush cuts without being accused of being an Obama-lite?
        ---the GOP has a far more difficult task than Obama...

        "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935 --Talk of foresight--

        by tuma on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:46:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  He will win the primary, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      GOP is looking for "electability." He will lose in the general because moderates already have Obama, why vote for somebody just like him when he is already in the Whitehouse?

      Plus Obama is a much better campaigner than Romney.

      "We believe that the people are the source of all governmental power; that the authority of the people is to be extended, not restricted."-Barbara Jordan

      by sancerre2001 on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:57:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  He's such a handsome man... (5+ / 0-)

    ... for an unprincipled, hypocritical, unduly wealthy weasel.

    "So, am I right or what?"

    by itzik shpitzik on Wed May 11, 2011 at 07:50:40 AM PDT

  •  'The Many Sides of Mitt Romney'...coming to FOX! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itzik shpitzik
  •  I like ths dynamic. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itzik shpitzik, Seeds, sancerre2001

    Since we have documented evidence that the more established Republican presidential candidates and would-be candidates were once something other than totally insane, evidence which hobbles them with the Median Insane Republican Voter (MIRV, to appropriate a Reaganite darling), this creates an opening for the less-established candidates, who during their time in the public eye have always been totally insane.  While some people, e.g. Yglesias, worry about this because they believe that the patriotic thing is to hope for the least-insane Republican candidate (clearly that's Romney) on the grounds that there's some non-zero chance that he'll actually become President, I'm a little more of a risk-taker so I'm inclined to hope for the most-insane Republican candidate who would be easier to defeat soundly.

    It's better to curse the darkness than light a candle. --Whoever invented blogs, c.1996

    by Rich in PA on Wed May 11, 2011 at 07:52:12 AM PDT

    •  Our country doesn't deserve to be subjected (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aquarius40, sancerre2001, Matt Z

      to the same batshit crazy and dimwitted behavior of another Sarah Palin on a ticket.  I've found it unhealthy for our recovery and I won't look forward to it happening again.  

      I still "see red" from Sarah Palin screeching "Drill, baby, Drill" along our pristine Clearwater Harbor with her flock of bussed in supporters in matching red t-shirts.  It made our area look stupid but at least she scared enough locals to the polls for President Obama to win Pinellas Co.  (St. Pete-Clearwater) by 9 points.  

  •  Why should this speech be different... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Loge, pamelabrown, Matt Z 2008, he gave a speech on 'Religion'
    (going in it was thought to be a speech explaining his Mormon beliefs),
    and yet...he dodged the issue.

    Why would anyone think he's changed;
    re:  today's 'Health' speech ??

    Of course, shouldn't this be expected of a man who lashed his dog's crate to the top of the car
    (with the dog, in it)
    for a cross country trip ??  

  •  Very Serious Persons think mitts is a very serious (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, sancerre2001, Matt Z

    candidate because he is less batshit crazy than the steaming pile of gop presidential hopefuls.

    Expect tweety to pop wood himself tonite during his felating of mitts.

    Your god is a homeless assassin.

    by A Runner on Wed May 11, 2011 at 07:58:07 AM PDT

  •  Like a pin wheel (0+ / 0-)

    Romney doesn't believe in anything and will say what ever will get him the nomination, he is just turning in the political wind.

    We all don't start at zero

    by BeeClone on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:00:21 AM PDT

  •  not him (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    Romney is not getting the nomination--the Rs need gravitas and tea party support--Gingrich is crazy enough to satisfy the insane--thus, he's the front runner.  Second will be Mr NJ Cristie.  To handicap this race, think --who is the most evil--the biggest whore.  

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:10:33 AM PDT

  •  Real Issues About His Wife (0+ / 0-)

    Romney's wife has degenerative MS and has had a precancerous breast lump.

    I'd like to know, and I think we are all entitled to know, what she does for health insurance.  Is he still nominally on the payroll at some company in order to get her coverage?  Is it Romney/Obama care that gives her coverage?  Could she get it without it with her pre-existing conditions...These are real nuts and bolts questions.  Lots of Americans face these issues.

    Or does their multi-millionaire status make this not an issue for them even though it would be a nightmare for most American families, including affluent families?

    Newt Gingrich: Believes marriage is between one man and a series of ever younger women. Wife #1 born ~ 1936, divorced when in her mid-40s...Wife #2 born ~1947, divorced when in her mid-40s...Wife #3 born ~1966.

    by trillian on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:20:52 AM PDT

  •  11 Dimensional Chess Under our Noses? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, sancerre2001, Matt Z

    So here we have Mitt Romney in a difficult position politiclaly. He can't talk about his signature achievement as governor, can't talk about why Obama's plan isn't the same thing on a national scale, and can't talk about what he'd do different with any credibility.

    why is that?

    because the program we ended up with IS the same (more or less.) and because its the same, Romney, who once may have been a credible threat to Obama in 2012, is marginalized.

    you know what would have changed this dynamic? a public option. having that included in the plan changes Romney's entire strategy on healthcare and gives him a target to attack. now he's got nothing, and  his plan for this "major speech" is proof that he knows it.

    not saying this is the only reason that the public option didn't make it into the bill. our own democratic congress critters have to answer for that as well.

    but if you want to know why the Obama team wasn't advocating more for it up front, this may be part of it. better to tackle a public option or other major additions to the healthcare system AFTER 2012 than before, after you've secured an additional mandate from the American middle class, and after you've driven the biggest wedge between the Reagan Democrats and the GOP in 30 years.

    •  I was more or less with you until this: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mjd in florida, sancerre2001
      ...Romney, who once may have been a credible threat to Obama in 2012, ...

      Romney could never have been a credible threat to Obama because he never had a snowball's chance in hell of winning the GOP nomination.

      The moneybags and much of the grassroots of the party doesn't trust him because he governed Massachusetts as a moderate.

      The Christian Right doesn't trust him because he's a Mormon.

      The pundits love the guy, but they're wearing inside-the-Beltway beer goggles.

      If you had any doubts about this dynamic, see the last GOP primary campaign.  And now he has the additional burden of being seen as a primary loser.

      I certainly hope that the Obama campaign didn't lose any sleep over the possibility of having to run against Romney in 2012.  They might as well have feared a Colin Powell or Harold Stassen candidacy. Both were about equally likely.

      •  That's why I would like to see him on the (0+ / 0-)

        ticket.  I don't believe anyone can beat our President but I have had enough of the totally badshit crazies.

        •  It all depends on the economy. (0+ / 0-)

          Presidential reelection campaigns are referenda on the sitting president.

          Unless there's a profound national crisis, that referendum concerns the economy.

          If the economy begins to pick up, Obama will be fine.

          If it doesn't, he'll be in trouble.

          And it just doesn't really matter who the GOP nominates.  A ticket of Ray Stevens and Victory Jackson could beat him if unemployment is over 9% next year.

          I share your feeling, however, that if Obama were to lose the referendum on his presidency, the country would be better off if the GOP didn't nominate one of the crazies (though someone like Romney, who's not crazy but is infinitely willing to pander to the crazies, is hardly better). But that ain't gonna happen.

    •  President Obama was advocating (0+ / 0-)

      for a public option.  It was a handful of Democratic Senators that seemed to be beholden to their own iinsurance industry lobbyists that held it out of the legislation.  (even our Senator Nelson in Florida said he would only look at a trigger option and spent that time period running around Florida pretending that he was somehow saving Medicare for seniors)

  •  Poor Mittens! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sancerre2001, Matt Z

    So handsome! So full of ambition!  So willing to say absolutely anything to get elected!

    Unfortunately for his electoral future, the only thing about him that's flat-out crazy enough for today's GOP is his religion...and even that's the wrong brand of crazy.

    Romney is destined to be nothing more than the answer to a series of not particularly interesting trivia questions.

  •  I think Mitt is going to get it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sancerre2001, Matt Z

    I think he is the John Kerry candidate of 2012.  He is safer for the GOP.  In 2004, the Left wanted Howard Dean.  He was pure-bred.  Rank and file dems were afraid of Dean.  They thought he was too extreme.  Bush still looked formidable in 2004, and they had visions of a hardcore Dean losing 40 states, and getting clobbered in the senate and house.  The big money, who control both parties, steared the thing toward Kerry, who looked like a ship taking on water around December of 2003.  They knew he would probably lose, but they also knew he wouldn't blow up.

    Kerry was the safe choice.  Dems lost close, and held their ground in congress.  I see the same thing happening in 2012.  Romney is the safe choice.  He can lose close.  There won't be a tea party revolt, or a third party challenge, just like there wasn't a Move-On/Michael Moore revolt or a third party challenge in 2004.  Ralph Nader pretty much tainted that strategy for years to come.

    Sane republicans and tea partiers will rally around Mitt in the GE because they hate Obama and the Dems.  He'll lose close (at least closer than McCain).  The GOP will hold the House, and pick-up a few Senate seats.  That is about the best scenario for the Right.  All of the those tea party favorites are the Dennis Kuciniches and Howard Deans of the Right, and I just don't see the big money in this country allowing them to blow up the game.

    •  The Deaniacs were passionate but sane (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      The forces and passions on the extreme right are anything but.  Not sure if the Big Money Boyz can control them.  I think they've got a tiger by the tail.

      If the BMBs want Romney (and they do) they are going to have to bribe everyone (and every fundie/evangel) who might be a real threat to get out so that Romney's only competition are the Herman Cains and Ron Pauls.  Look for Huck to get a big fat juicy contract somewhere doing something for the Kochs to keep him from running.

      Newt Gingrich: Believes marriage is between one man and a series of ever younger women. Wife #1 born ~ 1936, divorced when in her mid-40s...Wife #2 born ~1947, divorced when in her mid-40s...Wife #3 born ~1966.

      by trillian on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:43:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with this 100%, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      we will see how crazy the GOP has become if they reject Romney, and I'm hoping they do. If that happens it will be an historic electoral defeat for them.

      "We believe that the people are the source of all governmental power; that the authority of the people is to be extended, not restricted."-Barbara Jordan

      by sancerre2001 on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:08:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd love to know ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... whether the space he's using for his revisionist bullshit address is being rented from the University of Michigan or whether the university offered it to this halfwit for free.

    He's going to let average Americans know that he cares little or nothing about their health and well-being and only about his personal ambition at the UM Cardiovascular Center.


  •  DeMint thrilled with RomneyCare? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...not surprising...
    -let me tell you guys something - the problem GOPers have with ObamaCare has never been "mandates"...the problem has is this - a socialist-maxist-kenyan-muslim 'solved' the health Care issue in this issue that has dogged us for over a century...
    -who wants to give credit to socialist-maxist-kenyan-muslim?

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935 --Talk of foresight--

    by tuma on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:36:58 AM PDT

  •  so he's just going to ignore the issue (0+ / 0-)

    i'm sure that will make people forget all about it, since nobody talks about Romney these days without mentioning it

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