Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Obamacare Stops Romney?

As David Harsanyi points out, the battle over Obamacare could very well stop Mitt Romney's presidential ambitions. The rallying cry among Republican activists today is "Repeal!". But how could they then choose someone who as governor implemented a scheme almost identical to Obamacare?

Romney has basically sealed his fate by refusing to express regret over his plan and instead defend it. Yet when faced with the question of why he defends his plan and claims to oppose Obama's, he can come up with no answer except that his plan was on a state level, and Obama's on a federal level. But this "states rights" defense is hardly going impress very many people, and would make him a sitting duck in debates with Obama who no doubt will invoke the standard anti-"states right" argument of how this principle was used by Southern segregationists. So, the heated confrontation over Obamacare is likely to ensure that Romney won't become the 2012 Republican nominee. Harsanyi does point to what Romney could have said to save his presidential ambitions:

"Everyone makes mistakes. Heck, I made a huge one. My plan, first hijacked by state liberals and now copied by Barack Obama, has created a fiscal nightmare in my state -- one that, according to the former Democratic treasurer, has forced us to cut back on other basic services.

Though we promised an individual mandate would mean everyone would chip in, nearly 70 percent of the newly insured are subsidized by taxpayers -- with many paying nothing. Meanwhile, health care spending in our state is 27 percent higher than the national average, and we have a shortage of doctors, to boot. And that's just for starters.

Let me be clear. I am not here to defend Romneycare. I am here to extract my name from that botched experiment by repealing its ugly stepson, Obamacare, so Americans work together to pass genuine, common-sense, market-based reform."