MRC is proud to publish this guest blog post by Doug NYC GOP. The following was cross-posted at RightSpeak.net.
Ever since the passage of ObamaCare in March, we have heard a steady drumbeat of out of Left and hard Right Wing circles, proclaiming Romney’s 2012 aspirations, toast. After all, both Obama’s and Romney’s Health Care plans seem so similar. It just stands to reason; the Republicans couldn’t possibly nominate Romney, who everyone seems to be calling the “architect” of Obama’s health care reform initiative.
Last night on the CBS program “60 Minutes”, President Obama once again tried to tie former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, to the passage of his vast, overreaching health care reform package. As Politico reports, Obama, without saying Romney’s name, said “We thought that if we shaped a bill that wasn’t that different from bills that had previously been introduced by Republicans, including the Republican governor of Massachusetts who’s now running for president, that, you know, we would be able to find some common ground there. And we just couldn’t.”
This political narrative began the morning after Health Care reform was passed, but failed to gain any significant traction, until the last week of March, when Obama went on the Today Show. Obama said his plan was very similar to Romney’s. “Obama Hugs Romney” crowed the headlines, much as they do this November morning.
Then on April 2, while appearing on CBS’ Morning Show, Obama referred to Mitt Romney as the “…current Republican Nominee.” Wow, sounds very much like what he said on “60 Minutes” last night, when he said, “a certain Massachusetts Governor who is running for President.”
Back in April, political pundits were attributing his statement to Harry Smith as a classic Freudian slip. Obviously it was not, since the President seems pretty well resigned to this meme. Rather, Obama really seems to be trying to “hug” Romney out of the 2012 race.
Now why would he do that? Surely if he was truly unafraid of a Romney candidacy, he would withhold such talk until after Romney was the nominee. Let the GOP nominate Romney and then Obama can skewer him. What an fearless Obama should be thinking is “I can take away the biggest issue the GOP have against me, once Mitt’s the nominee. So until then, I’ll just keep my powder dry.” Why try to derail him now?
Perhaps Team Obama is a little apprehensive about taking on Team Romney in 2012 for various reasons. True both health care plans share some similar features, however the differences are vast. Romney has been articulating the differences, quite effectively, on various media appearances all year. Romney has cited the bi-partisan crafting of the plan, its 70 page size, lack of tax increases and its implementation under Federalism (State’s Rights).
But health care aside, Obama will be facing a continuing troublesome economy, foreign policy issues which appear dormant but volatile nonetheless and a rapidly changing Electoral Map, as he tries to put his 2012 re-election plans together. Perhaps running against an accomplished, articulate, professional problem solver is not the person Obama would prefer to engage.
In 2007, The American Spectator railed against Sen. John McCain over his Illegal Immigration policy and the Amnesty bill. Earlier in 2010, with ObamaCare’s passage, Mitt Romney was their target, for his role in enacting MassCare in 2006, as outlined in a piece by Phillip Klein: “Over the past several weeks, political observers have speculated about how passage of the national health care law modeled after the one Mitt Romney signed in Massachusetts could hurt his presidential ambitions.”
While the article acknowledges Romney could pull a McCain and win the Republican 2012 nomination, they contend this would curtail the ability of Republicans to run against ObamaCare, statewide and nationwide. Exactly the same arguments we are hearing all year and now again this morning.
However, this may not be the exact case. The full frontal assault on ObamaCare and chanting “Reform & Repeal” was a major factor in generating fever pitch enthusiasm gearing up for the mid-term elections. But now the Nation has to see how the newly returned to power Republican Leadership in Congress handles health care reform, since outright repeal seems a daunting task. Republicans will need to articulate specifics on what they intend to reform/replace ObamaCare with. Will their reforms contain any of the provisions shared by either MassCare of ObamaCare? Time will tell.
Romney, acknowledging there are flaws in MassCare and insisting it’s a state issue, has not shied away from taking on ObamaCare. To say Romney can’t lead the reform forces against ObamaCare overlooks the fact he has the most experience dealing with this issue. The right wing is advising a full apology by Romney, in order for him to “purify” his conservative soul. This would forever saddle him the ultimate John Kerry-esque flip-flopper charge and most certainly doom any chances for victory.
Instead, Romney should, and appears to be, holding his ground, citing the good points of the MassCare plan and illustrating the differences. He also the vantage point to explain the flaws and how to fix them. Romney is well positioned to show a path towards reform, by citing from experience, what works and what doesn’t, especially as the move towards reform gets bogged down in the Congressional quagmire. Rather than just apologize for having a role in solving a problem, Romney can use his extensive managerial, problem solving and political experience to help resolve a serious issue.
(Author’s Note: I really appreciate Nate’s offer to post this here today. To be a part of this classy site is a real honor. –Doug)