My Closing Argument, and This Ain’t Just Rhetoric

Overview: My Main Philosophical Reason I’m Voting For Mitt.

I feel so strongly that Mitt Romney is the right choice for president that I wanted to make one last post, my closing argument as it were, in hopes of convincing that one last undecided voter out there somewhere to vote for Mitt. I wanted to explain why I, and the other authors here at Mitt Romney Central, have devoted such time, effort, emotion, and yes, money, to the cause of electing Mitt. My list of specific reasons why I like Mitt, and my counterarguments to President Obama’s case, are below. But I can sum up why I feel so strongly with this: Barack Obama’s vision for America is inconsistent with that of our founding fathers and our Constitution.

A Limited Government Preserves Freedom

Our government was founded on the principles of self-determination and freedom. Americans were not content to be told by the British government how much they should pay in taxes or what freedoms they were entitled to. So they fought a war to gain their independence. When the founding fathers then set up their own government, at the forefront of their minds was the concern for how to preserve their hard-won freedoms. So they came up with three fundamental ideas about the new federal government: (i) it should be small, split into different branches with checks and balances over each other’s power, (ii) it should share power with, and in fact have less power over citizens’ day-to-day lives than, the states, where the citizens were better represented, and (iii) our most basic freedoms should be enshrined in a Bill of Rights to make absolutely sure the federal government did not violate them. This combination of ideas, they thought, would assure, over time, that the God-given rights they had won back from their government at great cost would be preserved against tyranny.

Obama’s Vision of a Larger Government is Antithetical to Freedom.

In 2008 when Senator Obama talked of “transforming” America and saying “we can do better,” it was clear to me he was talking about fundamentally changing these key principles. He stood for a larger federal government; one that would try and take responsibility for the poor and do more for its citizens. While that may sound nice, having a government undertake that responsibility also means it must become larger, tax more (a government that undertakes to define what’s fair for all its citizens will also try and make everyone pay their “fair share”) and become more involved in our lives, much more involved than the founding fathers intended. A larger government necessarily becomes more difficult to manage, begins to take on a life of its own, and becomes very difficult to control. A larger federal government also means a shift in power from the states, where citizens can more easily control their own destiny. And once people begin to rely on government largesse, cutting the size of that government and its programs, even if the government cannot afford them (witness our overwhelming deficits and the troubles in Europe as it tries to cut back), becomes very, very difficult. People become less willing to give up that security, even if it means a loss of liberty. And they can become accustomed to the idea that the government represents someone else, not them, and that they are owed something by that government (witness appeals from the left that sound like class warfare). As a result, I believe the policies of President Obama reflect a threat to our liberty. Perhaps not immediate. Perhaps only a little. But what he wants to do, at its core, is inconsistent with the intended size and role of our government, which means we will inevitably lose a little, or a lot, of liberty. How much really depends on how much further down Obama’s road we go. And in my view, we’ve already lost too much.

Example: Obamacare.

As an illustration of what I mean, I’ll use Obamacare. It sounds nice to make sure everyone has health insurance. And there are lots of stories of people who can’t afford insurance, and how having it would benefit them greatly. I get that, and I feel for their situation. This is what Obama meant by “we can do better.” He’d like to use government resources to fix these problems. But, just like when you get your first credit card, you need to look beyond the nice things you can buy and decide whether you can really afford it, because that bill will come due at some time. As for the cost in dollars and cents, it’s clear we can’t afford Obamacare. We just can’t. It adds trillions of unfunded government outlays over the next two decades. And once these benefits are offered to citizens it’s very difficult to take them away. In addition, Obamacare has already begun to infringe on our freedoms. At its core it’s the federal government (not the state, which is the principal difference between Obamacare and Romneycare), forcing us to buy a product. Then, because it forces us to buy this product, it must go further and legislate the minimum requirements of this product (or everyone would buy the cheapest version available). That legislation now includes elements some religions find offensive. How’d we get here? By involving the federal government in something it really was never intended by the founding fathers to be involved in: providing health insurance. Further, because the IRS will be in charge of enforcing compliance with the mandate, it will need to know our personal health information. The founders’ vision of limited federal power, with express limits on what the federal government can and can’t do, has been violated by Obamacare. And having the federal government in this position simply poses a threat to our freedom. The founders knew power corrupts, and while we think we can trust the government now, we don’t always know we will be able to. When will it be your religious belief that’s infringed? Or your freedom of speech? This is why the Republicans resist President Obama so much. This is why Obamacare did not get one single Republican vote. This is why Obama’s own budget was rejected by not only Republicans but his own party. And finally this is why Mitch McConnell said it was his goal to make sure Obama only had one term: to try and make sure the damage President Obama does is not long-lasting. Obamacare is a threat to our freedom, and it’s just one example.

This Ain’t Just Rhetoric.

Let me say that this is not just rhetoric. I’m not just making an argument because I want you to vote for Mitt for some other hidden reason. This is why I’m voting for Mitt, and why I honestly believe everyone should. This is what worries me about the prospect of Obama serving another term. He has already made some strides toward “transforming” America into something I believe it was never intended to be. Obamacare was one very large step in that direction. As Vice President Biden said, it was a “[blanking] big deal.” I know the further we go down this road the more difficult it is to go back. I also know the GOP will fight Obama to preserve that liberty, which is likely to result in more gridlock at a time when our government needs to work together. Unfortunately, though, cooperating with the president can mean, and has meant, the loss of some of these liberties, which makes compromise difficult.
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ObamaCare – Its Origins and Outcomes – First the “Flip” then the “Flop”

It is no secret that Obama was once a strident opponent of the health care mandate he now embraces. Take a look at some of these flyers that were dug up recently where Barack Obama attacks Hillary Clinton for the same plan Obama would implement just two years later.

Obama Flip-Flop on Health Care Mandate

(Hat tip to Buzzfeed for the photos)

Wow, the irony! The irony of these photos was brought very powerfully back to my mind last week when the CBO announced that 6 million Americans were projected to be hit with a tax penalty for not purchasing health insurance under ObamaCare’s new law. The average tax penalty will be $1,200! Just imagine how it will be for those 6 million Americans when they have to file their tax returns and come up with an extra $1,200 in order to avoid being hounded by the IRS.

So that is Obama’s “Flip” on health care, now lets talk about his “Flop.”

Last week the CBO said that after ObamaCare is fully implemented, there will still be 30 million people in the U.S. without health insurance. That’s 10% of the country still without insurance. In fact, even with its vast increase in taxes, spending, and regulations on health care, ObamaCare will only cover an additional 6.3% of Americans because prior to ObamaCare 16.3% of Americans didn’t have health insurance.

The CBO report puts a serious dent in one of Obama’s primary selling points of the law, that it would provide coverage to nearly every American. 

Let me repeat for emphasis. Even though ObamaCare raises taxes by over half a trillion dollars and takes an additional $716 billion in funding from Medicare, we only get an additional 6.3% of insured Americans! That’s not a great “return on investment” for all the money that is being spent. In fact it is quite sad.

Lets compare that with what Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts. With NO new  spending and NO new taxes, Romney was able to cover 98.2% of adults and 99.8% of children!

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Key Differences Between RomneyCare and ObamaCare

*Got questions about RomneyCare and ObamaCare? Visit our newly updated page on RomneyCare – The Truth about Massachusetts Health Care to find articles like this and other questions you may be wondering.

It is often asserted that RomneyCare is the same thing as ObamaCare, but this is simply not true. It is important to note that Massachusetts, the state where Romneycare was founded, opposed Obamacare. In fact, Massachusetts opposed Obamacare so much that they elected Senator Scott Brown (R) in 2010 to be the deciding vote against Obamacare after Senator Ted Kennedy’s death. Why would the state where Romneycare was founded be opposed to Obamacare if the two laws were really the same? The answer is, of course, that they are not the same. While there are similarities between the two laws, there are also key differences. Below is a table of differences between the Romney plan and the Obama plan.


RomneyCare
ObamaCare
Overall Size and Scope
-Whole bill was 70 pages
-Romney vetoed significant sections of the bill including the employer penalty for not providing health insurance
-Romney favored an “opt out” provision from the mandate
-Romney favored no mandated benefits for health care coverage, catastrophic only
-No federal gov. insurance option
-Intended as a market driven solution to healthcare
-Whole bill was 2,074 pages
-Very broad regulation of the insurance industry including an employer penalty for not providing health insurance and no “opt out” provision
-Establishes a 15 member board of unelected bureaucrats with great control over health care benefits and risks rationing health care
-Leaves open the option of creating single-payer gov. insurance in the future
-Intended as a step toward gov. run insurance
Costs
-No new taxes!
-Romney balanced the state’s budget first, then passed healthcare law
-No cuts to Medicare benefits
-Modest cost to state (only added 1% to state budget)
-Increased taxes by $500 billion and taxes people who don’t buy insurance
-Despite massive federal gov. debt, Obama still passed Obamacare
-Cuts Medicare by $500 billion
-Overall costs unknown!
Popularity
-Very strong bipartisan support
-Strong special interest support
-Very popular among the public in Massachusetts
-Strong consensus of approval was built in the state to support the law
-Consensus was built to support an individual mandate
-Absolutely no bipartisan support
-Very controversial and divided special interest groups
-Unpopular in nation overall
-No consensus was built to support a mandate
Does Constitution Define it as a “Tax” or “Penalty/Fee”?
-Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts ruled state mandates are “penalties” because states have different authority and powers than the fed. gov.
-Mass. constitution never considered this a tax
-Supreme Court ruled that federal gov. only has the authority to enact this law by its ability “tax,” and does not meet the required standards to be considered a “penalty.”
-This tax breaks Obama’s promise that he would not raise taxes on the middle class
Federalism
-A state solution to a state problem
-Through collaboration and discussion, Massachusetts created a consensus among stake holders to support the new law
-Federal gov. “one-size-fits-all” plan
-Doesn’t take into account that each state is unique in important ways such as:
1)Vastly different debt levels between states (some states can’t afford new spending on health care)
2)Some states have three times the percentage of uninsured citizens (Much greater costs will be imposed on states with a larger percentage of uninusured citizens)
3)Conservative states will reject implementation of federal gov. plan.


As the above table illustrates, the plan Romney proposed was a much more conservative, business friendly law than what the Democrats passed under President Obama.

The Boston Globe editorial board recently published an article defending RomneyCare on conservative grounds. The editorial board states “the role Romney played on the state level was skillful, creative, and business friendly. Romney was a governor sensitive to business concerns and worried about the state’s business climate.”

A crucial difference between RomneyCare and ObamaCare is that the two healthcare plans, while similar in some ways, present vast differences in the essential origins and motives that separate Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. One author summarized it this way:
 

We know what Romney’s goal was when he passed his health care plan. His goal was to involve the private sector of Massachusetts in insuring a small percentage of the Massachusetts’ residents [who didn't have health insurance and who were receiving free health care from the government.]

Obama’s goal prior to signing Obamacare into law was much, much bigger.
In 2003, he said, ”I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care plan.”

The fact is, Obamacare was originally going to be single payer. It was going to be European — as close to it as Congress would allow. But that was curbed. What they got, instead — what we got, instead — was the first step. Obamacare. The first step toward single-payer, universal healthcare coverage.

And that is the crucial difference. Romney never said, never touted, never promised that “we may not get [single-payer] immediately” or even a little later than immediately. Romneycare is not Obamacare because Obamacare is just getting started. One was an end in and of itself. The other is (still) a means to an end.

In 2006 when RomneyCare was passed, most conservatives praised Romney’s plan. The Bush administration sent a letter praising the passage of the new law. An often overlooked fact is that without the support of the Bush administration, Romney’s health care law never would have become a reality.

One of Romney’s main goals in passing healthcare legislation was to counter many much more liberal attempts within Massachusetts to take over the healthcare system. The Boston Globe newspaper discusses in detail one plan that Romney feared would become law if action was not taken. That plan was the imposition of a payroll tax of up to $1,700 per employee on all businesses that did not offer health insurance to their employees. It was a serious threat. The plan had been voted on in the year 2000 and the law barely failed by 3%. In 2006 the employer mandate coupled with a heavy payroll tax was to be voted on again.

In regard to ObamaCare, Romney firmly believes that each state should have the right to craft its own health care program. Health care has traditionally been a state issue, not a federal issue, and Romney wants to keep it that way. In his book, No Apology, Romney states:

“My own preference is to let each state fashion its own program to meet the distinct needs of its citizens. States could follow the Massachusetts model if they choose, or they could develop plans of their own. These plans, tested in the state ‘laboratories of democracy,’ could be evaluated, compared, improved upon, and adopted by others.”

In keeping with the belief that states should be able to craft their own programs, Romney has said that on his first day as president, he would issue a waiver to all 50 states allowing them to opt out of ObamaCare. This waiver would allow states to postpone the implementation of ObamaCare while Romney works with congress to formally repeal the bill.

In conclusion, a recent article in The New Yorker magazine states that “Romney had accomplished a longstanding Democratic goal – universal health insurance – by combining three conservative policies.” In other words, Romney had beaten Democrats at their own goal of providing universal health insurance – but Romney’s novel approach accomplished this goal not with a government takeover, but with conservative principles. The success of Romney’s healthcare law led many Democrats to consider adopting a similar approach to achieving universal health insurance. However, the end result from the Democrats under President Obama was a plan with a much larger government, much greater spending, increased taxes, and less power to the states and individuals to determine their own health care goals.

Obamacare Ruling by The Supreme Court – A Preview of the Impact

The Supreme Court is set to rule on the constitutionality of Obamacare any day now, although most expect that ruling to happen sometime in the end of June.

Since the ruling could happen so soon, I wanted to explore what impact the court’s ruling might have on Obama’s (or Romney’s) support. Luckily, there are really only 3 general ways that the court will rule, so we don’t have to get too complicated here.

#1) If the Supreme Court strikes down ALL of Obamacare as unconstitutional . . . .

Republicans will rejoice and Obama will suffer a major defeat. That is it, plain and simple. One commentator summarized the effect this would have on Obama by saying: 

“There is undeniable danger in the optics of an election-year health care defeat, just as there was in early 2010 when the bill teetered. Obama simply can’t allow health care to be a Jimmy Carter-in-the-desert moment, proof that he recklessly, fecklessly pushed through a doomed law at the expense of focusing on the economy and jobs.

If the entire bill is struck down, the credibility of Obama to deliver on his promise of “hope and change” will disintegrate. The American people will ask themselves “How can I trust Obama to improve my situation if his biggest domestic accomplishment turns out to be unconstitutional? How could a former professor of constitutional law err so badly by passing a huge unconstitutional law?” Needless to say, if the Supreme Court struck down the whole bill, this would be a disaster for the president. Obama’s credibility to bring about real change in America will be severely crippled.

Of course Obama could try to pick up the pieces of the disaster by decrying a “purely partisan Supreme Court,” and how he is the only candidate to attempt bold, sweeping change in health care reform, but it wouldn’t be enough. His brand would be too badly damaged.

#2) If Obamacare is upheld in its entirety . . . . 

This ruling would be a mixed bag for the president. He could claim success in reforming healthcare, something no president has done for almost 50 years. He could claim that bold, sweeping innovations was what his presidency was all about and now he is fulfilling that promise. 

However, despite the advantages of such a ruling, Obama would then be forced to defend a deeply unpopular mandate that requires all Americans purchase health insurance. A ruling that upheld Obamacare would rally conservatives and opponents of the mandate like never before in a last ditch attempt to overturn the mandate by electing Republican Mitt Romney who has vowed to repeal it. In my opinion, even if the Supreme Court upholds Obamacare, the issue will be overall negative for the president simply because it will rally the opponents so powerfully.

#3) If part of the law is struck down . . . . 

Republicans will cheer but vow to repeal the rest. Obama will sustain a heavy blow but will claim a partial victory for fixing a broken health care system. Neither side will have a clear win on the issue but I believe the Republicans will have the advantage. Republicans will claim that they fought and partially dismantled major components of the unpopular law. Obama will still be too hesitant to tout the law for fear of siding with an overall unpopular bill. 

So all-in-all, there is a good chance that no matter what the outcome, the bill is a loser for Obama. 

Interestingly, during the Supreme Court hearings on Obamacare, Romney was vindicated in his assertion that an individual mandate is unconstitutional when passed by the federal government, but it is constitutional when passed by a state government. Paul Clement, the main lawyer who worked to get rid of Obamacare’s mandate, said the following about Romney’s statewide mandate:

Clement told the court, just as Romney has told Republican primary voters, that states have the power to enact individual mandates wheras the federal government has no such authority.

“I do think the States could pass this mandate,” Clement said today in response to a question from Justice Sonia Sotomayor. “[T]he States can do it because they have a police power, and that is a fundamental difference between the States on the one hand and the limited, enumerated Federal Government on the other.”

If the Supreme Court agrees that states can enact mandates, but rules that Obama’s mandate is an unconstitutional infringement on individual liberty, then Romney will have a solid rebuttal.

Because the federal government is granted limited/”enumerated” powers by the  constitution, it has no authority to pass an individual mandate. However, nobody is arguing that states don’t have the right to institute an individual mandate because states are granted much broader “policing” and regulating powers. 

What’s at Stake Tuesday, Long and Short Term

The Romance of Delegate Math

If you’re like me you find yourself looking at polling data and calculating delegate counts in your head. If Mitt takes so many delegates in DC, Maryland and Wisconsin, that puts him at a new total of X, extending his lead over Santorum by Y, and making Rick need Z percent of the future delegates to win…. Okay, maybe you’re not like me.

It may sound boring to the uninitiated, but it’s the math behind propelling the most qualified candidate in the race to his party’s nomination, step one in replacing Barack Obama.

What’s at Stake Tuesday: Long View

What Obamacare teaches us. In case you don’t think replacing Barack Obama is a big deal, reflect back on the biggest political story of this week. Okay, not the open mic incident. I’m referring to our hearing our president’s Solicitor General argue to the Supreme Court why Obamacare’s Federal mandate is constitutional. The traditionally conservative justices asked for a rationale that could possibly limit Congress’ power under the commerce clause should they accept his argument. Meanwhile, the traditionally liberal justices tried their best to supply that rationale. Based on the impressions of those reporting, the decision appears headed for a familiar 5-4 vote against the law, with the four traditional conservatives on one side, the four traditional liberals on the other, and middle-of-the-road Justice Kennedy likely voting with the conservatives. But time will tell.

Shape of the Court to come. As someone concerned about finding real limits to Congress’ power (history proving we need limits to preserve our freedom), and knowing the general police power was intended to be reserved to the states (making the difference between Federal Obamacare and state Romneycare night and day), I thank my lucky stars we had presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush to appoint the four conservative justices currently on the court. The liberal justices? Two from Clinton, two from Obama. By way of preview, the next president may have a chance to replace not only the lead conservative on the court in Scalia (currently 76 years old) and a staunch liberal on the court in Ginsburg (79), but iconic swing justice Kennedy, who has made the difference in many 5-4 decisions (currently 75 years old). In other words, who the president is matters, a lot, not just in signing and vetoing laws, but in appointing justices to the court who can protect the Constitution for a generation to come (a combined half-century now for Scalia and Kennedy).

MORE REGARDING THE SUPREME COURT AND AN ESTIMATE OF DELEGATES AWARDED TUESDAY BELOW! (more…)

Santorum & Dems Continue Claim that Romney Supported National HC Mandate, FactCheckers: Not So

This issue has been hashed over time and again. Yet Rick Santorum and the Democrats continue to state that Romney supported a health care mandate for the whole country. Rick Santorum has even gone so far as to say that “there is no difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney,” and that “if the choice was between Mitt Romney or President Obama, we might as well stay with President Obama.”

These claims about Romney’s stance on health care by Rick Santorum and the Democrats are demonstrably false. Many independent and non-partisan groups called “fact-checkers” have recently researched the truthfulness of these claims and found that Rick Santorum and the Democrats are knowingly repeating falsehoods.

Lets first talk about what the FactCheckers at the Washington Post have written recently about Santorum’s claim that “Romney supported a health care mandate for the whole country.”

The Washington Post’s main fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, concludes

In other words, it is ridiculous to claim that Romney ever supported a national mandate when he ran for president in 2008.

Mr. Kessler gave the statement “four pinocchios” which the worst rating a statement can get, a true “whopper” of a lie.

Josh Hicks of the Washington Post comes to the same conclusion when analyzing Rick Santorum’s frequent statements that Romney “supported a mandate for the whole country” saying:

There does not appear to be a single example of Romney saying “we need to force the nation to buy insurance” or anything along that line. In fact, he has said as far back as 2007 that states should decide for themselves what types of health-care policies to implement.

In addition, a 2007 New York Times article explaining Romney’s health-care plan used the headline “Romney to Pitch a State-by-State Health Insurance Plan,” noting that his approach “departs significantly from the universal health care measure that he helped forge as governor of Massachusetts.” And his campaign literature from 2008 made clear that he wanted a “federalist” approach to universal health care.

Rick Santorum needs to recognize the truth that is so obviously before him and stop repeating what is known to be untrue. Even though Santorum is in a tough spot these days by being so far behind in the delegate count, he needs to exemplify some of that “strong moral character” that he talks about so frequently and admit when he’s wrong.

[Editor's Note: Here would be a good place to plug our RomneyCare info page. Ben (author of this post) poured many weeks of research, writing and editing into the extremely informative page. Since Santorum and others continue to (incorrectly) fault Romney for various aspects of RomneyCare we urge you to review the facts and become informed on the details.
Find it ---> HERE]

Obama’s Unemployment Albatross / Romney Best as Health-care Expert / TRENDS

NOTE: See “Feelings about Mitt Romney” below the fold, at the end of this post.

Chris Wallace is one of my favorite political interviewers. He is tough and will generally stay with a line of questioning until he gets answers. Yesterday he interviewed David Plouffe, one of Obama’s senior advisers. The interview spanned a number of topics, the most important being unemployment and gasoline prices.

This video clip is over 14 minutes, but at 13 minutes, five seconds, Wallace put up a chart that shows the unemployment rate at the time three incumbent presidents lost an election “seeking another term” over the last 36 years. The implication of course being that a key reason each of these one-term-only presidents lost reelection was due to the unusually high unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate today is 8.3 percent, not including those who want to work, but who stopped looking — that the government stopped counting. Following were the unemployment rates at the time of the presidential elections:

  • Gerald Ford — 7.8%
  • Jimmy Carter — 7.5%
  • George H. W. Bush — 7.4%

The future does not look good for Mr. Obama if history is any indication!

Of course, many things factor into the ability of any incumbent president to win reelection, but the unemployment rate is a very important number and Obama knows it. You can tell by Plouffe’s demeanor and answer that the Obama Administration knows it. Top that off with high and rising gasoline prices and we have a current political climate that is worse than that of President Carter when Governor Reagan beat him with a mandate. We have seen both Gingrich and Santorum become desperate in their rhetoric; I will venture a guess that their desperation will pale in comparison to Obama’s in October and November.

Kimberly A. Strassel WSJ Op-Ed

Many editorials have emerged these past two weeks basically advising Gov. Romney to get out ahead of the opposition and provide more details to illustrate how his Massachusetts health-care plan is different from ObamaCare. In my opinion, the differences are many and very important — but I believe Gov. Romney’s lack of focus on healthcare in his speeches right now is a good strategy. He is succeeding without it and the risks associated with bringing it up are not worth it right now.

That said, Ms. Strassel makes some valid points in her Op-Ed. The first half of the piece discusses how she feels Gov. Romney’s lack of clarity in describing/defending his health-care plan against charges from Santorum and others has hurt him, but then she ends the piece by arguing Romney can turn it to his benefit (see Paul Johnson’s excellent article below to compliment this point). Strassel: (more…)

Politico Op Ed: Romneycare is an Asset, not Liability

An interesting op ed piece appeared on Politico today from Paul Goldman and Mark J. Rozell, posing the question whether “Romneycare” is an asset or liability for Mitt. They conclude the former.

The traditional analysis, which has become the sole remaining justification for a Rick Santorum candidacy, is that Mitt Romney’s being the author of Romneycare somehow disqualifies him from pointing out the flaws in Obamacare in the general election. But the op ed authors take exception to the traditional analysis:

This conservative faith is wrong, however. To the extent that attacks on President Barack Obama’s health care reform are good politics, the candidate best able to make them is Mitt Romney.

Since he orchestrated and then signed the Massachusetts health care law, Romney is uniquely qualified to lead the GOP attacks against the federal health care reform bill.

Why would Mitt be uniquely qualified?

He would be the first GOP nominee in nearly 50 years with a proven track record on health care who has been praised by Democrats — including the president — as fair and compassionate. He can’t be demonized as an out-of-touch, uncompassionate, hard-right ideologue on this issue.

Americans have been telling pollsters since 1965 that they favor Democrats over Republicans when asked whom they trust on health care issues. That was when President Lyndon B. Johnson and congressional Democrats passed the historic Medicare program — over the objections of many high-profile Republican opponents, including future President Ronald Reagan.

This political landscape meant GOP presidential nominees have regularly been put on the defensive, sometimes even demonized, on health care issues. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are typical in this regard.

Romney is the exception.

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Illinois, Let’s Do It!

Illinois, you know the future of the country is in your hands.

The GOP All Agree: It’s Time to Replace Barack Obama

The GOP nearly unanimously agrees that our four year experiment with an inexperienced Senator at the helm has been a disaster. I read yesterday an article at Politico whose headline was “CBO: Exploding debt under Obama policies.” That article says public debt is expected (under CBO rules of prognostication) to increase from $10.1 trillion in 2011 to $18.8 trillion in 2022. For the current fiscal year:

…CBO is now projecting a shortfall of $1.3 trillion. In fiscal 2013, the deficit will still hover near the $1 trillion mark — about $977 billion. And while it will fall to 2.5 percent of GDP by 2017, it then begins to grow again to 3 percent of GDP by 2022.

With 5 more years of Barack Obama, without threat of losing a re-election bid, one can imagine how bad it could get. How long has it been since the Senate proposed a budget? How much time do we have to repeal Obamacare before the contraception controversy becomes par for the course, and the Federal government begins telling religious institutions what it must buy for its employees?

And this doesn’t even consider foreign policy.

Picking the Replacement

So our choices to replace Barack Obama are now clear. Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney.

Ron Paul.

While there’s much of Ron Paul’s philosophy on the appropriate constitutional size of government I find appealing, he won’t win an election against Barack Obama. The last two elections in which the GOP nominee was elected were decided by the slimmest of margins. I don’t believe that American citizens are ready to make the radical changes Ron Paul would advocate. And I’m not ready for his approach to foreign policy.

Newt Gingrich.

I’ve written before that while Newt Gingrich seems to be an idea machine, he doesn’t know the difference between a good one and a bad one, which is not a good trait for a president. As an attorney for executives, I have observed that some people actually get things done, and others like to pontificate and tell others what to do. I see Newt in the latter role: wanting to be the professor and tell everyone else what they should do rather than actually getting it done. That is not what I’m looking for in an commander-in-chief.

Rick Santorum.

As for Rick Santorum, there’s a lot about his conservative social stands that I like. But I disagree that Rick draws a sharper conservative contrast with Obama than Mitt Romney, that Rick is the “true conservative” in the race, or that Mitt’s having endorsed health care reform in Massachusetts is a handicap. David Axelrod, Obama’s Communications Director, doesn’t hesitate to point out the many differences between Mitt and Obama. Saying Mitt is in any way like Obama is clearly misleading. Santorum calling himself the “true conservative” is also misleading. There are serious arguments to be made that Santorum is not a fiscal conservative at all. And while he attacks Mitt on social issues (principally abortion and Romneycare), Santorum is just as much a convert to the pro-life movement as Mitt is, and Mitt has made it very, very clear that he is both pro-life and intends to repeal Obamacare. When Santorum claims he “never supported the individual mandate,” that’s not true. He supported Mitt Romney as the “true conservative” candidate in 2008, after Romneycare was adopted. Rick’s conversion on health care reform came very recently, and very opportunistically. And we should not forget that Santorum’s endorsement of liberal Arlen Specter is what allowed Obamacare to pass in the first place, since Specter cast the deciding vote. Rick’s habit of compromising his principles has already harmed our country enough.

Mitt Romney.

Meanwhile, in my mind, Mitt has a number of strengths that make him the compelling choice.

Turnaround experience.

Mitt has decades of true executive experience, something unmatched in any other candidate. Mitt has been a governor. He has been a CEO. He led the Olympic games. Mitt’s executive experience has also often been leading organizations needing a turnaround. He’s credited with saving the 2002 Olympics. He’s credited with saving Bain Consulting. He’s credited with balancing the budget in Massachusetts without raising tax rates.

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A Response to the Current Buzz Over Romney’s 2009 Op-ed on Health Care – A Liberal Buzzkill

Liberal websites like Talking Points Memo, Huffington Post have been buzzing recently about a 2009 op-ed written by Romney in USA Today. In the USA Today op-ed, Romney’s detractors allege that “Romney advocated a federal/nationwide mandate requiring citizens to buy health insurance.”

This claim has been brought up again and again by Romney’s opponents, and while we here at Mitt Romney Central are certainly grateful for the increased traffic these websites and bloggers have brought to our site, we certainly feel it necessary to set the record straight.

For those interested in reading the op-ed in question, be my guest, but before you do, you may want to read the op-ed Romney wrote for Newsweek magazine just two months prior where Romney explains much more clearly his proposals on health care.

In the Newsweek op-ed, Romney provides a much more detailed explanation about his health care plans as well as what he meant when he said “penalties” would help people purchase health insurance. The Newsweek op-ed, aptly entitled Health Care: The Answer is Unleashing Markets – Not Government, states:

The right answer for health care is to apply more market force, not less. Here’s how:

1. Get everyone insured. Help low-income households retain or purchase private insurance with a tax credit, voucher or coinsurance. Use the tens of billions we now give hospitals for free care to instead help people buy and keep their own private insurance. For the uninsured who can afford insurance but expect to be given free care at the hospital, require them to either pay for their own care or buy insurance; if they do neither, they would forgo the tax credit or lose a deduction. No more “free riders.”

Notice that Romney states quite directly what he means by “using penalties to encourage people to buy health insurance.” What Romney is saying is that those who don’t purchase health insurance lose the opportunity to gain a “tax credit” or “deduction.” In much the same way, homeowners get a tax deduction for the interest paid on their house payments, or how students can get a tax credit on certain student loans. Romney is not advocating a “mandate” of the type Obama used where people are fined for not purchasing insurance, and Romney is certainly not advocating a FEDERAL mandate of any kind if you read the next paragraph of the Newsweek op-ed which states:

6. Center reforms at the state level. Open the door to state plans designed to meet the various needs of their citizens. Before imposing a one-size-fits-all federal program, let the states serve as “the laboratories of democracy.”

How much clearer can Romney be? This op-ed, written just two months before the op-ed in question, shows that Romney wanted health care reform to be at the state level, and for states to enact tax deductions or credits as incentives for people to purchase health insurance. (Just for the record, this is exactly the same plan Ronald Reagan was looking into).

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