RomneySignsRomneycare.jpg

What Does Mitt Romney Really Think?

What does Mitt Romney really think about Obamacare? Romney and his partisans would like you to think one thing – that he was and is a conservative; that he was and is opposed to big government; that, as Governor in Massachusetts, he was not an enthusiast for Romneycare; that he merely made the best of a bad situation; that he did not seek to rally the rest of us to follow Massachusetts’ example; that he always resolutely opposed enacting something similar at the federal level; and that he is and always has been a principled defender of federalism who regards Obamacare as unconstitutional.

None of this is, in fact, true. Romney is a managerial progressive on the model of Herbert Hoover, Thomas E. Dewey, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, and John McCain. He is what Dewey called “a New-Deal Republican.” He was a consistent supporter of programs like Obamacare until this election campaign, and the minute he thinks that he can get away with it, he will once again show his true colors. We may find in the Fall that we have to vote for him because the other alternative is far, far worse (which it undoubtedly is), but we should not kid ourselves about what we are doing when we do it. Almost all of the men mentioned above posed as conservatives when they wanted our votes. Then, those who got elected sold us down the river.

RomneycareSigned.jpgOn Romney’s stance, the evidence is dispositive. If he was and is a conservative opposed to big government; if, as Governor in Massachusetts, he was not an enthusiast for Romneycare; if he merely made the best of a bad situation, why did he write an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on 11 April 2006 entitled “Healthcare for Everyone? We Found a Way,” touting his accomplishment and recommending Romneycare as a model to be imitated in the other states. If Romney was and is a principled defender of federalism who genuinely regards Obamacare as unconstitutional, why – in a speech delivered in Baltimore on 2 February 2007 – did he describe Romneycare as “a model for the nation?”

If you are inclined to credit the claim, advanced by Romney’s partisans, that Newsweek misquoted Romney’s speech or quoted it out of context, you should look at the op-ed he published in USA Today on 30 July 2009 – in the midst of the debate concerning President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan. This piece you should read in its entirety twice – both for what it says and what it leaves unsaid. When Romney was Governor of Massachusetts and thinking about running for re-election, he touted the virtues of federalism (without ever expressly denying that what he had done in Massachusetts could properly be duplicated on the national level). When he recognized that he had no chance for re-election, he did what was natural. He changed his tune and considered as well what could be done at the national level.

The op-ed that Romney published in USA Today should be read in context. In the midst of the debate going on in the summer of 2009, the Democrats were at odds with one another. Many wanted a single-payer system – socialized medicine tout court, of the sort that Hillary Clinton proposed in the early 1990s. In July, 2009, Romney presented Romneycare, instead, as a model to be followed at the national level. “This Republican is proud to be the first governor to insure all his state’s citizens,” he wrote, and he predicted that Republicans would join with the Democrats in crafting a national plan if President Obama dropped the public option (which Romney consistently opposed).

It is perfectly conceivable that, at this time, Romney still thought it preferable that there be different plans for different states.  On 2 May 2009, in an op-ed in Newsweek, he advanced a six-point program:

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.” This is the basic plan I proposed in Massachusetts. It has worked: 360,000 previously uninsured citizens now have private health insurance. The total number of uninsured has been reduced by almost 75 percent. The Massachusetts plan costs the state more than expected, largely because the legislature has been unwilling to further reduce state payments to hospitals for free care. The costs should be brought in line by eliminating these payments, by requiring sustainable copremiums and by removing coverage mandates (for example, every policy is now required to include unlimited in vitro fertilization procedures).

2. Make health insurance affordable and portable. Eliminate the tax discrimination against consumers who purchase insurance on their own. This, plus getting everyone insured, will sharply lower insurance costs (in Massachusetts, the premium for a single male has declined by almost 50 percent). The result: Americans wouldn’t have to worry that their insurance would be unaffordable or canceled if they changed or lost a job.

3. Give people an incentive to care how expensive and how good their health-care treatment will be. Learn from the French and Swiss experience with coinsurance, where the insured pays a given percent of the entire bill, up to some upper limit. Unlike a deductible, where there is no cost to the insured once a threshold has been reached, coinsurance means that the insured continues to care about cost.

4. Provide citizens with information about the cost and quality of providers and the effectiveness of alternative treatments. This transparency, when it’s combined with a meaningful personal financial incentive, will help health care work more like a consumer market.

5.Reform Medicare and Medicaid, likewise applying market principles to lower cost and improve patient care.

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.”

Note, however, that Romney did not say that a national program would be unconstitutional. Nor did he reject in principle what he called “a one-size-fits-all federal program.” The operative word in the last of the paragraphs quoted is before. The states were to serve in the manner recommended long ago by Wisconsin progressive Robert M. LaFollete as “laboratories for democracy.” The point that Romney made in May, 2009 was that it would not be the best idea for the federal government to adopt such a program until after the experiment has been made in a variety of states. In July, however, in the midst of the great debate, he was willing to jettison these concerns and settle for something along the lines of Obamacare (which does not have a public option).

It is with all of this in mind that we should read what Romney wrote in the hardback version of his campaign book No Apology, which was submitted to the publisher well before the passage of Obamacare and came out in March, 2010: “From now on, no one in Massachusetts has to worry about losing his or her health insurance if there is a job change or a loss in income; everyone is insured and pays only what he or she can afford…. We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country….”

If Romney dropped that last sentence from the paperback edition of the same book, which came out in February 2011, it was only because he had finally recognized the depth of hostility in the country to the individual mandate.

Beforehand, however – when the House of Representatives reluctantly adopted the Senate version of Obamacare after the election of Scott Brown to the Senate seat once held by Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts – Romney applauded the “incentive” for purchasing health insurance embedded in Obamacare – which is to say, he applauded the individual mandate and the fine for failing to comply with it – and he criticized other aspects of the bill, vaguely mentioning federalism and the Tenth Amendment and saying that he would hope to “repeal the bad and keep the good.”

It was not clear what Romney had in mind – for the very thing that he singled out as “good” (the individual mandate) was the element in Obamacare that most of its opponents regarded as unconstitutional. At about that time, a blogger named Kavon Nikrad, who was puzzled about this matter, approached Romney at a book-signing and posed a question:

You have stated your intention to spearhead the effort to repeal the ‘worst aspects’ of Obamacare, does this include the repeal of the individual mandate and pre-existing exclusion?

The Governor’s answer:

No.

Gov. Romney went on to explain that he does not wish to repeal these aspects because of the deleterious effect it would have on those with pre-existing conditions in obtaining health insurance.

To this day, it is not clear what in Obamacare makes Mitt Romney think that it is unconstitutional. Developments that he did not anticipate or even recognize as significant when they took place – the emergence of the Tea-Party movement and the pronounced hostility of the American public to Obamacare – appear to have caused a candidate who preferred experiments on the state level but had no principled opposition to the individual mandate as it existed on the national level within Obamacare to take shelter behind vague references to the Tenth Amendment.

There is one additional sign that the fierce, firm opposition to Obamacare so frequently expressed in recent months by Romney is purely tactical and that, if he were free to act as he wishes, he would not repeal the bill but tweak it in modest ways and retain the individual mandate.  Back in January, Norm Coleman, former Senator from Minnesota, who is a supporter and advisor of Romney said to be in line for a cabinet post and who on occasion serves as a surrogate for the candidate, predicted that Obamacare would not be repealed but that it would be revised in various ways. When this caused an uproar, the Romney campaign distanced itself from Coleman’s remarks, and the latter backed off and said that he had been talking out of school.

Given the extraordinary discipline displayed by the Romney campaign and everyone associated with it, I doubt very much that Coleman acted entirely on his own. It is a common practice in American politics for a major player to have an underling float an idea that he would like to pursue to see whether it draws fire or not. If it is welcomed, he can embrace it. If not, he can deny complicity – which is, in effect, what Romney did.

None of this proves that – if Romney is the Republican nominee and is elected President – he will immediately ditch us and embrace Obamacare. On this question, in response to developments, he has painted himself into a corner; and, if he has his wits about him, he will recognize that he has to make good on his promise.

I would not be dumbfounded, however,  were he to back gently away from his pledge when the primary season is over. Conventional wisdom holds that Republicans must run to the right in the primaries, then tack to the center thereafter, and in my lifetime I have never seen a Republican aspirant as devoted to conventional wisdom as is Mitt Romney. Moreover, if the Supreme Court were to rule Obamacare constitutional, he might be doubly tempted to alter his stance. In Massachusetts, when the state Supreme Court ruled that it was contrary to the Constitution of Massachusetts for marriage to be restricted to heterosexuals, Romney deferred to the judgment of the court with regard to the constitutional question. To date, he has grounded his call for a repeal of Obamacare solely on the charge that it is unconstitutional. On what grounds would he oppose it if the Supreme Court ruled against his constitutional claim?

In any case, what we can conclude is that, insofar as he regards Romneycare as his signature achievement, Mitt Romney will be half-hearted in his quest for Obamacare’s repeal. And later, if the fury that engendered the Tea Party dissipates and he senses that he has a free hand, he will have a relapse. In the last debate, the one held in Arizona, when Rick Santorum pressed Romney to explain what difference between Romneycare and Obamacare was sufficiently salient to justify his support for the former and his opposition to the latter, he fell back on the question of cost. At that moment, we saw the real Romney. He is Mr. Fix-It. That is what he did at Bain Capital, and that is what he hopes to do if he becomes President. When it comes to practical politics, efficiency is often for Mitt Romney the end-all and be-all.

The real problem is this. Mitt Romney is a well-trained technician and not an educated man. He admitted as much in the speech he gave to CPAC on 10 February:

There are college students at this conference who are reading Burke and…

(APPLAUSE)

My guess is some of you got here by reading Burke and Hayek.

ROMNEY: When I was your age, you could’ve told me that they were infielders for the Detroit Tigers.

(LAUGHTER)

As some of you who work in think tanks or you follow the writings of some of the prominent conservative writers currently and in the past, some of you have probably worked in government or you labored on the front lines of conservative causes. I salute to all of you in achieving your vision of conservatism.

My path to conservatism came from my family, from my faith and from my life’s work. I was raised in a home that was shaped by and rooted in conservative values. My mother’s father, my grandfather, came to America from England. As a teenager he was alone in this new country, but he risked it all for the chance at religious liberty and for economic opportunity.

You probably also heard about my dad and how proud I am of him. He as born to American parents who were living in Mexico, and then when he was 5 they moved back to the U.S. His dad as a contractor, but he went bust more than once. My dad grew up poor; never had the chance to finish his college degree.

But he believed in the country where the circumstances of one’s birth were not  a barrier to life’s achievement. And so with hard work he became the head of a car company. And then he became governor of the great state of Michigan.

(APPLAUSE)

The values that allowed my parents to achieve their dreams are the same values they instilled in my siblings and me. Those aren’t values I just talk about, they’re values that I live every day.

ROMNEY: My 42-year marriage to my wife Ann, the life we’ve built with our five sons…

(APPLAUSE)

… the faith that’s part of our life: These conservative constants have shaped my life.

And then there’s business. In business, if you’re not fiscally conservative, you’re bankrupt.

(APPLAUSE)

I mean, I spent 25 years balancing budgets, eliminating waste; and, by the way, keeping as far away from government as humanly possible. I did…

(APPLAUSE)

… I did some of the very things conservatism is designed for. I started new businesses and turned around broken ones. And I’m not ashamed to say that I was successful in doing it.

There is something endearing about this account of Romney’s life history. He has been by all accounts a fine father and a fine husband, and he did no end of good in turning failing businesses around in his years at Bain Capital. Moreover, there can be no doubt that he, like Michael Bloomberg in the city of New York, is fiscally sane. Romney possesses all of the bourgeois virtues, and they really do deserve honor and respect. If elected, he will defend this country against its enemies, I have no doubt, and he will lead us back from the edge of the abyss into which we now stare.

But there is something missing as well. There is no indication Mitt Romney has ever read, much less ruminated on Hayek or Burke, Jefferson or Madison, Hamilton or Lincoln – not to mention Alexis de Tocqueville. There is no indication that he has given thought to the trajectory that this country has been on for the last hundred years. There is no indication that he has pondered where it will all end if we do not reverse course and begin to gradually dismantle the administrative entitlements state. It is worth keeping in mind that the father that Mitt Romney so admires resolutely refused, when he was Governor of Michigan, to support Barry Goldwater, the nominee of the Republican Party, in the Presidential race in 1964.

Mitt Romney knows next to nothing about the principles underpinning American government, and it has never crossed his mind that we cannot sustain political and personal liberty in the United States if we embrace the economic bill of rights proposed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1944 and blur the distinction between public revenues that our elected representatives can rightly spend within the limits specified by the Constitution pretty much as they see fit, on the one hand, and the property that remains our own, on the other. In politics, the prospective Republican nominee operates on the same set of premises as Barack Obama. Both men presume that the property we hold is really public property – to be spent as the legislative power directs. Both take it for granted that it is the job of government to guarantee healthcare to everyone. Both are perfectly happy to take from the industrious and rational to support the greedy and improvident. If they disagree, it is only about the most efficient way to deliver the goods.

In 2002, while campaigning in Massachusetts, Romney said, “My views are progressive.” That they are – to this very day. Mitt Romney is what Thomas E. Dewey said he was – the very model of a Republican New-Dealer.

At no time in the course of the contest for the Republican nomination have I been convinced that any of the other candidates actually in the race was a viable alternative to Mitt Romney. Those who fell to the wayside did so for a reason, and Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who are still in the race, have serious defects that cost them high office in the past, which they have not in the interim fully overcome. In my judgment, neither possesses the self-discipline required for the bruising Presidential race to come.

In November, we may have to hold our noses and vote for yet another managerial progressive – proud to be a tax collector for the welfare state. In some very important regards, Mitt Romney is likely to serve us well. But let’s hope that he is the last of his kind.

If, in the next two decades, we do not get past managerial progressivism — if we do not find a way to seize the time, take advantage of the crisis of the administrative entitlements state, and reverse this country’s soft despotic drift — it may be too late. And, before long, this country will cease to be the beacon of hope for humankind that it has been for more than two hundred years.

  1. jpark

    Paul,

    Some time ago, you closed with Obamacare delenda est.  That formulation is simple and clear.  I don’t see those words coming from Governor Romney, sad to say, because they should be said as often as Cato said it about Carthage.

  2. Hang On

    Romney is an empiricist. Obamacare will not work simply because of the numbers and what it does to future budgets. For that reason alone, it needs to be repealed. Romney will come to that conclusion when the numbers are presented.

    I personally prefer a candidate who comes to that conclusion on that basis rather than one who comes to that conclusion because of philosophical bent. I’ve stated repeatedly what I think of philosophy and how little regard I have for it. Numbers and the reality that imposes are far better than philosophical bent.

  3. Bryan G. Stephens

    Paul,

    Every time I am about to warm up to Romney, something comes along and knocks me away. Today it was this.

    What can we do? What can *I* do to save this great nation? As the car slides across the ice, my sense of helplessness grows.

    Is it time to start thinking towards the next stage? Rome’s Republic fell, to be replaced (after a generation of civil war) with a Mighty Empire.

    Julius Caesar 2016?

  4. Trace

    Oy. That horse is fully glue. Let’s stipulate all the ways in which Mitt Romney is depressingly imperfect and then move on. Please.

  5. raycon and lindacon

    Was it Milton Friedman who said that the it is not finding good men to govern, it is making it impossible for bad me to do other than good.

    I am unconcerned with what Willard thinks.  But I have yet to find evidence that he will DO anything to stop O’care, or much else of the progressive agenda.

  6. Leporello

    Thank you, Prof. Rahe.  This may be the first comprehensive account of Romney and his various positions on Romneycare and Obamacare.  

    I disagree, however, with your conclusion:

    In November, we may have to hold our noses and vote for yet another managerial progressive – proud to be a tax collector for the welfare state. In some very important regards, Mitt Romney is likely to serve us well. But let’s hope that he is the last of his kind.

    If Republicans vote for another FDR Republican because the alternative is worse, you can be sure that Romney will not be the last of his kind.  Republicans will continue to have FDR Republican nominees until they are willing to let such candidates go down to defeat.  

    The only way to have candidates who take their first principles from the Declaration and Constitution, and who understand the political thinking that underlies and flows from those documents, is to vote for those candidates and only for those candidates.

    And when we are admonished that such candidates are unelectable, we must rededicate ourselves to supporting them as intransigently as our Founders claimed their liberties in defiance of the mighty British military.

  7. Todd

    It would be nice to give him a reading list. 

    Free to Choose by Friedman

    Use of Knowledge in Society by Hayek

    Knowledge and Decisions/Vision of the Anointed by Thomas Sowell

    Maybe we can just send him Mitch Daniel’s reading list.

    http://thebrowser.com/interviews/mitch-daniels-on-how-libertarians-can-govern

  8. Gus Marvinson

    Correct me if I’m wrong Professor Rahe, but I seem to recall that at one point you were persuaded that Romney would govern from the right because pressure to campaign to the right would force him to keep his promises to govern from the right.  OK, that wasn’t gracefully stated, but I think you get the idea. It seems you are now convinced otherwise.

    So is the strategy to ignore the presidential election and push hard for majorities in congress, hoping that the momentum created might carry Romney to the White House where the fresh conservative tide will force him to keep his word?

  9. DrewInWisconsin

    Or, we could nominate Newt. That’d be cool.

  10. James Of England
    Paul A. Rahe

    He was a consistent supporter of programs like Obamacare until this election campaign, and the minute he thinks that he can get away with it, he will once again show his true colors.

    If you were familiar with his 1994 campaign, in which he campaigned strongly against mandates, leading to his most successful moment in the Kennedy debates (responding to Kennedy’s question about whether America had to many specialists, by saying he did think so, but didn’t think it relevant as the number should be set by the market), you’d know that this is a not true. 

    He also campaigned against it in the 2008 election. And criticized Obamacare as a pundit throughout Obama’s term. The non-verbatim hearsay from a blogger that was immediately denied by the campaign is not enough to cut it. The nugget that he opposed Obamacare being federal law but like mandates is more interesting, but the ambiguity was cleared up months ago, before your most recent 10 (or so) posts reiterating it.

  11. James Of England
    jpark: Paul,

    Some time ago, you closed with Obamacare delenda est.  That formulation is simple and clear.  I don’t see those words coming from Governor Romney, sad to say, because they should be said as often as Cato said it about Carthage. · 29 minutes ago

    Does it bother you that he says that “we must repeal Obamacare” in English? I’m not sure I understand the problem. Do you imagine that a different candidate would more successfully debate the issue in Latin? My understanding is that Cato did not use Latin for the classy effect (hence he didn’t use Greek), but because that was the language most familiar to his audience.

  12. SteveS
    Hang On: Romney is an empiricist. Obamacare will not work simply because of the numbers and what it does to future budgets. For that reason alone, it needs to be repealed. Romney will come to that conclusion when the numbers are presented.

    I personally prefer a candidate who comes to that conclusion on that basis rather than one who comes to that conclusion because of philosophical bent. I’ve stated repeatedly what I think of philosophy and how little regard I have for it. Numbers and the reality that imposes are far better than philosophical bent. · 28 minutes ago

    So it is all just math then, as our president states.

    He has to be looking at the” Numbers” of what he ushered in for Massachusetts and if he is the empiricist you claim him to be then why is he willing to ignore the evidence and not flip flop his way back to true conservatism as in all his other stances.

  13. James Of England
    Paul A. Rahe

    But there is something missing as well. There is no indication Mitt Romney has ever read, much less ruminated on Hayek or Burke, Jefferson or Madison, Hamilton or Lincoln – not to mention Alexis de Tocqueville.

    If you spent more time with Mormons and other patriots outside academia, you’d see the fallacy here. Burke was a fairly important revolutionary war figure, but probably not in the top 20; his philosophy is more important to the conservative movement than it is to the American founding. Hayek, obviously, is an almost purely partisan figure.

    Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton, on the other hand, are deeply revered figures across the spectrum. I certainly had to read federalist papers for my law degree, and study the debates over the Declaration and Constitution. Tocqueville and Lincoln, likewise, are figures Romney is obviously familiar with, given the frequency with which he references them. It is Romney’s love of these figures that induce the Justice Bork endorsement “Mitt Romney, in contrast, is assiduous in his defense of the distinctive legal heritage that is the bedrock of our society.”

    Not everyone comes to the Founders as a history professor.

  14. Horace

    It seems that if you are a businessman or a politician, you must always sell yourself and your accomplishments. Always be closing, as Mamet’s character says. That Romney hasn’t disowned THE major accomplishment of his governorship shouldn’t really be surprising. Even if deep in his heart he felt the policy was a mistake (and I’m not saying he does.) in order to make his governorship look as accomplished as possible, I think he’d feel the need to defend Romneycare.

    The other thing to remember is that among the general population, government involvement in healthcare is still seen as a good idea. I think a fair assessment might factor in the political calculation of wanting to meet the majority of voters where they are, rather than walk away from something you are inextricably tied to and which with a modicum of political spin can be made to appeal to a majority of the electorate.

    In short, it’s not really such a stretch to assume, even with all the evidence Prof. Rahe documents, that Romney is making lemonade of the lemons he so publicly picked for himself. He is turning a mistake into an opportunity.

  15. raycon and lindacon
    Leporello: … If Republicans vote for another FDR Republican because the alternative is worse, you can be sure that Romney willnot be the last of his kind.  Republicans will continue to have FDR Republican nominees until they are willing to let such candidates go down to defeat.  

    The only way to have candidates who take their first principles from the Declaration and Constitution, and who understand the political thinking that underlies and flows from those documents, is tovotefor those candidates andonlyfor those candidates.

    When we are admonished that such candidates are unelectable, we must rededicate ourselves to supporting them as intransigently as our Founders claimed their liberties in defiance of the mighty British military. · 26 minutes ago

    Edited 23 minutes ago

    You are expressing a wisdom that is undetected by the more sophisticated members of Ricochet. 

    Believing ourselves to be superior strategists to the Founders, we continue to argue the idea that this tweak or that tweak will get us to the place of the Founders;  “for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

  16. James Of England
    Paul A. Rahe

    None of this is, in fact, true. Romney is a managerial progressive on the model of Herbert Hoover, Thomas E. Dewey, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, George W. H. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, and John McCain. He is what Dewey called “a New-Deal Republican.” He was a consistent supporter of programs like Obamacare until this election campaign, and the minute he thinks that he can get away with it, he will once again show his true colors.

    By the last sentence, do you mean “he supported Romneycare”, thus demonstrating that his corrupt essence will spew forth in office? This would echo your claim that “He was born to destroy everything that we have accomplished since the Tea-Party Movement emerged in the Spring of 2009″, probably the most hyperbolic statement made on Ricochet since its founding.

    Or do you mean that he’s supported other evil/ foolish programs, and will show his foolishness?

    Regarding the “just like [despised politician ] he would do [act of despised politician]” rhetoric, do you know of a President who was keener to hack away at the New Deal than Romney, in policy terms? Reagan, for instance, liked FDR.

  17. James Of England

    I’ve gone over the piece a few times now. Professor Rahe, is there a single idea or quote here that you have not used in a similar piece to make a similar point? I imagine that there is a new idea here, and that it’s supported by repeating the context for those who have not read and retained your previous pieces, and I would appreciate the opportunity to focus on that new insight, but I cannot find it. For the most part, it appears to be the addition of well worn quotes to the argument you made last May.

  18. Duane Oyen

    I have a hard time quarreling with these principles, coupled with praise for Paul Ryan and #5, adoption of the Wyden-Ryan proposal:

    1) If uninsured who can afford insurance expect free care at hospitals, require them to pay

    2) Remove coverage mandates

    3) Follow Swiss model of private-pay incentives

    4) Provide information on cost and quality to make “health care work more like a consumer market”

    5) Reform Medicare and Medicaid

    6) Center reforms at the state level.

    I doubt that any sensible center-right person who is living in the real world would object to those principles.  (con’t)

  19. Duane Oyen
    Two more points. a) Yes, Romney is a manager, I think that is a good thing when you have to preside over a large entity.  The term “managerial progressive” is meaningless.  I have seen it invoked here like a curse and still don’t know what it really means.  Dewey? Eisenhower?  I’m fine with Eisenhower, and I don’t know anyone who is not to the Right of Barry Goldwater who thinks that Eisenhower was a liberal.  b)  Romney is very careful- and has been since the beginning, to talk about “incentives” and “personal responsibility”.  He never proposes a “mandate”.  And if you get into detail of what actually happened, they tried every approach possible that wasn’t a mandate, and lost in the legislature. I remain convinced that our side is going to lose over and over until we learn that if the broad international public absolutely demands that a problem be addressed, we should address it.  The question is how.
  20. Duane Oyen
    On the Right we have steadfastly tried to ignore the health care conundrum for 50 years.  It is not going away- every developed country in the world has a national program of some type.  Some are single payer (UK, Canada, Taiwan) and their expoeriences are different, but most have foudn that they need to move toward market solutions (good!).  Others are more private, but with too much government (France, Germany, Belgium).  Others are quite bare bones (China) and benefit from low labor costs, but will soon need to act to avoid internal problems. Countries that acted first are now paying the price.  We have the benefit of 1) our commitment to markets, and 2) review of their mistakes. But if we believe that we can ignore this stuff, we are fooling ourselves.