Early this morning, Heather Higgins pointed to a fascinating piece in the Wall Street Journal by Grace-Marie Turner. It elaborated on Rick Santorum's debate points about the crucial similarities between Romneycare and Obamacare, of which there are many.
While I believe the Anybody But Romney movement reflects many areas of dissatisfaction with Gov. Mitt Romney, it is this issue of RomneyCare that is the most serious. My mother is a huge fan of Romney. Huge. But she can't explain how Romneycare is different than Obamacare, although she believes it is. Other Romney defenders make the same claim, including Karl Rove, Pam Bondi, Jim DeMint, and Chris Christie. I've been momentarily persuaded that a distinction between the two could be argued by the fantastic Romney defender James of England in comment threads here.
But it seems so much easier to argue their crucial similarities. Here's a CATO video that briefly explains the issue:
I got that link from Ben Domenech's Twitter feed this morning. He offered a few others:
Betsy McCaughey: Why Romneycare is Obamacare. http://vlt.tc/42g
Angie Holan: Why Romneycare is Obamacare. http://vlt.tc/42i
Sarah Kliff: Why Romneycare is Obamacare. http://vlt.tc/42j
Health Affairs: Why Romneycare is Obamacare. http://vlt.tc/42k
Jonathan Gruber: Why Romneycare is Obamacare. http://vlt.tc/42l
Michael Isikoff: Why Romneycare is Obamacare. http://vlt.tc/42m
Phil Klein: Why Romneycare is Obamacare. http://vlt.tc/42n
Paul Gigot: Why Romneycare is Obamacare. http://vlt.tc/42o
Let's go back to the end of Grace-Marie Turner's WSJ piece:
Mr. Santorum was passionate in insisting that Mr. Romney's defense will collapse in a debate with President Obama, and the candidate would be wide open to attack. "Folks, we can't give this issue away in this election. It is about fundamental freedom," he said.
Mr. Romney has indeed backed himself into a corner by insisting on defending his health plan while attacking ObamaCare. In the Oct. 11 debate at Dartmouth College, Mr. Romney said: "[W]e all agree about repeal and replace. And I'm proud of the fact that I put together a plan that says what I'm going to replace it with."
Does he really mean that he wants to use Massachusetts as a model for his "replacement" plan? No wonder voters are worried.
Unless Mr. Romney takes steps to conform his position with reality, he will have trouble convincing voters he is serious about repeal and will have an even harder time mapping a clear plan on health reform should he be elected president.
Of all the issues that Republicans could use to fight Obama in November, fighting Obamacare is the most unifying. There is widespread opposition to the bill and its implementation. Does anyone think that parsing the distinctions between Obamacare and its blueprint is going to be a winning issue? If so, how?