I didn’t think much of The World According to Garp, but there’s a scene in the movie that should give us solace about President Romney and health care. As a realtor is showing a house to Robin Williams and his wife, a small plane crashes into it. Once they recover from the shock, Williams’s character says, “We’ll take the house. Honey, honey, the chances of another plane hitting this house are astronomical. See, it’s been pre-disastered.”
This may be part of the answer to Ramesh’s perplexity of a couple days ago: “Like a lot of other people, I’ve been a little surprised at how little Romney’s record on health-care has hurt him.” Romney’s been “pre-disastered” by Romneycare — the chances that he’d ever promote anything like that in the future are astronomical. If anything, he needs to go overboard in opposing Obamacare precisely because of his past actions — he needs to be more royalist than the king, as it were. Sure, the fact that he pushed it to begin with tells us he’s not really a conservative, but we knew that anyway. What matters in this specific issue is whether he’d talk up and eventually sign a repeal of Obamacare sent to him by Congress in 2013 — and the answer is obviously “yes.
My sense is this is different from, say, McCain and amnesty — had he won in 2008 he would certainly have pushed amnesty and huge increases in immigration in Congress, despite having been “pre-disastered” in 2007, because 1) he believes in it in a way that Romney just doesn’t seem to “believe” in the universal health insurance mandate (or maybe anything else) and 2) McCain’s a vengeful jerk who’d want to get even with the Republican electorate that stopped his amnesty, and again, I don’t think that applies to Romney (who, in addition, will be facing a Republican Congress, not the Democratic one McCain would have faced).
I’m not in the tank for the guy (though barring a dead girl or a live boy he’s got the nomination sewn up), but Romneycare just doesn’t strike me as being as big a problem as some people make it out to be, which may be why it hasn’t hurt him as much as you might have thought.