Politics & Policy

Romney’s Federalism Defense of Romneycare

In recent weeks, Mitt Romney has been heavily pushing the state/federal distinction in order to defend his health-care program in Massachusetts — and distinguish it from Obamacare.

Now he’s trying out a new tack: pointing out that imposing Romneycare on the nation would be like imposing Massachusetts’s educational methods and standards on the country.

“We have in my state a curriculum that we provide to all of our schools, our high schools, and we test kids across the state on our curriculum. I like what we’ve done, it’s a pretty good job,” Romney said earlier this week, according to the Boston Globe.

“But the last thing I’d suggest is to take the Massachusetts curriculum for schools and have President Obama tell every state they’ve got to use the Massachusetts curriculum,” Romney added. “That would make no sense at all. The needs of different students and the rights of people in different states have to be recognized.”

There’s just one catch: Romney did defend the federal government educational standards in 2007 because of how similar standards had worked in Massachusetts, according to Politifact. From a 2007 Politifact piece:

Mitt Romney defends the federal No Child Left Behind Act because he says an earlier version of the legislation worked in Massachusetts. …

Conservative talk show host Joe Scarborough had Mitt Romney on his show … and asked the former Massachusetts governor to riff on his newest opponent’s [Fred Thompson] comments. Romney looked to his own experience as a guide.

“We had a No Child Left Behind — a similar piece of legislation in our state a number of years ago, well before the federal law. And it’s had a big impact here. It’s improved schools,” he said.

Though it could use some “updates,” Romney said, he supports the federal accountability law.

Why? Simple.

He has seen the effects of holding schools accountable through testing and standards in his own state. He refers specifically to his state’s landmark 1993 Education Reform Act, which put such measures in place nine years before No Child took effect.

For whatever it’s worth, I wasn’t able to find the original transcript for this conversation, so this assumes that Politifact accurately represented the overall conversation.

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...


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