The Corner

Re: Mitt Romney on Health Care

Romney said: 


Our experiment wasn’t perfect—some things worked, some didn’t, and some things I’d change. One thing I would never do is to usurp the constitutional power of states with a one-size-fits-all federal takeover. 

What worked? What didn’t? What, most importantly, would you change, sir? That question is going to be asked by David Gregory or Bob Schieffer the next time Romney goes on one of the Sunday shows. And if it isn’t asked then, it’ll sure as heck be asked at the first primary debate. And if Mitt Romney is going to be president, he is going to have to at least make it sound like he’s got an answer for it. And it’s difficult to see how that answer could not involve him defending some or other policy that is a major moving part of Obamacare.

It won’t be easy. It looks like he’s decided more or less to dig in around the federalist defense of Romneycare, which I’ve always thought was the most promising tack. (I think disowning it wholesale would do him as much harm as good). He also has to find subtle but sound-bite friendly ways of saying something to the effect of, “Look, I was the Republican governor of Massachusetts, what would you have had me do?” or “Hey, it’s not like I did single payer.” Indeed, Massachusettians have long accepted the tradeoffs associated with an extensive welfare state, so Romney could make the argument that delivering them near-universal coverage made him responsive to his constituents and respectful of the social contract under which he was elected to govern.

That’s one argument, anyway. The other argument is that leaders are elected to lead, and how can we trust a President Romney not to go all wobbly if the prevailing winds in Washington, and the opinion polls, are headed in the direction of some fresh federal overreach? Oh, and it probably doesn’t bode well for Romney that the historical analogy that keeps popping into my head whenever I think about ways he might be able to thread the needle on Obamacare in the Republican primary — is Stephen A. Douglas and “popular sovereignty.”

Daniel Foster — Daniel Foster has been news editor of National Review Online since 2009, and was a web site editor until 2012. His work has appeared in The American Spectator, The American ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More