I don’t publicly endorse candidates, not that it would make a whit of difference if I did. I do try to cast light on issues germane to Secondhand Smoke as they arise. Thus, I defended Rick Santorum twice; first, when he was more right than wrong in his criticism of Dutch euthanasia, and also when he was castigated for co-sponsoring the Terri Schiavo law, which in fact, was one of the most bipartisan during the entire Bush years.
Today, I rise to defend Mitt Romney. He is castigated widely among conservatives for Romneycare, and accused of not really being against Obamacare-style national mandates. My friend William Kristol has a piece out in which he extensively quotes Romney in a 2008 debate exhange with Fred Thompson, in which Romney says, “I love mandates.” From this, Kristol concludes that Romney would just be a more moderate technocrat than the very liberal Obama technocrats, and opines that “liberty” is better than technocratic management.
No argument there, but I very much doubt Romney would be autocratic bordering on authoritarian in the way the O administration is. That point aside, I think this is the key Romney statement in the extended debate exchange about health care that tells us he wouldn’t be anti-liberty, as some conservatives fear. From “The Man Who Likes Mandates:”
Romney: I would not mandate at the federal level that every state do what we do. But what I would say at the federal level is, “We’ll keep giving you these special payments we make if you adopt plans that get everybody insured.” I want to get everybody insured.
Romney: In Governor Schwarzenegger’s state, he’s got a different plan to get people insured. I wouldn’t tell him he has to do it my way. But I’d say each state needs to get busy on the job of getting all our citizens insured. It does not cost more money.
Based on the 2008 debate exchange, Romney is certainly no Obama. One, there is no reason to believe Romney wouldn’t keep his promise and repeal Obamacare. Two, based on this exchange, he certainly wouldn’t use federal health care law as cynically and demagogically as Obama has. Three, he wouldn’t force every state to pass a Romneycare-style plan. And, finally, he would encourage–not require–states to find ways to find solutions that would result in all citizens being insured–offering federal financial aid to so do.
That isn’t nearly as “hand’s off” a policy as some would want. But it isn’t bureaucratic centralized control either.