Saturday, May 14, 2011

2012: Dueling Cults Of Personality?

This article originally appeared here on Thursday, May 12, but disappeared thanks to a malfunction at Blogspot, the blog's host service. It has been restored with one minor change in the introductory sentence.

There is so much going on in this quote from Talking Points Memo that I just think I'll just note it all in "bullet points":
Seeking to defuse his biggest vulnerability in the GOP primaries, Mitt Romney is set to deliver a speech outlining his position on health care on Thursday. The issue has been his glass jaw ever since 2009, when Democrats launched a successful push to pass health care reform modeled on a Massachusetts law widely considered Romney's signature achievement as governor.

The element of both laws that is most despised by those on the right is a requirement that people purchase insurance, leaving Romney in the awkward position of fiercely defending his own law's use of a mandate while labeling it an unconstitutional government takeover on a national level.

"Governor Romney has made it very clear over the last many years, including during the 2008 presidential cycle, that he opposes a federally imposed individual mandate," a Romney spox told NRO this week.

Mitt Romney's Epic Health Care Journey: How He Flip-Flopped On Mandates
* I believe "spox" means "spokesperson" in this context. This article could use some editing.

* It isn't just the right who think that individual mandates are a bad idea. I've criticized them repeatedly, particularly after any form of public option was dropped. Ian Welsh, Marcy Wheeler, and Lambert Strether, among others who have looked into the idea deeply, have criticized it as well, in some cases even if there was a public option. It's a bad idea, and most people on the left who are in any way acquainted with what it is to be living from paycheck to paycheck are well aware of that.

* But the final observation I have to make is this - Romney is the presumptive front runner among Republicans. Like Barack Obama, his likely Democratic opponent, Romney is against an individual mandate when he is talking to his supporters, and for it when it comes to actually drafting the legislation. And let's be honest here, Obama and his administration drafted that proposal, as I've explained repeatedly.

Read the quoted article through, and you will note that there's no mention that Obama was once against individual mandates, then "flip flopped". He was, you may remember, criticized for it at that time by folks like Paul Krugman. Krugman,et al, were woefully wrongheaded on this issue, thanks to their not bothering to check whether their assumptions about how economic forces worked in this area were actually true.

So, is this a great country, or what? Of all the politicians and would-be politicians in this country running for President, we will end up with these two con artists?

The only enduringly interesting thing about this issue is whether Romney's supporters will be as reality-challenged as Obama's are. Will they, too, insist that he just signed the Massachusetts health care plan because he was forced to by all those dark forces that run our government? My guess is that they probably will.

Cults of personality are like that.


lawguy said...

Ah good times. You take me back to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when I first realized just how corrupt Dear and Glorious Leader is. It was only later that I realized how incompetent he is politically, if one assumes that most elected people want to be re-elected, that is.

Cujo359 said...

I don't take it as a given that he wants to be re-elected. Serving the big money interests is almost inevitably rewarded somehow, either with book deals, speaking engagements, lobbying gigs, or some combination of those. He'll be taken care of, even if he's a one-termer. A second term might make him more marketable, but I think from Obama's perspective that would just be gravy.