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The Man Who Likes Mandates
Weekly Standard ^ | March 26, 2012 | Bill Kristol

Posted on 03/18/2012 7:18:30 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

Why is there still so much resistance among Republican primary voters to Mitt Romney, the likely but not inevitable GOP nominee? Perhaps the deepest reason is this: At a moment in history when we need a bold commitment to reform, a fundamental willingness to limit the state and revitalize self-government, Romney’s achievements and qualifications seem out of step with the times.

Consider a revealing debate moment. It’s not from this year’s campaign but from 2008, when Obamacare did not yet exist. Here’s an exchange from the debate among Republican candidates at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire on January 5 that year:

* * *

Charlie Gibson: Governor Romney’s system has mandates in Massachusetts, although you backed away from mandates on a national basis.

Mitt Romney: No, no, I like mandates. The mandates work.

Fred Thompson: I beg your pardon? I didn’t know you were going to admit that. You like mandates.

Romney: Let me—let me—oh, absolutely. Let me tell you what kind of mandates I like, Fred, which is this. If it weren’t .  .  .

Thompson: The ones you come up with.

(Laughter)

Romney: Here’s my view: If somebody—if somebody can afford insurance and decides not to buy it, and then they get sick, they ought to pay their own way, as opposed to expect the government to pay their way. And that’s an American principle. That’s a principle of personal responsibility.

So, I said this: If you can afford to buy insurance, then buy it. You don’t have to, if you don’t want to buy it, but then you got to put enough money aside that you can pay your own way, because what we’re not going to do is say, as we saw more and more people .  .  .

Gibson: Governor, you imposed tax penalties in Massachusetts.

Romney: Yes, we said, look, if people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or pay your own way; don’t be free riders and pass on the cost to your health care to everybody else, because right now .  .  .

Thompson: The government is going to make you buy insurance .  .  .

Romney: No, the government is going to stop .  .  .

Thompson: and make you pay—I mean, the state—your state plan, which is, of course, different from your national plan, did require people to make that choice, though. The state required them to do that. What was the penalty if they refused? .  .  .

Romney: If somebody is making, let’s say $100,000 a year, and doesn’t have health insurance, and they show up at the hospital, and they need a $1,000 repair of some kind for something that’s gone wrong. And they say, “Look, I’m not insured, I’m not going to pay.” Do you think they should pay or not?

Thompson: Did your plan cut people off at $100,000? Was that the level?

Romney: No, actually .  .  .

Thompson: Did it only apply to people with $100,000 income and over?

Romney: It actually applies to people at three-times federal poverty. They pay for their own policy. At less than three-times federal poverty, we help them buy a policy, so everybody is insured, and everybody is able to buy a policy that is affordable for them. The question is this, again, if someone could afford a policy and they choose not to buy it, should they be responsible for paying for their own care? Or should they be able to go to the hospital and say, “You know what? I’m not insured. You ought to pay for it.” What we found was, one-quarter of the uninsured in my state were making $75,000 a year or more. And my view is they should either buy insurance or they should pay their own way with a health savings account or some other savings account.

Gibson: We have an expression in television: We get in the weeds. We’re in the weeds now on this. .  .  . Yes or no, in your national plan, would you mandate people to get insurance? .  .  .

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.

Gibson: Okay.

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.

* * *

Thus spake Mitt Romney, able technocrat and clear-eyed manager. The well-informed technocrat looks at the current health care system and sees an inability to form stable insurance pools because of problems of adverse selection and free riders. Those problems can be solved—or at least addressed—by mandating that everyone buy coverage. Thus, Romney volunteers, “I like mandates. The mandates work.”

The impatient manager looks at the current system and hears complaints about some people not being insured. So he commands, “I’d say each state needs to get busy on the job of getting all our citizens insured.” Or, as Obama and a Democratic Congress have subsequently done, imposes a federal mandate that diminishes our individual liberty and erodes religious freedom.

Romneycare was an understandable effort to fix the system over which Mitt Romney presided in Massachusetts. But the country has changed markedly in the last six years—without a corresponding change in Romney’s views. If our current problems lent themselves to technocratic and managerial fixes, Romney could be a reasonably compelling candidate. But they don’t.

Indeed, what Republican primary voters sense is that a technocratic and managerial mindset could prove an obstacle to coming to grips with the situation we face. If the problem is a liberty-encroaching unlimited government, we don’t need that government to run more efficiently. If the problem is a suffocating nanny state, we don’t need better organization of the nannies. If we have an opportunity to revitalize citizenship, we need leaders who view us not as clients to be managed or consumers to be served, but as self-governing citizens who would fare better without an overbearing and overweening government. If we are sick of being managed by liberal technocrats, we’re not going to be thrilled merely to replace their rule with that of moderately conservative technocrats.

Mitt Romney likes mandates. Conservatives—especially in light of Obamacare—don’t. Conservatives like liberty.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: conservatism; gopprimary; mandates; romnney2012

1 posted on 03/18/2012 7:18:31 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Yet, another example of how Romney is BHO lite.


2 posted on 03/18/2012 7:22:58 AM PDT by svcw (CLEAN WATER & Education http://www.longlostsis.com/PI/MayanHelp2012.html)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
the author is close- but not quite

At a moment in history when we need a bold commitment to reform, a fundamental willingness to limit the state and revitalize self-government, Romney’s achievements and qualifications seem out of step with the times. The GOP establishment is trying to force yet another establishment hack on us, oblivious to (or worse unwilling to give us) the drastic deconstruction of the the government we want

There... fixed it

3 posted on 03/18/2012 7:25:05 AM PDT by Mr. K (If Romney wins the primary, I am writing-in PALIN)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Am I wrong or is this whole state’s rights thing not work so good as of late? Especially, when you have a jr dictator using the Federal government to supercedes a state’s decisions?
You know like how Obama stuck his big ears in Az over immigration. And, recently in NC In the seemingly neverending crusade to pervert thats states definition of marriage?


4 posted on 03/18/2012 7:37:28 AM PDT by Leep (Dueling tag lines=don't worry,you'll be a vegetable guy soon<>It's gonna be a Newt day!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Romney: If somebody is making, let’s say $100,000 a year, and doesn’t have health insurance, and they show up at the hospital, and they need a $1,000 repair of some kind for something that’s gone wrong. And they say, “Look, I’m not insured, I’m not going to pay.” Do you think they should pay or not?

So he is arguing the government can easily get the money owed if they call it a tax, and they cannot get the money owed if it is called a debt.

And he wonders why there is such a disconnect.

Similarly Ms. Fluke wants her "health care" to be between her and her doctor, but not the one who is paying for it. But when you invite your fellow citizens in to pay, then you have inextricably given them a say in your health care.

5 posted on 03/18/2012 7:55:44 AM PDT by ALPAPilot
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To: svcw

Exactly why Conservatives do not like Romney.

He is Obama with no tan.

I am against Obama, not because he is black, but because of his policies, Why would I wantto replace him with a white man with the same policies?
Simple, I don’t—it has nothing to do with race. It is Obama’s spending spree, his Obamacare, his rejection of our friends and his helping the Muslim Brotherhood.

I don’t know about Obama’s Birth certificate, but born here or not Obama is no American. Nor is Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid or Steny Hoyer.


6 posted on 03/18/2012 7:59:02 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
I'll tell you why Gingrich would be a disaster as President. You're not going to like it but it's the truth.

It's his name. Ging-ritch. It already sounds like a nasty word, and the media would turn it into a swear-word before by his second year in office. In 2014, the MSM will make sure that every single Republican in the House and the Senate is tied right to Gingritch. 2014 would be a rout of historic proportions. The Democrat rabble that is washed in in the wake of this debacle will be made up of worse than Alan Greyson and Anthony Weiner. In fact, those two might very swirl back in, and they'll be among the moderates. They'll use Gingritch just like they used Boosh. Make it into an obscenity. And our "new" American electorate will eat it up. Mark my words.

Gingritch gone in one, just like Obama. Tit for tat. The MSM will make it so. Sorry to be the bringer of such bad news. I don't like it either.

7 posted on 03/18/2012 8:18:45 AM PDT by Steely Tom (Obama goes on long after the thrill of Obama is gone)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Scanned the headline too quickly and saw:

.

The Man Who Likes Manatees

.

.

8 posted on 03/18/2012 9:27:31 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (If my candidate doesn't win the nomination I'm going to kick my feet, cry like a baby, and stay home)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Very interesting blast from the past.
BUMP!


9 posted on 03/18/2012 9:35:19 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Steely Tom; Cincinatus' Wife

Do as you please and talk yourself into paralysis over what can be done to someone’s name.

You won’t find me joining in, whatever happens.

Is the answer the NAME Santorum?

Already it has become Sanctitorum or just plain Rick Sanctimonious.

Some say, Saint Rick.

The only complaint I ever heard about Gingrich’s same was the Newt part. People said, who would want a President called Newt?

People can’t change their name or what their detractors decide to do with their name.

Obsess on that as the death knell if you wish.

Obama’s name has had everything under the sun done to it.

There’s a book in a chain bookstore, but by a local author, called “Obamanation”.

We are going with IDEAS. If a name does you in, the country is gone anyhow.


10 posted on 03/18/2012 10:22:10 AM PDT by txrangerette ("HOLD TO THE TRUTH...SPEAK WITHOUT FEAR" - Glenn Beck)
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To: Steely Tom
"Gingrich's sname"
11 posted on 03/18/2012 10:25:43 AM PDT by txrangerette ("HOLD TO THE TRUTH...SPEAK WITHOUT FEAR" - Glenn Beck)
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To: Steely Tom

Gingrich for good or ill stands no chance for the GOP top spot, because his elected experience is all in the House.


12 posted on 03/18/2012 11:27:01 AM PDT by steve8714 (Clay...Carnahan...who is the least of these?)
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To: Steely Tom

In fact, Garfield is the last elected president whose experience was last in the House. This ensures also no “President Ron Paul”.


13 posted on 03/18/2012 11:34:34 AM PDT by steve8714 (Clay...Carnahan...who is the least of these?)
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To: steve8714; Steely Tom; Cincinatus' Wife

Senators don’t do well either, but especially those who lose their seat by 18 points.

Romney is a MA liberal masquerading as a conservative when it suits him, but even now he constantly slips up and shows his true colors, because that can’t be helped. Such kinds of truths will out, as they say.

Tell you what, you join with Steely Tom who says it’s aaaaaaaalllllllll in the name and what your enemies can do to twist it around, and the both of you post downers to your hearts’ content.

You won’t find me there.

And that will be true, regardless of what happens.


14 posted on 03/18/2012 11:37:59 AM PDT by txrangerette ("HOLD TO THE TRUTH...SPEAK WITHOUT FEAR" - Glenn Beck)
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To: steve8714
Gingrich for good or ill stands no chance for the GOP top spot, because his elected experience is all in the House.

Huh??

From my perspective, that's a lot of pluses +++++++++++ in his favor. Then too, he was the SPEAKER of the House that brought us the Republican revolution in 1994.

15 posted on 03/18/2012 12:11:07 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: txrangerette

:)


16 posted on 03/18/2012 12:12:43 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Mitt Romney: 'No, no, I like mandates coercion. The mandates coercion works.'

Here, I've fixed it.

17 posted on 03/18/2012 12:13:42 PM PDT by Marguerite (When I'm good, I am very, very good. But! When I'm bad, I'm even better)
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To: Venturer

“I am against Obama, not because he is black, but because of his policies”

He’s not even black, but he pretends to be.


18 posted on 03/18/2012 12:15:52 PM PDT by Marguerite (When I'm good, I am very, very good. But! When I'm bad, I'm even better)
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To: Marguerite

He is black when he wants to be.

He is filled with hatred for anything white.

He is a typical Mulatto. Mad at both parents for what he is, but leaning towards his black side because he is accepted easier there.


19 posted on 03/18/2012 12:22:05 PM PDT by Venturer
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To: Venturer

His “black” side is Arab. Many Arabs are black.


20 posted on 03/18/2012 1:05:38 PM PDT by Marguerite (When I'm good, I am very, very good. But! When I'm bad, I'm even better)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

“If we are sick of being managed by liberal technocrats, we’re not going to be thrilled merely to replace their rule with that of moderately conservative technocrats.”

The government role is NOT to manage the free citizens, who can manage themselves. We have to impose to the government to stick to its constitutional obligations: insuring the national security and peace inside and outside, and leave the people free to enjoy their lives and pursue the happiness.

I don’t want any technocrats, liberal, moderate or otherwise, to “manage” me.


21 posted on 03/18/2012 1:13:42 PM PDT by Marguerite (When I'm good, I am very, very good. But! When I'm bad, I'm even better)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Simply put, as I have many times, the GOP will not nominate someone with only House experience for the top spot.
We just have the wrong ex-Governor in the race.


22 posted on 03/18/2012 2:45:46 PM PDT by steve8714 (Clay...Carnahan...who is the least of these?)
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To: txrangerette

No, it’s not in the name. Plenty of Gingrich acolytes have distorted the name to disrespect and marginalize Santorum, then didn’t like when I returned in kind. You haven’t done that, so neither will I. My point is different and addresses nominatibility rather than suitability. Do I see the one I think best by temperment and experience in this group? No, nor is she likely to rescue us. My second choice is Santorum, given the others. No pressure or name-calling (there’s been plenty) will sway me from this conclusion, nor do I expect those who support Newt to be pressured out of it. If it were Santorum vs Romney alone, you wouldn’t find 50% of Santorum supporters going for Romney, but we’d be praying for another choice at the convention.


23 posted on 03/18/2012 2:53:22 PM PDT by steve8714 (Clay...Carnahan...who is the least of these?)
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To: steve8714; Cincinatus' Wife

Also chiseled in stone...

“All politics is local”

(Tip O’Neill)

Until Newt won the House for the GOP by nationalizing the election with The Contract For America...


24 posted on 03/18/2012 10:48:22 PM PDT by txrangerette ("HOLD TO THE TRUTH...SPEAK WITHOUT FEAR" - Glenn Beck)
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To: txrangerette

That was O’neill’s opinion, I have pointed out historical fact. Kemp would have been a better candidate than Dole. Hell, I was a Buchanan delegate. He would have been also.
Newt is a dynamic guy and a fine speaker, but won’t be the nominee.


25 posted on 03/19/2012 5:15:22 AM PDT by steve8714 (Clay...Carnahan...who is the least of these?)
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To: steve8714

And it wasn’t only a Tip O’Neill saying...it was accepted as a demonstrated truism until Newt upset the “can’t be done, has never been done” applecart.

The Contract With America...

The what with the who, you say?

That’s crazy!

No unheard of thing like that can blast the GOP from permanent minority status.

Not to mention, the minority leader for years and years and years, ol’ Bob Michael of IL, is a fixture who will be carried out of the Chamber on a guerney and not a day sooner.

What has been will always be.

What?

Oh yeah, that’s right.

Never mind.


26 posted on 03/19/2012 6:19:22 AM PDT by txrangerette ("HOLD TO THE TRUTH...SPEAK WITHOUT FEAR" - Glenn Beck)
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To: steve8714; Cincinatus' Wife

A Tea Party grassroots movement of average citizens against government excess and gross failure to perform its rightful duties??

Don’t make me laugh.

That’ll never fly.

It never has...well, not since the original one against the Brits.

Bye.

Gotta go DO some stuff.

First move...put down the keyboard.

But first...who is Sarah Palin? She a somebody, who used to be a nobody, because she lived and worked in AK?

Gotta look into that phenomenon a little more.

Millions of people hang on her every word?

Impossible.


27 posted on 03/19/2012 6:33:56 AM PDT by txrangerette ("HOLD TO THE TRUTH...SPEAK WITHOUT FEAR" - Glenn Beck)
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To: txrangerette

Newt’s candidacy does not quite measure up to the importance of the other two. Newt is running because he cannot conceive a government that is not better for his presence.


28 posted on 03/19/2012 6:48:50 AM PDT by steve8714 (Clay...Carnahan...who is the least of these?)
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