The Romney campaign flailed around a bit over the last few days trying desperately to come up with a way to criticize Obama for “raising taxes” on the middle class for healthcare, while claiming the blue-print plan Romney used in Massachusetts didn’t count as a tax.
WaPo– The back-and-forth within the GOP over what to call the mandate illustrates how difficult the health care issue is for Romney. The law he signed as governor in 2006 moved Massachusetts toward universal coverage and became a blueprint for Obama’s overhaul. But Romney has spent much of the presidential campaign shying away from talking about it, preferring instead to keep voters focused on the slow economic recovery under Obama.
Both measures require individuals to have health insurance, require that businesses offer health care to their employees and provide subsidies or exemptions for people who can’t afford it. Both also impose penalties on people who can afford health insurance but don’t pay for it.
Despite calling Obama’s mandate a tax, Romney insisted that the court ruling did not mean that he raised taxes as governor of Massachusetts. He said Chief Justice John Roberts was clear in the court’s 5-4 ruling that states have the power to mandate purchases using mechanisms other than taxes.
It is a little more difficult for Romney, but not as much as some Republicans would like to believe. It wasn’t Romney’s plan that was passed in Massachusetts and became the blue-print for Obamacare, it was a conservative plan created by various conservative think-tanks like the Heritage Foundation in the late 80s and early 90s. Obama and Romney care are so conservative that there’s nothing to the right of them that solves the same set of healthcare insurance and access problems faced by millions of Americans. Republicans can repeal the ACA, but the only viable way to adequately replace it with conservative measures is to pass the same ledge and call it something else.
The problem for Romney is he’s tied up by the same dilemma all conservatives have these days: truth vs fiction. Truth is consistent, deception is not, and the political newscycle moves with the speed of the information superhighway quickly testing both. Lies that are easy to tell on the fly in isolation quickly contradict each other as fast as reporters can wield a mouse, leaving the perps looking like the lying liars they are.
Romney is a particularly frequent liar, almost his entire campaign stump shtick is one big whopper. But when it comes to healthcare, Romney can’t get his message straight because he doesn’t have an honest message to give.