******************** THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO WWW.LEGALINSURRECTION.COM ********************

This blog is moving to www.legalinsurrection.com. If you have not been automatically redirected please click on the link.

NEW COMMENTS will NOT be put through and will NOT be transferred to the new website.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sorry Seems To Be Mitt's Hardest Word

Jennifer Rubin makes the argument that Mitt Romney was the big loser at CPAC because Romney failed to address Romneycare, contributing to the narrative that Romney has no politically good explanation. 

According to Rubin, a simple mea culpa would help tremendously:
Romney has a huge problem that a wide array of Tea Partyers, Republican activists and officials, and conservative operatives think he can't overcome: RomneyCare. He leads in polls a year before the first primary because of name recognition. So did Rudy Giuliani at the same point in the 2008 election cycle....
However, if there is one point of consensus among plugged-in Republicans on the 2012 field, it is that Romney can't win unless he does a mea culpa on RomneyCare. Since he didn't and he won't do that, he's not going to be the nominee. Other than Romney admirers (and even some of them!) it's hard to find serious Republican players who disagree with that.
NiceDeb has a video and summary of Romney's speech at CPAC, and gives the speech good reviews:
"Is it time to take another look at Mitt? He had mojo this morning at CPAC…He was loose and relaxed, and won the crowd over with great speech with many memorable lines...."
I met Romney once, when I was in law school and he was recruiting for Bain.  The guy was tremendously impressive, and I think he has the potential to be tremendously impressive in a campaign.  I want to like him as a candidate and to be able to support him (depending upon who else is running, of course).

But there is this elephant in the room that he doesn't seem to want to address in a manner that will appeal to voters or faces reality.

Regardless of what else Romney says, he needs to address the Romneycare issue with more than nuanced constitutional arguments about how it is one thing for states to experiment and another thing for the federal government to overstep its authority.  I agree! But ....

We like people who admit they were wrong.  Everybody is wrong eventually, and politicians doubly so.  Romneycare can be forgiven if it is acknowledged to have been a mistake from which lessons have been learned.

I made this suggestion on December 1, that Romney become the Responsibility Candidate with a speech similar to the following:
"To err is human. I had what at the time seemed like a good idea as to how to expand health care coverage, but it turned out wrong. I'll take part of the blame, but others who acted beyond my control also share in the blame. The key thing is to learn from mistakes, not to compound them. That is a lesson I have learned."
"Unfortunately, the Obama administration does not learn from its mistakes. Stimulus, health care, debt, deficits, spending out of control. The response is a refusal to learn from mistakes or to accept responsibility, at all."

"You have a choice in this election. Elect a President who learns from mistakes and accepts responsibility, or re-elect a President who is incapable of learning from mistakes or accepting responsibility. The choice is yours."
The readers took a dim view of such an approach two months ago, mostly because they had a dim view of Romney. 

Regardless of whether you support Romney or not, wouldn't it be better for him just to acknowledge the error?  And doesn't it become more of an issue the longer it is not acknowledged?

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube
Visit the Legal Insurrection Shop on CafePress!
Bookmark and Share


  1. My understanding is that it would have overrulled even if he vetoed it. If that is the case, why apologize? What he should do is use it as an example of why it won't work. Explain that states are meant to test ideas and the idea has failed. That may be the better approach.

  2. You are spot on about Romneycare being an "elephant in the room", but in my view there is also another large grey critter hiding in plain sight. And that's the issue of Scott Brown.

    Romney has no responsibility for Brown, or Brown's politics, IMO, but in their heart-of-hearts the rest of the nation probably considers him to be at least as progressive a "Massachusetts Republican" as Brown, and for my taste that is way too leftish for my support. And I think Romney, like Obama, has a blind spot concerning how others see him. Sad, maybe, but fatal for his national future.

  3. CG, no. If he had the power to veto it, and didn't, then he owns it. I am not a pundit by any means, yet I know that he governed over a state with State run healthcare. I still am waiting for him to explain that situation in detail to us, along with how that was a huge mistake. The fact that it was a huge mistake has been proven by the financial figures for that state. I have seen those. This man was originally put forward by the establishment Republicans, so I am already anything but trusting toward him. Same with Huckabee (NO) Boner (NO) Mccain (NO) Steele (NO) and several other establishment RINOs that our side like to cling to. I am incapable of voting for anyone, at this point, that doesn't directly appeal to my liberty loving, constitution upholding, State opposing heart. He is appearing to me to be just another scaly political lizard along with most of the rest of em, mealy mouthing whatever pleasant words he thinks will squeeze the most positive poll percentage points out of. The PATRIOT ACT WAS ENOUGH! Nationalized healthcare, then fascist through control of businesses through GM, student loans, and other cronies whose business model is mostly just to pick up the phone and ask the government what they want them to do. How many more backsliding conservatives can this country take? I know I won't be voting for "Establishment pro-State-run Healthcare Romney". If he hasn't refuted it by now, then he WON'T in any MEANINGFUL way. The man is contorting himself in order to have his foot in as many doorways as possible up till the election, if he ever makes it that far, shedding his values along the way. Anyone who stands behind this man cannot support the Constitution.

  4. Yes. He needs to say that he has learned from a mistaken "good" idea that didn't meet real world facts. Massachusetts is drowning. Obamacare is the same kind of anchor. Government mandates on these kinds of problems not only don't work, they are destructive.

    Mitch Daniels also needs to say he made a mistake as director of OMB under Bush in agreeing to running up huge deficits and debt, since he now calls debt the "new red menace".

    If you have a big failure in your past, especially if you are saying that a similar error is one of the nation's biggest problems, you need to admit your own mistake if anyone is going to believe that you really see the danger to the nation.

  5. To get the Republican nomination, he has to win Republican primaries. I know Romney polls well and is often considered the front runner, but I just don't see Republican primary voters going for the guy who signed the precursor to Obamacare into law -- even if he acknowledges it was a mistake. Besides, doesn't admitting that it was a mistake bring his judgment into question?

    If he does get the nomination, I doubt I will vote for him. I decided my last RINO vote was for McCain in 2008. Romney's father was a liberal "Rockefeller Republican", and Romneycare makes me think Mitt is the same. So I'm already inclined to think he is a RINO.

    If he can't sell me on his conservative credentials, then I'll throw my vote away on a write-in candidate, the Libertarian, or I'll stay home. I see no point in voting for a RINO when a genuine Democrat is on the ballot.

  6. Here's the plain truth for my family health plan here in Ma. No more BC/BS as of Jan for us and I complained enough about that plan. This is all that matters more than Mitt Romney. My fng wallet in real time. THEY WERE DEAD WRONG ABOUT THE COST. IT ONLY GOES UP AND YOU GET LESS.

    Now we have this private sector cadillac plan -$400 bi-weekly after taxes, ONLY yearly exams covered otherwise $5000 deductible(including scripts)family of 4-Tufts HMO

    Now why would a company that employs IT genius' have such a sh!##y health plan? Because the cost to them is astronomical otherwise? Or because those making over a certain amount are surely able to pay it and being discriminated against? Or because they can get way with it because they're doing business in a state gravitating to a single payer system to provide for the poor and illegal?

    Sorry, I keep beating this subject over the head but I pay $10,400 for 4 well visits then $5,000 out of pocket before the plan kicks back in. Seems normal right?

  7. Mitt strikes me as the kind of guy who thinks he is the smartest guy in the room (kind of reminds me of someone who currently travels a lot on Air Force One) and with his track record of success I don't see him ever admitting RomneyCare is a boondoggle.

    Note: I feel for you Theresa, but at least you have health care and can afford to pay for it. I know that is no consolation to your current situation, but things could be worse for you.

  8. I loved this line from Romney at CPAC: “Limited government is the answer!”

    With the explosion in the size and scope of gov’t over the past decade, especially over the past 2 years, that’s exactly the message we need, and it's a message GOP primary voters will expect to hear from any serious candidate. However, given his record as a big-government Republican, that is a message that Romney cannot deliver with any credibility.

    Because of his name recognition and his incredibly photogenic presidential appearance, I'd like to be able to rally behind Romney too, but these are times that call for someone other than Mitt. Apologies can't change that.

  9. It doesn't matter what he says. It matters what he did. He made himself ineligible for higher office when he passed on the state level what Obama is trying to ram down our throats at the national level. He is just too stupid to figure it out without wasting huge sums of time and money.

    Does he think all of those people who were out protesting were just doing it for kicks? Does he think he can be on the wrong side of an issue that has lead to a civil cold war and no one will notice?

  10. Romney's "elephant in the room" during the '08 season was his Mormonism, and everyone seemed to think he could put that to bed by just giving a speech on it, like you've suggested he do with RomneyCare (which is actually MassaCare). They were wrong, and, respectfully, you are wrong.

    People don't dislike Romney because he came up with "universal" health care in Massachusetts any more than they dislike him because of his religion. Certainly, there are rabid anti-Mormons out there whom people like Mike Huckabee will gladly stir up to win a caucus or a primary, but the fact is, people have no "good excuse" to not like him. Heck, many who "don't like" him actually DO like him; they just like other candidates more, and they can't forgive Romney for not being the candidate they like.

    Ann Coulter is a perfect example. She loved Romney four years ago. When McCain and Giuliani were the frontrunners and Romney was polling in the single digits, she still endorsed him almost a full year before the primaries started, despite his record in Massachusetts. Now, even after everything President Obama has done (wrong), she doesn't think Romney can beat him. Why? No reason; she just likes Chris Christie better and thinks no one else should be the nominee.

    Romney and his surrogates have given plenty of reasons why RomneyCare isn't ObamaCare (or even MassaCare). They've distinguished the different plans dozens of times, and doing it again isn't going to convince anyone. Apologizing would only make things worse, since the same people who "hate" him for health care would simply "hate" him again for "flip-flopping". The truth, the real elephant in the room, is that conservatives know exactly why Romney should be both the nominee and president, but they just can't admit the real reason why they won't vote for him: because they don't want to be "wrong".

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. @Stephen Monteith

    If people only dislike him because of his religion, why are you the first one to bring that topic up? I can think of many different reasons why I would not support Romney as a candidate OTHER THAN his religion, and most of those reasons where already brought up in this discussion. His talk about small government, superimposed on his proven track record of supporting BIGGER government really stand out to being much more than a non-issue like Mormonism. I understand though, that someone has to play your role, however. Someone always must point out that most people are bigots, and that they cannot see anything other someone's race, religion, sexual orientation, age, etc. Other people can't debate the issues like you can: us lowbrow conservative types just judge someone based on anything that stands out to us that we don't like. I'm really glad you are here, now I don't have to click over to LGF to get my daily dose of self hate. What bigots we are. The comments are closed at this time, the votes are in.......everyone hates Romney because of his religion. Right.

  13. Stephen:

    I was a pretty strong Romney supporter in 2008, too. Know why that was? Because the alternatives were Huckabee (the Christian socialist) and McCain (the RINO King). At that point in time, Romney was the most conservative candidate in the race who had even a chance at winning. Given a choice, I'd have easily gone for someone better -- I really liked Fred Thompson that year, for example, but he hardly campaigned, so I had to make a different choice.

  14. Romney is disliked by the electorate because he's a phony.

    He's a political weather vane. He inherited his party like he inherited his money.

    His religion is actually his best quality. (though that too was inherited) Mormonism is significantly more conservative and fundamentalist than most other mainstream religions these days.

    Me? I don't like him because I don't see him as genuine or inspiring or a leader.

  15. I read Mitt Romney's book that came out a few years ago. I started with eager anticipation but the book fizzled out as a shmoozy "I'm so swell" paean to Mitt. He did not address Romneycare in any substantive way. The book was as bad as Gil Amelio's bloviating bleat on how he was pushed out of Apple by that horrible Steve Jobs while everybody else was such a wonderful person.

  16. Robert, my point wasn't that people hate him because he's Mormon; my point was Mormonism was just a convenient excuse, like RomneyCare itself is. Haven't you noticed, even in everyday life, people will just plain not like other people, often with no reason at all? That's my point: many people have no reason to not like Romney, and so they pick whatever "reason" is available.

    Flip-flopping? Reagan changed positions all the time, from one end of his political career to the other.

    Support for abortion? Show me one bill he signed into law that could reasonably be defined as pro-choice.

    RomneyCare? It's not even close to being ObamaCare, and until OC was formed, a lot of conservatives saw RC as a plus for Romney.

    Not enough "fire" in his belly? We're not electing a cheerleader; we're electing someone to pull this country out of trillion-dollar deficits, near double-digit unemployment, and some of the most burdensome taxes and regulations in the history of the free world. Show me a candidate who is better-qualified to do that than Mitt Romney.

  17. My view is simply that Mitt Roney is not conservative enough for me, and I will not waste my vote on him with a Democrat on the ballot. Better to let a Democrat get elected than someone who pretends to be conservative, because at least I know where the Dem stands. I'm completely, totally done with RINOs like pro-establishment Mitt and will continue to vote for a well researched Tea Party candidate or Libertarian. The reason is because I better know where they stand. If someone wants to interpret that action as discriminatory or not, I was never very pc anyway.
    As a side note, I totally agree with you about Regan. In fact, Regan grew government as well, even with all that snappy talk about "City on a hill" and "smaller government". Another POLITICIAN. http://www.harrybrowne.org/articles/Reagan%27sLegacy.htm

  18. He doesn't think he was wrong. He believed then, as he does now, that socialized medicine, government-controlled health care (that's what we're talking about, after all), is fine and dandy. Including fines for not buying health insurance. Tell me, anyone, anyone at all, on what planet that is conservative. It's not. He's not.

  19. @Stephen M "Support for abortion? Show me one bill he signed into law that could reasonably be defined as pro-choice."

    How about RomneyCare itself? It provides taxpayer funding for abortion. They call it "pregnancy termination services." Most local (I live in Mass) abortion clinics are proud to advertise their "abortion care" courtesy of Mass Health (the government agency that was set up to and that still oversees RomneyCare, though it's the state that fines you for not having health insurance--the MA Dept. of Revenue, actually, just like the IRS will be fining people under ObamaCare. There are a lot of similarities between what we have in MA and what the feds are trying to do, and it's all just as statist, just as socialist as it is at the federal level.).

    Honestly, if you like Romney, that's fine, but you should do a bit of homework and not believe whatever he burbles on any given day, particularly in this political climate (keep in mind that he was on board with Bush's "compassionate conservatism"--aka, big-spending, big government progressivism--until it wasn't popular any longer. Then he wasn't. Odd how he keeps changing his position on things just when the political winds shift, huh?). When and why did he become a Republican? When and why did he decide he wasn't pro-choice anymore? When and why did he decide that government-run health care is not a good system? Hint: "it suited his political ambition" is a good answer to both the "when" and the "why."

  20. We need voters to be excited about our candidate. Excited voters donate and work and demonstrate and help their candidate.

    The christian conservative block is not going to be excited. They might hold their nose and vote for him, but you won't get excitement.

    The budget hawks and libertarian hawks are not going to be excited because of Romneycare.

    He might have had a chance 4 years ago, but now he's in the John Edwards seat - running on great hair alone. At least he doesn't have any scandals in the closet - people have been looking for his for a long time.

  21. I'd only accept his "I was wrong" if I was convinced that he actually believes it; otherwise it's nothing more than "I want your vote and I'll say anything to get it" .

    Personally, I still wouldn't vote for him; because he very enthusiastically pushed for some of the most restrictive gun ownership laws on the country, and still defends doing so.

    Stephen, neither of these is a 'convenient excuse' to me': they're hard reasons why I do not and will not trust him, or vote for him.