Saturday, December 17, 2011

And all because of the mandate got away...

Steve Benen, amusing himself at the expense of Belgian colonialist terror candidate Newt Gingrich, discusses Newt's former belief in the individual health care insurance mandate, now regarded by Republicans as only a little less evil than selling Jesus to the Romans for 30 denarii; and points out something we have been hearing lately, what a particularly Republican idea that individual mandate originally was:

Nixon embraced it in the 1970s, and George H.W. Bush supported the idea in the 1980s. When Dole endorsed the mandate in 1994, it was in keeping with the party’s prevailing attitudes at the time. Mitt Romney embraced the mandate as governor and it was largely ignored during the 2008 campaign, since it was in keeping with the GOP mainstream.
In recent years, the mandate has also been embraced by the likes of John McCain, Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett, Tommy Thompson, Lamar Alexander, Lindsey Graham, John Thune, Scott Brown, and Judd Gregg, among many others. Indeed, several of them not only endorsed the policy, they literally co-sponsored legislation that included a mandate.
What I've been waiting for somebody to remember in this context is that there was one candidate in the 2008 campaign who strongly opposed an individual mandate: Barack Obama. It was virtually the only significant domestic policy difference between him and then-senator Clinton:

I remember because after all my "liberal" candidates dropped out I really wasn't sure who I was voting for in the primary; this was the one thing that inclined me toward her, because unless you give up and go for actual socialism, there's only the one way for it to work. But Obama has since seen the light on this, just as all the Republicans have been slouching over to the dark side.

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