Romney’s new attack: Why did Obama focus on ObamaCare instead of on the economy?

posted at 10:02 pm on June 6, 2012 by Allahpundit

I want to highlight this because it’s a terrific line of argument and maybe a little blog enthusiasm for it will get him to keep it up. Byron York’s pleased too:

In an appearance in Texas Wednesday, Mitt Romney charged that President Obama “knowingly slowed down the recovery in this country…in order to put in place Obamacare.” The president’s action, Romney said, “deserves a lot of explaining.”

Speaking to an audience at USAA, an insurance and financial services company headquartered in San Antonio, Romney cited a book, “The Escape Artists: How Obama’s Team Fumbled the Recovery,” by the liberal journalist Noam Scheiber. In the book, Scheiber discussed Obama’s thinking on the question of whether, early in his term, to focus more attention on passing a national health care law or to devote more energy to bringing about economic recovery. As Scheiber put it, Obama saw health care as a bigger long-term accomplishment. “There was a strain of messianism in Barack Obama, a determination to change the course of history,” Scheiber wrote. “And it was this determination that explained his reluctance to abandon his presidential vision.” So health care it was…

Scheiber recently wrote that Romney is “misreading” his book. But Scheiber’s explanation essentially conceded that Romney is, in fact, reading the passage correctly. ‘While he’s definitely misrepresenting Summers and the administration, there’s a kernel of truth to his interpretation of my book,” Scheiber wrote. “I argue that Obama really was more focused on long-term, historically significant accomplishments than marginal, near-term differences in the pace of the recovery. On some level, Obama was prepared to accept (and I’m making up these numbers for argument’s sake) three years of painfully high unemployment with health care reform rather than 30 months of painfully high unemployment without it. And the reason is the one Summers alluded to (before disputing): Health care was simply more historically important than avoiding those extra six months of pain.”

What makes this attack bruising, of course, is not only that it ties Obama’s two biggest political liabilities together, it blows a hole in the idea that he’s some centrist pragmatist who’s working around the clock to generate jobs for the unemployed. On the contrary: When faced with the biggest economic crisis in decades, he passed a stimulus and then spent the better part of a year obsessing over the mega-boondoggle atop his Great Society II wishlist. It makes him look grossly negligent on the key issue of the election, in service to a program that a huge chunk of the public hates and which may end up being cashiered by the Supreme Court before the month is out. If Romney can somehow convince people that ObamaCare is part of the reason why the economy’s still as sluggish as it is, I think he’s got a killer attack line. More of this, please.


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The govt is 38% of the economy. Even more insane: if Obamacare stands, the govt will soon be taking over 50% of the economy!

We need to repeat this point over and over.

anotherJoe on June 7, 2012 at 12:01 AM

HaHa, Mitt.

That’s the guy I met at a library 10 years ago.

Just being better than everyone else. And sticking knives into their spleen in the process.

Freaking Mitt. Always smarter, always working harder, always one step ahead of the comp.

swamp_yankee on June 7, 2012 at 12:08 AM

A few months ago, while the GOP prez candidate race was still being sorted out, I figured Romney would be a milquetoast wimp when it came time to get down to serious campaigning.

So far, I’m glad my first impressions appear now to have been DEAD WRONG.

Sic’em Mitt!

E-R

electric-rascal on June 7, 2012 at 12:33 AM

In my opinion, this is Romney’s single best line of attack. Majority of voters didn’t want O-Care. Majority of voters wanted economic recovery. This will resonate like crazy.

MadisonConservative on June 6, 2012 at 10:28 PM

And, if Romney attacks in just this way, cool and calm and collected, matter of fact, it will work just like Walker’s approach did over the last year or so. It’s okay to go for the jugular, but a soft slice always works better than a dive into it.

TXUS on June 6, 2012 at 10:53 PM


Yes, on both your points …

… and one of my own. There is one thing guaranteed to drive a liberal more insame than ignoring them, it’s when what you say makes their stupidity OBVIOUS to the rest of the world.

PolAgnostic on June 7, 2012 at 12:38 AM

maybe he learned somsething from Walkaer’s win–now he needs to quit saying Obama is a “nice man” He is not a nice man.

Bullhead on June 7, 2012 at 12:49 AM

Let’s be ready for Obama’s denial.
When it comes, remind them of Obama’s repeated confession that it was time for a “hard pivot” to jobs–an admission that he had not been squarely focused on jobs, but on healthcare or whatever.

G. Charles on June 7, 2012 at 1:10 AM

Further, the whole logic of “let’s not let a crisis go to waste” is the idea of using a job’s crisis to focus on and fix things other than jobs. It makes no sense to say “let’s not let a job crisis go to waste by creating jobs and fixing the job crisis.” No. What was necessarily meant is: “Let’s use the jobs crisis to focus on getting other things done, then we can hard-pivot back to jobs.”

G. Charles on June 7, 2012 at 1:17 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWDJEc92d38

FloatingRock on June 6, 2012 at 10:54 PM

Watching that video I saw many topics that Romney couldn’t bring to the table. I didn’t realize he and Obama were so much alike.

One of the comments said it all: Which one is Romney? LOL

bluefox on June 7, 2012 at 1:28 AM

Romney will need to evolve this attack line to show how Obamacate actually harmed the economy as well. The job losses in the medical equipment industry would be a good place to start.

Queasy on June 6, 2012 at 10:29 PM

Exactly. And why this line of attack is so powerful is that it fuses multiple truths into one easily-understood story line that can’t be easily refuted:

Truth #1: Obama is vain & detatched from the suffering of the American middle class (concerned principally about his place in history, not his stewardship of the economy, “forgot” there was a recession going on, acting like a celebrity w/ all his Hollywood pals, 100+ rounds of golf).

Truth #2: Obama is an economic lightweight who somehow incredulously believes (based on his actions) that the massive tax increases, regulatory burdens, and the financial uncertainty created by Obamacare will help the U.S. economy grow.

Truth #3: Obama is an unrepentant liberal who has no intention of helping the economy, and is recklessly taking us closer to bankruptcy while promoting a European socialist welfare state (30 million added to food stamp roles, 20 million more on disability, and the cost projections of Obamacare that are already WAY over budget).

This attack line fuses all these truths (and more) in ONE. It’s a WINNER. Not to mention that it’s about the only way Romney can take advantage of the unpopularity (and likely unconstitutionality) of Obamacare without being a hypocrite. He can always say: When we passed Romneycare, we had full employment in our state – 5%)

I like this … a lot.

Nicole Coulter on June 7, 2012 at 1:28 AM

This line of attack is assuming that the government can “fix” the economy which it can’t. the only type of policy that “fixes” the economy is for the government to get out of the way of free enterprise. (the best would to open up the regulation on drilling and expanding our energy sources) Since Obama is a marxist and Mitt is a liberal I guess they will fight over who should have passed what stimulus when but at the end of the day neither could have “fixed” it because the recipe to do so required a tool set that neither has. the ability to get the government off our backs. Not add more governmental weight to it.

unseen on June 7, 2012 at 1:50 AM

A few months ago, while the GOP prez candidate race was still being sorted out, I figured Romney would be a milquetoast wimp when it came time to get down to serious campaigning.

So far, I’m glad my first impressions appear now to have been DEAD WRONG.

Sic’em Mitt!

E-R

electric-rascal on June 7, 2012 at 12:33 AM

Good on ya…He wasn’t my first choice either, but the guy is our only hope for preserving the scotus at the very least.

litebeam1 on June 7, 2012 at 2:20 AM

Is it true that neither Romney nor Obama went to Wisconsin?

bluefox on June 6, 2012 at 10:57 PM

That’s what I’ve heard, which is funny because I seem to recall that there was an piece here at HotAir in recent days attacking Obama for not going to Wisconsin, and it turns out that Romney didn’t either.

The joke is on both of them, let’s vote for Gary Johnson in 2012.

FloatingRock on June 6, 2012 at 11:00 PM

Saying that there’s an issue because Romney didn’t go to WI is just silly. It is not the same as Obama not going. Apples and Oranges: Obama is THE PRESIDENT, the leader of his party for his position, the one theoretically with the power and reach to move his party’s base, and the public figure with influence. Romney is just THE PRESUMPTIVE CANDIDATE for the GOP. He is not even the official candidate yet!!! He is building his coalition and support from his own base.

Romney did the right thing in staying focused on the presidential race but responding immediately to the outcome in WI. He couldn’t neither would have affected the outcome. Obama not going, on the other hand, was a sign of weakness on his part and/or a lack of trust from his own supporters.

But go ahead and vote for Gary Johnson (who didn’t go to WI either, by the way). Keep your idealism of a candidate that didn’t even register in the polls and vote for him. Do that, but don’t come crying when Obama wins a second term. People like you, many (but not all) Paulites, and those still still supporting candidates that HAVE ALREADY DROPPED OUT OF THE RACE are just letting the “perfect” (your perfect at least) be the enemy of the good and helping ensure Obama gets 4 more years to finish his agenda.

ptcamn on June 7, 2012 at 4:21 AM

Being resolute and uncompromising on core ideological beliefs actually works. Who knew?
Like I said before, if Mitt keeps this up I may not have to bring a barf bag into the voting booth with me. (I still expect him to screw it up by picking some gutless RINO for VP – we’ll see)

SKYFOX on June 7, 2012 at 6:23 AM

“There was a strain of messianism in Barack Obama, a determination to change the course of history,”

Man, do I ever detest this petty little narcissist punk. Deep in his self-absorbed mind, it’s all about himself, and the rest of us be damned.

petefrt on June 7, 2012 at 6:24 AM

By invading Iraq passing the health care law, Bush Øbama took his eye off the ball in Afghanistan the economy.

There is absolutely nothing funnier than the reaction of a leftist when his own tactics are used against him.

Odysseus on June 7, 2012 at 6:36 AM

The premise is false. Government encourages economic recovery by staying the bloody blue hell out of the way and not doing anything. That is ALWAYS the best plan, and you can take that to the ever-loving bank. That we’d even be having the argument of what Obama should have done to stimulate the economy is precisely what makes me fear for the future of our republic.
gryphon202 on June 6, 2012 at 10:13 PM

You’re conflating two different things. Romney’s point is not that Obama was “distracted” and not “stimulating the economy” but that they knew ObamaCare would actually “slow down the economy”- yet he didn’t care. He has a messianic agenda, and he’s sticking to it, the people be damned.

And now we’ve got the heartless Jackass-in-Chief threatening to veto legislation which would overturn tax hikes on Medical Devices, a tax hike which is creating a scarcity of urgently needed devices (like stents) and killing jobs and entire companies, forcing them to shut down operations and move out of the country. This is unconscionable.

Buy Danish on June 7, 2012 at 6:37 AM

Let’s be ready for Obama’s denial.
When it comes, remind them of Obama’s repeated confession that it was time for a “hard pivot” to jobs–an admission that he had not been squarely focused on jobs, but on healthcare or whatever.

G. Charles on June 7, 2012 at 1:10 AM

He pirouetted to jobs more frequently than a prima ballerina. Then he spun lightly off to some other bright object.

Good for Mitt! Keep it up!

dogsoldier on June 7, 2012 at 6:38 AM

Why did President Obama push Obamacare?

Why Bill Clinton told him that the reason he didn’t do better was not passing Hillarycare and that, really, with Obamacare you had a real weiner… uhhh… winner!

Those knives in the back sure do show up at odd moments, no?

ajacksonian on June 7, 2012 at 7:07 AM

The premise is false. Government encourages economic recovery by staying the bloody blue hell out of the way and not doing anything. That is ALWAYS the best plan, and you can take that to the ever-loving bank. That we’d even be having the argument of what Obama should have done to stimulate the economy is precisely what makes me fear for the future of our republic.
gryphon202 on June 6, 2012 at 10:13 PM

The premise is false only if you think that repealing laws, reforming the tax code and trimming entitlements is unnecessary government interference.

Priscilla on June 7, 2012 at 7:22 AM

swamp_yankee on June 7, 2012 at 12:08 AM

John McCain on the campaign trail, indeed. Those who said so are quietly munching on their own words.

MJBrutus on June 7, 2012 at 7:56 AM

unseen on June 7, 2012 at 1:50 AM

Shucks, she still isn’t running.

MJBrutus on June 7, 2012 at 7:57 AM

Lets get one thing straight Ozero never sets any agenda. He remains totally Manchurian.He is told by Valerie Jarrett or the bent axel what fund raiser or which teleprompter load he will read for the day. Then goes back to the White House to watch sports on TV or enjoy a shower with his boy friends.He sets no agenda.
Meanwhile Mitts question is perfectly timed.
The exact question that should be asked.
When the patient is dying don’t send him to the dentist,send him to a hear surgeon.

rodguy911 on June 7, 2012 at 7:59 AM

If Romney can somehow convince people that ObamaCare is part of the reason why the economy’s still as sluggish as it is, I think he’s got a killer attack line. More of this, please.

Yeah Mitt – be sure to highlight all of those Obamacare waivers that they gave to some employers (such as McDonald’s) so that the impact on business would be covered up until after the 2012 election.

disa on June 7, 2012 at 8:08 AM

The premise is false only if you think that repealing laws, reforming the tax code and trimming entitlements is unnecessary government interference.

Priscilla on June 7, 2012 at 7:22 AM

Again with the false premises. Romney has shown no inclination towards repealing anything. He only talks about being able to do it better. And where he does talk about repeal, he goes and makes boneheaded moves like hiring Mike Leavitt in what can reasonably seen as a grotesque conflict-of-interest, the likes of which we would be crowing about to the rafters if a Dem did it. But no, it’s Romney. So we’ll ignore his professional relationship with someone who stood to profit handsomely from Obamacare’s implementation and instead have a collective orgasm every time he makes a halfway-decent campaign ad.

As for entitlements, I don’t want them trimmed. I want them eliminated. And I don’t want to hear about how unreasonable or unrealistic that is. If Romney is the guy to do it, then so be it. No one has to tell me how much another four years of Obama would suck. But no one should be trying to convince me that Willard Milton Romney is some kind of messiah, either.

gryphon202 on June 7, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Romney’s new attack: Why did Obama focus on ObamaCare instead of on the economy?

After 3 plus years, you guys still have not been paying attentions.
Obama had been repeatedly saying he’s laser focused on jobs jobs jobs. And ObamaCare is his solution.

Either he bought in the idea ObamaCare will creat untold gubbmint jobs administering the law, or he had a darker bend to use ObamaCare to fundamentally change USA over.

ObamaCare and fixing economy (after the Porkulus passed) are integral, one and the same to our Leftist.

Sir Napsalot on June 7, 2012 at 8:14 AM

You’re conflating two different things. Romney’s point is not that Obama was “distracted” and not “stimulating the economy” but that they knew ObamaCare would actually “slow down the economy”- yet he didn’t care. He has a messianic agenda, and he’s sticking to it, the people be damned.

And now we’ve got the heartless Jackass-in-Chief threatening to veto legislation which would overturn tax hikes on Medical Devices, a tax hike which is creating a scarcity of urgently needed devices (like stents) and killing jobs and entire companies, forcing them to shut down operations and move out of the country. This is unconscionable.

Buy Danish on June 7, 2012 at 6:37 AM

Be that as it may, I still don’t understand why Obama’s poor performance is a reason to trust Romney. Can you explain why I should trust a single word of anything Romney has said in his campaign ads or stump speeches?

gryphon202 on June 7, 2012 at 8:14 AM

Conservitive victory chant 2012. HOTUS! SOTUS! POTUS! SCOTUS!

TomLawler on June 7, 2012 at 8:58 AM

An excerpt from my Senator Stabenow in a letter to me February 25, 2010:

“Health insurance reform is about jobs and strengthening our economy so that we can truly compete in the global market.”

So you see, it was about JOBS…not quality healthcare…

And how has that worked out exactly?

jjjdad on June 7, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Yeah Mitt – be sure to highlight all of those Obamacare waivers that they gave to some employers (such as McDonald’s) so that the impact on business would be covered up until after the 2012 election.

disa on June 7, 2012 at 8:08 AM

Romney did say during the debates that he would grant waivers to all 50 states if he was elected, which would effectively repeal ObamaCare–if all the states don’t implement it, what good is it?

Obama will probably counter with the spin that there were 40 million (or so) people without health insurance before ObamaCare–to which Romney needs to reply that there are now 46 million people on food stamps because they can’t find jobs, while ObamaCare hasn’t paid anyone for health care yet.

Romney also needs to highlight that Obama has cut funding for Medicare (which Republicans want to restore) in order to “pay for” ObamaCare. It is Obama who wants to push Granny over the cliff to pay for health care for younger people who don’t need it or want it!

Steve Z on June 7, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Mitt’s on the right track with this attack but he needs to have a simpler message alongside this for the slower minded voters. He could add reminders about the cornhusker kickback and Pelosi’s rant about passing it so we can find out what’s in it. Not sayin’ he needs to go full Kardashian on us but somewhere in between.

Kissmygrits on June 7, 2012 at 9:26 AM

And a little rhetorical jabbing won’t hurt:

“Regardless of his oratory, Obama’s actions are quite clear, for some time now he has made a hard pivot to fundraising and campaigning.”

[This turn of phrase will help advance the cause, but I personally don't think Obama ever was pivoted away from campaigning.]

G. Charles on June 7, 2012 at 9:28 AM

The same reason King Willard the Inevitable focuses on the economy instead of Romneycare. It’s his weak point.

Dunedainn on June 7, 2012 at 9:29 AM

maybe he learned somsething from Walkaer’s win–now he needs to quit saying Obama is a “nice man” He is not a nice man.

Bullhead on June 7, 2012 at 12:49 AM

Amen. Obama is NOT a nice man, but he has perfected his ‘nice man’ smile.

maryo on June 7, 2012 at 9:46 AM

The same reason King Willard the Inevitable focuses on the economy instead of Romneycare. It’s his weak point.

Dunedainn on June 7, 2012 at 9:29 AM

But when he was in office, he concentrated on Romneycare and was on the wrong side of many economic initiatives as governor.

Energy, on the side of malthusian human hating eco terrorists.
Rule of law that allows economic activity to prevail, on the side of extremist judges.
Healthcare, on the far side of Teddy Kennedy.

Funny he should complain about Obama doing at the federal level what he pushed for at the state while saying what he was doing was a blueprint for the nation!

astonerii on June 7, 2012 at 9:48 AM

If a little rhetorical jabbing won’t hurt Romney’s chances of triumphing over Obama, then a little rhetorical jabbing won’t hurt in keeping Romney honest.

gryphon202 on June 7, 2012 at 9:51 AM

The damage done to this country was done by Congress, a marxist dominated House and Senate. Obama didn’t even write any of the legislation, it was written by groups like the Communist Apollo Foundation and other progressive groups.

All the laws shoved down our throats were shoved by the legislative branch.

What has Obama done? He’s destroying us on the regulatory side and a failure to lead us a different direction other than the marxist congress’ desired path. His appointees have created over 2000+ new regulations, mostly since the GOP took enough control over congress to stop his allies from doing it legislatively.

So all of you whining about how Romney is so liberal and did this or that in Massachussetts, I’m going to say it again:

Conservative victory was never about the presidency. It is about congress. A conservative congress will set the agenda and Mitt would look bad going against his own party, so he won’t. He can’t confuse the public by talking about the thousands of regulatory changes he can make. It would overwhelm them. A conservative congress can use legislation to roll back the damage this administration is done and most of it will be so technical the press and public won’t care to hear about it.

But if we get a conservative congress we want and Romney loses, the veto pen and the executive orders will bury this country and we will be Greece, with riots in inner cities as auterity hits. Maybe not in Obama’s second term, but down the road as we have to slash “benefits” to keep from collapsing.

The president may “drive” our country, but congress is the engine and GPS of governance. We can elect Obama who will ignore the congress we want, or Romney who will be much more willing to follow.

PastorJon on June 7, 2012 at 12:41 PM

I don’t care what the diehards say, Mitt is a wonderful candidate. He loves his country and sees the choice and how to implement it. I “get tingles” just listening to him so there.

AReadyRepub on June 7, 2012 at 2:50 PM

The health care bill is the carotid artery to the Treasury, however, most are oblivious to this fact.

mixplix on June 7, 2012 at 5:16 PM

This line of attack is assuming that the government can “fix” the economy which it can’t. the only type of policy that “fixes” the economy is for the government to get out of the way of free enterprise. (the best would to open up the regulation on drilling and expanding our energy sources) Since Obama is a marxist and Mitt is a liberal I guess they will fight over who should have passed what stimulus when but at the end of the day neither could have “fixed” it because the recipe to do so required a tool set that neither has. the ability to get the government off our backs. Not add more governmental weight to it.
unseen on June 7, 2012 at 1:50 AM

This from John Hinderaker of PowerLine about Romney’s political philosophy is on point to your observation:

I have been somewhat frustrated over the years that conservatives (conservative politicians, anyway) have tended to make the case for free enterprise and limited government almost entirely in prudential terms: we’re for it because it promotes economic growth. At the same time, many have been willing to concede, implicitly at least, a sort of moral superiority to government, which has the role of judging and redressing the “excesses” of the market.

So I was glad to see that in a speech in Missouri later today, Mitt Romney will state the case for freedom in ringing terms that we have not heard for quite a while:

[A]long with the genius of our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights, is the equal genius of our economic system. Our Founding Fathers endeavored to create a moral and just society like no other in history, and out of that grew a moral and just economic system the likes of which the world had never seen. Our freedom, what it means to be an American, has been defined and sustained by the liberating power of the free enterprise system.

Romney and Obama may look like they are using the same tool set, but they are building different houses.

AesopFan on June 7, 2012 at 8:05 PM

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