Better late than never?

posted at 11:01 am on July 5, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Now that Mitt Romney has adopted the “It’s a tax!” strategy that the RNC and Republicans adopted after the Supreme Court decision on ObamaCare, will all be forgiven on the Right? Not as far as the Wall Street Journal is concerned, which slammed Romney for campaign malpractice later the same day:

In a stroke, the Romney campaign contradicted Republicans throughout the country who had used the Chief Justice’s opinion to declare accurately that Mr. Obama had raised taxes on the middle class. Three-quarters of those who will pay the mandate tax will make less than $120,000 a year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The Romney high command has muddied the tax issue in a way that will help Mr. Obama’s claims that he is merely taxing rich folks like Mr. Romney. And it has made it that much harder for Republicans to again turn ObamaCare into the winning issue it was in 2010.

Why make such an unforced error? Because it fits with Mr. Romney’s fear of being labeled a flip-flopper, as if that is worse than confusing voters about the tax and health-care issues. Mr. Romney favored the individual mandate as part of his reform in Massachusetts, and as we’ve said from the beginning of his candidacy his failure to admit that mistake makes him less able to carry the anti-ObamaCare case to voters. …

This latest mistake is of a piece with the campaign’s insular staff and strategy that are slowly squandering an historic opportunity. Mr. Obama is being hurt by an economic recovery that is weakening for the third time in three years. But Mr. Romney hasn’t been able to take advantage, and if anything he is losing ground.

Losing ground?  The WSJ doesn’t provide any data to support that contention, and the polls thus far show no sign of a significant bump for Obama from the Supreme Court ruling.

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake believe that the rest of the Right might be more forgiving, and outline the risks and reward for Romney in his change in tactics:

“The most important thing is that the candidate has it right,” said one senior Republican operative granted anonymity to speak candidly about his party’s nominee. “It’s a tax and should be characterized as such. I don’t know why anyone else would have said otherwise. Perhaps some were overthinking how it would be compared to what he did in Massachusetts.”

The political reward of Romney’s new — or, at the very least, clarified — position on the health care ruling is obvious. Republicans have long scored political points by bashing Democrats as lovers of big government who want to finance growth in the size of the bureaucracy by raising taxes. That the key provision of Obama’s health care law was upheld due to a tax provision, then, fits perfectly into an advantageous political frame for Romney — and Republicans more broadly.

The political risk is also apparent. One of Romney’s biggest weaknesses as a politician is that people simply don’t believe he has a core set of convictions that guide him. The flip-flopper label went a long way in costing him the 2008 Republican presidential nomination and was at the center of his weaknesses in this primary fight.

Not surprisingly, Democrats went after the flip-flopper angle hard on Wednesday.

“He threw his top aide Eric Fehrnstrom under the bus by changing his campaign’s position and calling the free rider penalty in the president’s health care law — which requires those who can afford it to buy insurance — a tax,” said Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner.

Well, I wish them the best of luck in selling this as a Republican flip-flop.  The RNC got there first and best by highlighting Obama’s campaign pledge not to hike taxes and his argument with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, in which he denied that ObamaCare was a tax, but celebrated with other Democrats when the court upheld it on that basis:

Combine that with the last 30 seconds or so of this debate between Fox’s Chris Wallace and Obama chief of staff Jack Lew, which features Obama’s own Solicitor General arguing to the Supreme Court in March that they had to uphold the individual mandate as a tax, and the flip-flop argument becomes one that Romney would love to have:

Conservatives hammered Romney for his initial strategy in dealing with ObamaCare, but it may not have been as bad as they thought — at least on paper. In my column for The Fiscal Times today, I make the argument that conservatives were reacting more to the Ghosts of Campaigns Past, and that Team Romney’s approach may have been a good idea, had it been executed a little more expertly:

It’s not the first time [Eric] Fehrnstrom had created a controversy for Romney.  During the primary campaign, Fehrnstrom told CNN that pledges made in primary campaigns could be set aside during general elections, “almost like an Etch-a-Sketch.  You can shake it up and we start all over again.”  In this case, though, Fehrnstrom was trying to protect Romney from the logical conclusion of an attack on Obamacare’s mandate as a tax, which is that Romney’s health-care reform mandate in Massachusetts would then also have to be considered a tax.  Consider what exactly Fehrnstrom told NBC’s Chuck Todd:

“Chuck, the governor has consistently described the mandate in Massachusetts as a penalty. Let’s take a step back and look at what the president has said about Obamacare. In order to get it past the Congress, he insisted, publicly and to the members of Congress, that the mandate was not a tax. After it passed the Congress, he sent his Solicitor General up to the Supreme Court to argue that it was a tax.”

In other words, the Romney campaign had decided to hit Obama over his hypocrisy in arguing both ways on the mandate as a tax – one way in public, and another at the Supreme Court – rather than as a tax raiser.  It also put Romney in position of siding with the four conservative jurists who insisted that the entire law needed to be thrown out and that the tax argument was decided incorrectly; Fehrnstrom told Todd in the same interview that Romney “agreed with the dissent that was written by Justice Scalia.”  Had the strategy been executed more deftly, it would have kept the Romneycare issue out of the way without stepping on the “It’s a tax!” argument from other Republicans.  That might have been a clever plan, had Fehrnstrom not given the specific quote that “the mandate was not a tax.”

Sensing the rift opening on the Right, Romney moved quickly to shift his strategy.  By yesterday morning, Romney told CBS, “The majority of the court said it’s a tax, and therefore it is a tax.”  The speed with which Romney adjusted his attack is consistent with the rapid response efforts of Team Romney over the last two months, which had until now won praise from conservatives as a huge improvement over the relative lack of fight from the 2008 campaign of John McCain.

The need to tread carefully for lines of attack on ObamaCare is already well-known to Republicans.  Romney got attacked repeatedly for his own health-care mandate in Massachusetts during the Republican primary, but he responded well enough to win the nomination — mainly by focusing on jobs and the economy while promising a full repeal of ObamaCare.  The campaign’s effort to move past a potentially troublesome debate on the nature of the mandate to focus on the hypocrisy and deception conducted by Democrats to get ObamaCare passed made a lot of sense, but a fumbled delivery and a highly-sensitive Republican base now makes it an untenable strategy.

That’s no great loss — as I said, the risks for Romney on the “It’s a tax!” argument are pretty low anyway — but it’s also clear that Romney didn’t intend on shying away from the fight.  The bigger lesson might be less that Romney’s team (that conservatives had praised for two months for its willingness to fight the Obama campaign) needs to change, than the need for conservatives not to be so quick to hit the panic button over one response.


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That’s it weenie repubs. Let’s nitpick Romney and his statements while Obama gets re-elected. Sheesh. McCain times deaux.

Hawkerflyer on July 5, 2012 at 11:05 AM

It’s the economy, stupid!

Electrongod on July 5, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Still not quite sure why some people are nit-picking over this one point.

Call it a tax, a mandate, a penalty, a forced contribution, whatever: bottom line is OCare is a medical and financial disaster for America. Oh, and its unsustainable.

CorporatePiggy on July 5, 2012 at 11:07 AM

Reader’s Digest version:

“Romney’s team…needs to change.”

And how…

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 5, 2012 at 11:08 AM

OK Rombots, get to spinning.

bgibbs1000 on July 5, 2012 at 11:08 AM

You should add Byron article the questions the lsm should be asking dear leader on this issue

cmsinaz on July 5, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Spot on. Conservatives need to be grown up about the LSM and the hyping of a single comment to derail conservative politicians.

One surrogate’s comments on an issue does not make a platform position and should always be eyed sceptically until the candidate speaks out. As a gotcha this is pretty weak.

Skwor on July 5, 2012 at 11:09 AM

It’s the economy, stupid!

Electrongod on July 5, 2012 at 11:06 AM

It’s about tyranny, stupid!

bgibbs1000 on July 5, 2012 at 11:09 AM

In a stroke, the Romney campaign contradicted Republicans throughout the country who had used the Chief Justice’s opinion to declare accurately that Mr. Obama had raised taxes on the middle class.

Accurately or not, it is the law of the land, so that is what it is. You don’t have to agree with it. I’m not sure that “accuracy” has anything to do with it.

besser tot als rot on July 5, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Unforced errors, Romney makes more than his share. Romney, get your team on one unified message, silence anyone on your team who can’t behave.

Bmore on July 5, 2012 at 11:10 AM

LOL skeptically not sceptically.

Freudian slip? I hope not :)

Skwor on July 5, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Meh.

One of Romney’s biggest weaknesses as a politician is that people simply don’t believe he has a core set of convictions that guide him.

That can work to our advantage. If we give Mittens a conservative Congress, he may flip-flop towards conservatism and repealing the ObamaTax. CJ Roberts labeled it a tax, even though it’s more of a fine for not buying something. It doesn’t matter what the madate actually is, only that it has a certain label that Congress can peel back via reconciliation, so we only need a majority in the House and 50 Senators (plus the VP) and then a president who will sign the bill.

Oh, and then a constitutional amendment limiting Congress’ power of taxation.

rbj on July 5, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Let’s keep our eye on the ball. Obamacare only is relevant in that seizing one sixth of the economy is a BFD. The middle class will suffer higher taxes as a result. Whether you want to call it a tax or a penalty only matters to the filthy liars of the left trying to sell this as a “gotcha” moment against Romney. It will not work.

Happy Nomad on July 5, 2012 at 11:11 AM

but he responded well enough to win the nomination — mainly by focusing on jobs and the economy while promising a full repeal of ObamaCare.

That’s not “responding well enough to win,” it is “deflecting well enough to win.”

besser tot als rot on July 5, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Lsm focusing on mitt distracting from dear leader insisting it isn’t a tax

cmsinaz on July 5, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Etch-a-sketch is done. Stick a fork in him!

Jayrae on July 5, 2012 at 11:12 AM

That can work to our advantage. If we give Mittens a conservative Congress, he may flip-flop towards conservatism and repealing the ObamaTax. CJ Roberts labeled it a tax, even though it’s more of a fine for not buying something.

rbj on July 5, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Or he could veto his conservative colleagues, like Roberts essentially did. I have no idea how Romney not having conservative convictions is a net plus for us.

besser tot als rot on July 5, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Etch-a-sketch is done. Stick a fork in him!

Jayrae on July 5, 2012 at 11:12 AM

?

Bmore on July 5, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Accurately or not, it is the law of the land, so that is what it is.
besser tot als rot on July 5, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Yep, something to start dismantling as soon as possible after the jug-eared Kenyan and his entire band of sharp-toothed weasels are driven from office (many of whom will soon enough take up residency at federal correctional institutions).

Happy Nomad on July 5, 2012 at 11:14 AM

The Tax vs. Penalty this is way too in the weeds for the average voter. The “Biggest Tax Hike” in history argument won’t work either because Obama will just say it’s only on people who don’t get policies and then you have to go back into the weeds to explain that it’s on everyone.

Romney should focus on the overreach, small business effected and YOUR PREMIUMS and Taxes are going to go up, Sebilius is going to let grandma die and you can’t keep your doctor. Eye level attacks. We live in the weeds, the America public doesn’t.

AYNBLAND on July 5, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Lsm focusing on mitt distracting from dear leader insisting it isn’t a tax

cmsinaz on July 5, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Bingo!

bgibbs1000 on July 5, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Can somebody remind me again how nominating the man who invented Obamacare is supposed to help us defeat it?

I vaguely remember seeing 10,000 articles explaining that a few months ago. But somehow I was never able to follow the logic chain there, and I still don’t quite have a handle on it.

logis on July 5, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Legacy Media: Dear Leader never flip flops he only evolves…

d1carter on July 5, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Keep fighting mitt

cmsinaz on July 5, 2012 at 11:16 AM

the need for conservatives not to be so quick to hit the panic button over one response.

Yeah. That’s the problem. One response. Not Romney’s pattern of (1) refusing to take even somewhat controversial positions, even ones that hold strong majority positions; or (2) selling out his own campaign to defend Romneycare as an objectively good policy.

besser tot als rot on July 5, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Romneycare is not going to be the issue in the general elections, it would be Obamacare and of course the Economy ans Jobs. Romney was able to win the Republican nomination despite that Romneycare was used by his opponents as the main strategy to defeat him but yet they failed, and that is among Republican primary voters who are by far more ideological than other Republicans and certainly much more so than independents. I do not imagine that the independents would be more offended by Romneycare than Republican primary voters…

mnjg on July 5, 2012 at 11:17 AM

The problem with Romney is that he can’t really call anyone a hypocrite. He defended RomneyCare when he should have dropped it because, just like Obama, he hates to admit that he made a mistake and indeed he may be incapable of admitting error.

Plus, when he says things like “Of course it’s a tax,” or “Of course corporations are people,” Romney looks like a disconnected jerkoff.

Herald of Woe on July 5, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Can somebody remind me again how nominating the man who invented Obamacare is supposed to help us defeat it?

I vaguely remember seeing 10,000 articles explaining that a few months ago. But somehow I was never able to follow the logic chain there, and I still don’t quite have a handle on it.

logis on July 5, 2012 at 11:15 AM

It’s the same logic Roberts used to justifly his ruling and the same logic RINO’s use to say Roberts is brilliant. If you don’t get it you’ll have to go back to a government school for more “education”.

bgibbs1000 on July 5, 2012 at 11:19 AM

This is mostly a bunch of bs.

As a business owner, I change opinions/decisions as a situation evolves.

However, I never change my “core” principles.

Romney is a principled man. What he has to watch out for is
his associates, backers, etc. having their own agenda. These
people make it difficult to sort through the facts because what they present is often slanted towards their own bias.

Romney has “been around the block” a few times; he will figure
it out.

What I worry about more is the republican establishment who want to pull Romney’s strings. I trust them to be just like the liberals.

Amjean on July 5, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Etch-a-sketch is done.

Jayrae on July 5, 2012 at 11:12 AM

So, who’s left, the deceptive blank screen?

Fallon on July 5, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Tax, Penalty, Who cares??? The bottom line is that we will have to pay more money for our health insurance now. The federal govt will force you to pay money to them if you do not buy what they “deem” is in our best interests.

Whether you call the fine a penalty or tax is irrelevant. We should be calling BS!

jeffn21 on July 5, 2012 at 11:21 AM

This isn’t a problem. Romney can just say the dude conflated state and federal and suggest the
Dems take Romney care to ccourt and have that mandate defined as a tax if they think they
can. It is a can of worms for Obama. It’s probably good that it won’t be sprung on Romney
In the debates now.

Buddahpundit on July 5, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Romney needs to start explaining the differences between Obamacare and the MA plan, but he can probably wait another few weeks since people probably aren’t paying that much attention to this kind of stuff right now. I’m sure it will come up in the debates. Judging from Romney’s website, it looks like he’ll be well prepared for that particular issue.

eyedoc on July 5, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Right to Romney: Fire Fehrnstrom, and be your own man!

Steve Z on July 5, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Wow! It’s Trollapaloser this morning!

AubieJon on July 5, 2012 at 11:23 AM

(sigh)I can’t believe that the “Republican” nominee is some ass-clown that passed a healthcare system used as a model for Obamacare. Romney is nothing but another big government statist/elite. This election is like being given the choice between getting hit in the face or hit in the gut. It’s gonna suck either way.

MoreLiberty on July 5, 2012 at 11:24 AM

The problem with Romney is that he can’t really call anyone a hypocrite. He defended RomneyCare when he should have dropped it because, just like Obama, he hates to admit that he made a mistake and indeed he may be incapable of admitting error.

Plus, when he says things like “Of course it’s a tax,” or “Of course corporations are people,” Romney looks like a disconnected jerkoff.

Herald of Woe on July 5, 2012 at 11:18 AM

The difference is states rights. The people of Mass. were in favor of Romneycare. After it was implemented the politicians
raided the candy store (as usual).

Obamacare, besides being unconstitutional, is disliked by
65% of the country. And don’t think the politicians haven’t and
won’t in the future raid our country’s candy store. That is if
there is any “candy” left.

Amjean on July 5, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Candidate Etch-a-Sketch strikes again! Even his campaign can’t agree or come up with a cogent position on anything. He was for the mandate before he was against it. It wasn’t a tax before it was. Depending on if the wind shifts, he may have another position for the six o’clock news tonight. This is the best the GOP could offer up this cycle? Wow. Just, wow.

inthemiddle on July 5, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Or he could veto his conservative colleagues, like Roberts essentially did. I have no idea how Romney not having conservative convictions is a net plus for us.

besser tot als rot on July 5, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Because the alternative is our current marxist-in-chief. All presidents want a legacy, Mittens is campaigning on repeal. If a conservative Congress gives him a repeal bill and he vetoes it, that will forever tarnish him, just as CJ Roberts is tarnished. I think Mittens is too smart to not see that.

rbj on July 5, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Etch-a-sketch is done. Stick a fork in him!

Jayrae on July 5, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Only in your fantasies, bot.

Solaratov on July 5, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Romney needs to start explaining the differences between Obamacare and the MA plan, but he can probably wait another few weeks since people probably aren’t paying that much attention to this kind of stuff right now. I’m sure it will come up in the debates.

Yes and when the time comes focus on the things that the Tea Party focused on during the town halls. Death Panels, Rationing, losing your Doctor, State’s Rights, Premiums going up, if it’s so good why is Obama giving 2000 get out of jail free cards to companies and unions etc.

The “Mandate” thing was always cable tv, talk radio inside baseball. Tell people how it will directly effect their lives.

AYNBLAND on July 5, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Romney is a principled man.

Hahahahaha…ha sure dude. The guy wont get into specifics at all. He wont even say what he’d change if he was able to “repeal and revise” the law. He won’t say how much he’d like to cut in federal spending. He won’t give foreign policy specifics. The guy is just another McCain/Dole. The US Constitution is just as much of an obstacle for him as it is for Obama.

MoreLiberty on July 5, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Romney has more ammunition in focusing on jobs and the economy by demonstrating how implementation of Obamacare damages both.

onlineanalyst on July 5, 2012 at 11:28 AM

sigh)I can’t believe that the “Republican” nominee is some ass-clown that passed a healthcare system used as a model for Obamacare. Romney is nothing but another big government statist/elite.

MoreLiberty on July 5, 2012 at 11:24 AM

You are a filthy liar. That’s all that needs to be pointed out.

Obamacare is nothing like what came out of MA and you damn well would know it if you were something other than a filthy liar.

Happy Nomad on July 5, 2012 at 11:28 AM

the need for conservatives not to be so quick to hit the panic button over one response.

+100

tdpwells on July 5, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Am I the only one who sees no contradiction here at all?

The mandate was ruled unconstitutional because it wasn’t a tax.

It was remade into a tax and then deemed constitutional.

Therefore, Eric Ferhnstrom called the original mandate unconstitutional and not a tax, which is true.

Then Romney said the court remade it into a tax and that’s a tax, which is true.

Am I the only one who sees no problem in this?

Ferhnstron was right, originally, the mandate was not a tax, it’s not a mandate anymore, it’s a tax.

Crefonso on July 5, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Obamacare is nothing like what came out of MA and you damn well would know it if you were something other than a filthy liar.

Happy Nomad on July 5, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Well, they’re both mandates….

idesign on July 5, 2012 at 11:32 AM

I’m not a fan of the tax argument…I think you just say the Court got it wrong and continue pushing for repeal. It’s odd for him to say he agrees with the dissent, but also agree that it’s a tax, too. The Obama admin wants to have it both ways on this, but now it looks like the Romney camp does too.

Still, maybe the tax argument will resonate more than I think it will.

changer1701 on July 5, 2012 at 11:32 AM

The differences are clear:

Obamacare = unconstitutional mandate.

Romneycare = constitutional mandate.

Obamacare = a tax.

Romneycare = not a tax.

Crefonso on July 5, 2012 at 11:33 AM

You are a filthy liar. That’s all that needs to be pointed out.

Rombama pushed for the mandate in his state. It’s no different. The fact that he’s some faux conservative doesn’t change it. Romney is just a big government goon, only slightly better than Obama.

MoreLiberty on July 5, 2012 at 11:34 AM

The point ED, is not that Romney isn’t slipping, it’s that he should be dominating this argument. POUNDING, POUNDING, POUNDING the tax angle day after day, relentlessly. He should have gained ten points as a result of this ‘gift’. Instead he’s squandered it. “BOSTON” makes me want to puke with their insular, arrogant, circle j*** of a campaign. Why the hell wasn’t Romney at every State fair in Ohio or Michigan over the 4th instead taking the back seat on a jet ski ride around McScrooge Lake. The only worse decision would be to choose Bush’s budget guy, or that ‘First to quit, chicken s***’ Pawlenty as his VP.
Jindal, Rubio or Ryan.. That way, I can at least pretend he is the actual nominee and have some hope to salvage a country on the precipice of collapse. God bless the USA and Mitt Romney to wake up.

AmeriCuda on July 5, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Whether you call it a tax or penalty is irrelevant in and of itself. The only thing that will matter is how it harm the economy. Mitt is right to focus on the disaster obama has created with his socialistic policies and how we are allegedly in our 3rd year of recovery and it still feels like a recession to most people. Bottom line-obama’s policies have not worked and in fact have made it much worse in the long run as we will have a harder time getting out of this massive debt.

Ta111 on July 5, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Well, they’re both mandates….

idesign on July 5, 2012 at 11:32 AM

The difference is Romney is a Republican and Obama’$ a democrat. So the mandate is awesome to the partisans…as long as their big government goon pushed for it. But the reality is the mandate is a mandate.

Hypocrites

MoreLiberty on July 5, 2012 at 11:36 AM

You’re right AmeriCuda! I want a candidate who leaves his stupid family crying alone on holidays and spends his time politicking instead of celebrating independence!

Yeah! And he’s rich! Yeah! That means something! Yeah!

And that Boston team! The nerve of those guys! Outraising Obama and taking the fight to liberalism! Man! I just can’t stand that!

You’re right AmeriCuda, maybe we should have run YOU for president! You know everything!

I mean, what were we thinking by actually trying to defeat Obama!?

Crefonso on July 5, 2012 at 11:36 AM

The problem here is that Eric Fehrnstrom should have been fired a long time ago. Forget throwing him under the bus. Throw him through a window on the 50th floor. Idiot. And the WSJ doesn’t need to be targeting Romney when there’s a lifetime of Obama BS for them to talk about. And we’re past the time when it’s ok to waste it whining about our nominee. Romney must win this. And for the record, it IS a tax and no, nothing that Romney did as governor changes that or takes it off the table. The ACA ObamaTax is atrocious all by itself and Romney didn’t have anything to do with the writing of it. Hell, it’s STILL being written in terms of the countless regulations filling in the blanks. It’s an Obama talking point that Romney “inspired” it. BS! This is on Obama, Reid and Pelosi. But Obama is the one on the hotseat and it’s time to turn up the heat even more.

cicerone on July 5, 2012 at 11:37 AM

The problem is Fehrnstrom is the wrong guy to go MSNBC.

I’ve never seen the guy on FNC, so maybe he’s made the himself the de facto “outreach” member of Team Romney.

But he shouldn’t be. ‘Cause he sucks at it.

Jindal is the best choice to speak on this subject.

Or hell, get Newt.

budfox on July 5, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Romney is…only slightly better than Obama.

MoreLiberty on July 5, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Well, this time, Romney’s all there is. So, vote and let the (slightly) better candidate win.

Fallon on July 5, 2012 at 11:39 AM

“Weenies” is right. Need to get that killer instinct, Mitt. At this point, you’ve shown are no match for the Chicago thugs. They are defining you. Very bad. Time to get brutal and stay that way.

Philly on July 5, 2012 at 11:40 AM

inthemiddle on July 5, 2012 at 11:25 AM

The only thing in the middle of the road is a yellow stripe and a lot of dead chickens.

Solaratov on July 5, 2012 at 11:40 AM

For those who think there isn’t much difference between The Won and Gov. Romney, Gov. Romney is teachable. My impression is that he wants to serve the people of this nation and has no desire the “fundamentally transform” her. I’m pretty sure he thinks we have a swell country and a glorious foundation. In my mind that is HUGE when it comes to this election. Look what that ass ache has done in three and a half years and how he did it.

Cindy Munford on July 5, 2012 at 11:42 AM

I am terrified that this is just another group of incompetent, spineless, Republicans, squandering the election for the sake of haaaaarnooooony! God Save America from destruction by incompetent boobs, elected by certifiable idiots!

ultracon on July 5, 2012 at 11:42 AM

No one is asking that we love our nominee. Hell, I never wanted him to win the nomination, myself. But if we can’t stay focused on the larger issue, defeating Obama – and can’t resist savaging our best hope for defeating him at the smallest provocation – we deserve to lose.

If Obama wins a second term, I’m not going to blame Romney. I’m going to blame the holier-than-thou “true conservatives,” who, with their heads firmly emplanted in their asses, thought it was more important to be right than it was to snatch our country back from a socialist president who is determined to destroy the best hope for humanity on the planet.

DRayRaven on July 5, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Romney needs to start explaining the differences between Obamacare and the MA plan, but he can probably wait another few weeks since people probably aren’t paying that much attention to this kind of stuff right now. I’m sure it will come up in the debates. Judging from Romney’s website, it looks like he’ll be well prepared for that particular issue.

eyedoc on July 5, 2012 at 11:21 AM

If what you say is true, isn’t it stupid for our side to keep this issue alive by continuing to argue about it, thereby giving the media more ammunition? Giving Obama more soundbites?

Night Owl on July 5, 2012 at 11:44 AM

No good deed goes unpunished.

HotAir is on the frontlines of following Obama’s order to “Kill Romney”.

Maybe we should take all this blog energy and do something useful with it … like … hmmm .. I dunno, defeating OBAMA!

Crefonso on July 5, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Well, this time, Romney’s all there is. So, vote and let the (slightly) better candidate win.

Ya because voting for the lesser of two “evils” means you’re still voting for “evil.”

The reality is…the Republic is falling. It didn’t start four years ago either..it started long before that, Obama’$ just helping it fall faster. I think we all need to realize that the US government, regardless of (R) or (D), no longer fallows the US COnstitution. They care little – if at all – about individual liberty.

The sooner the Union dissolves, the sooner we can get to the task of rebuilding.

MoreLiberty on July 5, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Romney/DDayRaven 2012!

Crefonso on July 5, 2012 at 11:45 AM

For those who think there isn’t much difference between The Won and Gov. Romney, Gov. Romney is teachable.

Cindy Munford on July 5, 2012 at 11:42 AM

and who will be his teachers?

idesign on July 5, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Cindy Munford on July 5, 2012 at 11:42 AM

I completely agree.

esr1951 on July 5, 2012 at 11:47 AM

If Obama wins a second term, I’m not going to blame Romney. I’m going to blame the holier-than-thou “true conservatives,” who, with their heads firmly emplanted in their asses, thought it was more important to be right than it was to snatch our country back from a socialist president who is determined to destroy the best hope for humanity on the planet.

You are just a follower and one that supports the status quo. Try having your own mind.

MoreLiberty on July 5, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Sununu is behind this. He needs to go as well.

Mr. Arrogant on July 5, 2012 at 11:47 AM

For those who think there isn’t much difference between The Won and Gov. Romney, Gov. Romney is teachable. My impression is that he wants to serve the people of this nation and has no desire the “fundamentally transform” her. I’m pretty sure he thinks we have a swell country and a glorious foundation. In my mind that is HUGE when it comes to this election. Look what that ass ache has done in three and a half years and how he did it.

Cindy Munford on July 5, 2012 at 11:42 AM

God help us. Face plam. Good grief. For cripes sake.

bgibbs1000 on July 5, 2012 at 11:47 AM

The sooner the Union dissolves, the sooner we can get to the task of rebuilding.

MoreLiberty on July 5, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Say what?

kingsjester on July 5, 2012 at 11:48 AM

I am going to forgive TeamMitt just because its Summer and I have to, Imagine the Tea Party back lash if Mitt loses, Hatch will be the only left in the Senate of the Est. Lets label Mitt now the Est Goldwater. Though it should be Dole already, Or McCain but for some reason when they lose big its just not a good year.

boogaleesnots on July 5, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Obamacare is a tax.

Romney: “Obamacare is a tax.”

Conservative-posers: “BURN HIM! HE’S A WITCH! BURN HIM!”

Crefonso on July 5, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Say what?

kingsjester on July 5, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Are you not aware that all empires fall? Do you think we are really going to be able to take back control and ensure that the US Constitution is followed? Do you really think that we are ever going to shrink the govt? I’m talking about actually shrink it…not increase it’s size like under Bush and Obama. our debts will never be repaid, and like all empires we are falling.

MoreLiberty on July 5, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Concern trolls are out in force today.

wargamer6 on July 5, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Eric Fehrnstrom appears to be the Steve Schmidt of the Romney campaign. Kinda makes you wonder if there’s a Mark or Nicolle Wallace in there somewhere.

John McCain managed to assemble the worst campaign staff in modern history. Let’s hope Romney’s is stronger, but there are a lot of proven losers like Kevin Madden on Team Romney.

bw222 on July 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyIXuce36gM&feature=youtu.be

The above is a great video showing the difference between Mitt and Barrak regarding Healthcare.

MoreLiberty on July 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM

No one gives a poop about this in the real world and they certainly won’t by November.

NoDonkey on July 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM

The differences are clear:

Obamacare = unconstitutional mandate.

Romneycare = constitutional mandate.

Obamacare = a tax.

Romneycare = not a tax.

Crefonso on July 5, 2012 at 11:33 AM

They can both be called a tax. If Obama asks Romney “are you saying that the mandate in RomneyCare cannot be considered a tax?”, Romney would have to admit that it can be called a tax, if you so choose, but that it can also be described as a constitutionally allowed mandate if you so choose, and then ask Obama which one he considers RomneyCare to be. The beloved constitutional scholar won’t want to answer that one.

Buddahpundit on July 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Romney can side-step the Romneycare issue by arguing for state’s rights – I wonder if the repubs know about the 10th amendment!! And the obamatax is both a tax and a penalty – either way We The People are the losers here.

uber-con on July 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM

I believe I recall Fred Thompson recently describe the issue this way. A tax is imposed to generate revenue. This “tax” is imposed to compel people to purchase approved insurance and thus avoid the “tax” thereby reducing the revenue. It looks and smells like a penalty. Who cares what it’s called? Romney should hammer on the effect and the cost to middle and lower income households. Let the Super PACs hammer away on the semantics.

freedomfirst on July 5, 2012 at 11:55 AM

MoreLiberty on July 5, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Are you promoting anarchy? Why would you intentionally what to see the fabric of our nation torn asunder? Do you not recognize that you were born in the greatest country on God’s green Earth?

kingsjester on July 5, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Floating Turd: GARY JOHNSON!!!!

wargamer6 on July 5, 2012 at 11:56 AM

bgibbs1000 on July 5, 2012 at 11:47 AM

So what’s your answer, reelect Obama? These are the cards we’ve been dealt. You don’t think the Tea Party has changed any habits of those in D.C.? How many Democrats aren’t going to their convention, aren’t endorsing their president? It would be great if we could elect someone and ignore them and trust them but that doesn’t seem to work out very well.

Cindy Munford on July 5, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Crefonso on July 5, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Who thought either would be “constitutional” on a national level?

Cindy Munford on July 5, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Obama’s plan worked perfectly.

He’s now cemented Conservatives into the support of free-riders. By making this a federal thing, he’s trick us all into abandoning our resolve to prevent free-riders from abusing the health care system.

Romney’s the only guy left who understands the difference.

The problem with the GOP isn’t Romney, he’s the hope.

The problem with the GOP are the Ron-Paulian-Jonny-Come-Lately-Powers-Conservatives who spend their time blogging vitriol against our candidate instead of lifting a finger to help the cause.

They want the nation to crumble so they can “rebuild”.

So if you worship God and not Ron Paul, please pray for a Romney win.

Crefonso on July 5, 2012 at 11:58 AM

UNFORGIVABLE! – ABRs

Keep your eyes on the prize, this is nothing.

thebrokenrattle on July 5, 2012 at 11:59 AM

If Romney had come out and said the mandate-penalty is a tax, his critics would claim he was saying it’s legal (and nothing can be done about it) when he should have been claiming it’s an unconstitutional mandate.

Romney’s critics will criticize him at the drop of a hat for all manner of imagined missteps. In the real world, he’s running a winning campaign where Obama polls behind unless Democrats are significantly oversampled.

Basilsbest on July 5, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Cindy Munford on July 5, 2012 at 11:57 AM

It’s like

Coca-Cola = a cola drink

Pepsi-Cola = not a cola drink

Huh?

kingsjester on July 5, 2012 at 11:59 AM

The differences are clear:

Obamacare = unconstitutional mandate.

Romneycare = constitutional mandate.

Obamacare = a tax.

Romneycare = not a tax.

Crefonso on July 5, 2012 at 11:33 AM

That is right. States are more likely to have the plenary power to mandate action under the police powers. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t both intrusive, big government, statist power grabs.

besser tot als rot on July 5, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Cindy, neither are constitutional on a national level.

The ObamaCare mandate was STRUCK DOWN. It could only survive as a tax. But the mandate itself was indeed unconstitutional.

RomneyCare is a state law, so it’s completely different. It’s a totally different constitution. It’s constitutional and it’s not a tax.

Robert’s ruling said ObamaCare’s mandate was both unconstitutional and not a tax, therefore, in order to survive it had to become a tax to stay constitutional. I hope that makes sense.

Romney is the last guy alive who believes in the 10th amendment apparently, because the conservatives at HotAir certainly don’t.

Crefonso on July 5, 2012 at 12:00 PM

The bigger lesson might be less that Romney’s team (that conservatives had praised for two months for its willingness to fight the Obama campaign) needs to change, than the need for conservatives not to be so quick to hit the panic button over one response.

Conservatives recognize that Romney does not come by conservative positions instinctively. (It’s a myth that businessmen naturally do.) In the past it has required some flip-flopping, and it’s always going to take some conditioning. Conservative reaction to the Romney campaign stepping all over an operative GOP attack against the Obamacare Tax was not hitting the panic button, it was flipping the Pavlovian switch. Romney gets it now.

de rigueur on July 5, 2012 at 12:00 PM

kingsjester on July 5, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Well, you know I was never a MittWit but good grief, can some of the whiners come up with a better plan? Oh yeah, Gary Johnson! Might as well say Ross Perot, without the personality.

Cindy Munford on July 5, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Crefonso on July 5, 2012 at 12:00 PM

I wouldn’t mind Romneycare so much if Gov. Romney would be honest about what it accomplished and where it failed.

Cindy Munford on July 5, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Well, this time, Romney’s all there is. So, vote and let the (slightly) better candidate win.

Fallon on July 5, 2012 at 11:39 AM

That is not necessary true. At some point (e.g., 10-20%), support for a third party candidate could reach critical mass, where there’d be mass defections from Romney (and, potentially, Obama).

besser tot als rot on July 5, 2012 at 12:02 PM

There is too much focus on the semantics here, when the real issue is dollars and cents. Romney simply needs to remind voters that if Obama is re-elected, then they will face tax hikes in 2013 (when the Bush tax cuts expire) followed by the new mandate/tax in 2014, a huge double whammy with the brunt of it being borne by the lower and middle classes.

I happen to agree that it is an unconstitutional mandate, it’s just for the purposes of the Supreme Coward’s ruling, it’s a tax.

As for what he did in Massachusetts, if you don’t live there then now is the time to get over it. I don’t like what he did either, but it affected only that state. If other states want to do it, fine, I live in Texas and as long as they don’t do it here I don’t care what other states do.

thirteen28 on July 5, 2012 at 12:03 PM

He’s now cemented Conservatives into the support of free-riders. By making this a federal thing, he’s trick us all into abandoning our resolve to prevent free-riders from abusing the health care system.

Spoken like a true tyrant. Individuals should not be judged like that…as some cog in a machine. Individuals are more than the sum of their supposed arbitrary groups. Obama’$ a tyrant and is Mitt.

Now that government is even more involved in healthcare, it will give them an excuse to mandate more and more on the individual.

MoreLiberty on July 5, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Cindy Munford on July 5, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Exactly. We have to be realistic. However, we retain the right to speak out when something’s not right.

kingsjester on July 5, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Are you not aware that all empires fall? Do you think we are really going to be able to take back control and ensure that the US Constitution is followed? Do you really think that we are ever going to shrink the govt? I’m talking about actually shrink it…not increase it’s size like under Bush and Obama. our debts will never be repaid, and like all empires we are falling.

What a maroon….so you think that when the “Union dissolves” your side is going t re-establish the Constitution…probably on Randian or Neo-Confederate lines…you are just like the environmentalists, you want to change the status quo, and believe YOU’LL be on top…more likely is that if the “Union dissolves” D@mn-all anarchy and tyranny will be the result and your little band of Anarcho-Capitalists/Randian Syndicalists/Neo-Confederates will simply be swamped in the chaos.

JFKY on July 5, 2012 at 12:04 PM

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