How big a deal is the Romney campaign’s tax/penalty flip-flopping?

posted at 8:01 pm on July 5, 2012 by Allahpundit

Does anyone seriously care about this? I know we’ve written a bunch of posts about it — it’s the political story du jour so we’re almost obliged — but I can’t believe there’s a single voter outside the chattering class that’s following it. Think of all the things a voter has to know just to be able to keep up:

1. Massachusetts has universal health insurance.
2. The linchpin of that insurance program is a mandate requiring people to buy coverage.
3. The program was signed into law by Mitt Romney.
4. ObamaCare is based on Massachusetts’s program.
5. States can pass mandates requiring citizens to purchase things but it’s not clear whether the federal government can do so under the Constitution.
6. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the federal government can impose mandates pursuant to its tax power but not pursuant to its power over interstate commerce.
7. Romney’s campaign spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, said after the Court’s decision that he believes the mandate is not a tax.
8. Mitt Romney contradicted Fehrnstrom by saying that if the Supreme Court thinks the mandate’s a tax, then it should be regarded as a tax — even if he personally disagrees with that interpretation.

How many of those facts do you think the average low-information swing voter — the group that’s going to decide this election — is aware of? One? Maybe two? Bear in mind, despite the Court ruling having been front page on every newspaper in America last week, fully 45 percent of adults said afterwards that they either didn’t know how the Court had ruled or thought that they had struck down most of ObamaCare. That’s the level of ignorance we’re dealing with here. And yet we’re now seeing dopey navel-gazing in the papers and grumbling among some prominent conservatives about whether Romney should shake up his campaign staff, even though the guy’s within three points in the poll of polls. I can accept this being a one-day story, if only because it’s the slowest week of the summer and we need something to kvetch about it. But we’re now on day four, full in the knowledge that the voters whom Mitt needs to win the election are in a de facto coma when it comes to this subject. C’mon.

Besides, if you think this is a big deal and simply must have someone to blame, why blame Romney’s staff instead of the candidate himself? They’re not the ones who made RomneyCare happen. Philip Klein:

In April 2010, just weeks after the national health care law passed, I warned that if Republicans nominated Romney in 2012, it could kill the effort to repeal Obamacare, precisely because he wouldn’t be able to credibly attack Obama on health care. It’s something that I emphasized repeatedly during the primaries and discussed in my ebook on the Romney nomination. Had Republicans nominated any other GOP candidate, right now they’d be sitting back and watching Obama and his surrogates squirm in trying to explain why the mandate was a tax for legal purposes but still didn’t violate his middle class tax pledge. Instead, Romney’s struggles to reconcile the irreconcilable are complicating things…

It’s inevitable that any Republican holding or seeking office who attacks Obamacare’s mandate as a tax will be asked whether the Massachusetts mandate signed by their own nominee is also a tax. They shouldn’t feel the need to defend Romney’s untenable position, or to squirm uncomfortably when asked. Republicans can agree with Romney on repeal without having to make excuses for what he did in Massachusetts. A good answer would be something along the lines of this: “You never find a candidate who you’re going to agree with 100 percent of the time. I disagree with mandates at both the federal and state level and don’t support the Massachusetts health care law. But I do agree with Romney that Obamacare is a disastrous law for all 50 states and that it needs to be repealed. And that’s why I support him.”

This is all going to come to a head three months from now when Obama and Romney get into a squabble at one of the debates over one guy’s mandate versus the other guy’s mandate, and the press will wet itself over whether the exchange is a gamechanger and how Obama proved he was a fightin’ Democrat after all by putting Romney on the defensive and whether Romney should have hired a different debate coach, blah blah blah blah blah. And meanwhile, 80 percent of the people watching it at home will be thinking “What are they arguing about now?

Speaking of taxes and penalties, here’s Romney suggesting that Roberts is no longer his model for a Supreme Court nominee. Exit question: Anyone think that Paul Clement won’t be nominated at the first available vacancy if Romney wins?


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 4 5 6

The fact that you assume I support Ron Paul proves how retarded you are. People like you shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

CoffeeMan on July 6, 2012 at 9:26 AM

That wasn’t a kneejerk assumption. I must have had you confused with someone else. But just try and keep me out of the voting booth and see how that works out.

gryphon202 on July 6, 2012 at 9:32 AM

That wasn’t a kneejerk assumption. I must have had you confused with someone else. But just try and keep me out of the voting booth and see how that works out.

gryphon202 on July 6, 2012 at 9:32 AM

Ayeah, the words “instant Darwin Award” comes to mind…

I suggest loading a shotgun with rock salt and aiming just below the belt buckle. But you’ll need to be at point-blank range to hit a target that small.

MelonCollie on July 6, 2012 at 9:34 AM

it’s the political story du jour so we’re almost obliged

No, not really.

cicerone on July 6, 2012 at 9:43 AM

why blame Romney’s staff instead of the candidate himself?

The staff that provided the opposition with the etch-a-sketch image? Sure, give ‘em a raise. It’s a shame that AllahChihuahua apparently can’t help himself when it comes to picking scabs that only help Obama win reelection. And then plays “Eeyore” later.

cicerone on July 6, 2012 at 9:46 AM

The staff that provided the opposition with the etch-a-sketch image? Sure, give ‘em a raise. It’s a shame that AllahChihuahua apparently can’t help himself when it comes to picking scabs that only help Obama win reelection. And then plays “Eeyore” later.

cicerone on July 6, 2012 at 9:46 AM

So, you do consider them scabs?

Bmore on July 6, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Most non-story this year… bc… Obama is a national security risk of the highest order and MUST go…
-
That is all.

RalphyBoy on July 6, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Have fun voting for a Massachusetts liberal, retards.

CoffeeMan on July 6, 2012 at 9:15 AM

duh duh duh otay dank you duh duh duh my waffle

Buttercup on July 6, 2012 at 10:46 AM

He’ll probably flop back after elected. Who cares? As long as it’s him. This Constitutional Republic has depended for two-hundred-thirty-odd years on good faith and fair play. The bit of a lapse around 1860ish is the exception that proves the rule. It won’t take much to bring on serious situations. Good faith and fair play are alien concepts to the current US government. This criminal administration cannot be reelected. Anyone who’s still either on the fence or sitting out because of Romney needs to get their heads on straight. Speaking as a long-time anti-Mitt, with him at least there’s a chance of surviving. Otherwise, not so much. This is not a drill.

curved space on July 6, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Hard not to feel a little sorry for Romney.
It’s lonely at the flop.

verbaluce on July 6, 2012 at 10:53 AM

The difference between Romneycare and Obamacare is that the people of MA wanted Romneycare. That’s all the distinction Romney needs to make.

grahsco on July 6, 2012 at 11:23 AM

The difference between Romneycare and Obamacare is that the people of MA wanted Romneycare. That’s all the distinction Romney needs to make.

grahsco on July 6, 2012 at 11:23 AM

God job! Romneybot! Bravo!

TheAlamos on July 6, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Anyone who’s still either on the fence or sitting out because of Romney needs to get their heads on straight. Speaking as a long-time anti-Mitt, with him at least there’s a chance of surviving. Otherwise, not so much. This is not a drill.

curved space on July 6, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Yeah! More blame pls! Blame people like me who will not vote for Obamalite in November! MORE! MORE! MORE!

Goodluck to you, Romney’s conservative in November!

LOLOL!

TheAlamos on July 6, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Hard not to feel a little sorry for Romney.
It’s lonely at the flop.

verbaluce on July 6, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Why sorry? GOP nominated Romney because he’s a sure win, right? 3 points lead from Obama, WOWOW! Compared to Reagan’s almost 10-point lag from JimmyC, Romney’s a sure winnah!

ROMNEY! ROMNEY! ROMNEY! ROMNEY!
_CARE!___CARE!___CARE!___CARE!_

ROFLMAO!

TheAlamos on July 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM

I’m not sure how anyone who is even considering voting for Romney can, with a straight face, call themselves a conservative.

CoffeeMan on July 6, 2012 at 9:02 AM

I am a conservative and I am voting for Romney. I have no other viable option. In 1996 I voted for Harry Browne, but no similar candidate exists these days.

Dasher on July 6, 2012 at 12:18 PM

TheAlamos on July 6, 2012

You might find this hard to believe but this election and what is at stake is bigger than you. I know in your superior mind of puritanical bliss you’ve convinced yourself it’s all about yourself and how you feeeeeeell. Well good for you Oprah.

Buttercup on July 6, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Yeah! More blame pls! Blame people like me who will not vote for Obamalite in November! MORE! MORE! MORE!

Goodluck to you, Romney’s conservative in November!

LOLOL!

TheAlamos on July 6, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Jerks like you are either libturds or total useless idiots.

jqc1970 on July 6, 2012 at 1:04 PM

TheAlamos on July 6, 2012

You might find this hard to believe but this election and what is at stake is bigger than you. I know in your superior mind of puritanical bliss you’ve convinced yourself it’s all about yourself and how you feeeeeeell. Well good for you Oprah.

Buttercup on July 6, 2012 at 12:48 PM

A plant, BC. Overdoing it a bit. Shows too many signs, like the liberalish blindness to how things actually work, and yes, the lefty overweening self-regard. Who was blaming him/her?

curved space on July 6, 2012 at 1:07 PM

I am voting for Sen. Rick Santorum….there’s alwyas a write-in line at the polls!!!!
Sen. Rick Santorum
Sen. Rick Santorum
He understands the buget problems a lot more than Rommey..

cw on July 6, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Does anyone seriously care about this? I know we’ve written a bunch of posts about it — it’s the political story du jour so we’re almost obliged — but I can’t believe there’s a single voter outside the chattering class that’s following it.

Unfortunately it’s not even his 10th flip flop…

rightConcept on July 6, 2012 at 1:33 PM

If Obama’s lawyers argued in court that the individual mandate is a tax (The writer at Forbes, Avik Roy, claims they did.) then Obama is a shameless fraud to continue to argue that the mandate is not a tax. It’s crazy we’re focusing on Romney when it was Obama who told us one thing and had his lawyers argue in court for another.

ansonia on July 6, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Anyone who isn’t supporting Romney at this point is simply supporting Barack Obama’s reelection campaign.

Not voting for Romney = A Vote for an Obama 2nd Term

bluegill on July 6, 2012 at 2:53 PM

I suspect that many of the posters on this site bashing Romney
with ridiculous comments are some of the same who consistently
bashed Palin, Gingrich, Perry, etc., all repub candidates, with
even more outrageous comments. It is tiresome. And stupid.

Amjean on July 6, 2012 at 5:02 PM

Anyone who isn’t supporting Romney at this point is simply supporting Barack Obama’s reelection campaign.

Not voting for Romney = A Vote for an Obama 2nd Term

bluegill on July 6, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Question, bluegill, how much do you think that helps Romney? This stupid “You’re either place blind loyalty to the party, or you’re against us” view point? If I wanted that kind of party, I’d have registered with the Democrats years ago. I do not serve the Republican party big wigs. I do not swear fealty to them. It serves me, an average citizen of the U.S.A.

But once again, people like you help prove the “Big Tent” narrative is just a load of crap. It seems when those of us with small Government ideals try to walk in, amazingly those some people and their fans shut us out unless we swear blind allegiance to them.

Razgriez on July 6, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Razgriez on July 6, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Math might not be your strong suit but this is a two person race. One is Obama and the other one isn’t. If you want to cast some symbolic ineffective vote that doesn’t mean anything to anyone but yourself go ahead but if you cannot see how that helps Obama then you are beyond ignorant
Just curious who is this small Gov’t ideal candidate anyway? Anyone we’ve heard of?

Buttercup on July 6, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Buttercup on July 6, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Why is it that I’m selfish for being sick and tired of watching the GOP do actions that bleed those of small government beliefs to the independent parties? How is it selfish, that I want Romney to prove to me he’s actually not still of liberal belief?

I want a Republican to actually run on an actual platforms, and not just simply “Well, I’m not the other guy”.

And yet, apparently, I’m “selfish” for wanting real promises, and not lip service. I’m apparently “ignorant” for questioning a candidate who’s current view points are questionable. But apparently, it’s not ignorant nor selfish to just vote for someone simply because they have an R by their name.

Sounds an awful lot like the Democrat party: “Vote for us, at least we’re not the other guys, and we might throw you a doggy treat if we feel like it/need your vote.

Razgriez on July 6, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Razgriez on July 6, 2012 at 7:23 PM

I inquired of you who this small Gov’t candidate is that is so deserving of your coveted vote but you choose not to disclose. Interesting strategy you have there keeping your ideal candidate a secret. Not sure it’s real effective but neither are you. If you’ve got someone in mind why wouldn’t you want to try to rally support for them by telling us why we should vote for them? My guess is you’re either a liberal or you’re a Gary Johnson supporter. Understandable why you’d want to keep that to yourself.

Buttercup on July 9, 2012 at 4:39 PM

Comment pages: 1 4 5 6