Ann Coulter: "Three cheers for RomneyCare"

Remember what I said in the minimum-wage thread about conservatives gradually being forced to play ideological Twister to defend Romney if he’s the nominee? Here’s Exhibit AAA1.

I don’t understand. I don’t understand why, if you support one of these candidates, it can’t simply be because they’re the best of a bad lot. This happens endlessly in the comments here as Romney fans and Gingrich fans insult each other into digging in ever deeper behind their guy, but I can’t fathom why that mindset would affect Coulter. She has a million arguments for Romney over Gingrich or Santorum if she wants them: He’s a better fundraiser and organizer, he polls better against Obama head to head, he’s good enough at debates to have thwarted Newt twice in Florida, he’s got private sector experience, etc. There’s simply no need to cheer him on for the least conservative thing he ever did in public life. Either she’s so sick of people dumping on her for backing Mitt that she decided to write this as a rhetorical middle finger to her critics or she’s curious to see just how strong her persuasive powers over the right are. If she can turn them around on RomneyCare, she can turn them around on anything.

Read it all, but here’s the worst part. Turns out government coercion isn’t so bad as long as it’s not coming from the feds:

As Rick Santorum has pointed out, states can enact all sorts of laws — including laws banning contraception — without violating the Constitution. That document places strict limits on what Congress can do, not what the states can do. Romney, incidentally, has always said his plan would be a bad idea nationally…

No one is claiming that the Constitution gives each person an unalienable right not to buy insurance.

States have been forcing people to do things from the beginning of the republic: drilling for the militia, taking blood tests before marriage, paying for public schools, registering property titles and waiting in line for six hours at the Department of Motor Vehicles in order to drive.

There’s no obvious constitutional difference between a state forcing militia-age males to equip themselves with guns and a state forcing adults in today’s world to equip themselves with health insurance.

The hyperventilating over government-mandated health insurance confuses a legal argument with a policy objection.

Once you accept that State Mandate Y should be tolerated because people already tolerate State Mandate X, you’ve built yourself a self-perpetuating government expansion machine. Why not let the state mandate people’s diets while we’re at it? After all, we let them force militia-age males to carry guns. And the punchline, of course, is that the federal/state distinction she’s drawing isn’t nearly as bright as we wish. Fully half of RomneyCare was paid for with federal tax dollars through Medicaid, i.e. by you and me. Romney’s ostensible big solution to Massachusetts’s free-rider health-care problem actually required Massachusetts to be something of a free rider.

A lot of people are going to end up writing about this, so rather than me blathering on, let me point you to two of them for further reading. One: Inveterate RomneyCare critic Philip Klein has a lengthy rebuttal to Coulter, part of which is devoted to reminding her that RomneyCare actually wasn’t designed as a solution to the free-rider problem. It was designed to grow the pool of premiums in order to offset the costs of expanding coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Go see how the math turned out on that. And two: Mark Levin spent half an hour of his radio show tonight rebutting Coulter point by point. I’ve only been able to listen to the first 10 minutes so far but the time was well spent. Carve out 30 minutes and settle in. Exit question: Her CPAC speech next week should really be something, huh? Click the image to listen.

Update: Actually, as a counterweight to Coulter’s piece, go read Laura Ingraham’s lament about tea-party impotence in the presidential race. The great expectation on the right is that we’ll elect a conservative Senate this year that’ll hold Romney in check even if he reverts to his RINO-ier ways as president. I’m not as sure of that as other people are. The pressure to fall in line behind a first-term president will be enormous lest he be undercut publicly before the following election, and it’s not clear how bold Romney would be in stumping for conservative measures that originate in the Senate.