Mitt Romney Discusses Health Care Reform on FOX News Sunday
I wanted to say more about Glenn Beck, whose CPAC speech I previously remarked on. But, it seemed that I should say something about the Fox News Sunday appearance of Mitt Romney, whom I had wanted to say something about before but am glad I didn’t. I tried to distill and kill two birds with one stone, but I couldn’t. Of those speculated about, Romney seems most likely to make a run for the presidency in 2012.
Though friends and noted pundits have been, and though he’s an impressive man with an impressive family, I’ve studied Mitt Romney and seen him many times, including in person, but not been particularly impressed with him as a potential president. It never seemed that he operated more on clear principle than on pragmatism, which works fine for one who consults with and capitalizes corporations. Add to that, my distaste for his agenda that changed with the audience and/or constituency, and his heavy financing of negative campaigning. Though it impressed some smart people, wealth and corporate experience doesn’t make you a wise leader or shaper of a culture. I also think Democrats would define him as an out-of-touch rich white man if not make an issue of his faith, which wouldn’t be nice. But they have an agenda and politics ain’t beanbag.
But on Sunday, I found myself sympathizing with him when Chris Wallace was relentless about a point I have used as evidence of Romney’s imprudence about constructive social policy. Wallace fairly enough challenged Romney’s criticism of Obama’s health care policy by saying, as many have, that it was very similar to the program that Romney participated in designing and signed into law in Massachusetts.
Romney legitimately pointed out that though there were mandates, there were differences in the private vs. public controls of the system. And, there is about 98% coverage in Massachusetts and everyone contributes something who can. That’s fine, and it is after all, Massachusetts, and if they want to pay for it, they can. But, that points up the most important difference, which it seemed Romney would miss as I thought he would. But, he did get around to it, even if it wasn’t his first reaction. Though it often seems opaque to reporters, the difference between a state and a federal program is monumental. Few distinctions are more significant in America.
But a little surprisingly, Wallace pressed the point 3 or 4 times. Romney pointed out that states should be able to have their own systems. Yes, and people will feel differently in Texas or Oklahoma than in Massachusetts or California. I was a little disappointed that Romney said “I prefer” that states choose. It’s a matter of social prudence and effectiveness AND IT’S CONSTITUTIONAL! I still hope Romney is not a Republican presidential nominee. If a legislature presented me with it, I would veto a corruption and expense-inducing government mandate even at the state level. But, I could never get elected governor of Massachusetts in the first place.
Now more than ever, America needs clarity. Romney has gifts and abilities, but I don’t think delivering clarity to an ambiguous people is one of them. However after Sunday’s interview, I felt better not worse about him.