Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

February 25, 2011

ROMNEY TAKES HUCKABEE'S HEAT OVER HEALTHCARE.... During the 2008 presidential elections, former Govs. Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney didn't exactly get along, but the Arkansan never seemed especially interested in going after the Massachusetts health care reform law. It just wasn't much of a factor in the race.

Three years later, with both men considering the 2012 race, Huckabee has discovered he hates "RomneyCare" after all, and wants the former Massachusetts governor to apologize for his only major policy accomplishment.

"It could be argued that if RomneyCare were a patient, the prognosis would be dismal," Huckabee writes in his new book, A Simple Government.

Huckabee, who said yesterday that he is "seriously contemplating" another run for president, also points to the similarities between Romney's plan in Massachusetts and President Obama's plan for the nation.

"Ever since the debate over [Obama's] program began, it's been compared to RomneyCare, the failed statewide health-care program implemented by none other than my fellow GOP member Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts," Huckabee writes, under a heading, "The States as Laboratories: When Experiments Fail" "Any critical assessment of this program will show that it failed ... and yet the Obama administration decided to emulate it in its pursuit of a national health-care program."

Reinforcing the fact that Huckabee struggles with basic details about public policy, the former Arkansas governor added that Romney's policy constitutes "socialized medicine," which is absurd. (I know ol' Huck isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but he should at least learn what socialized medicine is before writing about it.) His assessment of the policy in Massachusetts isn't close to being accurate, either.

But the ongoing area of interest is the response from the Romney camp. Asked about Huckabee's criticism, Romney's spokesperson said, "Mitt Romney is proud of what he accomplished for Massachusetts in getting everyone covered." He added that Romney still wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

I continue to find it ironic that Romney has flip-flopped on practically every issue I can think of, but the one position he's inclined to stick to is the one the GOP base finds wholly unacceptable.

The fact of the matter is, for all the right-wing hysterics about the Affordable Care Act being radical communism, the health care reform law is awfully similar to the reform package Romney championed in Massachusetts.

It was Romney's signature accomplishment during his one term as governor -- his only experience in public office -- and at the time, his success on health care cast Romney in a positive light. And why not? It demonstrated his ability to tackle major policy challenges and work with members of both parties to pass a sensible, mainstream legislative milestone. It was the sort of thing a governor can build a presidential campaign around.

This was fine in 2008, when the individual mandate was still a Republican idea, and Romney faced practically no criticism at all. It's not fine in 2011 and 2012, now that GOP officials and voters no longer like their idea.

Steve Benen 9:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (19)

Bookmark and Share

I loved this morning's spot where Joe Scarborough had Huckabee on and Mika B said she was reading his book and was still trying to find the part where Huckabee wrote about the very rich making sacrifices for the country. She's my hero of the moment.

Posted by: jon on February 25, 2011 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Today's Republicans:
If you come across as a somewhat rational politician, you have no chance to win the nomination, even thought you might do well in the general.

But, if you're a howling at a full moon, frothing at the mouth, raving loon, you can win the primary, but have little chance in the general.

Nothing to see here, move along.

President Obama thanks you, btw!

Posted by: c u n d gulag on February 25, 2011 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to see an assessment on how Massachusetts is actually doing in health care. Last I saw (it's been a while) Romneycare was fairly popular and the uninsured population was low. Is this still true?

Posted by: Unstable Isotope on February 25, 2011 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

His assessment of the policy in Massachusetts isn't close to being accurate, either.

It's existence is the very proof of it's failure to those like the Huckster.

Posted by: martin on February 25, 2011 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

How bizarre can discourse become when the minimal effort to maintain the thin veneer of civility becomes indistinguishable from the poisonous content .

Posted by: FRP on February 25, 2011 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

The fact that Huck calls RomneyCare a failure leads me to suspect that, in truth, it works quite well.

Posted by: Grumpy on February 25, 2011 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

" ol' Huck isn't the sharpest tool in the shed,"

I dunno; have you looked inside the Republican tool shed lately?

Posted by: DAY on February 25, 2011 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

I reside in Massachusetts. I have no statistics at hand, but I would hardly describe the state's plan as 'failed.' The percentage of people covered is very high, so in that sense it certainly hasn't. On the other hand, I don't know whether it's yet produced significant cost savings.

Posted by: JCB on February 25, 2011 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Lost in the debate over Afforable Care is the fact that it results in a large deficit reduction over the years. The GOP has the honor of demanding deficit reductions while causing them at the same time with Tax Cuts for the Rich and Repeal of Affordable Care. It's never about policy with these crooks, just politics and power and cuts for the rich.

Posted by: T2 on February 25, 2011 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Recently arriving to America my Roman Catholic spouse has taken advantage of JVS , Jewish Vocational Services , as well as our Mass Health insurance coverage . To consider the advantages of being able to manage financial burdens that are constructed to fit the abilities of what realistic personal budgeting reflects , rather than what the market might bear has been one driving force behind the ability to focus on education . Worrying about whether or not to categorize health maintenance as optional , is a hidden but substantial contribution to the freedom to progress in both achieving a better command of English and the following academic success's . These two different programs , which can be demonised , essentially permit personal choices of opportunity instead of narrowing the milieu to one of what one cannot manage .

Posted by: FRP on February 25, 2011 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

At first I was disappointed that the candidates for the Republican 2012 nomination were holding back on announcing, and that this would prevent the entertainment from getting started early. It now appears that despite not committing to actually running, they are not hesitating to violate Reagan's supposed 11th Commandment. Pass the popcorn.

Posted by: John Dillinger on February 25, 2011 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, Huck's a Rhodes Scholar. He ain't dumb, he's just a demagogue.

Posted by: danimal on February 25, 2011 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

I'm ashamed of my ignorance, could someone tell me, if the Wisconsin bill goes through, why cannot people still belong to a union that will represent them and offer legal advice & so on?
Also it appears that the crime of the century is included in this bill (all financed by Koch bros)
the Gov gets to sell all the state's utilities and power plants for pennies on the dollar to the Koch's ( who have already set up an office in Madison staffed by lobbyists.

Posted by: j on February 25, 2011 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Romney's in a tough position, and there doesn't seem to be any good way to deal with it. I don't expect him to admit he made a mistake, but how can he continue to defend his record while at the same time continuing to attack the Democratic health care reform plan. The best he can probably do is to make up some specious reason for why his plan is entirely different than Obamacare, and to proclaim the two have nothing to do with one another.

Posted by: Rick Taylor on February 25, 2011 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

We in Massachusetts has incredible health care which is not the failure people think at all - if they actually were part of the system. Other states should be looking at this model. We don't have the sick and poor dying in their homes because they can't afford medical care and we don't find their bodies in our ER room because we have failed them. People are treated by Doctors like people not farm animals.

Posted by: Dean on February 25, 2011 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

You should have added in the complete statement by Romney, which is this:

Mitt Romney is proud of what he accomplished for Massachusetts in getting everyone covered...What's important now is to return to the states the power to determine their own healthcare solutions by repealing Obamacare. A one-size-fits-all plan for the entire nation just doesn't work.

So state-by-state "Romneycare" works? This idiot is doing a wonderful job of explaining his religion by leaving off the second "m". What a fool - and he's supposed to be the leading Republican? The whole party is a bad joke.

Posted by: TCinLA on February 25, 2011 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Via Slate:

"In his book, Huckabee says there is a $300 billion "Dad deficit" because fathers do not care for their children. Two-thirds of the children who live in poverty wouldn't be in poverty, he writes, if their parents were married."

Yet towards the middle of the article, when pressed on whether he would run for president, he responds with:

"If I run, I walk away from a pretty good income, so I don't want to walk away any sooner than I have to...One thing I committed to myself, my wife, and to God is if I'm going to do this, I'm hopefully going to be in a position that I'm not going to be completely destitute by the end of it. I have no idea what to do if I get sick or retire or have a disability."

But if all that's needed for economic prosperity is God and wife, shouldn't things end up just fine and dandy for him? (And I will ignore a larger point in that Jesus would surely insist Huck be destitute for the better of mankind and society per scripture, but whatever.)

Posted by: nimlanoom on February 25, 2011 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

MassHealth is a failure? That's news to us in Massachusetts where not even Republicans make an issue about it. It's a done deal and everybody's pretty well satisfied with it.

That said, how's having people die in the ER in Arkansas and the other 48 workign out? Must be a great success, hunh?

Posted by: Chesire11 on February 25, 2011 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

danimal states:

Steve, Huck's a Rhodes Scholar. He ain't dumb, he's just a demagogue.

Do you have a citation for that? Wikipedia's entry for Mr. Huckabee reveals zero educational experience at any legitimate higher education venue, let alone postgraduate study at Oxford.

Huckabee's Wikipedia

Posted by: Michael Heath on February 26, 2011 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK



Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM

buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly