Tilting at Windmills

September/October 2012 They were for it before they were against it

By Charles Peters

Speaking of Republicans’ “unified opposition” to Obama’s initiatives, I had known that the individual mandate to buy health insurance had originally been proposed by the conservative Heritage Foundation and was at the heart of Romneycare in Massachusetts.

I had forgotten, however, until recently reminded by Ezra Klein in the ,New Yorker, that the Republican alternative to Hillary Clinton’s bill in 1993, introduced by Senator John Chafee and cosponsored by eighteen Republican senators, including minority leader and 1996 presidential candidate Bob Dole, also featured a mandate.

Charles Peters is the founding editor of the Washington Monthly and the author of a new book on Lyndon B. Johnson published by Times Books.