Political Animal


November 17, 2011 10:40 AM Romneycare architect: Romney is ‘just lying’

By Steve Benen

We’ve known for a while that Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health care law helped create the framework for the White House’s policy on the same issue. Indeed, the so-called “RomneyCare” law is practically indistinguishable from the Affordable Care Act, including the controversial individual mandate. We’ve also known that Romney’s own advisers helped President Obama’s team directly.

What’s new is the degree to which Romney is annoying those who helped Romney turn his plan into reality. MIT’s Jonathan Gruber, an economist who specializes in health care policy, played a key role in helping shape the reform effort in Massachusetts. He’s not at all pleased with what he’s hearing from Romney now.

He credited Mitt Romney for not totally disavowing the Massachusetts bill during his presidential campaign, but said Romney’s attempt to distinguish between Obama’s bill and his own is disingenuous.

“The problem is there is no way to say that,” Gruber said. “Because they’re the same f***ing bill. He just can’t have his cake and eat it too. Basically, you know, it’s the same bill. He can try to draw distinctions and stuff, but he’s just lying. The only big difference is he didn’t have to pay for his. Because the federal government paid for it. Where at the federal level, we have to pay for it, so we have to raise taxes.” [emphasis added]

Romney might want to be more careful on stuff like this. He’s already earned a reputation for being a cowardly flip-flopper, who’s afraid to lead, and who’ll say anything to anyone to advance his ambitions.

But if Romney develops a reputation as a liar, too, questions about his character will become more acute. Two weeks ago, the former governor got caught lying about his tax plan; yesterday he got caught lying about an Obama quote; and now a respected MIT economist and former Romney adviser is on record saying Romney is lying about health care.

Once a politician loses his integrity, it’s awfully tough to get it back.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • T2 on November 17, 2011 10:43 AM:

    if a Republican can't lie to get elected....well...geez, what's the world coming to?

  • c u n d gulag on November 17, 2011 10:45 AM:

    "Once a politician loses his integrity, itís awfully tough to get it back."

    How do you get back that which you never had in the first place?

    That would be like me trying to get back my reputation as a great ladies man!

  • just bill on November 17, 2011 10:47 AM:

    i have to say steve that is very refreshing that you have started to call these people liars instead of very confused. they are what they are. please keep saying it, louder and louder.

  • avelna on November 17, 2011 10:54 AM:

    "Mutt" Romney?

  • Mark-NC on November 17, 2011 11:00 AM:

    "But if Romney develops a reputation as a liar" - he might be in line for a good job at the Fox propaganda channel.

  • MarkM on November 17, 2011 11:08 AM:

    What F***ing integrity??

  • walt on November 17, 2011 11:18 AM:

    Who is the worse liar, Romney or Gingrich? Both flip-flop shamelessly, both invert reality to justify those flip flops, and both have had serious policy positions they are now forced to disavow in order to accommodate the new and radicalized GOP.

    I think Gingrich is worse if only for being so obnoxiously mendacious about this. Romney, at the very least, seems a little capable of squeamishness. But the larger problem is that the post-empirical Republican Party wants red meat, not coherent policy. So your stuck with pols who have to lie about their best programs and positions.

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on November 17, 2011 11:19 AM:

    As nervous as i am about the presidential election, i'm starting to think Romney-depressed turnout will be Obama's ace in the hole. Clearly a bunch of conservative Republicans would vote for Mitt over Barack if they had to choose, but i don't see any way they repeat their turnout advantage of 2010, even net of Jim Crow, Jr., laws.

    Better yet, maybe dissatisfaction with Multiple Choice Mitt will spawn a 3rd party conservative challenge, which would probably be game, set and match for Obama. After all, we've established that most Tea Partiers prefer ideological purity to winning elections, so give 'em what they want. Bachmann-Santorum '12!

  • DAY on November 17, 2011 11:24 AM:

    Every Day, in every way, all of the candidates show they are not ready to run against Obama.
    Which leaves us to wonder if there even ARE any Republicans with those bona fides. Or do they know it is a losing game, and are keeping their powder dry, until 2016. . .

  • Schtick on November 17, 2011 11:35 AM:

    Hrm. Who was it that said Mitt is the mormon, but Newt has all the wives? Anyway, a politician can't have integrity and be a repub.

  • Josef K on November 17, 2011 11:40 AM:

    In other Romney-related news, it seems his staff have erased/destroyed all emails sent and received by his office during his stint as Governor right before Deval Patrickís staff arrived.

    Literally, all emails from that period are gone. Romney's staffers purchased the hard drives of the computers used and the original server was taken off-line.


    Which all leads to the obvious question: what the ding-dong hell were they thinking and/or hiding?

  • TCinLA on November 17, 2011 11:55 AM:

    Romney never in his life ever had any integrity to lose. He's been a slimy scum since he was in diapers.

  • gus on November 17, 2011 12:01 PM:

    Wasn’t "Mutt" Romney the dog that the family made ride atop their vacation cruiser?
    For some reason I always confused his name with Rutro Romnry. But, that is because I suffer from latent Scoobydooitis.

  • jim filyaw on November 17, 2011 12:14 PM:

    "Once a politician loses his integrity, itís awfully tough to get it back."

    then, how does one explain the newt?

  • Anonymous on November 17, 2011 12:37 PM:

    Romney lost his integrity long ago, if, indeed, he ever had any. You meant to write "Once a politician loses his reputation for integrity, itís awfully tough to get it back."

    Actually, now that I think of it, Romney hasn't had any such reputation for years now (again if he ever had it). That's why Republican primary voters are so reluctant to vote for him in spite of the ridiculousness of the other candidates.

    And that's why, pretty soon, you won't have Mitt Romney to kick around anymore.

    Oooops uh let me rephrase that. I mean it can't happen ... again. Well Nixon was much smoother, better looking and sweated less on TV.

    Gruber is a F***ing hero, but he can't save us from Romney all by himself (by the way he had nothing good to say about Romney back when he was working on Romneycare and he is definitely a Democrat).

  • Cha on November 17, 2011 2:11 PM:

    Ha! I read that last night on TMP. Romeny "be more careful"?

    "Heís already earned a reputation for being a cowardly flip-flopper, whoís afraid to lead, and whoíll say anything to anyone to advance his ambitions." And, one of my favorite Steve Benen descriptions of the mittmopper..

    "ROMNEY IS JUST AS SHALLOW A SOUND-BITE-RECITING ROBOT" I pass that around the net with credit to you, of course.

    Is there any chance for a shallow sound bite reciting robot to be more careful if that waxybot thinks lying that his romney care is so not the same as ObamaCares..will help his chances?

    Even though MIT's Jonathan Gruber says "It's the same fucking bill"? Will it matter with the Mass teabaggers? Hmm? The whichmitt's saga continues...

  • Texas Aggie on November 17, 2011 3:00 PM:

    Once a politician loses his integrity, itís awfully tough to get it back. Just ask Gingrich.

    Who was it that said Mitt is the mormon, but Newt has all the wives? That is so good! I'll use it later. Thanks, Shtick.

    And captcha had "falsehood" as one of the options. I found that substituting "republican" was completely acceptable. Maybe captcha knows something after all.