Calling Obama’s Bluff
10:39 AM, Oct 12, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Yet the GOP ticket and the Republican party have now essentially stopped talking about the part of Obamacare that Americans — and independent voters — like least. Why? It seems Obama has successfully bluffed them into silence: If you bring up the mandate, he suggests, I’ll remind people that Romney imposed an individual mandate in Massachusetts, and I'll claim I got the idea from him.
Romney and the GOP should call Obama’s bluff — because, in truth, Obama is holding a weak hand. Yes, Romney imposed a mandate in his state. But that, as well as where Obama claims he got his idea from, is largely beside the point — as it doesn’t change two key things.
First, it doesn’t change the fact that the two presidential candidates are offering the American people a binary choice on this issue going forward. Obama wants to keep the mandate that Ohio voters in all 88 counties want to scrap; Romney wants to repeal it (along with the rest of Obamacare). The choice could hardly be clearer.
Second, it doesn’t change the fact that, unless Obamacare is repealed, this will mark the first time in all of American history that the federal government will compel private American citizens to buy a product or service of the federal government’s choosing. State governments often require state residents to buy things — car insurance, for example. But for the federal government to do so is to break new ground.
In this case, the mandated product or service would be health insurance that, among many other requirements (most of which would be given shape by the subsequent decrees of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius) must offer “free” (that is, paid for collectively) birth-control pills, sterilization, and coverage of the abortion drug ella. In the future, the mandated product or service could be GM-made “green cars,” a certain quota of “healthy” food selected by a panel of bureaucratic experts or the first lady, or some product that just happens to be manufactured in Nancy Pelosi’s congressional district or by a major Obama donor.
If this sounds paranoid, remember that Obama and his Democratic cohorts have already decreed that the free men and women of America must buy health insurance that many of them don’t want, that many of them find morally objectionable, and that most of them seem to regard as an unacceptable violation both of their liberty and of their right to keep the fruits of their own labor.
One additional point is worth mentioning. It’s Obama, not Romney, who’s most vulnerable to the charge of inconsistency on this issue. Romney supports a mandate for Massachusetts (perhaps the most liberal state in America) while opposing a federal mandate that would apply to every state, regardless of the profound differences in those states’ wants or desires. That’s certainly a tenable position. Candidate Obama repeatedly opposed a federal mandate; President Obama then imposed one from coast to coast. That’s a flip-flop.
The good news is that there are still three-and-a-half weeks remaining until Election Day. That’s plenty of time for the Romney camp, and the GOP as a whole, to remind voters in Ohio and elsewhere that one of the decisions they’ll be making when they pull the lever on November 6 is whether they want to be compelled to buy health insurance of the federal government’s choosing — or not.