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It’s Obamacare, Stupid

Mar 19, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 26 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON and WILLIAM KRISTOL
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It’s one thing to defend a mandated, top-down, government-run health care program that you imposed on the people of your state. It’s another thing to recommend and encourage the president of the United States to impose the same thing on the American people. And it’s another thing yet to go out and tell the American public that you didn’t do it.

In response to what has become Santorum’s principal line of attack, Romney effectively has two choices: He can tell the 60 percent of Republicans who haven’t been supporting him in primary voting to date that they effectively have no choice but to support him—and, in any event, that he is the only one who can beat Obama. Or he can make the effort to convince Republicans that he genuinely shares their desire to repeal Obamacare—and that he understands why it’s such an affront to them, and to the nation.

If Romney wants to convince Republicans that he’s with them—rather than convince them that they have no choice but to be with him—he would do well to pledge repeatedly that he would use every tool at his disposal to repeal Obamacare, instead of saying simply that he’ll sign repeal legislation if it happens to cross his desk. He would also do well to explain to voters why he’s so committed to repeal. Why is it so much worse to have a government-run health care system and an individual mandate at the federal level than at the state level? Why is the federal version more of an affront to liberty? (It is, but Romney needs to explain why.)

The electability argument is ultimately about issues. Obamacare is Obama’s greatest weakness. He is more likely to be defeated by a candidate who is willing to run against Obamacare as the epitome of big-government liberalism—emphasizing its singular threat to Americans’ liberty and their way of life.

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