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“In An Awkward Spot”: How Mitt Romney Advocated Obamacare And Lied About It

In 2009, Mitt Romney had a problem. He was running for the Republican presidential nomination, and the towering achievement of his governorship in Massachusetts — health-care reform — had been embraced by President Obama. Romneycare played almost no role in Romney’s 2008 presidential run, but the emergence of the issue onto the national agenda threatened to link Romney with a president Republicans had already come to loathe.

His solution was simple. He seized upon the one major difference between his plan and Obama’s, which was that Obama favored a public health insurance option. The public plan had commanded enormous public attention, and Romney used to it frame Masscare as a conservative reform relying on private health insurance, and against Obama’s proposal to create a government plan that, Romney claimed, would balloon into a massive entitlement. Andrew Kaczynski collects several televised appearances and one op-ed in which Romney holds up Masscare as a national model.

This tactic backfired when Obama had to jettison the public plan, and Republicans came to focus on the individual mandate as the locus of evil in Obamacare. What was once a Republican idea in good standing was now, suddenly, unconstitutional and the greatest threat to freedom in American history.

This left Romney in an awkward spot.

It’s hard to run for president as the advocate of an idea that your party considers the greatest threat to freedom in history. His response was to simply revise the past, much as he did with abortion. Romney now claimed he had never advocated a federal version of his Masscare program. Here’s Romney at the December 11 GOP presidential debate:

Speaker Gingrich said that he was for a federal individual mandate. That’s something I’ve always opposed. What we did in our state was designed by the people in our state for the needs of our state. You believe in the 10th Amendment. I believe in the 10th Amendment. The people of Massachusetts favor our plan three to one. They don’t like it, they can get rid of it. (COUGH) That’s the great thing about (COUGH) a democracy, where individuals under the 10th Amendment have the power to craft their own solutions.

The coughs are in the original transcript, for what it’s worth. I’ll leave it to the psychiatrists to say whether we ought to read anything into them.

And here’s Romney at a January 23 debate:

My health care plan, by the way, is one that under our Constitution we’re allowed to have. The people in our state chose a plan which I think is working for our state.

At the time we crafted it, I was asked time and again, “Is this something that you would have the federal government do?” I said absolutely not.

I do not support a federal mandate. I do not support a federal one-size-fits-all plan. I believe in the Constitution.

This is clearly untrue. Romney, as Kaczynski has shown, repeatedly held up the Massachusetts model in 2009. For instance, from the USA Today op-ed:

There’s a better way. And the lessons we learned in Massachusetts could help Washington find it. ..

For health care reform to succeed in Washington, the president must finally do what he promised during the campaign: Work with Republicans as well as Democrats.

Massachusetts also proved that you don’t need government insurance. Our citizens purchase private, free-market medical insurance. There is no “public option.” …

Our experience also demonstrates that getting every citizen insured doesn’t have to break the bank. First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages “free riders” to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others. This doesn’t cost the government a single dollar.

The remarkable thing is that none of Romney’s opponents challenged these demonstrably false claims. If you check the transcripts of the debates, Romney simply lies about what he advocated, and then everybody lets it go.

Among other things, this underscores the sheer incompetence of his opposition. Kaczynski is an excellent researcher, but it’s not as if he had to comb the ends of the Earth to find these nuggets. He culled them from such sources as USA Today and Meet the Press. Every opposing campaign either failed to look up this basic stuff or failed to train the candidate to understand it. Romney is now on the verge of escaping with the party nomination having embraced a program his party considers inimical to freedom itself and blatantly lied about having done so without any major opponents pointing this out. It’s pretty incredible.


By: Jonathan Chait, Daily Intel, March 5, 2012

March 6, 2012 Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Election 2012 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Unflinching Conservative” Rick Santorum In 1993: “More Government Needed In Health Care”

Rick Santorum’s pitch to Republican voters is simple: He is the “true” and “consistent” conservative in the GOP’s presidential nomination fight. He describes  himself as “a candidate who, throughout [his] career, has not only  checked the box on conservative issues but has fought for conservative  issues.” And he slams front-runner Mitt Romney for flip-flopping on abortion and the Wall Street bailouts and, most of all, for passing government-mandated health care reform in Massachusetts. If elected president, Santorum vows, he will end the “tyranny” of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Yet as an up-and-coming congressman in the early 1990s, Santorum took a much different line. Then—like now—health care was one of the nation’s most divisive issues. In 1993, Republicans were up in arms about a health care reform bill spearheaded by Hillary Clinton and pushed by President Bill Clinton. Republicans decried the measure as excessive government intervention in the marketplace, and Santorum opposed the legislation. But his position was not so clear-cut.

During that fiery debate, Santorum said it would be a mistake to allow the delivery of health care services to be determined only by the market. He asserted that Republicans were “wrong” to let the marketplace decide how health care works. He instead argued that government should play a “proactive” role in shaping the health care marketplace “to make it work better.” (Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley did not respond to requests for comment.)

Santorum’s call for more government intervention in health care came during a December 1993 appearance on a Pittsburgh TV program, The Editors, hosted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Jane Blotzer and John Craig. At the time, Santorum was running in a Republican Senate primary and looking to challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Harris Wofford. Mother Jones obtained a previously unreported transcript of the interview made by staffers for the Wofford reelection campaign. In 1994 Santorum eked out a narrow win over Wofford, 49 percent to 47 percent, in a bitterly fought race that gained national attention.

In the 1993 interview, the 35-year-old Santorum sounds little like the unflinching conservative he claims to be today. He describes his voting record in the US House of Representatives, where he represented the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh, as “pretty much in the middle” compared with the rest of the Pennsylvania delegation, which included 11 Democrats and 9 other Republicans. His record, he went on, was “pretty compatible” with that of Arlen Specter and the late John Heinz, both moderate Republican senators from Pennsylvania. (Specter later switched to the Democratic Party.)

In the interview, when asked about the role of government in Americans’ lives, Santorum responded, “I believe that the federal government should set up a system where we create the right incentives for you to make efficient choices.”

On health care, as he called for more government involvement, Santorum said Republicans had “dropped the ball” by not making health care reform a headline issue in recent elections. “I even said it to President Bush when he came to Pittsburgh to campaign for Dick Thornburgh [then running for US Senate] in 1991, that health care was gonna be the big issue and that we had to take responsibility for trying to solve this problem,” Santorum said. “We can’t continue to ignore it and say, ‘Oh well, you know, it will work itself out in the marketplace.’ That’s wrong.”

Government intervention, he continued, was key to creating a functioning health care marketplace. “The government helps set the marketplace up, so we have some responsibility to alter that marketplace to make it work better.”

Talking about health care, Santorum explained: “I take a much more proactive position in government in solving problems than most Republicans, because I believe government has a role. A lot of folks believe, ‘Well, just keep government out of it.’ I don’t believe that.” He added, “I think government has a role in making sure that there is equal opportunity.”

On the campaign trail these days, Santorum denounces government and maintains that it is not government’s job to help those who are suffering (because suffering has its positive consequences, he contends). His top priority, he says, is repealing “Obamacare.” He also wants to privatize Medicare and eliminate the agency that oversees it. “You want the private sector out there competing, driving down costs, improving efficiency,” he said recently.

At a November 2011 debate, Santorum boasted about his unwavering conservative record on health care. “I was always for having the government out of the health care business,” he said, “and for a bottom-up, consumer-driven health care, which is different than Governor Romney and some of the other people on this panel.” Yet Santorum, who has attacked Romney for reversing his positions, has flip-flopped as well.

March 6, 2012 Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Health Reform | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Price Of A Woman’s Reputation”: Why Hasn’t Clear Channel Punished Rush Limbaugh?

Rush Limbaugh’s been facing a wave of protest since his ugly attacks on Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke: he called her a “slut” and a “prostitute” after she testified before Congress about the importance of employer coverage of contraception. In response, advertisers have begun to pull out of the show. And in a near-unprecedented move, Limbaugh issued an apologyfor his choice of words, though not for the sentiments behind them. But Limbaugh’s efforts to save his show seem unlikely to stop advertisers from fleeing the show or to stem the tide of criticism from figures ranging from Sen. John McCain, to New York’s Cardinal Dolan—to one of Limbaugh’s colleagues in the shock jock game, former CBS radio host Don Imus.

“So were it me, and I ran a radio station or whatever, I would make him go down there and apologize to her face-to-face. He owns a Gulfstream 4, get on it, go to Washington, take her lunch, tell her, ‘look, I’m sorry I said this stuff and I’ll never do it again,” Imus said. He recalled that when he made offensive remarks about the Rutgers women’s basketball team, referring to them as “nappy headed hoes,” “Look at what I did. It was a lame attempt to be funny, and it was three words. And I went and met with these people after I’d been fired…If he was on my radio station, he wouldn’t be on it.”

Imus’s criticism also illustrates that Limbaugh is held to different standards than his fellow commentators on radio and television. Here are some of the punishments Limbaugh’s counterparts have faced for ugly sexual remarks about women:

-In 2009, after Imus made his remarks about the Rutgers basketball team, CBS Radio suspended him for two weeks without pay, MSNBC stopped simulcasting the program on television, and CBS eventually fired him even though his program netted $15 million in annual revenue. Imus apologized at the time and publicly acknowledged his comments were “really stupid.”

-Last May, MSNBC suspended host Ed Schultz for a week after he used language similar to Limbaugh’s during his radio show. Talking about Laura Ingrahm, a staple of right-wing radio, he described her as “this right-wing slut, what’s her name? Laura Ingraham? Yeah, she’s a talk slut.” He apologized to Ingraham on television, calling his language “vile and inappropriate,” and saying “It was wrong, uncalled for, and I recognize the severity of what I said. I apologize to you, Laura, and ask for your forgiveness.”

-In February, Clear Channel suspended California radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou for two days after a segment about Whitney Houston’s death in which Kobylt imagined what it must have been like to be Houston’s friends, saying: “It’s like, ‘ah Jesus, here comes the crack ho again. What’s she gonna do? Oh, look at that, she’s doing handstands next to the pool. Very good, crack ho. nice.’ After a while, everybody’s exhausted. And then you find out she’s dead.” The hosts agreed to attend sensitivity training and bring on guests to discuss why their remarks were so ugly.

Fluke was asked today whether she thought Limbaugh should be fired. She said that was a choice for Clear Channel and Limbaugh’s advertisers. But we’ll ask for her: what makes Limbaugh immune—thus far—from punishment by his employer for an ugly, extended personal attack on a woman performing her civic responsibilities? Maybe it’s that, given the profits Limbaugh rakes in, Clear Channel’s established the price of a woman’s reputation.


By: Alyssa Rosenberg, Think Progress, March 5, 2012

March 6, 2012 Posted by | Women, Womens Rights | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“People In My Position Never Apologize”: Is Rush Limbaugh Too Big To Fail?

For three days, Rush Limbaugh pursed a relentless, sexist and hateful assault on law student Sandra Fluke. (You can read a catalogue of 53 separate attacks by Limbaugh on Fluke here.)

As more advertisers announced they would no longer sponsor Limbaugh’s show, he abruptly reversed course on Saturday and issued an apology on his website. Some have questioned the sincerity of the apology since the brief statement also furthered his attacks on Fluke, suggesting she and other women’s health advocates wanted to testify before Congress regarding their “personal sexual recreational activities.”

A review of Limbaugh’s rhetoric, which is littered with misogynistic language, shows that there is reason to be skeptical of his remorse. For example, here’s an exchange from November 2007, when a caller reacts to Limbaugh commenting that “I’m like a woman when you get to numbers. I don’t follow them too easily”:

RUSH: I had a Barbie doll once, Cheryl, and you’d pull the string on the back, “Math class is tough.” You know the stereotype. I was just making a stereotypical joke.

CALLER: Oh, my goodness, I can’t believe you said that. I really can’t. We laugh at you all the time, but that was not funny. That was degrading to some women. […]

CALLER: Okay. Do you apologize to the women? (Laughing.)

RUSH: Well, you know, Cheryl, I have to tell you, Cheryl is one of my all-time top-ten female names, and I hope that I can salvage your loyalty here as an audience member. I’m not going to apologize. People in my position never apologize. But we just acknowledge that you were upset and offended by it. I’ll apologize you were offended.


RUSH: But I’m not going to apologize for saying it. I meant to say it. Why would I apologize for something I meant to say? It was a joke.

CALLER: Okay. I guess. Okay.

Some advertisers are also not convinced that, this time, Limbaugh is sincerely apologetic. After he announced his apology, two additional advertisers announced they were dropping their sponsorship.


By: Judd Legum, Think Progress, March 5, 2012

March 6, 2012 Posted by | Women, Womens Rights | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“From The Mouth Of A Bully”: Rush Limbaugh’s 53 Smears Against Sandra Fluke

While Rush Limbaugh has offered his fake apology to Sandra Fluke for calling her a slut and a whore, it’s important to recall each of the 52 times last week when Rush insulted Fluke. So I’ve compiled a comprehensive list, each of them linked to Limbaugh’s own transcript of what he said. Does one half-hearted apology make up for 52 smears?

I’d love to see someone compile the audio (or better yet, a video) of Rush making all 52 insults against Sandra Fluke. If anyone would like to do that, please email me at, and I’ll give you my password to Rush’s website.

Here are the 52 smears by Rush Limbaugh.

Feb. 29, 2012:

1) “testifies she’s having so much sex she can’t afford her own birth control pills and she agrees that Obama should provide them, or the Pope”

2) “they’re having so much sex they can’t afford the birth control pills!”

3) “essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.”

4) “Sandra Fluke. So much sex going on, they can’t afford birth control pills.”

March 1, 2012:

5) “You’d call ’em a slut, a prostitute”

6) “she’s having so much sex”

7) “are having so much sex that they’re going broke”

8) “they want to have sex any time, as many times and as often as they want, with as many partners as they want”

9) “the sexual habits of female law students at Georgetown”

10) “are having so much sex that they’re going broke”

11) “having so much sex that it’s hard to make ends meet”

12) “four out of every ten co-eds are having so much sex that it’s hard to make ends meet”

13) “Now, what does that make her? She wants us to buy her sex.”

14) “to pay for these co-eds to have sex”

15) “she and her co-ed classmates are having sex nearly three times a day for three years straight, apparently these deadbeat boyfriends or random hookups that these babes are encountering here, having sex with nearly three times a day”

16) “Therefore we are paying her to have sex. Therefore we are paying her for having sex.”

17) “Have you ever heard of not having sex so often?”

18) “Ms. Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal: If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. And I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

19) “we want something in return, Ms. Fluke: And that would be the videos of all this sex posted online so we can see what we are getting for our money.”

20) “’If we’re paying for this, it makes these women sluts, prostitutes.’ And what else could it be?”

21) “essentially says that she must be paid to have sex. What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right?”

22) “I’m having sex so damn much, I’m going broke.”

23) “She’s having so much sex that she’s going broke! There’s no question about her virtue.”

24) “having so much sex she’s going broke at Georgetown Law.”

25) “Here’s a woman exercising no self-control. The fact that she wants to have repeated, never-ending, as often as she wants it sex — given.”

26) “She’s having so much sex it’s amazing she can still walk, but she made it up there.”

27) “Maybe they’re sex addicts.”

28) “to pay for her to have sex all the time.”

29) “she wants the rest of us to pay for her sex.”

30) “She wants all the sex that she wants all the time paid for by the rest of us.”

31) “Here this babe goes before Congress and wants thousands of dollars to pay for her sex.”

32) “a woman who is happily presenting herself as an immoral, baseless, no-purpose-to-her-life woman.”

33) “She wants all the sex in the world, whenever she wants it, all the time.”

34) “If this woman wants to have sex ten times a day for three years, fine and dandy.”

35) “to provide women from Georgetown Law unlimited, no-consequences sex.”

36) “so she can have unlimited, no-consequences sex.”

37) “You want to have all the sex you want all day long, no consequences, no responsibility for your behavior”

38) “The woman wants unlimited, no-responsibility, no-consequences sex, and she wants it with contraceptives paid for by us.”

March 2, 2012:

39) “she’s having so much sex, she can’t afford her birth control pills anymore.”

40) “she’s having so much sex, she can’t pay for it — and we should.”

41) “She’s having so much sex, she can’t afford it.”

42) “this, frankly hilarious claim that she’s having so much sex (and her buddies with her) that she can’t afford it.”

43) “And not one person says, ‘Well, did you ever think about maybe backing off the amount of sex that you have?’

44) “Does she have more boyfriends? Ha! They’re lined up around the block.”

45) “It was Sandra Fluke who said that she was having so much sex, she can’t afford it.”

46) “By her own admission, in her own words, Sandra Fluke is having so much sex that she can’t afford it.”

47) “they’re having a lot of sex for which they need a lot of contraception.”

48) “Her sex life is active and she’s having sex so frequently that she can’t afford all the birth control pills that she needs.”

49) “who admits to having so much sex that she can’t afford it anymore.”

50) “she’s having so much sex, she can’t pay for it.”

51) “As frequently as she has sex and to not be pregnant, she’s obviously succeeding in contraception.”

52) “Ms. Fluke, asserts her right to free contraceptive, to handle her sex life — and it’s, by her own admission, quite active.”

UPDATE: added thanks to your comments;

53) “Ms. Fluke, who bought your condoms in junior high? Who bought your condoms in the sixth grade, or your contraception?


By: John K. Wilson, Daily Kos, March 4, 2012

March 6, 2012 Posted by | Women | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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