Seppuku: noun \se-pü kü, se-pə-kü\.
A highly ritualized political performance, as complicated as chado (tea ceremony). The principle difference is that at the end of chado, one is merely nauseated from too much green tea, whilst at the end of seppuku, one is politically dead.
Last Thursday Mitt Romney gave his speech on health care. It was quite a performance.
He was getting hammered before the speech, and it was suggested Romney's best bet was to quit the Republican Party and then convince Obama to dump Joe Biden and join that ticket. That was mild compared to what was to come after his speech.
In fact, Romney was hammered so hard, that I actually started feeling sorry for the guy, but I'm much better now.
First, the speech, if you can stand all of it:
Breath taking, huh? The guy is using the 10th Amendment as cover. Now Romney is right as far as it goes. The states are sovereign entities and ARE supposed to be laboratories. States SHOULD be free to try things out without interference of the federal government. Sarah Palin has been saying this for years, and Texas Governor Rick Perry wrote an entire book about it!
What's troubling about Romney is the fact his default position was to take Freedom and Liberty AWAY from Massachusetts residents. To propose a Big Government, rather than a market based solution.This is the way a liberal always does things.
We've written extensively about the failures of RomneyCare, from bankrupting the state, to longer waiting periods, it's been the canary in the coal mine for those concerned about Obama's identical legislation. Massachusetts is experiencing a terrible problem with freeloaders coming in from other states and ever foreign counties getting free healthcare courtesy of the already overburdened Bay State taxpayer. It's the very definition of failure.
Romney, for his part, has stated many times that if he had a chance at a do-over, he'd still do the exact same thing. That's pretty incredible when you come to think of it.
Reactions were swift and strong. Democrat pundit Kirstin Powers tweeted:
Has #Romney ever met a Republican primary voter? This speech is tone deaf.
Mollie Hemingway added:
I think Romney took the WSJ suggestion to run as Obama's mate a BIT too seriously.
This tweet from Philip Klein really says it all:
Romney making passionate case for why it's okay to violate personal freedom at state level
Questionable grammar aside, Jonah Goldberg captured the essence of the entire spectacle:
Gosh, I hope he doesn't end this by taking out a can of gasoline and then pours it over his head.
Jennifer Rubin wrote:
This morning the Wall Street Journal editorial board accused Mitt Romney of being a technocrat and not a conservative. In his speech in Ann Arbor, Mich., today, Romney proved the editorial board correct. You could tell it wasn’t going to be a good outing when it became clear that a tiny room of about 100 invited guests was the setting. Message: Only handpicked friends could be counted on not to boo or laugh.
Avik Roy over at NRO [National RINO Online] went after Romney HARD:
Mitt Romney just gave a more articulate defense of Obamacare than President Obama ever has. He continues to believe that the individual mandate is a good idea. His effort to make a distinction between Romneycare and Obamacare was not persuasive: If anything, he convincingly made the opposite case, that Romneycare and Obamacare are based on the same fundamental concept.
In recent months, Romney has claimed that Romneycare was a specific solution for the specific needs of Massachusetts. But in his remarks, he did not name one specific aspect of the Massachusetts health-care environment that is unique to that state. If there are no important differences between the Massachusetts health-care system and that of other states, why shouldn’t he believe that Romneycare should be the model for every other state?
Indeed, here is what Romney wrote in the Wall Street Journal on April 11, 2006, the day before he signed his signature health-care legislation:
"How much of our health-care plan applies to other states? A lot. Instead of thinking that the best way to cover the uninsured is by expanding Medicaid, they can instead reform insurance."
The final straw, for me, was when Romney said that "there’s not a lot that I want to borrow from France and Switzerland." I’m with him on France, but Switzerland (despite its own individual-mandate issues) has the most market-oriented health-care system in the developed world. I would love to borrow Switzerland’s exceptionally low levels of state-health spending, which they manage to achieve while providing universal coverage and high-quality care. Their tax rates aren’t shabby either.
The Wall Street Journal compared Romney's speech with Evil Knievel's failed attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon!
Mr. Romney also tried to draw a contrast between his new campaign plan and Mr. Obama's reform, saying, for instance, that it would create no new health-care bureaucracies. He neglected to mention that his state plan did precisely that. Mr. Romney's political appointees converted the architecture of the "connector" that was supposed to support individual and small-business insurance choice into a regulatory body dedicated to stamping it out.
The political tragedy is that Mr. Romney could have emerged as one of ObamaCare's most potent critics had he made different choices two years ago amid one of the country's most consequential debates in generations. He might have said that as Governor he made a good-faith effort to resolve some of health care's long-running dysfunctions, but that it hadn't worked out and that's why state experiments are valuable.
Mr. Romney also sold his plan using the same theories and language as Mr. Obama, and he might have rebutted the President from experience and evidence. Instead, he has lashed himself to the contradiction of attacking Mr. Obama's plan while claiming his own is different.
Many people have tried to talk Mr. Romney down from this daredevil campaign act, but Mr. Romney privately says he doesn't want to reinforce the rap he had in 2008 that he had reinvented himself too often. As a political matter, however, we think it's better to change positions than to try to defend the intellectually indefensible.
Mr. Romney is not taking our advice, as his nearby letter shows. He even said yesterday that he would do it all over again in Massachusetts, which means he is in for a year in which Republicans attack him on policy while Democrats defend him on policy but attack him as a hypocrite. Who knows what GOP voters will make of all this, but we won't be surprised if Mr. Romney's campaign suffers as many broken bones (433) as Knievel.
Michael F. Cannon from the CATO Institute was also brutal:
In his much-heralded health care address in Michigan today, former Massachusetts governor (and Republican presidential hopeful) Mitt Romney made news by offering… absolutely nothing new.
Rather than admit that RomneyCare was a mistake, Romney once again defended the individual mandate he imposed in Massachusetts, calling it "what I believe is right for Massachusetts." Why? Because Massachusetts had a free-rider problem. Never mind that all states have a free-rider problem. (So why is it not the solution for other states, too?) Never mind the indications that Massachusetts’s free-rider problem is getting worse, not better, under RomneyCare. His defense of his individual mandate was indistinguishable from those delivered by countless ObamaCare zombies.
It’s almost as if Mandate Mitt is keeping the hypocrisy alive because he’s afraid no one will pay attention to him once it’s gone.
The only novelty I saw was when he admitted that RomneyCare has become a political liability. Not enough of one, evidently.
Everyone is saying the same thing: As "smart" as Mitt Romney is, he seems to lack basic intelligence and common sense. One of the continuing themes over the past few years, as RomneyCare's full destructive power has become more understandable, is Romney and his fans blaming those "rascally democrats" for messing with Mitt's brilliant plan. This really calls into question whether or not Romney understands how government actually works.
If Romney didn't get that allowing the camel's nose under the tent, the liberal's foot in the door, by creating RomneyCare, would lead to nothing but disaster, then why is anyone considering him a serious candidate for anything but retirement from the political world?
Romney has now taken to saying that HE, and evidently only HE, is capable of running such a magnificent plan.
If only us rubes would understand.
The speech itself was arrogant and very combative. That's understandable. Here's a cat trying to defend the indefensible, while at the same time trying to keep an inviable candidacy alive.
Now it would be easy to continue to shake one's head in disbelief, wondering how Romney got this far in life, but that's honestly the wrong message here.
Jennifer Rubin got it right. Romney is a technocrat. A central planner in the very best tradition of any Big Government Statist, be they socialist or communist.
This is the entire democrat party philosophy in a nut shell. A centrally planned government, where a handful of people in Washington control every single aspect of one's lives. They tell you what to eat, what to drink, what to drive, what kind of light bulbs you can have, and even the kind of toilet you must use. I suspect at some point they'll tell you WHEN you can use it, as well.
The bottom line is Mitt Romney is the "little intellectual elite" that Ronald Reagan warned the nation about in his iconic 1964 speech. BTW, so are guys like Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and Mitch Daniels, all of whom have embraced something similar to RomneyCare at one point or another.
Daniels has a mini RomneyCare in place. Pawlenty lusted after one until it became political suicide. [Sort of like his cap and tax legislation that Minnesota is trying to repeal] Gingrich is still in the process of "nuancing" his love for the individual mandate.
Let me leave readers, especially those who even remotely think Mitt Romney, or the other candidates mentioned above, are worthy of consideration, with this from Ronald Reagan. I suggest you listen to the entire speech, every second of it.
Though he was talking about democrats [and it still applies to them today] he's describing modern day establishment Republicans perfectly: