Make up your Mind, Mitt
The Washington Times, among other media outlets, reports that putative GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is having a tough time deciding about a word. The word is "tax" and it pertains to the Obamacare mandate that everyone buys health insurance... or be taxed.
Tax is a powerful word in the American lexicon, for historical and practical reasons. Remember the Boston Tea Party? Why, punitive taxes were one reason Americans fought for independence.
Taxes touch people's wallets and purses... and their freedoms. Cornering a candidate or politician as "pro-tax" tends to work against said candidate or politician.
For Romney to go wobbly by not labeling the ObamaCare mandate (the failure to purchase health insurance) as a tax denies Romney a powerful weapon in his fight for the White House. Pushing hard to link ObamaCare to higher or punitive taxes (particularly for exercising one's God-given right not to do something) helps consolidate and impassion anti-ObamaCare Americans.
The key for Romney is to continue to find ways of powerfully discrediting ObamaCare and wrapping Mr. Obama's abomination around the president like steel cables. Rightly branding the ObamaCare mandate as a tax is a sure-fire way of accomplishing the goal.
But Romney's strategists are leaning toward calling the ObamaCare mandate a penalty, just as the president insists it is. And there are logical reasons.
The Washington Times explains:
If he [Romney] calls it a tax, he will be rejecting his top strategist and flip-flopping on his own stance in Massachusetts. But if he insists it's a penalty, he would be agreeing with Mr. Obama and undercutting the attack strategy that most Republicans have taken since last week's ruling.
Grassroots conservatives said all along that Romney would have a tough time squaring his own RomneyCare provisions with attacks on President Obama's grander statist design. RomneyCare has "penalties" for not buying insurance, just like ObamaCare. Hence, Romney's quandary.
But consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds - in politics. Anyone care to catalogue the many contradictions uttered by Mr. Obama?
Romney needs to get unstuck from the penalty versus tax language fast. Chief Justice Roberts, in his tortured opinion on ObamaCare, called the penalty a tax. Romney should defer to the chief justice and the high court on this one.
Romney would have to concede some ground on his having implemented a tax penalty for not purchasing health care in Massachusetts. But he needs to fall back on his argument that what states do are one thing, what Washington attempts nationally is quite another thing, in terms of scale and workability.
More importantly, Romney needs to say that with the economy still floundering, with Europe teetering economically (and threatening a blowback in the U.S.), the last thing the nation needs are new taxes or even the threat of any new taxes.
Romney needs to argue that ObamaCare is a detriment to the economy's recovery. Just the intention to implement ObamaCare and its taxes will shape how businesses, large and small, decide investments and hiring (or employee retention).
Then conservative Super Pacs need to unlimber their big guns in support of Romney's arguments, as well as just blasting away on the ObamaCare-as-a-tax argument (no doubt they'll do the latter).
Mitt Romney has to fight hard to win, and that means going hammer and tongs at the president. The president and his Democrat and liberal allies well appreciate the stakes; they're in this to fundamentally change the nation's character and redefine liberty (meaning less of it and much more power for central government and its elites).
As the GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney carries the enormous burden of thwarting the left's aims and, if elected, undoing the damage they've done and then building bulwarks against future left-wing gambits.
The ObamaCare mandate is a tax, Mitt. Call it that - and mean it.