Jim DeMint’s Revisionist History of Obamacare

“Because of Romney and Romneycare, we did not litigate the Obamacare issue.”

South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint speaks at the Voters Values Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington on September 17, 2010.
National Journal
Lucia Graves
Add to Briefcase
Lucia Graves
Sept. 30, 2013, 10:49 a.m.

As Jim De­Mint sees it, Re­pub­lic­ans were ham­strung from truly cam­paign­ing against the Af­ford­able Care Act in last year’s elec­tion be­cause of … Rom­ney­care.

“Be­cause of Rom­ney and Rom­ney­care, we did not lit­ig­ate the Obama­care is­sue,” he told Bloomberg Busi­nes­s­week in a story pub­lished Thursday.

At first glance, De­Mint is mak­ing a val­id point and he’s cer­tainly not alone in mak­ing it. As Slate’s Dave Wei­gel points out, Rick San­tor­um of­ten told his audi­ences that Rom­ney was “the single worst Re­pub­lic­an to run on the is­sue of Obama­care.”

But there are also a few prob­lems with that state­ment. As gov­ernor of Mas­sachu­setts, Rom­ney spear­headed re­forms that served as a mod­el for the Af­ford­able Care Act, but that cer­tainly didn’t stop him from cam­paign­ing ag­gress­ively against Obama’s sig­na­ture le­gis­la­tion.

In last year’s cam­paign Rom­ney re­peatedly vowed to re­peal Obama­care on day one of his pres­id­ency. For any doubters, here’s the video:

Per­haps De­Mint, the former GOP sen­at­or who left Cap­it­ol Hill this year to head up the Her­it­age Found­a­tion, meant oth­er Re­pub­lic­ans were afraid to drive home the mes­sage, or as he put it “lit­ig­ate”? Well, here’s what Rep. Paul Ry­an, then the Re­pub­lic­an veep nom­in­ee, had to say:

“The Amer­ic­an people will be the judge and jury on this law come Novem­ber.” Usu­ally a ver­dict comes after lit­ig­a­tion, and Ry­an made clear he wasn’t set­tling for the Su­preme Court’s ver­dict.

That elec­tion has long since come and gone, and Rom­ney lost — but not be­cause Re­pub­lic­ans failed to cam­paign against the Af­ford­able Care Act. The Amer­ic­an people have made their ver­dict on Re­pub­lic­an re­peal ef­forts quite clear: Amer­ic­ans say con­gres­sion­al Re­pub­lic­ans should ac­cept that the Af­ford­able Care Act is the law of the land by a mar­gin of 50 per­cent to 43 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to a Sept. 20-23 Bloomberg poll.

They “screwed it up bey­ond be­lief, and now they want to go back to noth­ing,” John Beck, a 57-year-old liber­tari­an Re­pub­lic­an from Aus­tin, Texas, told Bloomberg.

Yet De­Mint, who’s been in the van­guard of the move­ment to de­fund the 2010 health care law, ap­pears to be rolling straight ahead with his talk­ing points. As re­cently as Au­gust he was telling sup­port­ers as part of Her­it­age Ac­tion’s nine-city “De­fund Obama­care” tour that Pres­id­ent Obama may ac­tu­ally sign a bill that guts his sig­na­ture le­gis­lat­ive achieve­ment.

Real­ity check: as re­cently as last week Obama re­it­er­ated that he won’t back down from ef­forts to block or delay the im­ple­ment­a­tion of his health care law. He called Re­pub­lic­an threats to tie the is­sue to rais­ing the na­tion’s debt ceil­ing “black­mail.”

“The Af­ford­able Care Act is here to stay,” the pres­id­ent said at a com­munity col­lege in Largo, Md., a sub­urb of Wash­ing­ton. “I will not ne­go­ti­ate on any­thing when it comes to the full faith and cred­it of the United States.”

Then there’s the fact that De­Mint ac­tu­ally sup­por­ted Rom­ney in part be­cause of Rom­ney’s health care ac­com­plish­ments as gov­ernor of Mas­sachu­setts. Here’s part of an in­ter­view with Byron York in the Na­tion­al Re­view (my em­phas­is ad­ded):

“He has demon­strated, when he stepped in­to gov­ern­ment in a very dif­fi­cult state, that he could work in a dif­fi­cult par­tis­an en­vir­on­ment, take some good con­ser­vat­ive ideas, like private health in­sur­ance, and ap­ply them to the need to have every­one in­sured,” De­Mint says. “Those kind of ideas show an abil­ity to bring people to­geth­er that we haven’t seen in na­tion­al polit­ics for a while. We don’t need the na­tion to be more po­lar­ized.

That’s where he was in 2007. It’s been an in­ter­est­ing “evol­u­tion.”

What We're Following See More »
JUST IN CASE…
White House Adds Five New SCOTUS Candidates
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

President Trump added five new names to his Supreme Court short list on Friday, should a need arise to appoint a new justice. The list now numbers 25 individuals. They are: 7th Circuit Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Georgia Supreme Court Justice Britt C. Grant, District of Columbia Circuit Appeals Court Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, 11th Circuit Appeals Judge Kevin C. Newsom, and Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick Wyrick.

SAVE THOSE PERTAINING TO EXEC BRANCH
Sessions: DOJ Will No Longer Issue Guidance Documents
10 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday the Justice Department will revamp its policy for issuing guidance documents. Speaking at the Federalist Society’s annual conference in Washington Friday, Sessions said the Justice Department will no longer issue guidance that 'purports to impose new obligations on any party outside the executive branch.' He said DOJ will review and repeal any documents that could violate this policy." Sessions said: “Too often, rather than going through the long, slow, regulatory process provided in statute, agencies make new rules through guidance documents—by simply sending a letter. This cuts off the public from the regulatory process by skipping the required public hearings and comment periods—and it is simply not what these documents are for. Guidance documents should be used to explain existing law—not to change it.”

Source:
STARTS LEGAL FUND FOR WH STAFF
Trump to Begin Covering His Own Legal Bills
12 hours ago
THE DETAILS
DISCUSSED THE MATTER FOR A NEW BOOK
Steele Says Follow the Money
13 hours ago
STAFF PICKS

"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."

Source:
BRITISH PUBLICIST CONNECTED TO TRUMP TOWER MEETING
Goldstone Ready to Meet with Mueller’s Team
14 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login