Romneycare would have solved that!
August 9th, 2012

People are pretty worked up over the moment yesterday when Andrea Saul responded to the latest Obama ad charging that Bain Capital killed a worker’s wife by saying that Romneycare would have saved the unfortunate woman. I understand why conservatives would be upset about this response, I suppose. But I have two genuine, not smart-alecky, questions:

(1) When is the last time you heard what someone on the Romney campaign was saying and thought, “Geez, that’s pretty sharp. Smart insight. He/She is a pro.”

I’ve followed the Romney operation pretty closely and only two people I’ve come across inside the campaign really impressed me. One of them was shunted out the door in reasonably short order. The other one wasn’t brought on until fairly recently.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t smart, impressive people toiling away for Romney. And it’s not to say that staffwork will win or lose the campaign. (My own belief is that once you cross a certain very low threshold for money and organization, the onus for winning a presidential campaign is really on the candidate. Either they have the vision, the magic, and the environment, or they don’t.)

All that said, it is pretty striking how a guy whose primary credential is his businessman’s ability to master an organization has surrounded himself with so many folks who seem to be more valued for something other than ability.

(2) If Romney wins, what do you think the odds really are that he’ll repeal Obamacare? Not waiver it, or starve it, or alter it–but actually go through the bloody fight of full and final repeal?

I don’t know the answer and I’m open to all sorts of arguments on this. But it strikes me that repealing Obamacare will take, under the best of circumstances, a singular focus and drive on the part of the executive. It will require both enormous rhetorical skill to build public support and political skill to cajole Congress. And, more than anything, the administration will have to be willing to endure a blood-letting from Democrats and the media.

Given all of that, and what we’ve seen from Romney and his campaign, do we really believe that, if elected, he’ll repeal Obamacare? Like I said, I don’t know. I’d like to believe it, as, I’m sure, most conservatives would. Because repealing that law is the single most important task for the next president. If he repeals it, he is a success, whatever else follows.

But if not? The great unmentionable in conservative circles right now is this simple question: Would it be better to have another term of Obama and a last-gasp, hail Mary shot at repeal in 2016 than to win the White House in 2012 only to have a Republican president who doesn’t repeal it?

Like I said, I’m not sure. Probably not, is my guess.

  1. Nedward August 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Congressional elections should be moved to odd-numbered years. There are mixed motives in play from sharing the calendar with the celebrity-addled presidential race. Neither McCain nor Romney would get nominated in a situation where the nat’l organization & consultant complex didn’t blur their private agenda with the public’s choice.

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  3. Nedward August 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Anyway the clunky “homage” to the 1979 Saatchi & Saatchi ad shows Romney HQ to be well stocked with superficially clever metro-sophisticate insiders, not quite the same thing as intelligent strategists

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  5. Nedward August 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Sorry, that was 1978, for all you Mad Men fanboys on K Street

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  7. Mike August 9, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Let’s say in 2016 President Jindal is elected and repeals Obamacare. Great. Fantastic. What’s he going to do about four years of unrestrained agency overreach on everything from workfare to climate change? How’s he going to respond to the Kagan-Sotomayor-Sullivan-Yoshino-Hamilton (or Liu-Sunstein-Wood; it’s the same equation) majority on the Supreme Court? It’ll be 20 years before that bloc can be broken up and as soon as President Jindal (or Ryan or Christie or Rubio) starts to rollback Obama’s administrative overreach the Obama Court (and its allies on a 6-5 Democrat-majority DC Circuit) will decide to do away with Chevron deference just in time to entrench those pernicious policy gains. Will President Jindal/Ryan/Rubio be able to overturn Obamacare *and* pass a new PWORA while also repealing EPA-mandated cap and trade legislatively? To say nothing of passing further new organic statutes to do away with whatever other mischief the Obama agencies come up with once he’s “flexible” starting in 2013?

    The 2016 strategy stands or falls on one variable and one variable only: Justice Kennedy sticking it out to be replaced by a Republican. It’s a sensible thing not to trust Romney, but to say that trusting Romney is so risky that instead we should trust in the partisan resolve of *Tony Kennedy*? Really?

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  9. mrmandias August 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Certainly not.

    But one’s enthusiasm for Romney is mixed.

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  11. angienc August 10, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    The chances of Romney working to repeal Obamacare is much, much higher than the chance of Obama working to repeal it. That’s all anyone needs to know — unless, of course, they are *trying* to depress turnout on election day for Romney.

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  13. Jayrae August 10, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    I don’t trust him and neither does the conservative base. Take your guilt trip somewhere else. We deeply love this country and are concerned about the enemy within.

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  15. Quotes of the day « Hot Air August 10, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    […] [I]t is pretty striking how a guy whose primary credential is his businessman’s ability to master an organization has surrounded himself with so many folks who seem to be more valued for something other than ability. […]

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  17. Judy August 11, 2012 at 1:21 am

    That is why we had such brutal primaries, we must get the most conservative people elected in all three branches, and at all levels state and local, and then we are going to have to watch and remind them. It has gotten way too out of hand for just one position.

    The probable reaction from the organized anarchists troubles me.

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