Mitt Romney may have the worst taste in surrogates of any major presidential candidate in my lifetime. We've had John Sununu, who gave us David Souter and the rationale for the 1990 budget deal. We've had Tom DeLay, who gave us a Congress filled with Republicans who used their pro-life voting records for cover to shovel money to their campaign donors. We've had Bob Dole, the ultimate "next-in-line" moderate who was at his best making a concession speech. We've had John McCain who is only willing to attack conservatives, never liberals. And, now, we have Norm Coleman - last seen losing a Senate race to Al Franken - telling us what he really thinks of the prospects of repealing Obamacare when/if Mitt wins office:
Norm Coleman – the former senator from Minnesota and a prominent advisor for Mitt Romney – suggested over the weekend in an interview that no matter who the Republican nominee is, they are unlikely to fully repeal Obamacare.
"We’re not going to do repeal. You’re not going to repeal Obamacare… It’s not a total repeal... You will not repeal the act in its entirety, but you will see major changes, particularly if there is a Republican president... You can't whole-cloth throw it out. But you can substantially change what's been done
He goes on to say: "The Supreme Court first of all will have to deal with it. If you get rid of the individual mandate, then this whole thing may collapse." Asked by the moderator whether this means other provisions will go away as well, Coleman says: "I don’t think they will go away, because I don’t think the Act works financially, it simply doesn’t work, if you have severability." Coleman maintains that Republicans still "need to do health care reform" and suggests that he supports the approach put forward by Paul Ryan and Ron Wyden.
Frankly, I could have guessed that a loser like Coleman (I mean an electoral loser. I realize he is an otherwise accomplished man) would quail at the thought of repealing Obamacare. It might be a "right" that is just two years old, but the left will fight like the dickens to keep it in place. Republicans like Coleman and, yes, Romney simply don't have it in them to carry on that sort of fight. For one thing, they are incapable of taking incoming fire from the media, which will be scorching. For another, they are nowhere near nimble enough to deal with the legislative roadblocks that will come up. Say what you will about Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid; they got Obamacare passed by hook or by crook. When was the last time Republicans did that? (hint: the guy we are being told is not a "real" conservative was Speaker of the House back then).
Mitt Romney has already told us he'd look at imposing a VAT on the United States. He has hinted that he looks favorably at the idea of refinancing the nation's mortgages. He supported TARP. He supports, as near as I can tell, the auto bailouts. He has refused to repudiate Romneycare. And, all the while, he has touted his "business experience." Granted, Romney is a very effective advocate for the rights and values of the private sector. But, he has consistently governed and advocated for big government policies throughout his career.
Mitt says he will "repeal" Obamacare. He may say that, but I suspect we are going to need a lot of Tea Party congressmen to help him along.