the national interest

Mitt: Policy Details Equal ‘Take It or Leave It’

Photo: CBS

Earlier this year, Mitt Romney explained to a reporter that he wouldn’t detail any of his major budget proposals because doing so would make people not want to vote for him. (“One of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I don’t care about education.”) On 60 Minutes last night, he took a more politic line:

It’s very much consistent with my experience as a governor which is, if you want to work together with people across the aisle, you lay out your principles and your policy, you work together with them, but you don’t hand them a complete document and say, “Here, take this or leave it.” Look, leadership is not a take it or leave it thing.

Okay, he doesn’t want to “hand them a complete document and say, ‘Here, take this or leave it.’” How about handing them a complete document and saying, “I am willing to negotiate”? Or how about handing them an incomplete document, but at least one that isn’t premised upon a mathematical impossibility?

A more revealing exchange occurred when 60 Minutes asked Mitt Romney whether the federal government has any responsibility to cover the uninsured. Spoiler — no:

Pelley: Does the government have a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million Americans who don’t have it today?

Romney: Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people– we– if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.

Right, if you lack health insurance, you can’t receive regular medical treatment, but if your illness develops to the point where you are carted off to the emergency room, you will get treatment, though you will also get a bill that may ruin you financially. That is not what Romney used to say about making emergency room care the only medical plan, but it is now Romney’s final answer. He is running to do two specific things: cut income tax rates, which will overwhelmingly benefit the rich, and make sure the 50 million uninsured Americans do not get access to subsidized non-emergency medical care.

Mitt: Policy Details Equal ‘Take It or Leave It’