The First Rule About Romneycare…

August 8th, 2012

Inspired by Romney press secretary Andrea Saul’s “flub” about Romneycare. 


“To that point, if people had been in Massachusetts, under Gov. Romney’s health care plan, they would have had health care.” — Romney press secretary Andrea Saul yesterday on Fox, countering the Obama super PAC commercial that implied Romney was indirectly responsible for the death Ranae Soptic, who died of cancer after the Soptics lost their health insurance when her steelworker husband Joe was fired from GST Steel after it was taken over by Bain


Andrea Saul did the one thing no campaign official should ever do:

She said something about Romney that’s actually true.


Seeking to rebuild Mitt’s misplaced trust,

She brought up a subject that may not be discussed.


No, not Mitt’s taxes, offshore accounts, or Bain:

She brought up something far more taboo to the campaign.


She dared say the words that maynever be spoken,

Lest the uneasy alliance with Rightists be broken.


What is this bugbear that dare not be named

(Unless in the process of being defamed

Or obstructed, repealed, defunded, and maimed),

The accomplishment which must be constantly disclaimed

For which all bad things in America are blamed,

Of which Mitt is permitted to be only ashamed

And which Andrea Saul heretically acclaimed?


This blueprint to government takeover beyond compare,

This parent to the extreme right-wing’s political bugbear,

This target of everyTexasoil billionaire

And the GOP’s absolutely-empowered doctrinaire,

This perennial source of right-wing despair

Which Mitt’s campaign was forced to forswear

And which shall-not-be-named is… Romneycare.


You forget Romneycare’s first rule, Ms. Saul:

Never talk about Romneycare ever, at all.


PS: My analysis? This was not an accidental flub by Andrea Saul, but a coordinated and carefully-crafted trial balloon. How do I know?

1) It came on the same two-day period during which Romney himself said (twice today) “we’ve got to do some reforms in health care, and I have some experience doing that, you know.”

2) It was an add-on statement (indeed, a little forced), rather than an organic one that could have cropped up naturally in conversation (Eric Fehrnstrom’s infamous Etch-A-Sketch comment is much more of an example of the latter).

So if this is a deliberate trial balloon rather than a gaffe, as I believe it is, what’s its purpose? Some commentators believe it’s part of an effort to appeal to Independents, but I think it’s deeper and more targeted than that. I believe it’s an attempt to defang two of the Obama campaign’s main healthcare-related attack lines: (1) that Romney was for Obamacare/Romneycare before he was against it, and (2) preemptively provide an answer to the “repeal it with what” question. In other words, it’s Romney’s recognition that Obamacare is becoming increasingly popular, and that outright repeal is becoming less and less politically tenable. If that is the Romney camp’s analysis, then it is the correct one. Dems should take advantage of this realization by continuing to press and expand their potential advantage on healthcare reform, rather than run from it as some have in the past.

Here’s the Last Word’s8/08/12 report, with Alex Wagner subbing forLawrence. The first rule about Romneycare: don’t talk about Romneycare.

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2 Responses to “The First Rule About Romneycare…”

  1. Newsericks » Blog Archive » Andrea Saul’s Roadside Conversion Says:

    […] follow-up to The First Rule About Romneycare, inspired by Conservatives blast Romney on health care (Rosalind Helderman and Aaron […]

  2. Newsericks » Blog Archive » I Predicted It! Says:

    […] follow-up to The First Rule About Romneycare, Andrea Saul’s Roadside Conversion, Romney Picks Ryan, and President Paul […]

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