“My View” from the June 6, 2012 edition of “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer.”
“Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian.” And there’s more: “An uninsured libertarian might counter that he could refuse the free care, but under the law, that is impossible — and inhumane.”
Thus spoke Romney 1.0, pre-Etch-a-Sketch. Pre-desperate to appease the far-right fringe of an already far-right party. And of course, Romney 1.0 was correct: for universal coverage to work, the individual mandate is essential.
That is exactly why President Obama, then Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Congress, Newt Gingrich, the Heritage Foundation — all agreed with then Gov. Mitt Romney’s logic and suppported the individual mandate.
Romney now tries to pretend that this irrefutable logic might apply to a state, but not to the federal government. That is pure rubbish.
But there is something more fundamental, something that goes beyond merely flip-flopping on one issue. There is a central lack of a core integrity to Mitt Romney. He has flopped on every issue of significance — moving at each moment wherever the political wind might take him. This lack of constancy on every social, economic, foreign policy issue should be an immediate disqualifier for somebody who wants to be president.
Above all, that job requires the fortitude to stand up and make —and then explain — unpopular decisions. The willingness to educate the public when a tough decision is required.
But think about this: Mitt was Keynesian before he wasn’t. He was pro-choice before he was anti-choice. He was pro-same-sex marriage before he was not. He was for the individual mandate before he was against it.
When somebody has no core, he can’t be trusted. And when somebody can’t be trusted, he should not be president.
That’s “My View.”