I’m listening to the Presidential debate, and I keep waiting for, you know, some facts to turn up. I expected Romney to dodge the details: “I’ll cut healthcare costs, guarantee people get coverage, and do it without the federal government, because the states can handle it better.” And so on. But I was surprised at the degree to which Obama didn’t rebut him with facts.
To take a specific example: Romney kept harping on the fact that Obamacare will create an unelected panel that “get’s to decide what health care you get”. Of course, that “unelected” panel is appointed by elected officials–which Obama should’ve pointed out. But what I kept waiting for Obama to point out is that without Obamacare, an unelected and not government-accountable panel gets to decide what health care you get. I work in healthcare, and a good chunk of my time is spent wrestling with these unaccountable unelected panels that get to decide whether our patients get the healthcare they need. So while this might be a problem with Obamacare, private insurance is not a solution to that problem, despite what Romney implied (though didn’t actually say).
Anyway, in addition to the absence of facts, my other observation is that all of Romney’s plans, except on defense, basically boil down to: “This is a really great thing that I’m all for, but I want to make sure to preserve the rights of the states to not give you this great thing.”
Healthcare: “Yes, Obamacare is the same as Romneycare, but Romneycare is good because a state did it, and Obamacare is bad because the feds did it. The right way to do it is to let each state find a solution right for its population.”
Education: “Schools need to improve, but the federal government can’t do it. The right way to do it is let each state set its own standards.”
[Those quotes are all paraphrases.]
Repeatedly, he talked about how great something was–so if it’s so great, what’s the harm in giving it to everybody? He’s either undermining his own claim to support something, or he’s implicitly saying “everybody should have this, but if your state sucks–well, I guess you could move.”
Is that persuasive? I’d think that either people like these things, and want to have them (so not supporting them shouldn’t get their vote), or think they’re bad things (so Romney continuing to praise them shouldn’t get their vote).