In her most famous role, Joanne Woodward starred in the 1957 movie classic, “The Three Faces of Eve” based on a true story of a woman with a multiple personality disorder. The role as Eve won Ms. Woodward the Academy Award for Best Actress. I gravitated toward this movie as I was thinking about the five different positions that Governor Romney, or Mitt since the movie uses Eve’s first name, has had on Obamacare, four of which he has held since early September. Let me set aside the first position before he began his recent campaign for President and come back to it later.
I use this as an example, as our friend Mitt has not been very consistent in his positions, Obamacare being one of them. This has made him very chameleon-like and the vision of the etch-a-sketch as his defining tool is an appropriate image. With respect to Obamacare, let’s go back in time to post-campaign launch through early September. Many campaign commercials have been aired which said very clearly – Day One: Repeal Obamacare. Position #2
Scroll forward to early September. Recognizing that Obamacare was gaining some traction and he was behind, Mitt decided to alter this stance. During an interview, he said there are parts of Obamacare that people like and he likes, so he would not repeal all of Obamacare. Position #3. He noted in particular leaving the elimination of the pre-existing condition exclusion which would prevent insurance companies from denying coverage. He also noted continuing the young adults on their parent plans, even if they were not in college.
He apparently was told by his staff that keeping those provisions would require him to keep the mandate for coverage, otherwise the process would break down. The good risks would avoid insurance and the worse risks would sign up which would put the insurance companies in a bad situation. So, Mitt reversed his Position #3 and went back to the repeal of Obamacare. Position #4.
This position lasted until the night of the first debate, so about four weeks. During the debate, he said he liked the model of Obamacare that he did in Massachusetts. It worked well. Yet, he would leave it to the states to decide to implement Obamacare or a variation on a state by state basis. Position #5. This is one reason the President may have been tentative, as he was trying to figure out which face of Eve was standing across from him.
Yet, let’s set all those multiple personalities aside and come back to the most important Position #1. As I have noted in earlier posts, as governor of Massachusetts, Mitt went to great pains to get an earlier version of Obamacare passed in his state. It is working very well according to many sources, including the current governor and Mitt. He traveled the state emphasizing the need for the mandate of being covered. He said this was an important part of the model and people needed to show personal responsibility. To his credit, he got it through.
The irony here is Obamacare and its earlier version in Mass. are largely a GOP idea. The President used it as a compromise to get people covered, which is the main goal with 46 million uninsured. Mitt’s version actually resonated with Senator Jim DeMint so much, DeMint advocated in a letter to then President Bush that we do this for the whole country. DeMint particularly liked the mandate as did some other GOP senators. These endorsements continued until 2009. Yet, the President, to his credit and after the failure of many before him, got the Affordable Care Act passed. It is not perfect, but it is paying dividends (please refer to www.drsforamerica.org for a summary). Cost increases have been tempered, people have received checks from insurance companies who made too much profit, 3 million more young adults are covered, preventive care treatment has gone up and the doughnut hole for senior drugs has gone away. Also the pre-existing condition exclusion and lifetime benefit limits are gone.
Yet, Mitt has decided to run against the Affordable Care Act, joining with the GOP to call it “job-killing Obamacare.” I would add that many who would benefit from Obamacare are in that 47% that Mitt does not care about. To state the obvious, Mitt is running against his greatest achievement as governor. Why? Because the opposing party passed his idea. They made it their own adding many of the above features, yet at its heart, it is the GOP idea which dates back to the late 1980’s.
These total five positions, in all. Yet, there are other policies on which he has altered his stance. I go back to that first debate where many say he won hands down. To me, words matter. Yes, he was the more assertive of the two, yet I found him to be very Machiavellian in what he said. In my mind, his words did not measure up to his assertiveness. Given the above example as one of several, my wife summed it up best. “I just don’t believe a word that man says.” Fact check on that.
I come back to the following. His and the GOP platform are built on a weak foundation. Earlier I said they are based on a foundation of big, hairy audacious lies. Reviewing the GOP stances, whether we are talking about global warming, tax policy, healthcare, gun laws, gay rights, helping our middle class (forget the impoverished as they don’t matter at all), I do not see a lot of well thought ideas. He can be as assertive as he wants, but it does not alter that fact. Our President is far from perfect, but based on real, non-partisan data, he has done a better job as steward of our economy than he is given credit for. This former Republican, Independent voter will be voting for the President. Mitt will not be getting my vote except for an Oscar in the updated version of “Five Faces of Mitt.” He has been masterful in his many personalities. Even Joanne would be envious of his acting ability.