Nice gotcha by Dave Weigel and TPM (and Greg Sargent), pointing out that Tea Party favorite Jim DeMint’s position on the Mitt Romney/Barack Obama health care plan has, er, shifted a teeny tiny wee bit.
RomneyCare fanboy DeMint in early 2007:
RomneyCare is such a well known achievement that Romney wins DeMint’s endorsement because of the law’s success.
“[Romney] has demonstrated, when he stepped into government in a very difficult state, that he could work in a difficult partisan environment, take some good conservative ideas, like private health insurance, and apply them to the need to have everyone insured,” DeMint said….
Then in February of that year DeMint explained on Fox News that Romney should do for America what he had done for Massachusetts with health care: “Well, that’s something that I think we should do for the whole country.”
RomneyCare mortal enemy DeMint in March 2011 (maybe):
A source close to the conservative icon emphasized that, despite comments to The Hill indicating that Romney shouldn’t shoulder all the political blame for the Massachusetts healthcare plan, DeMint wouldn’t endorse Romney again unless he admits the plan was mistaken.
“It’s obvious Jim was just trying to be nice to the guy he backed over McCain, as many conservatives did in 2008,” the source said. “But he would never consider backing Romney again unless he admits that his Massachusetts healthcare plan was a colossal mistake.”
DeMint’s excuse is some hand-waving BS about the individual mandate (um, how else do you “have everyone insured”?) and Taxachussetts’ liberal legislature messing up his buddy Mitt’s golden free enterprise vision, but his real reason for turning against RomneyCare is simple: A Democratic president and Congress passed it. It certainly couldn’t be because it doesn’t work or because people hate it; those have never been problems for Republicans before.
If President John McCain or President Mitt Romney pushed a health care plan that forced the uninsured to buy crappy private insurance, DeMint would call it a brilliant free market solution and ridicule Democratic complaints that the individual mandate is unconstitutional coercion. Needless to say, it would pass.