Moderate Moment | Moderate Moms

Posts Tagged ‘Mitt Romney’

Why the Health Care Law is so Complicated / Gerald F. Seib

Why New Health Law Is So Complicated

The rollout of the Affordable Care Act is in trouble, functionally and politically, and the simplest critique of the new health law is that it’s simply proving too complicated. Indeed, its complexity—the need for multiple pieces to work in harmony from the outset—is the single best explanation of why its introduction has been so problematic.

What’s less recognized is why the new law is so complex in the first place: It represents what may be the biggest attempt ever to weave together big-government impulses with free-market forces.
That is what sets Obamacare apart from other big efforts at social engineering. The effort to improve health care would be much simpler—though no less controversial—if it instead took the form of the dream system that either liberals or conservatives would love to create.
For liberals, that ideal would be a single-payer system in which the government simply bypasses the health-insurance system and provides coverage for everyone. For conservatives, the dream system would place health care firmly in the hands of the private sector, with insurers and doctors handling decisions and the government providing aid directly to those without the resources to buy their own coverage.
In that sense, it is an even grander experiment than commonly recognized. Whether it ultimately works or is seen as a hopeless Rube Goldberg machine may well determine whether such an effort, on such a scale, will be attempted again.
To see the challenge, consider how the Affordable Care Act incorporates elements of both worlds. It is built on the back of the current, private employer-based insurance system.
Two of its fundamental components—health-insurance exchanges and the individual mandate—actually began as Republican ideas, conceived as ways to better put market forces and the conservative notion of personal responsibility to work in the health sphere.
Exchanges are simply health-insurance marketplaces that, while organized by law, are meant to foster competition within the private sector by bringing together multiple insurance companies and their policies to jockey for consumers’ business.
Early exchanges were created by two Republican governors, Jon Huntsman in Utah and Mitt Romney in Massachusetts.
And the idea of an individual mandate—that every individual be required to acquire health insurance to improve the efficiency and fairness of the broader system—was advanced in a 1989 publication by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. It argued that requiring every household to have coverage would ease the burden on businesses, and prevent any household from placing an undue obligation on society to provide it with health care.
If exchanges and the individual mandate represent two pillars of Obamacare, the others come out of the playbooks of Democrats and liberals.
The dream of insuring millions more Americans is possible only with significant expansion of a classic government benefits program, Medicaid. It provides government health coverage directly to the poor and many of the elderly—and is the very route by which the largest number of Americans are taking advantage of the new law. Other coverage expansion comes through direct government subsidies to the working poor.
In addition, the dream that health care be made not merely available but robust for all is to be achieved through a basic liberal impulse, which is to simply impose new standards that all health policies have to meet.
This regulatory impulse, of course, is what pulled President Barack Obama into a nasty trap over the past two weeks, and it presents a classic illustration of why it is so hard to reconcile market forces and regulatory impulses at the same time.
The idea, oft articulated by Mr. Obama, that “if you like your insurance you can keep it” under the Affordable Care Act neatly captures the free-market impulse behind the plan: No, the government isn’t supplanting your private insurance. And in theory it isn’t. But the law’s imposition of standards for acceptable policies—and the unavoidable reality that some people will lose policies that don’t meet them—sends government mandates running smack into free-market impulses.
Is it possible to weave together big-government ideas and free-market forces? In smaller ways, it has been done. States already intervene in both the health and auto-insurance markets, though in more limited ways.
The explosion of 401(k) retirement programs is, in a sense, also an example of government power and market forces working in tandem: Government sets the rules and provides the incentives, but private investment firms handle the money, the risks and the rewards.
Can merging the two impulses be done successfully on this scale? That’s the big question hanging over Obamacare, and the answer will determine its fate.
Write to Gerald F. Seib at

Is this the Conflict that leads to Change?

It’s an interesting day for any writer who wonders at the role bedroom politics, race politics, partisan standoffs and the politicizing of our planet are having on this generation. There are contradictions breaking out in each of these realms today that should give us all pause. And while on the face of it, each of the following news reports seems inherently at odds, the hope is that out of all this conflict and confusion, could come change. Let’s hope so. 

First, the Treyvon Martin case. Regardless of what you think about the arguments and evidence, the fact is George Zimmerman’s acquittal has left many African Americans feeling vulnerable. A jury ruled that Martin’s death was not racially motivated but whether you believe that or not, there is no doubt it still involved guns and vigilantism. And that Treyvon Martin would be alive if Zimmerman had not come out of his house because he thought the hooded African American teenager looked “suspicious.”  Zimmerman’s acquittal has also left Americans of all backgrounds questioning if the fact that we have an African American President has impacted race relations the way so many hoped it would? We talk a lot about the need for the Republicans to diversify and for the Democrats to move beyond race politics but this begs the question of how far we have to go.

Then there is the filibuster threat against the female Democrat nominated by Obama to head the EPA. Just a few days before the beginning of hearings on how to reform filibusters. A Senator who believes he is serving the needs of the people in his home state and isn’t blinking about the tactics he is willing to deploy to hold up Gina McCarthy’s nomination because he wants answers on a levee project for Missouri. If we demonize US Sen. Roy Blunt for his filibuster, how do we sanctify Texas State Senator Wendy Davis? Can you have it both ways? She was filibustering for women’s access to preventative health care. 

And by the way, that nominee to head the EPA, Gina McCarthy, once worked for Republican Governor Mitt Romney. is that another conflict? Or a sign that it’s time to de-politicize our concerns about the climate? 

Then there is Gloria Steinem telling the Wall Street Journal that, even though she isn’t personally supporting him, she doesn’t think Eliot Spitzer’s recent legal challenges involving that prostitution scandal should prevent him from seeking office. “He’s a very intelligent, talented man who made a mistake,” she said. “It’s up to the voters.” In some polls, nearly half of New York women said they thought both Adam Weiner and Eliot Spitzer’s transgressions shouldn’t affect their decision to get back in to politics.  The significance of who is saying this cannot be understated, Ladies. It’s Gloria Steinem. I wouldn’t quite call this the end of gender politics but I would say it is surprising. 



A battle for 7 states

By JONATHAN MARTIN | 10/23/12 4:37 AM EDT

BOCA RATON, Fla. — The two presidential campaigns are sounding sharply different notes about how they can get to 270 electoral votes, but beneath the post-debate bravado from both sides there is a rough consensus about the shape of the race in its final two weeks.

Top strategists for both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney flooded the media center following the third and final presidential debate here Monday night, and made clear they will be primarily fighting over seven states and will spend most of their time and money in them between now and Nov. 6.

Continue Reading

Spin room reactions

Campaigns describe final push

Obama, Romney best lines


(Also on POLITICO: 7 takeaways from final debate)

The main battlegrounds: Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire, Florida and Wisconsin. The late inclusion of Wisconsin on this list reflects a bet by Romney — buoyed by some polls showing an opportunity for him there — that he can turn a state that has not voted for a Republican presidential nominee since 1984.

Romney officials, eyeing steady gains in the polls, have not ruled out attempting to broaden the map in other states — claims met with disparagement by Obama aides, who say they remain confident their electoral college firewall is intact even amid a tightening national race and signs that three swing states in the South are looking more favorable for the GOP nominee.

Republicans are genuinely intrigued by the prospect of a strike in Pennsylvania and, POLITICO has learned, are considering going up on TV there outside the expensive Philadelphia market. But what Romney officials worry about, both in Pennsylvania and Michigan, is that if they put some cash down or use precious hours to send their candidate there Obama will respond by crushing their offensive with a big ad buy of his own.

(Also on POLITICO: 6 questions that will settle the election)

So while Boston is open to the idea of going into such traditional Democratic strongholds, it is still mostly playing within the same map the two candidates have been locked in for months. And, increasingly, it is narrowing its focus as prospects improve in North Carolina, Florida and Virginia.

“That states that we’re playing in are the states we need to win,” noted Romney strategist Russ Schriefer. “We’ll see what happens in the next two weeks. We’re going to concentrate on Ohio and Colorado and Iowa and New Hampshire.”

“We’ll be in Ohio a lot,” added Romney strategist Stuart Stevens.

The Romney campaign is already airing TV ads in Wisconsin. The former Massachusetts governor has not been to the state since he tapped Paul Ryan as his running mate in August but is headed back soon.

(Also on POLITICO: Mitt Romney: I come in peace)

“We’ll be back in Wisconsin,” said Eric Fehrnstrom. “Wisconsin is definitely in play.”

Obama officials, meanwhile, are convinced that they have a lead in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada — and aren’t yet willing to write off Colorado, Florida and Virginia.

But senior Democrats increasingly recognize that their path to 270 electoral votes is not in the latter three but in the Midwest.

“Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio are crucial — if we win those three states, the president is reelected,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a close Obama ally.

(Also on POLITICO: Media: Obama in fighting mood)

Obama adviser Robert Gibbs put it another way, saying Romney’s fate would depend on whether he can sweep the trio of Big 10 states.

“We intend to go out and win each of the three of those states,” said Gibbs.

And Pennsylvania and Michigan? They’re not worried and aren’t likely to send Obama there.

“Probably not, no,” said Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter when asked if the president would rally supporters in the two traditionally Democratic electoral troves. “We have significant resources there. We are invested in those states at a much higher level than Gov. Romney is.”

Women in Binders and Waitress Moms

I thought women’s issues would play a much bigger role in Tuesday night’s second Presidential debate since Mitt Romney practically erased President Barack Obama’s lead with women after the last debate. Thankfully, they didn’t. That might sound funny coming from a woman but women need to demand that politicians speak to us on other issues besides abortion and birth control. Because quite honestly, both sides have been using these issues to divide us. And women on both sides are being manipulated to play roles that are 40 years old. And we’re playing them.

Let’s look at the “women in binders” comment and how a liberal PAC bought the URL and flipped the switch that sent the phrase viral, lampooning Romney.  I was part of a CafeMom forum right after the debate and while Ariana did mention it, it didn’t ignite much interest or controversy, because we were too busy talking about more substantive things. Check it out: I believe Romney was referring to the many women whose resumes he considered and eventually employed, which is what Paul Ryan told the morning talks shows this morning :

My best childhood friend and I disagree on Romney because she is worried he is going to appoint a conservative judge who could overturn Roe v. Wade just to get re-elected to a second term. A conservative Democrat friend sent me literature from the Ultra Violet organization yesterday mocking Romney for his flip flops on women’s issues.  Good, smart women feel alienated and are worried but aren’t sure where they fit in to the discussion or how to influence it. Or whether the information they are getting is real or “spin.” It doesn’t help when reasonable women like Olympia Snow bow out of politics altogether. Or when the New York Times publishes an article like yesterday’s, on the eve of the debate, scaring women into thinking that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, 30 states will ban abortion.

I believe if you polled every person in this country, you would find most of us want legal protections to remain in place while agreeing to disagree on whether you personally would have an abortion. Unfortunately. a lot of women are so tired of the abortion dialectic, and the fact that it hasn’t moved forward in 40 years but is stuck in a tug-of-war between the extremes, that they don’t dial in until the scare tactics kick in weeks before a major election. We should be letting our legislators know, Republican or Democrat, we’ve moved past that. You can’t take it away and you can’t use it to divide us.

I read a great Gallup poll the other day that said pro-choice voters are much more likely to vote for a pro-life candidate than the other way around. I think it’s because pro-choice voters are more reasonable about where the line is between religion or personal beliefs and government. They are not always pro-abortion but they are respectful of an individual’s right to choose. Because at the end of the day, many of them realize abortion and birth control are personal issues that the government has no role in deciding. Ditto stem cell research and gay marriage.

The majority of new small businesses in this country are started by women.  Single women make up 20% of the electorate. The unemployment rate for single women is 3 percentage points higher than the general population. And reportedly, the most fought over segment of single women voters right now is the “Waitress Mom.” Blue collar single mothers who could turn out to be this election’s Reagan Democrats.

Call me naive but no politician in our lifetimes should think it’s a good idea to alienate women voters by seriously trying to overturn our right to control whether we bear children. The landscape has changed dramatically in the last 40 years. Women work, they earn more money, they lead major corporations and they are not one issue voters.  It is a shame that a decent person and excellent manager and business person like Mitt Romney, whose mother ran for the US Senate on a pro-choice candidate after a family friend experienced a horrific, illegal abortion, had to appease the small but loud group of social conservatives that have hijacked these conversations to get thru the nomination process.

That isn’t to say that some of the cavemen in Republican politics won’t keep coming up with ideas like the law that would have required women to undergo invasive sonograms before undergoing an abortion. But I would argue that this is crass politicking whose ultimate goal is to galvanize social conservatives and not to actually undo abortion rights overall. That’s why neither candidate is talking about the Supreme Court lately, which now has 4 justices over 70 and at least one who is seriously ill.  Paul Ryan did say it should be up to lawmakers and not unelected judges to decide, which was interesting.  I would say the Supreme Court should be apolitical, a collection of the brightest legal scholars who are detached from polling and politicians, and whose appointments are not subject to litmus tests.

Kudos to Romney for saying he believes all women should have access to birth control. And he showed he really has worked side by side with women over the last few decades when he said, the truth is many women prefer flexible hours to higher wages. For the record, I support equal pay and birth control and am pro-choice. But none of these issues should trump the deficit and budget as the biggest concern our country has right now. I don’t think either candidate is perfect (Who is, really?) but I do not like the distortions. And that’s why I feel the need to point out that Bain Capital was ranked one of the best companies for working mothers by Working Mother magazine because of its flex time and the high number of women in top management positions.

So, did Obama pull those waitress moms back in on Tuesday night? Well, with polls leading up to Tuesday night’s debate showing only 1 in 6 voters said they were still undecided, it will be interesting to see.




He brought it …

So, he did it. Just when the media had written off Mitt Romney’s presidential hopes, he came out swinging. And now the polls reflect a statistical tie and overwhelming sense that if Obama remains in office and the Democrats control Congress, the economy won’t get better, it will get worse.  Watching the debates, I felt like Americans finally got to see Mitt Romney in his element. He is comfortable with the numbers and he knows, numbers don’t lie. “The proof,” he said over and over, “is in the 1 in 6 Americans living in poverty, it’s in the 23 million people who are still unemployed, it’s in the 43 million on food stamps.” 

Now each side is claiming credit for the market’s rally in the days since the Debate. The Romney camp claims its optimism that a numbers guy is in sight of the White House while the Democrats claim it is the slight dip in unemployment, which is something like .2 percent.

ABC News points out that, while Obama repeatedly said that under Obama, seniors would pay $6000.00 more for their health insurance. That figure is based on an earlier plan put forth by Paul Ryan that has evolved. Romney has said repeatedly that he agrees with many of Ryan’s ideas but is not going to rubber stamp his entire road map.

Nikki Haley is right. It's down to the voters who voted for Obama

Nikki Haley is right. It’s down to the voters who voted for Obama

Nikki Haley really hit the nail on the head when she said this election is going to boil down to the voters who have Obama-regret. She urged Floridians, a must-win state, to each find five voters who voted for President Barack Obama and get them to vote for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. A Romney supporter since 2008, she has said, “You know if you look at the records, you look at Governor Romney, and this is a man that went into a Democratic state, increased jobs, balanced his budget, cut taxes. You look at President Obama we lost our credit rating. The unemployment is still high. He can’t even get a Democrat senator to balance the budget.

Oprah is the oracle of intuition. Listen to your gut, she says, it’s a gift we women are born with and it doesn’t lie. So, I would like to know when it comes to the Elections this Fall, what is going to feel right for women voters? It felt good to vote for Obama, didn’t it? But is it going to feel good to re-elect him? It’s a question women in the middle need to ask themselves.

Who you vote for used to be a topic that was clearly off the table at 1) school 2) the dinner table 3) social events. It was a private matter. Which may be why so many of the women, who traditionally vote Republican and whose husbands voted for McCain, would only tell me, in hushed tones and out of earshot of the other ladies, they voted for Obama. There is no doubt that it was a cool thing to help usher in our country’s first African American President. It’s one of the reasons I voted for him. And yes, it did feel good to tell my kids I made that kind of push for diversity. It was hard to argue with the groundswell erupting around him, the hope and excitement his young, fresh outlook promised to bring to Washington. But the biggest reason was Sarah Palin. Bright and promising as she sounded initially, we were insulted that John McCain felt she was the best Republican woman he could find to run with.

A woman I just got off the phone with said one party is stuck in the old days (I think she meant the Republicans) and the other can’t seem to figure out what needs to be done today (sounds like the Democrats to me!) So, ladies in the middle, what are you going to do? I’m worried you’re all going to just stay home because you don’t like the job Obama has done and you don’t want to admit you made a mistake. Obama-mamas are a little more subdued this time around, aren’t they? And that groundswell among the country’s youth is gone. Why? They’re all too busy looking for jobs.


Read more:

A Storybook Speech

Okay, I have to start out by saying the cutest thing about Ann Romney is the way she giggles. I don’t think it was nerves. I think it was her very genuine “aw shucks” demeanor. I loved when she said that contrary to media reports, she does not have a “storybook marriage.”  That what she has is a real marriage that has survived real life challenges like M.S. and breast cancer. I also liked when she said voters might not agree with Mitt Romney’s positions but they’d have to agree this is a guy who refuses to fail.  And probably the best line of the whole speech was when she said if the last four years had been more of a success, no one would be slamming Romney for how successful he’s been.  Why deride a guy for turning a state, a company and the Olympics around? When did being good at something, or in this case, being good at many things, become a bad thing? Bottom line on the Ann Romney speech is it was pure Storybook. She is confident, genuine, cute and convincing.

Sheer Miss-e-ree for women voters here in Missouri

I have resisted blogging about the Todd Akin fiasco hitting home here in Missouri because I didn’t want to help Sen. Claire McCaskill get re-elected. That and with the economy in the shape it’s in, we have had to agree to disagree on social issues. But Sen. John C. Danforth said it best when he said, “It’s not that we keep shooting ourselves in the foot, we keep shooting ourselves in the eyes.” Akin needs to step down and the party needs to replace him with Rep. Jo Ann Emerson. She is the salve for this wound. She is a true fiscal conservative who will take a hard line on spending. Most importantly, she will convey the soft message to women, the kind of message you see and feel as opposed to hear from the lips of a slick spokesperson, that women matter to the Republican Party.  And kudos to Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan for acknowledging how important this distraction could be to derailing their focus on the economy by calling Akin and politely but respectfully urging him to step aside. Missouri matters. In fact, I can think of no better state to take the lead on reconciliation than this one. We have an illustrious legacy of leadership on both sides of the aisle but it has been awhile since one of our leaders made headlines for character and not controversy.

Akin’s comments that women are less likely to get pregnant from a “legitimate rape” because their bodies would consider that a hostile encounter is unfathomable. First of all, a “legitimate rape?” Second, what a slap in the face to the many loving and nurturing women who have willed their bodies to allow them to bear children, only to find they were barren and in need of fertility treatments. As if women can use their minds to create or not create life. It also represents a new low as far as the kind of tunnel vision some men in the Republican Party exhibit when trying to corner the market on social conservatives. I recognize that it is shrewd strategy to claim ‘foot in mouth disease’ and run commercials asking for forgiveness but Mr. Akin, you will forgive us for replacing you as our candidate. Recognize that by not stepping down you are handing Claire McCaskill the election. Your party has asked you not to attend the convention, your money is drying up and yet, you are still defiant. Maybe the time has come to defy voters’ perceptions of the Republican Party being a boys’ club and be a true leader by stepping aside for the sake of the party, the State and these critical national elections.

The Daily Dose

School mandated pregnancy tests? /

Will a War Hero be Mitt Romney’s VP Pick?  /

A case of mistaken identity in the Wisconsin Sikh shootings

Republicans need to court Swingles

Republicans need to court Swingles

Swingles, or single women voters, now make up 20% of the electorate, according to the New York Times. That is a huge voting bloc that needs to be recognized and addressed. The Times notes that married women still favor Republicans but single women tend to be much more sympathetic towards President Barack Obama and don’t necessarily blame him for the ailing economy.  For the record, I’m still voting for Romney. But this is an important area where the Republicans have an opportunity to remind single women of the many ways that they are affected. One of the most obvious ways is that the unemployment figures for this group are 11%, which is higher than the national average. The Republicans need to make the connection clear to those who can least afford it.

NY Times report on why married women voters favor Romney