prospect.org — One of the common misconceptions about the presidential candidate version of Mitt Romney is that he disavowed his greatest achievement in public office, health care reform, in an attempt to appeal to his party's base. The truth is that he never actually disavowed it or said it was a failure or a mistake. What he did was tell primary voters that Romneycare was really nothing at all like Obamacare, and anyway Romneycare shouldn't be tried in any other state. His comments were utterly unconvincing, but since they were always accompanied by a thunderous denunciation of Obamacare, Republican voters were assuaged enough to let it slide. Which means that had he wanted to, Romney probably could have entered the general election making a positive case on health care beyond "Repeal Obamacare!" Instead, his entire case for competence is that he got really rich in private equity, and his entire case for compassion is that his wife seems nice.
huffingtonpost.com — Two years ago, the Democrats handed the Republicans their two crown jewels -- Social Security and Medicare. By targeting Medicare for budget "savings" that could be used to finance what the Republicans called Obamacare, the White House gave the GOP ammunition to contend that the Democrats were taking benefits away from seniors. Now, however, Republicans have given Social Security and Medicare back to the Democrats (where they belong.) Polls show that Medicare is no longer a winner for the Republicans, and the Democrats have embraced the term, "Obamacare" as positive label. The reason, of course, is Paul Ryan.
baselinescenario.com — On the one hand, over in Romney headquarters, they can take heart from the fact that the economy continues to sputter, as evidenced by the latest jobs report. On the other hand, as the election draws near, people will only ask more questions about what President Romney would actually do. For months now, the campaign has whispered one thing to the base (e.g., “severely conservative”) while being purposefully vague to everyone else, hoping that independents will assume he is still the moderate who introduced universal health care to Massachusetts. Now that strategy is breaking down. Exhibit A is Sunday’s comical back-and-forth-and-forth-and-back on the Affordable Care Act. But the more important Exhibit B is the Romney “tax plan.”
washingtonpost.com — “People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets,” former President Bill Clinton said on Wednesday night. “What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic.” That’s also the one-word answer to what Clinton brought to his convention speech. To a degree unusual in political rhetoric, this was a 48-minute speech about arithmetic. About math. About budgets. In that way, Clinton’s speech fit neatly into the emergent Democratic strategy to be, in this election, the party of policy. To be sure, they don’t have much of a choice. The difference between the Democratic and Republican tickets right now is the Democrats are stuck with thousands of pages of policy while the Republicans have made a strategic decision to avoid having much policy at all.
publicintegrity.org — The proponents of a pure free-market health care system hope that Americans have amnesia and can be persuaded to blame President Obama for the problems that grew almost immeasurably worse between the demise of the Clinton plan and the passage of the Affordable Care Act. They want us to believe, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that health insurers and the largely unfettered, loosely regulated marketplace can somehow turn things around. And that we should reward insurers for their failure by turning the Medicare program over to them. In many respects, the free market approach to health care has indeed been just what the doctor ordered, although not for patients. There is fresh evidence almost every week that our uniquely American free market health care system continues to fail us.
nytimes.com — Paul Ryan’s speech Wednesday night may have accomplished one good thing: It finally may have dispelled the myth that he is a Serious, Honest Conservative. Indeed, Mr. Ryan’s brazen dishonesty left even his critics breathless. Some of his fibs were trivial but telling, like his suggestion that President Obama is responsible for a closed auto plant in his hometown, even though the plant closed before Mr. Obama took office. Others were infuriating, like his sanctimonious declaration that “the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.” This from a man proposing savage cuts in Medicaid, which would cause tens of millions of vulnerable Americans to lose health coverage. But Mr. Ryan’s big lie — and, yes, it deserves that designation — was his claim that “a Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare.” Actually, it would kill the program.