If Mitt Romney segues from a state governor with some experience in health care implementation to a Federalist warrior bent on restoring state’s rights, and implementing the Federalism Amendment, he’s got my support.
I’ve seen a number of conservatives on Twitter who are ready to to toss Romney off the Republican bus based almost solely on his state’s health care plan. I think that’s a terrible idea. As Smitty notes, letting states experiment with things like health care is exactly what we should be doing. We can see what works and what doesn’t (and, guess what? State-run health care doesn’t work. Surprise!) and other state governments can use those experiments to inform their own decisions. That’s how federalism works.
I can understand how conservatives would look askance at Romney for supporting his state’s government-run health care plan. I wasn’t a big fan when I heard of it and it’s turning out pretty much the way I expected it would. However, I don’t see where the state has been seriously injured by it at this point (at least not to the point where it can’t recover fairly quickly) and we’ve learned quite a few things from his experience. I don’t hold a state experiment against him when I have no real evidence that he wants to take that experiment nationwide today.
If he comes out of his experience with state-run health care wiser and with a strong dedication to federalism, then he’ll be a formidable candidate in 2012. If not, then I’ll line up against him. But I’m not willing to make that call yet. I’m inclined to give him some room to think.
He seems a smart guy and I, as a conservative and a voter, need to give him the room he needs to bring those smarts to bear. I guess we’ll see how well he does that over the next couple of years.