Courtesy, Ezra Klein:
Both Gingrich and Romney, for instance, supported a universal health-care plan backed by an individual mandate requiring all Americans of means to purchase health-care insurance — just as Obama does.
They have their excuses, of course. Gingrich says he supported such a plan in the 1990s only because he was working to defeat HillaryCare. But that doesn’t explain why he published an op-ed in 2007 arguing that Congress should “require anyone who earns more than $50,000 a year to purchase health insurance or post a bond.”
And Mitt has turned himself into pretzel, and won’t admit he said his Massachusetts mandate should be a model for the nation.
Romney’s excuse is that he supported an individual mandate only at the state level. And he was governor of Massachusetts — the bluest of blue states. He would never have proposed such a thing nationally.
But in June 2009, Romney appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and, responding to comments from David Axelrod, Obama’s chief political adviser, said the Republican Party needs to be able to say, “Listen, Mr. Axelrod, you’re wrong when you say we don’t have ideas.” Among those ideas? “The right way to proceed is to reform health care. That we can do, as we did it in Massachusetts, as Wyden-Bennett is proposing doing it at the national level.”
They also agree on limiting carbon emissions.
Gingrich’s support was particularly full-throated. “I think if you have mandatory carbon caps combined with a trading system, much like we did with sulfur, and if you have a tax-incentive program for investing in the solutions, that there’s a package there that’s very, very good. And frankly, it’s something I would strongly support,” he said in 2007…
Romney agreed, too. As governor of Massachusetts, he moved to have his state join a regional cap-and-trade program for power plants known as the “Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative,” although he reversed that position in 2005. He also imposed mandatory carbon-emission limits on the electric utilities in his state.