Thank Verum Serum for the Huntsman clip. We already knew about his flirtation with a mandate for Utah from HuffPo’s coverage a few weeks ago — the state didn’t end up adopting one, but apparently not for lack of Huntsman’s trying — but a long background piece based on people’s memories is one thing and a snappy two-minute video soundbite is another. Huntsman’s an impressive guy but I can’t answer the question of why, apart from his two years in China, anyone would strongly prefer him to Romney. Go watch Verum Serum’s mock campaign ad for him; he’s at least as RINO-y as Romney is, and per his mandate musings below, he’s even compromised on the single biggest Mitt-killing issue of the campaign. Where does he go from here? Hope New Hampshirites will ignore it and then try to ride a wave of momentum into South Carolina? Really?
As for the Pawlenty clip, I missed it when Ben Smith wrote about it on Friday but Time flagged it this evening. Like Huntsman and unlike Romney, T-Paw never signed a bill enacting any mandate. But then, that’s never been the key litmus test on this issue for conservatives. The test is whether a candidate would recognize the mandate as constitutionally repugnant (at least at the federal level) and an affront to liberty. Accordingly, you’d expect strong anti-mandate language from him and Huntsman — and instead you’re hearing warm, if noncommittal, praise. How are they going to affect high dudgeon about RomneyCare at the debates when Mitt can throw these clips in their faces? And what happens when Romney then turns to the crowd and asks the audience why, if they find health-care mandates so horrible, they’re so protective of Medicare? Under ObamaCare, you at least get to pick your own insurer; under Medicare, you’re stuck with the feds’ crappy plan, which doesn’t kick in until you’re 65, and the premiums are sucked out of your check every week in the form of FICA before you even see the money. Suggested campaign slogan: “Romney 2012: Who are you to judge me, Medicare junkies?”