Monday, June 18, 2012

Individual Mandates & Tommy's Trouble with the Tea Party

It was very clear when Tommy Thompson first started to float the idea of running for the U.S. Senate in 2010 that he was not extreme enough for tea party zealots. He eventually didn't run for that race but the reaction wasn't much different when his name was floated for the current election for the U.S. Senate.  Apparently Tommy decided to ignore the tea party criticism by doing his best to transform himself into their extremist image. So while Tommy is running away from most of his history and political career, it should be no surprise that he is also running away from his past support for an individual mandate in health care policy.

Team Tommy would love for the tea party to have collective amnesia but not everyone is willing to forget his past actions, deeds and words.  Tommy's campaign seems very hyper sensitive on his ever changing support for the individual mandate.  Their insecurity on the subject sparked a very peculiar three way Twitter war last week. It involved Tommy's campaign, a spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and a spokesperson for the right wing Club for Growth. I'll just post that exchange as it happened below:

@mattcanter (DSCC spox), 13 Jun 2012, 8:28 AM: @TeamTommy2012 do you back down from your support for President Obama's health care plan? 
@TeamTommy2012, 13 Jun 2012, 8:52AM: @mattcanter Can’t back down from something (i.e. the individual mandate) that you never supported, Canter. 
@barneykeller (Club For Growth spox), 13 June 2012, 11:59 AM: @TeamTommy2012 wait - you guys seriously claim you never supported the individual mandate? 
@TeamTommy2012.@mattcanter & @barneykeller -- He’s been against it before that was even popular. 2008 Congressional Testimony: 
@barneykeller (Club For Growth spox), Weird. I post a video of .@TeamTommy2012supporting individual mandate. Then, silence: ‪#WIsen‬ 
See what I mean? Team Tommy seems pretty sensitive to his flip-flop on the individual mandate. However he apparently wasn't sensitive enough to respond to the video that the Club for Growth spokesperson introduced.  If that is what it takes to silence Tommy on his sudden individual mandate reversal, then the rest of his campaign might become very quiet.  There are many past examples of his support for an individual mandate in Massachusetts and nationally. Here is a sample of them:

Thompson Supported An Individual Mandate For Massachusetts

  • (Video) Thompson On Romneycare: Said It Was “Great To Be Able To See It In Action”[C-Span, 8/5/06
  • Thompson Wanted All States To Follow The Massachusetts Model. According to the Capital Times, in 2006 Thompson wanted all states to have a system like Massachusetts which required all citizens to have health insurance.[Capital Times, 9/20/06] 
  • (Video) Thompson Backed Massachusetts Health Care Reform Bill As Means To Solve Broader Economic Problem Of Uninsured Americans.Thompson Pointed To Massachusetts: “You’re Going To Have To Have Some Degree Of A Mandate.”[C-Span, 4/17/06
Thompson Supported An Individual Mandate For The Nation

  • (Video) On Health Care Panel, Thompson Said The Individual Mandate Would Be Better On A Nationwide Basis.[C-Span, 4/17/06
  • (Video) Thompson: “I For One Believe The Mandates For Health Insurance Is Alright.” [“Medicaid Makeover” Speech at the University of Texas, 2/8/2007 via YouTube
  • As A Presidential Candidate, Thompson Argued All Americans Should Be Required To Have Health Insurance. [Mason City Globe Gazette, 4/4/07]
I realize that some Wisconsin conservative bloggers and others are desperately trying to explain away Tommy's past support for individual mandates. However that requires the tea party to willfully ignore their own eyes and ears on the subject.  On second thought, as a group they have become particularly adept at doing that so maybe such efforts will be successful.  But given the actual reality on the subject, most Wisconsinites should see Tommy's flip-flop as a major pander to the extreme right wing and nothing less.

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