Hypocritical Oath: Does Mitt Romney Hate the Constitution?
You'll never hear me call Mitt Romney a hypocrite when it comes to political issues. To be a hypocrite, you have to believe in something. Aside from his faith, which I have no doubt is quite sincere, the former governor's only conviction seems to be saying whatever it takes to get himself elected.
This trait is most clearly displayed when Candidate Romney talks about the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (i.e. Obamacare to its detractors), which puts him in the uncomfortable position of explaining the healthcare law that Governor Romney enacted in Massachusetts. What's troubling is not so much his attempts to split hairs about why the law was appropriate on a state level but not on a federal level but rather his claims about how he'd deal with the law if elected president.
Romney has promised that one of his first acts as president will be to issue waivers for all 50 states that he pretends will put the law's effects on hold while he and (a presumably GOP controlled) congress repeal it. To his credit, and I’m sure many peoples’ surprise, Romney has been quite consistent on this point throughout the current campaign. What is not a surprise is that the promise is about as inconsequential as it is contemptuous of the values he professes to hold.
What makes the promise meaningless except perhaps on a symbolic level) is the fact that these so-called “state innovation waivers” require the states to meet very specific requirements before opting out of the national law. Ironically, the only state that can be reasonably sure of meeting those requirements when January 2013 rolls around is Massachusetts. That doesn't even factor in that, in the law’s current form, the waivers don’t apply until 2017. Even if a bipartisan amendment supported by President Obama (i.e. the man who’s willing to get his hands dirty and work with people to get something good done) takes effect, the waivers would still be deferred until 2014. In short, whether the election has a good outcome or Romney gets elected, the next presidential term starts some months before the much feted waivers could take effect.
That bit of mendacity aside, the way Romney talks about the process is even more telling about the candidate's lack of conviction, let alone credibility. With one breath, he boasts about how he “would respect the different branches of government if [he was] fortunate enough to become president." He then turns aorund to “reserve the right as president to put in place executive orders”, specifically pointing to using that power to put the healthcare reform law on hold.
Whether the Affordable Care Act was passed with bipartisan support or strictly along party lines is irrelevant. Whatever its flaws, it's a legitimately enacted law that was passed by both houses of Congress. A president who truly respects “the different branches of government” should think twice before undercutting the authority of Congress. Voters who want a president that truly respects the US Constitution and the separation of powers inherent in that document should think twice about voting for Mitt Romney.