As Jim DeMint sees it, Mitt Romney precluded Republicans from truly campaigning against the Affordable Care Act in last year’s election.
“Because of Romney and Romneycare, we did not litigate the Obamacare issue,” the Heritage Foundation president told Bloomberg Businessweek’s Joshua Green in a story published Thursday.
As governor of Massachusetts, Romney presided over health care reform that served as a model for the Affordable Care Act, but that didn’t stop him from actively campaigning against the 2010 law in last year’s campaign. The 2012 GOP nominee repeatedly vowed to repeal Obamacare on day one of his presidency.
DeMint, the former GOP senator who left Capitol Hill this year to head up the conservative think tank, has been in the vanguard of the movement to defund the 2010 health care law. While embarking on Heritage Action’s nine-city “Defund Obamacare” tour in August, DeMint told supporters that President Barack Obama may actually sign a bill that guts his signature legislative achievement.
DeMint found an eager ally in Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who spoke for 21 hours on the Senate floor this week to protest funding for Obamacare. Cruz’s talkathon was not an actual filibuster and will almost certainly do nothing to bolster his cause.
But it’s clear in Bloomberg Businessweek’s profile that DeMint would like to see more of Cruz’s ilk in the GOP. And moreover, DeMint said that Republicans could learn something from Democrats and liberals.
“Instead of making fun of him for community organizing, we need to realize that that’s how they’re winning on the left: empowering people on the grass-roots level and getting them organized and informed,” DeMint said.
He said that Democrats who went to bat for Obamacare “were intent, even courageous, about centralizing health care and risked their political careers to do it.”