Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Campaign Commercial, But Whose?

The Globe today calls yesterday's health care bill signing at Faneuil Hall a campaign commercial in the making. They cite the pomp and circumstance of of the signing ceremony and even script it up for Governor Romney:

CUT TO: Romney, at wooden desk on Faneuil Hall stage, signing bill into law. Politicians (including Senator Edward M. Kennedy) surrounding him erupt in applause. The packed hall cheers. Romney smiles.
I wonder, though, who this is a campaign commercial for, exactly? I can imagine the same scene used in an ad for Senators Bill Frist or George Allen, or any other of Mitt's primary opponents in 2008. It almost writes itself -- "Governor Mitt Romney signed into law an anti-business socialized healthcare bill endorsed by Ted Kennedy and the liberal Massachusetts legislature." Sure, it's dishonest, but we've seen worse in GOP primaries, just ask John McCain. Romney can say he's a conservative all he wants, but after two decades of Massachusetts bashing, Republicans are going to naturally be skeptical, and they'll believe he's a liberal because it sounds 'truthy'. He must be liberal, after after all, to win an election in Kennedy-Kerry Country.

I haven't talked much about the substance of the health care bill, soon to be the health care law, mostly because I have no idea how it's going to play out. Frankly, I'm a little worried about it's effect (or rather, non-effect) on skyrocketing health care costs. Supporters seem to do a little hand-waving here, saying that if everyone's insured, health care costs will go down because everyone's insured. Sure, I understand the theory, but I'll believe it when I see it. Reading some of the commentary, I'm reminded of what my mother used to tell me -- a compromise is when everyone walks away equally unhappy. With criticism coming from both the right and the left (see John McDonough's post today for two examples), maybe that means we have found a middle way for universal coverage.