As the 2012 presidential election nears, campaigns and candidates will go to any lengths to reach victory when America votes. This Sunday, Mitt Romney changed his position on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Though Romney, like most of the GOP, wishes to repeal the act, he stated publicly that he was actually in favor of more than one aspect of the legislation. This is a drastic change from his previous stance, and is symptomatic of a persistent problem that should motivate voters to demand political integrity.
Governor Romney’s own remarks when speaking to the news media were: “I’m not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course, there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I’m going to put in place.” Mr. Romney claims that in his own health care plan, he would include several items from Obama’s plan – including the mandate that insurance companies cover those with pre-existing conditions and the broadening of the insurance marketplace.
This is further evidence of total politicization of significant issues, especially those that affect the lives and health of millions of Americans. At the same time, voters need to hold candidates accountable for what they say, so they can make a fair and educated decision at the polls.
However, this simply doesn’t follow Romney’s previous stance. His campaign has previously focused heavily on repealing ACA to the point where the phrase “repeal Obamacare” seemed to be a distinctive chant associated with the GOP candidate. Unsurprisingly, Romney has changed his rhetoric regarding the Affordable Care Act. Romney has had a reputation for flip-flopping on various issues throughout his political career. However, this instance is particularly upsetting because of the magnitude of the issue in question – with a vehicle as large as health care, the American people could be subjected to powerful whiplash should it go astray. It’s clear that Romney’s strategy is to target voters who are still indecisive by walking the line when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, after “anti-Obamacare” rhetoric has already taken hold. To win swing state support, Romney stopped short of irreversibly offending popular sentiment.
In their relentless pursuit to win over voters, politicians should not be caught with unclear beliefs so close to the election. Health care affects every American. Whatever the candidate’s beliefs, it’s imperative that they campaign on their real policies. A vacillating opinion on a crucial issue so close to Election Day is deceptive. In order to make an informed decision, voters must know exactly where candidates stand. In such a sensitive case, sincerity must prevail over populism.
Voters need to make sure to hold their candidates accountable, Democrats and Republicans alike. The candidates should not pander to populism, but rather should clearly articulate their positions. Voters need to educate and update themselves on pertinent issues facing America today and choose the right candidate based on informed analysis. Candidates will only provide what the constituency demands, and therefore, the constituency should demand a resolute candidate.