Seizing guns and socializing medicine — Romney’s a Republican?

They say former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is currently leading the field among Republican presidential contenders here in Nevada.

So this is what the party of Robert A. Taft and Barry Goldwater has come to.

The year before he won his governorship, Romney, a gun-grabbing socialist, ran the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, which turned into a handy excuse to install a tax-subsidized boondoggle light rail system, even though it had been rejected by local voters nine years before. He and his gang then refused to allow Utah residents who had jumped through every (unconstitutional) hoop to acquire a concealed-weapon permit to show up armed at his big United Nations Winter Games, because that might “frighten the foreigners.”

(“When the Olympic Salt Lake Organizing Committee refused to relent, the state took the unprecedented step of assuming liability if concealed-weapons permit holders were hurt at the 2002 Winter Games — and could prove that their gun would have protected them,” the Christian Science Monitor reported.)

And here I thought the “idea of America” was to demonstrate the advantages of freedom through example. If they didn’t want to be surrounded by armed and free people, why didn’t the Europeans stage their little ski meet in Sverdlovsk?

As governor of Massachusetts, Romney supervised a commonwealth where state-funded billboards declare, “Have a gun, go to jail.” As a result, the murder rate in Boston keeps climbing. The answer of Romney and his gang? Tougher victim disarmament laws, of course. In his 2002 race, Romney lauded those Draconian laws during a debate against Democrat Shannon O’Brien. “We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts; I support them,” he said. “I won’t chip away at them; I believe they protect us and provide for our safety.”

What’s his plan to protect our guys in Baghdad? Take away their rifles and issue them really big whistles?

As governor, Romney in 2004 signed his own state ban on ugly-looking semi-automatic rifles, thus violating both the Second and 14th amendments — the latter enacted to stop racist governors from enforcing so-called “black codes” that make it harder for Americans of African descent to arm themselves for self-defense, as is now the case in Massachusetts.

Despite his reputation for flip-flopping on this issue, as on others, Romney told the American Spectator this year “my position is the same as it has been, which is I support the Second Amendment, but I also support (an) assault weapon ban, that’s why I signed a bill of that nature.”

Romney, who apparently owns no firearms despite claiming earlier this year that he did, joined the NRA last year and has claimed to be a hunter, but backed off that story when asked where he has ever had a hunting license and whose gun he used to go hunting.

Romney, who oversaw a $5.2 billion (23 percent) increase in state spending during his four years, also signed into law the closest thing to state-run socialized medicine yet seen in this country.

“Romney’s socialized medicine law mandates everyone who doesn’t have insurance to buy it — or suffer income tax penalties,” reports Massachusetts Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Carla Howell at www.lewrockwell.com.

“Romney’s mandate will cost individual taxpayers many thousands of dollars every year in health insurance premiums for unwanted policies — or force them to pay the equivalent in tax penalties,” Ms. Howell explains.

Some will argue this isn’t communism, because the insurance companies are still privately owned — though heavily regulated by the state, which drives up costs by mandating all kinds of bizarre coverages. (If you insist, I will relent: This does indeed more closely match the dictionary definition of “fascism.”)

“The total cost of RomneyCare in mandates and new spending? At least several billion dollars every year — to start,” Ms. Howell reports. “It will rise from there, as socialized medicine programs are wont to do. Romney’s law goes into full effect in 2009. Unless it’s repealed before then, the loudest screams of protest from Massachusetts won’t be heard until after the 2008 presidential election is over. Romney’s time-release tax increase.”

Miss Hillary, eat your heart out.

Finally getting around to visiting Nevada last week, the former governor told 60 supporters in a hotel conference room that he’d be tough on illegal immigration, but then immediately added that he wouldn’t, you know, actually deport anyone.

After all, Romney whimpered, “You certainly can’t round up 12 million people, put them on buses and deport them.”

Why not? In the year 2000, there were 48 million school-age children in America. Every school day, more than half of them are bused to school. That’s a carrying capacity of more than 24 million people. Those buses sit unused for two months every summer. Even if each bus trip took a week, followed by a week off for vehicle maintenance, it seems to me we could deport about 96 million people in a single summer, using idle school buses alone.

Yes, Congress would have to divert some money to pay drivers and guards — that’s what you get when you neglect your duty for years on end. But Mr. Romney didn’t say “It would be costly.” He said it can’t be done.

Or did he mean he has no idea how to find them?

Then it was time for Mr. Romney to spout his carefully programmed double-talk on Yucca Mountain.

“I can tell you that I would make sure that in no circumstances would we ever do anything that would put the well-being or the health of Nevadans at risk,” Romney said, as former Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn stood next to him, nodding like a bobblehead. “This is a matter which is being currently studied and reviewed,” Mr. Romney then said, channeling the late Sen. Everett Dirksen, who commonly used the same construction, word for word, when he wanted to make it sound like he was answering a question that he really wasn’t.

“We’ll want to see what the results of that review are.”

Oh, please.

As my small contribution to seeing our visiting politicians spout a better class of fibs, here’s a Yucca Mountain position that actually makes sense, which any of them is welcome to use:

“This is the place where I’m supposed to keep my options open by saying we’re going to ‘wait for the scientific studies on Yucca Mountain to come in,’ right? Give me a break:

“1) We need nuclear power — a lot more nuclear power — to keep our economy growing and to get your power bills down. It’s the cheapest, safest, cleanest source of power we have and most of the cost to date has been because of excessive regulation driven by lawsuit-filing zealots in Birkenstocks who’d like to see you peasants out here in Flyover Country back plowing behind a mule.

“2) It would have been better if the nuclear industry had been left to negotiate its own waste storage agreements by private contract, but we’re up to our hips in it now, so the federal government has a role in deciding where that waste goes.

“3) We can leave it in the cooling pools at the existing reactor sites, which have fairly good security, or we can ship it all the way across the country and pile it up here in Nevada. I believe it makes more sense to leave it where it is. Under no circumstances should we ever bury it, since there’s still a lot of valuable energy in those spent fuel rods. Within a century or so we’re going to have far safer and more effective technology to reprocess that fuel, so why on earth would we want it entombed?

“4) That’s why I’d ask Congress to pull the plug on Yucca Mountain immediately. If Congress still wants a central storage site, above-ground, they should announce how much they’re going to pay the residents of any state that votes to accept the stuff, the same way we pay folks up in Alaska to accept the risks of their oil pipeline.

“5) Actually, I bet Congress wouldn’t have to spend a cent. If you want states competing to see who can get a waste site, all Congress has to do is make this offer: Let any state that’s interested hold a vote. The state that OKs the deal by the highest margin will get the waste site. And Congress won’t pay the residents of that state a single cent. All we’ll do is send everyone who was a resident of record of that state on that Election Day a formal letter, notifying them they don’t have to file or pay a single penny of any current or future federal income tax, for the rest of their natural lives. Problem solved; Amen.”

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal and author of the novel “The Black Arrow.” See www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?kn=suprynowicz&vci=51238921.

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