We won't bother to get into the minutiae of last night's Bloomberg/Washington Post debate, other than to affirm the consensus that front-runner Mitt Romney did nothing to diminish his standings atop all the polls.
Earlier in the day Romney received a boost when New Jersey Governor Christ Christie endorsed him, and make a big spectacle of taking exception to the idea that Romney's universal health care plan in Massachusetts in any way resembled the health care reform plan that President Obama signed into law last year, calling that line of attack "intellectually dishonest."
“Gov. Romney did not raise one tax in doing what he did in trying to improve the health-care system in Massachusetts,” Christie said. “I will tell you, that I’m proud of him for standing up for doing what he believes is right.”
“The president of the United States is raising taxes over and over again to pay for this plan he still won’t pay for. What Gov. Romney did was what he believed was responsible as governor of Massachusetts to allow people to have access to health care. All the governors should have that opportunity to make that judgment on their own."
Among those who are apparently guilty of intellectual dishonest within the GOP ranks is their new It-Boy, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, who said of the Romney health care plan earlier this year:
“It’s not that dissimilar to Obamacare, and you probably know I’m not a big fan of Obamacare. I just don’t think the mandates work … all the regulation they’ve put on it.”
“I haven't studied in depth the status of it," he continued, "but I think it’s beginning to death spiral. They’re beginning to have to look at rationing decisions. I don’t think this health care system works. That’s why I’m a believer in a consumer-based medicine, in consumer-based patient-centered reforms health care reforms.”
Yesterday NBC News investigative reporter Michael Isikoff reported what had previously been reported on by the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza - that in fact President Obama used what Romney did in Massachusetts, what with the individual mandate and all - as a blueprint for what the Congress passed in 2010.
The key link is MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who tells Isikoff:
Romney is “the father of health-care reform,” said Gruber. “I think he is the single person most responsible for health care reform in the United States. … I’m not trying to make a political position or a political statement, I honestly feel that way. If Mitt Romney had not stood up for this reform in Massachusetts … I don’t think it would have happened nationally. So I think he really is the guy with whom it all starts.”
Chris Christie sounded pretty tough yesterday in defending his new pal Mitt's health care plan, but there are plenty of Republicans who aren't buying it. And though the mainstream media (particularly the folks over at Morning Joe) would you make you think that Christie's decision not to run was a blow for the party (or the country), the GOP electorate was very split on whether he should have gotten into the race at all, much less would they support him (Christie is socially liberal on some issues).
You could say Christie's overzealous defense of Romney is a bit "dishonest."