Back in the late '80s, The Heritage Foundation began pushing an individual mandate to purchase health insurance. Nixon had floated the idea of distributing money to poor people for the purchase of insurance back in the '70s, but that didn't go anywhere. This mandate, however, was a "market-friendly" alternative that promoted "individual responsibility."
By the time newly-elected President Bill Clinton began his push for a health care overhaul, it had become the standard-issue Republican alternative. In 2006, Governor Mitt Romney fought hard to make an individual mandate the centerpiece of statewide health reform. No doubt about it, Republicans were crazy about this mandate idea. In 2008, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States and decided that he, too, liked the idea of the individual mandate after all.
Suddenly, Republicans weren't so fond of the idea. "Individual responsibility" became "a Socialist takeover of the United States," followed by, "creating a market to regulate a market," and, finally, "the biggest tax increase ever-ever-ever," as various talking points were handed down by Roger Ailes and Antonin Scalia. Now that an ultra-conservative Supreme Court has found the law constitutional, the tax rationale will probably rule until election day. Or will it? It is, after all, a position in search of an argument.
This has become the norm. In fact, from health care and immigration to cap and trade, Republicans seem to have been for a lot of things before Barack Obama's blessing turned them against it. Even making the observation here is really a formality -- you know it, I know it, Democrats know it, Republicans know it. If Dr. Seuss were alive today, he could write a book about how everybody knows it.
They're not the only ones guilty of ballgame politics, of course. We must also acknowledge that, yes, there are Democrats who would vote for Obama even if they personally discovered the bodies of several dozen drifters buried under the White House Rose Garden and the president himself clutching the bloody shovel. Some people love him, some people hate him and many of them have no particular, substantive reason.
With these facts in mind, I have concluded that reverse psychology is the president's best -- nay, only -- possible strategy going forward. Only with this tool can he harness the twin powers of Republican resentment and Democratic ambivalence in a single stroke.
Yes, I suggest that Barack Obama strongly oppose the following things this fall:
Moving to Guatemala.
Changing your name to something Latino-sounding.
Playing with fire in Tennessee.
Choosing Rand Paul, Paul Ryan or Bobby Jindal as your running mate.
I also believe that Barack Obama must enthusiastically endorse the following no later than October 15th:
Donating money to Mitt Romney.
Being on the ballot in Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Colorado.
Eating a well-rounded diet composed of healthy, nutritious foods. (Oh, wait...)
Supporting policies that run counter to one's own interests.
Wearing your seat belt.
There are many other possibilities, of course. I'm no political strategist and these are just off the top of my head. But I don't think I am exaggerating when I say that, with this platform, Barack Obama could carry Utah.