Be not careless in deeds, nor confused in words, nor rambling in thought. -- Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, 'Meditations'
It is probably too late to help the undecided voter, but thanks to Rachel Martin's interview with Barbara Comstock, an adviser to Mitt Romney's campaign, on National Public Radio's Oct. 28 Weekend Edition, we finally have clarification of two of Governor Romney's positions that, up until now, have lacked clarity. The first pertains to health care and the second to abortion. This column and its report of the interview will only be of benefit to the small minority of voters who think these issues are as important as, for example, the economy.
Ms. Martin's first question pertained to health care. Up to now, Mr. Romney has been vague about what he would do other than repeal Obamacare the day after he is sworn in. Here is some clarification. Ms. Martin asked Ms. Comstock what Mr. Romney's position was on "popular parts of the federal plan, like coverage for pre-existing conditions." Ms. Comstock gave the clear and concise answer that was not given by Mr. Romney during the debates. She said:
"He has been clear from the start that he is for repealing and replacing, and that is what all Republicans have tried to do. [Ms. Comstock briefly digresses to observe that Governor Romney wants states to be innovators and then continues answering the question.] [Y]ou know, we want to deal with pre-existing conditions. Something like, you know, having children be able to stay -- well, children. If you're 26 years old. you're not a child. But if parents want to keep their adult children on until 26, the insurance companies have already said, 'Hey, that's working out great for us. We want to keep that.'"
Ms. Martin, who was apparently not paying attention, did not understand that Ms. Comstock had already answered her question so repeated it saying: "So will his plan include a mandate for insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions?"
Ms. Comstock patiently and clearly explained once more:
"Well, there already are pre-existing conditions law in there. If you have insurance you can't be thrown off. So there are going to be combinations on that. I'm not familiar with the exact specifics. But we have always said we want to deal with pre-existing conditions because that's part of what makes, you know, people maybe don't get insured in the first place or aren't able to stay on their insurance. So that's one of the, you know, you want to have insurance when you are sick. And so, that is something obviously that we want to make sure we could take care of."
With those clarifications, readers of this column who did not know for whom to vote because of their concern that Mr. Romney might get rid of the provisions in the health care law that say no insurance company can deny coverage to a person with a pre-existing condition, have the clear answer that for some reason Mr. Romney was unable to come up with during the debates.
Other readers may have been more worried about Governor Romney's position on abortion and a woman's right to choose. Addressing Ms. Comstock, Ms. Martin said: "In 2002 Governor Romney said, and I quote here, 'I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose.' And in this campaign, his position has been ambiguous. Can you tell us if the issue of abortion will be a priority for Governor Romney if he is elected?"
Again Ms. Comstock steps up to the plate and essentially hits a homerun. She replied:
"[Y]ou're focusing on all the issues that the voters aren't. See, I go out and I talk to voters every day and do the grassroots and go door to door, and the issues that they bring up are the economy. But on abortion, Governor Romney has made clear that he is pro-life, but there's also what you can -- the Supreme Court has also spoken on this. So what the federal government can do is largely deal with funding issues. And what Governor Romney has said on funding, when we have, you know, very strong disagreement on the issue of funding abortion that let's, you know, we can agree to disagree on those issues. But on the vital matters that need to be funded when we have such budget shortfalls, let's not have it be on these things that we very much have, you know, strong disagreements on. Let's focus on jobs and the economy and getting things turned around on the economy, the things we agree on. And that's why people are coming around to supporting Governor Romney."
For my readers who have been unable to decide whether or not to support Governor Romney because they are unclear about where he stands on a woman's right to choose, the foregoing explanation, being as it is, clear and concise (as the governor has not been), will prove to be of assistance. Should Mr. Romney be elected, Ms. Comstock has clearly demonstrated that she would be a valuable addition to the Romney administration and should receive a high-ranking, if not a Cabinet position. We will all be the beneficiaries of her ability to express herself clearly and concisely. Sort of.
Christopher Brauchli can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. For political commentary see his web page at http://humanraceandothersports.com