Responding to criticism of his “nay” vote on a supplemental appropriations bill for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Sen. John Kerry said in 2004, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it” — a statement that came to define the Massachusetts Democrat, then running for President, as a flip-flopper with no convictions.
Eight years later another presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, finds himself in a similar gherkin. Gingrich, it seems, was for the ObamaCare individual mandate before he was against it; and his newfound opposition to the mandate appears to be less a matter of conviction than of political opportunism.
According to CNSNews.com, as far back as 1993 Gingrich was stumping for an individual mandate. Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press in October of that year, then-House Minority Whip Gingrich said: “I am for people, individuals — exactly like automobile insurance — individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance. And I am prepared to vote for a voucher system which will give individuals, on a sliding scale, a government subsidy so we insure that everyone as individuals have health insurance.” In other words, if Gingrich had gotten his way, one of the central features of ObamaCare would have been enacted 18 years ago.
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Photo of Newt Gingrich: AP Images