Careful, Newt

Newt should know that in politics, you must constantly clarify exactly what you mean. Newt is in hot water over comments he made during the weekend about the individual mandate in Obamacare. What Newt said was “Ive said consistently, where theres some requirement you either have health insurance or you post a bond or in some way you indicate youre going to be held accountable.

While this seems pretty clear to me, the media has declared this to be some sort of statement proving that Newt supports the individual mandate. So why would Newt then post a video today highlighting his record of consistently opposing the individual mandate? Probably because he didn’t actually say he supports the individual mandate. Newt said that he supports a requirement where you EITHER have health insurance OR… Media outlets seem to have missed the either, or in his statement.

What Newt said is something that constitutionalists who support individual responsibility have supported for a long time. I wrote about it back in 2009 when the Obamacare debates were hot and heavy. Newt said he supports a requirement that people pay for health insurance or indicate through a bond or some other way that they will pay for their medical care. This isn’t an individual mandate to buy health insurance, this is an individual mandate to pay for the medical care you receive, either through insurance or by other means. Why would Newt say that “libertarians would be happy” with his solution if he supported an individual mandate?

The problem Gingrich will face is that if soundbite Americans, especially those in the mainstream media, can’t figure this out then he will have a hard time getting his message across. Newt needs to learn how talk to Americans like they are idiots. Not because they are idiots, but because pundits are determined to misunderstand him and make their version of what he says the next morning’s headlines.

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