. . . and I go to the grocery store. I understand that, in this crowd, Michele Bachmann showed to good advantage. The only thing that says more about the condition of the GOP is the Onion headline, "MITT ROMNEY HAUNTED BY PAST OF HELPING UNINSURED SICK PEOPLE."
Here are some of Eric the Blue's golden oldies on some of the Republican hopefuls. Newt Gingrich. Michele Bachmann. Tim Pawlenty. Sorry, nothing on Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, or even Mitt Romney. Now, if Sarah Palin were to get into the race. . . .
I guess John King, of CNN, asked the candidates some silly "this-and-that" questions, such as "Elvis or Johnny Cash?", in order that those not grocery shopping or watching a ballgame could "get to know the candidates as people." Probably the only good thing to come out of that is this riff on Johnny Cash by Amy Davidson. I really like her Close Read Blog at The New Yorker. Also, since I've linked to myself five times in the above paragraph, it might be prudent to begin building a defense against the charge of solipsism.
Back to Mitt Romney's health care "problem": it's a symtom of the illogic of the general Republican position, insofar as their general position can be logically explained. How is it that a reform that would deliver millions of the previously uninsured into the hands of private insurers is "a government takeover of health care"? Republicans seem to be okay with the requirement that private insurers be barred from turning away people with preexisting conditions, but they are apoplectic about requiring people to buy insurance. Has it not occurred to them that, if those with preexisting conditions cannot be denied coverage, then it is necessary that everyone participate? (Else, people would not buy insurance till they got sick and needed it.) Actually, once you start imposing conditions on the private market, which the Republicans say they are willing to do, you are implicitly admitting that health care does not lend itself to markets and the profit motive. The argument for preserving a private system thus lapses into incoherence. Amy Davidson's colleague James Surowiecki has more on this theme.