Personnel is policy, even with Mitt Romney

Would Democrats have quietly rolled over if Bill Clinton had appointed Ken Starr as his campaign’s legal advisor? What if Al Gore chose well-known manmade global warming skeptic Richard Lindzen to be one of his key staffers? Would Democrats tolerate Barack Obama hiring Glenn Beck for … well … any reason whatsoever?

Ben Domenech on Mike LeavittNow imagine Mitt Romney choosing a fan of Obamacare to be the man in charge of the transition to a Romney Administration after a victory in November. This Obamacare fan would likely end up as the White House Chief of Staff in January. Would you doubt Romney’s honesty about wanting to repeal Obamacare? Would you be upset?

Well, there’s no need to imagine it because Romney’s already done it. Say hello to former HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt.

Over at Ace of Spades, Drew’s complaint treads rather lightly on the problem:

So Leavitt’s concern about ObamaCare was that Kathleen Sebilius might not be aggressive enough in using the power given to her by ObamaCare? Was that your first reaction or the reaction of any conservative/Republican you know?

Romney’s camp says don’t worry, only Mitt makes decisions and he’s on board with repeal.

Romney says the right things about ObamaCare (usually) but his actions on healthcare reform, including picking a transition director who is thought to be a leading candidate to be his Chief of Staff often are at odds with his words.

That’s awfully understated, Drew. Ben Domenech elaborates on what Leavitt’s been up to:

Over the past year, Leavitt and his staff have repeatedly tangled with conservative and libertarian think-tanks and advocates who oppose him on [state-level health care “exchanges”], understanding that there is no such thing as a state run exchange under Obamacare, and that this represents the primary front for states in the battle against Obamacare’s implementation. This hasn’t stopped him from lobbying all over the country for it.

The reaction from the Romney team — so far — is that Leavitt’s not in charge. Romney’s the boss and will pursue the repeal of Obamacare, say his staffers.

I don’t buy it. Governor Romney’s instincts are not conservative. He’s the father of Romneycare after all, upon which the Democrats built Obamacare. One of his key health care advisors from his time in the Governor’s office in Massachusetts actually helped write the monstrosity that is Obamacare.

To understand an executive’s priorities, look past the policy pronouncements and look at who they hire. Personnel is policy. It’s not enough to defeat Barack Obama and turn the U.S. Senate conservative. To repeal Obamacare, to tear it out by the roots, Mitt Romney must constantly be reminded that words aren’t enough. He must know in his bones that the people who can put him in the Oval Office will never accept anything less than his personal, aggressive leadership in the repeal effort. Effective leadership demands wise personnel choices, and delegating essential duties to an Obamacare shill like Mike Leavitt stands in stark opposition to Mitt Romney’s stated goals. Either Romney is not 100% committed to repealing Obamacare and reducing the size and scope of the federal government, or he’s deluding himself about the danger of giving Leavitt enough power to undermine Romney’s work from the inside. Neither possibility is acceptable.

RINO Threat LevelRomney is the only credible alternative to four more disastrous years of Barack Obama. While evicting the Oval Office’s current occupier ranks first on the priority list for those who love the U.S. Constitution and the American Dream, that doesn’t mean Mitt Romney should have carte blanche to indulge his progressive instincts.

The Republican establishment will shriek in angry panic if constitutional conservatives forcefully oppose Mike Leavitt’s role on Romney’s campaign team, and they will warn that all opposition to Romney helps Obama (we’re at RINO Threat Level Blue, in other words).

Not true. If constitutional conservatives keep Romney on a short leash, his election chances will actually go up. This is not an optional fight.

Contact the Romney campaign and demand that Mile Leavitt be excluded from any and all positions that have any influence on the effort to repeal Obamacare.

3:50 PM update: More detail from Ben Domenech here.

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