Beware, Roy Blunt, of the ghosts of summers past.
In this case, a remark that the Republican frontrunner in Missouri’s 2010 Senate contest made today about Medicare and Medicaid. Was he saying that the federal government should never have created them? One is a health care program for seniors. The other provides coverage for the poor.
But if the congressman from southwest Missouri becomes his party’s nominee, chances are good that his comments from a radio interview today will come back to haunt him.
Here's what he told 93.9 FM in Columbia, Mo.:
“You could certainly argue that government should have never gotten into the health care business, and that might have been the best argument of all to figure out how people could have had more access to the competitive marketplace.
"The government did get into the health care business in a big way in 1965 with Medicare and later with Medicaid. And government already distorts the marketplace. A government competitor would drive all of the other competitors away. What we should be doing it creating more competition.”
For Democrats, this was a high fastball over the middle of the plate. Lots of elderly and low income people vote.
Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, the Democratic frontrunner in the Senate race, is likely to give the comment more airplay than all the Michael Jackson songs heard over the radio in the last week.
Blunt spokesman Rich Chrismer said Blunt wasn’t saying that Washington should have never created those programs. He called that “a stretch, even for the Democrats.”
“Roy Blunt did not say those programs were a mistake," Chrismer said. "He was discussing the current health care debate and discussing his belief that government would be better off organizing health care, as we did with the Medicare prescription drug program, rather than operating health care systems like the Obama-Carnahan health care plan.”