Romney aide who coined Etch-A-Sketch comparison now says ObamaCare penalty is not a tax

Remember Eric Fehrnstrom (above)?

He’s the Romney campaign adviser who SAID this past March that the Mittster is likely to abandon some of his right-wing positions once he wins the Republican presidential nomination. He likened it to using an Etch-A-Sketch toy.

And now, the loose-lipped Fehrnstrom is stirring up another political firestorm with THIS:

Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney, admitted Monday that he actually agrees with the Obama administration on something: the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act is a “penalty” and not a “tax.”

Since the Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama’s health care law but ruled that its mandate is a tax, Republicans have criticized him for imposing a massive tax on the American public.

The Romney campaign joined in this line of attack, with an adviser telling the Huffington Post’s Jon Ward that the Supreme Court’s ruling would help them politically.

“Frankly, to be able to tell you your taxes have been raised by this bill and you didn’t know that, as opposed to trying to explain Congress’s powers under the commerce clause, it’s easier,” the Romney adviser said, referencing the issue of the law’s constitutionality.

But in a Monday interview on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown,” Fehrnstrom contradicted this statement, agreeing with the Obama administration that the mandate is a “penalty” on individuals who do not purchase insurance — not a tax.



  1. expdoc

    He can think and say whatever he wants, but the Supreme Court has ruled it is a tax and that is the law of the land.

  2. doc: Yeah, it’s a tax. And who’s going to have to pay it? Nobody I know.

    But without that tax, the rest of us are going to have to pay more to cover the health-care costs of those who don’t have insurance.

    Ah, but the Republican politicians whom you so admire are calling it the biggest tax hike in American history. And most of your dimwitted right-wing friends believe it.

  3. doc: Speaking of Republicans you so admire, how’s your buddy Sunspots Johnson doing?

    The last I heard of him was when a GOP aide said Johnson was acting childishly among his Senate colleagues. “It’s kind of like watching a temper tantrum by a 2-year-old in the middle of the grocery store,” the guy said.

    Too bad. And you had such high hopes for Johnson. I think you even agreed with his goofy theories on global warming.

  4. expdoc

    Your comment is idiotic on it’s face.

    If “nobody is going to pay it” then how will it raise any revenue to defer the cost of expanded coverage?

    Similarly, does “nobody is going to pay it” mean that it applies to nobody or that the people it applies to will refuse to pay it because their is no penalty for non payment?

    You dimwitted liberals will believe anything.

  5. expdoc

    As far as Johnson, “acting childishly” amongst a group of “leaders” who haven’t can’t even lead, even if true, is probably a step up. At least his mixing up the good ole boys club. Compared to the absolute inactivity of the other, highly accomplished (not) Senator Kohl from Wisconsin, if he is even breathing it is for sure a step up.

  6. Where in my comment did I say that “nobody is going to pay for it”?

    I said “nobody I know” is going to pay the tax at issue in this argument. In other words, nobody I know doesn’t have health insurance.

    No wonder you’re a fan of Sunspots Johnson.

  7. expdoc

    Typical liberal.

    As long as it is other people’s money it is a great idea to appropriate for you own ill conceived plans.

  8. Let me see if I’ve got this right, doc. You don’t have any problem with everyone else having to pay more to cover the health-care costs of those who don’t have insurance and don’t have to pay a penalty for not having it. Is that right?

    And you’re going to vote for a guy whose health-care reform measure in Massachusetts was pretty much the same as the measure pushed by Obama. Is that right?

    And you’re buying into all the lies about this stuff from the Boehners and McConnells and the rest of their ilk. Is that right?

    And you always buy into Obamaphobic rhetoric because you’re a pathological Obamaphobe. Is that right?

    Incredible! Aren’t you even slightly embarrassed that you usually take the side of the least-educated, least-informed and most bigoted people in America? Doesn’t it bother you to find the racist, homophobic, anti-science, theocratic crowd on your side?

    I guess not.

  9. expdoc

    I always know I’ve trumped you when you bring out the you’re a racist, you’re a homophobe, you’re an idiot accusations.

    I am none of those things and you should know better Pat.

    All because I called you on a stupid comment you made.

    For such an old guy you are still a liberal baby.

    Be clear though, a baby, not a fetus. I wouldn’t want you to feel in jeopardy around your liberal friends.

  10. doc: When are you going to learn how to read.

    In this thread, you have misquoted me regarding the ObamaCare tax, and now you’re falsely accusing me of calling you a racist and homophobe.

    Read it again. I asked: “Doesn’t it bother you to find the racist, homophobic, anti-science, theocratic crowd on your side?”

    By “your side,” I meant, of course, the Obamaphobic side, which was the subject of the previous paragraph.

    Well, I’m done arguing with you on this stuff. It just isn’t fair. You come to the fight intellectually unarmed. I don’t have the heart to further humiliate you.

  11. expdoc

    I read your posts.

    I know how you work and I know what you mean.

    All I can think when I read your comments is “Wah-Wah”. Put the pacifier in your mouth, you’ll feel better in no time.

  12. Peter

    Doc, thanks for a wonderful demonstration of a great number of logical fallacies. I wish you could have been in my college debate class!

    Pat – thanks for playing. Have a fun and safe 4th.

  13. expdoc

    Oh, I’m sorry Peter, I just find that when conversing with Pat (or any other liberal for that matter) you have to use the same tactics that they use. It’s too bad you don’t want to use your superior debating skills to take part in the debate.

    Speaking of liberals, a well known liberal columnist penned this column recently and it reinforces a point that I have made to Pat over and over again. He is part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Friedman for the most part nails it.


    This is still a moderate, center-left/center-right country, and all you have to do is get out of Washington to discover how many people hunger for leaders who will take a risk, put the country’s interests before party and come together for rational compromises. Why do we all jump up and applaud at N.B.A. or N.F.L. games when they introduce wounded Iraq or Afghan war veterans in the stands? It’s because the U.S. military embodies everything we find missing today in our hyperpartisan public life. The military has become, as the Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel once put it, “the last repository of civic idealism and sacrifice for the sake of the common good.”

    Indeed, I found myself applauding for Chief Justice Roberts the same way I did for Al Gore when he gracefully bowed to the will of the Supreme Court in the 2000 election and the same way I do for those wounded warriors — and for the same reason: They each, in their own way, took one for the country.


    Listen to the broad reaction to Roberts. Look at the powerful wave he has unleashed for big, centrist, statesmanlike leadership. That all tells me that people are also hungry for a big plan from the president to fix the economy, one that will bite and challenge both parties at the scale we need, fairly share the burdens and won’t just be about “balancing the budget,” but about making America great again.

    The opportunity for such a plan is hiding in plain sight. America today is poised for a great renewal.

    Our newfound natural gas bounty can give us long-term access to cheap, cleaner energy and, combined with advances in robotics and software, is already bringing blue-collar manufacturing back to America. Web-enabled cellphones and tablets are creating vast new possibilities to bring high-quality, low-cost education to every community college and public school so people can afford to acquire the skills to learn 21st-century jobs. Cloud computing is giving anyone with a creative spark cheap, powerful tools to start a company with very little money. And dramatically low interest rates mean we can borrow to build new infrastructure — and make money.

    “We are at a transformational moment in terms of our potential as a country, and we have two candidates playing rope-a-dope,” said David Rothkopf, author of “Power, Inc.”

    If we can just get a few big things right today — a Simpson-Bowles-like grand bargain on spending and tax reform that unleashes entrepreneurship, a deal on immigration that allows the most energetic and smartest immigrants to enrich our country and a plan on energy that allows us to tap all these new sources in environmentally safe ways — no one could touch us as a country. Connect the dots for people, Mr. President — be the guy taking the risk to offer that big plan for American renewal, and Romney will never be able to touch you.

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