While Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refuses to acknowledge that Republicans plan to campaign on a platform of repealing health reform, several GOP candidates have already begun questioning the constitutionality of the pending legislation. For instance, at least 8 of the 13 attorneys general challenging the the so-called Nebraska Compromise are running for re-election or aspiring to a higher office. Most recently, Jane Norton — a former Lt. Governor who is running to unseat Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) — endorsed Colorado Attorney General’s John Suthers’ efforts to invalidate reform and announced her opposition to the individual mandate:
One of the constitutional things, thank God we have an Attorney General, John Suthers, who is banning with 13 other Attorneys General to say, let’s look at this so-called health reform bill. Because I do not personally think that the individual mandate is constitutional. Nor do I think giving sweetheart deals to other states at the expense of other states is constitutional. So we have to just keep the pressure up and make sure that we are encouraging like-minded folks.
If support for dismantling health care reform will become a litmus test for conservative candidates, Norton — who served as a liaison on health insurance reform for the Governor’s office — may be in for an embarrassing campaign. In 2007, Norton appeared to endorse Selvoy M. Fillerup’s Chronic Condition: Critical Care for America’s Collapsing Healthcare System, a health care book that promoted the individual mandate. “Initially, government must mandate that everyone will be insured,” Fillerup writes on page 147, explaining that the mandate is part of several “fundamentals” of reform. On the book’s back cover — a spot usually reserved for endorsements — Norton is quoted as saying, “You…have challenged our thinking.”
Last Sunday, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich predicted that “every Republican running in ‘10 and again in ‘12 will run on an absolute pledge to repeal this bill.” “I think it’ll be a major campaign theme,” he said.