Olens Prescribes Romney as Cure for Obamacare
Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens got exactly six minutes in the national spotlight Wednesday night.
The Cobb County resident and highest-ranking Jew elected to a partisan statewide office in Georgia joined Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in attacking President Barack Obama’s health care law during “We Can Change It” night at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
It was a tag-team performance from 8:28 to 8:34 p.m. for Olens and Bondi, who alternated between reading a few lines from a TelePrompTer and nodding while the other attorney general spoke.
Olens and Bondi had a tough spot, speaking after Sen. John McCain’s rousing speech about America’s crucial role in the world and after a video tribute to the U.S.-Israel relationship as a “force for good in the world” and before scheduled appearances by politicians used to being on the national stage, including Condoleezza Rice and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
Although the Bondi-Olens speech had the feel of an under-rehearsed, no-chemistry Oscars presentation without the jokes, Olens never looked comfortable and never smiled on the big stage, which is a shame because he’s usually an engaging, energized and energizing speaker.
Still, the message of the attorneys general was simple and direct: Obamacare is bad, and the American people must elect Mitt Romney to undo it.
“We have been on the front line defending the Constitution and the American people from a president driven to exert government power over our freedom and rights,” Olens said, adding, “Obama clearly believes those rights just get in his way, so he ignores them, time and again.”
Olens gave his strongest nod of agreement later when Bondi said those rights are a gift from God, not from the government.
He and Bondi explained that they won their two main arguments in the Obamacare lawsuit before the Supreme Court—the Commerce Clause does not allow the individual mandate to buy health insurance, and the federal government may not force states to buy into a massive expansion of Medicaid—but the law survived because the 5-4 court majority found that the mandate is actually a tax even though, Olens said, Obama and congressional Democrats “promised us that the mandate was not a tax.”
“They knew that if the American public were told that Obamacare was just a massive tax hike, they wouldn’t have a prayer of passing it,” Olens added.
The interactive portion of the presentation involved Olens and Bondi taking turns asking the crowd “Do you want?” questions and the crowd shouting, “No!”
• “Do you want enormous new financial burdens on young people who already shoulder our nation’s crushing debt?”
• “Do you want over $1 trillion in new tax increases?”
• “Do you want a federal government that tells you what to do, what to think or what to buy when it comes to your health care?”
• “Do you want more of this for four more years?”
Olens closed with an argument that the health care case should be a wake-up call for people to stand up for individual liberty at the ballot box this fall.
It’s not the Supreme Court’s job, he said, “to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”
“It’s our job,” Bondi added.