Rick Perry is apparently amping up his attacks on the health reform Mitt Romney passed in Massachusetts, explaining that "the model for socialized medicine has been tried before … whether it was in western Europe or in Massachusetts." This is, of course, complete nonsense, as Trudy Lieberman of the Columbia Journalism Review tries to explain. It isn't like we haven't heard this before, but since Perry and Romney are running for president, maybe reporters could demand some clarification from the Texas governor.
I'm pretty sure that if you asked Rick Perry to explain what "socialized medicine" is, he couldn't tell you, beyond "Government tellin' you what to do." But should a presidential candidate have to understand the difference between an actual socialized system (as in Great Britain), a full single-payer system (as in Canada), a single-payer-plus-private supplemental system (as in France), a heavily regulated mandated private coverage system (as in Germany), and the system we'll have here in America when the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented?
Yeah, I think he should. That is, if one of his key campaign promises is to repeal the ACA because he thinks it's too governmenty and replace it with something to be named later. A president doesn't have to be a wonk on every subject imaginable, but he should be up to speed on the topics he himself decides are really important. And repealing the ACA is one of Perry's key promises. Who knows, maybe he'll drop it if he becomes the nominee and has to appeal to people who don't think Barack Obama has a secret plan to locate Leon Trotsky's corpse, reanimate it, and install the horrifying undead monster as secretary of health and human services in his second term. But for the moment, it wouldn't hurt if he could demonstrate that he had a clue what he was talking about.