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Window to Washington

An inside-the-beltway look at the legislative and regulatory process.
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By Jessica Zigmond and Rich Daly

Over the top and into the political woods

By Jessica Zigmond
12:45 pm, Mar. 7

For nearly a year now, Democrats have repeated a phrase ad nauseam to describe their take on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's plan to privatize the Medicare program. “It's the end of Medicare as we know it,” they've said. After listening to some remarks that GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum gave last night, I wonder if he might steal that phrase and make it his own.

It's no surprise that the former Republican senator from Pennsylvania—who picked up primary and caucus wins in Oklahoma, North Dakota and Tennessee yesterday—is an ardent opponent of 2010's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But comments last night at a high school in Steubenville, Ohio, showed just much Santorum detests the 2010 law. It was largely the reason he entered the race, Santorum said, because he sees the Affordable Care Act as the issue that “breaks the camel's back” with respect to liberty in the U.S.

“Now, every single American will be looking to the federal government—not to their neighbor, not to their church, not to their business or to their employer, or to the community or nonprofit organization in their community—will be looking always to those in charge, to those who now say to you that they are the allocator and creator of rights in America,” Santorum told his supporters, referring to the law. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the beginning of the end of freedom in America,” he continued. “Once the government has control of your life, then they got you.”

It was that second-to-last sentence that got me thinking of a slogan for Santorum that mirrors the Democrats' mantra for Ryan's premium-support plan. Something easy, like: “Obamacare: The end of freedom as we know it.”

That would level the playing field a bit, giving voters the opportunity to decide which over-the-top healthcare slogan they will support come Nov. 6.

Follow Jessica Zigmond on Twitter @MHJZigmond.

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