The first rule of politics: get elected
An obvious corollary to that rule: remember who your voters are
In the last couple of weeks the leading Republican presidential candidates have been falling over each other trying to bash the National Health Service. Rudoplh Giuliani, himself a cancer survivor, has used the NHS as a cautionary tale – his chances of recovery from prostate cancer would have been far worse (according to his incorrect figures) if he’d been treated on the NHS.
Mitt Romney has also been in on the act – promising not to let the US become a ‘second tier nation’ like the UK and singling out the NHS for special mention.
European ‘socialized medicine’ is the bogeyman – but Hillary Clinton is the real target.
Healthcare is an enormously important issue in this election – and imagine if Clinton and Romney become the nominees: Clinton famously had her fingers burnt by healthcare in 1993, while Romney was the first Governor to pass universal healthcare in Massachusetts in 2006 (How Romney is addressing healthcare in this campaign is an interesting topic for another post).
But why the NHS? Whatever happened to the ‘special relationship’? Don’t they care if they hurt our feelings?
No. Brits don’t vote in US elections – our crumbling welfare state is fair game if you can use it to get at your opponent. But it’s interesting nonetheless. Granted, their broad-brush approach is hardly much of a debate (or even very accurate) – but how often is overseas domestic policy such a hot topic in American presidential elections?