Newt Gingrich, supporter of 'tyranny' (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

As Mitt Romney defends himself from conservative critics of his past support for the individual health care mandate, it's worth noting that Romney isn't the only one with a problem: Newt Gingrich has supported them too. Sam Stein:
In a June 2007 op-ed in the Des Moines Register, Gingrich wrote, "Personal responsibility extends to the purchase of health insurance. Citizens should not be able to cheat their neighbors by not buying insurance, particularly when they can afford it, and expect others to pay for their care when they need it." An "individual mandate," he added, should be applied "when the larger health-care system has been fundamentally changed."

And in several of his many policy and politics-focused books, Gingrich offered much the same.

In 2008's "Real Change," he wrote, "Finally, we should insist that everyone above a certain level buy coverage (or, if they are opposed to insurance, post a bond). Meanwhile, we should provide tax credits or subsidize private insurance for the poor."

In 2005's "Winning the Future," he expanded on the idea in more detail: "You have the right to be part of the lowest-cost insurance pool and you have a responsibility to buy insurance. ... We need some significant changes to ensure that every American is insured, but we should make it clear that a 21st Century Intelligent System requires everyone to participate in the insurance system."

Not surprisingly, Gingrich's campaign refused to comment about Stein's article, but if the media or his fellow candidates keep the issue alive and force Gingrich to respond, he will no doubt claim that he supported allowing people to post bonds to cover their care instead of health insurance, but that that's just a fancy way of describing self-insurance, and it would only be an option for people with enough resources to self-insure.

The bottom-line is he supported a federal mandate to require people to either purchase health insurance or set aside enough money to cover any potential health care expenses. And according to the conservative world view, doesn't that make Newt Gingrich a support of tyranny?

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