While there are plenty of Republicans licking wounds after this week's health care vote, none are suffering as much as Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor has
been taking flak left and right after Greg
posted a 2008 primary video of Mitt Romney coming within
syllables of endorsing a federal mandate on individual health-insurance.
Given the close similarities between ObamaCare and Romney's highly
touted RomneyCare package in Massachusetts, the former governor is
caught in the middle of the partisan crossfire as he plans his role in
the 2010 midterms. With Romney poised to take another shot at the White House in 2012,
pundits are wondering: does Romney have a ghost of a chance at winning the presidency?
- The Polls Say He's Rock Steady A National Journal
poll by Emily
Swanson gauging support in the 2012 Republican Presidential primary
shows Mitt Romney coming in first with 22%, followed closely by Sarah
Palin with 18% and Mike Huckabee with 17%. Meanwhile, a CQ-Roll
Call poll also puts Romney at the top of the heap, declaring that "a
plurality of Republicans favor former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as
the party's best bet to run against President Obama in 2012...Romney was
the choice of 42 percent of Republicans in the Clarus poll, putting him
ahead of other GOP politicians currently considering entering the race.
That was little changed from a Clarus poll in August, when Romney stood
at 38 percent...Obama leads Romney 45 percent to 41 percent with 14
percent undecided." A Hotline
On Call poll rounds out pro-Romney polling data, noting that
"Obama runs best against Palin, but worst against Romney." The Hotline
poll also affirms that "GOPers also see Romney as one of the party's top
spokespeople. When asked to name the party's major spokesperson, 14%
settled on Romney while 14% came up with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)."
Can Change By 2012 At the liberal American Prospect, Paul
Waldman shares his soft spot for the former governor and advises voters
not to count Romney out just yet:
Remember what a big deal
immigration was at the beginning of the 2008 primaries? Every Republican
candidate wanted to be the most anti-immigrant. And who had the weakest
claim to that title? John McCain ... after a couple of months of
huffing and puffing, the issue disappeared. ...
Something similar could happen
to Mitt in 2012. Lots of Republicans are already backing
away from talk of "repealing" the reform. And once a few of them
get burned for supporting repeal in 2010 ... the issue is not going to look
so black-and-white. There's no question it will be a topic of discussion
in 2012, but it could well be just one among many. And when Romney
looks over the potential field -- Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, etc. -- he
no doubt thinks, "I can whip these bozos."
- He's Got a Shot, But
Not With This GOP Jed
Lewison at Daily Kos think that the GOP's "litmus test" of
"absolute opposition to President Obama" will sink any chance of
Republican support for Romney. After pondering the video spotlighting
Romney's endorsement of an individual mandate, Lewison concludes that
"It doesn't matter that President Obama's plan was embracing an idea
that Romney had already implemented in Massachusetts. It doesn't matter
that President Obama didn't support the idea during the 2008 campaign.
The only thing that matters is that Romney publicly stated support for a
key part of President Obama's health care reform plan, and that simple
fact will wreck his presidential bid."
- He's Too Mired In
Controversy Now Politico's Ben
Smith calls health care reform "Romney's Iraq:"
reform appears to be, for the 2012 Republican primary field, what Iraq
was for the Democrats': A controversial executive decision that
candidates have no political choice but to oppose -- even as they try to
engage the details, and realize that the perceptions may change with
time. Romney understood this early enough to oppose this plan from the
start, but its passage is widening an open political wound, which is his
ownership of the similar Massachusetts plan, which was viewed as a
bipartisan model until all things related to expanding health care
access became toxic on the right.
- He's His Own Worst Enemy At the
Daily Beast, Matthew
Yglesias is sure that Romney would be the right choice for
GOPers...if he could only keep his mouth shut: "To get out of the
current repealer cul-de-sac, Republicans need a leader who’s capable of
framing the Obama’s core ideas as basically sensible. In a decent world,
that leader would be Romney. Instead, he’s busy embarrassing himself
and running away from his legacy."
- He Should Have Stuck To His
Principles The Boston Globe's Joan
Vennochi, based on her first-hand experience with Romney's Bay State politicking, doesn't think Romney could handle health
care reform as a campaign issue: "Romney fully comprehends the
complexities of access and cost control, but lacks the spine to address
them in a non-partisan way. Instead of explaining the Massachusetts
universal health care program, its strengths and weaknesses, Romney
walked away from it. He renounced the bipartisan role he once embraced."
+ HCR = Toast John
Marshall lays out the architecture of Romney's political demise in
simple terms: "If the Republicans want to make Obama's signature piece
of legislation a centerpiece of their 2012 campaign (and it's hard to
imagine they won't since what else will they run on?), they can't very
well run a candidate who supported and passed close to an identical
bill. It's a no-brainer."
- Quit While You're Behind "It's hard to
believe a man seeking national office could be so foolish," writes Steve
Benen, wondering how Romney could possibly believe that positioning
himself as the nation's leading critic of health care reform will help
his presidential aspirations:
On its face, Romney's
strategy is burdened by his record. ... But that's really just scratching the surface. Romney also
wants Republicans to know he thinks the new law is unconstitutional,
presumably because of the individual mandate. That's problematic, too.
For one thing, his own plan featured a mandate. Indeed, time and again,
Romney has characterized mandates as a conservative idea.
no one in modern political life has flip-flopped on more issues than
Mitt Romney. The man simply bears no resemblance to his previous
personas. But this reversal is just laughable -- the same man who
embraced health care mandates in his own proposal now believes health
care mandates are an unconstitutional abuse.
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