Conservatives to Romney: It’s time to apologize for RomneyCare
posted at 9:23 pm on October 5, 2010 by Allahpundit
C’mon. Would it do any good at all?
“I guarantee that, at the top of everyone’s list on how to differentiate your guy from Mitt Romney, the top of the list is health care — until and unless he takes the opportunity to say, ‘We tried, and it didn’t work. The individual mandate at the heart of Obamacare and Romneycare was wrong,’” said Bill Pascoe, a Republican strategist who wrote a post on his blog earlier this year titled “Say Goodbye to Mitt.”…
An apology from Romney, or even an acknowledgement that the Massachusetts law has faults, could play into the knock against him in 2008, that he shifts his positions for political expediency. Back then, he struggled to convince conservative voters that his personal evolution on abortion and gay marriage was genuine…
“Given what has happened on the federal level with Obamacare, and the intensity of concern and anger that the health care law caused, it draws attention to what happened in Massachusetts — and the failure in Massachusetts is going to be a huge hurdle to get over to win the support of conservatives,” said Penny Nance, chief executive officer of Concerned Women for America. “To get over that hurdle, he needs to acknowledge that failure.”…
Romney could get a break, if public opinion on the law ticks upward, as Democrats once said it would, and if independent voters begin to view it as a positive.
He could get a break in the general election if that happens, not in the GOP primary, and he’d be on thin ice with the base even after winning the nomination if he said anything warm and fuzzy about the individual mandate. Look, I’m not going to belabor this; I’ve written this post before. The question boils down to a cost/benefit analysis: Will any Republican voters who loathe RomneyCare respect Mitt any more if he acknowledges that some or all of it was a bad idea? Won’t the admission of error on a matter that significant ruin him among some Republicans who might otherwise give him a chance? Remember, Romney’s target constituency in the primary won’t be the right, it’ll be the center and center-right, and they might be willing to hear him out on why ObamaCare is bad and RomneyCare is good-ish. He knows the details of Massachusetts’s law better than 99 percent of them will, so if he tells them it’s doing better than they’d think, many of them will believe him. If he says it was all a big mistake, though, then suddenly his judgment as a potential president is in question among those voters and his support among his own purported base will start to crumble.
It’ll kill him among the right too, I think, even though he’d be admitting that they were right and he was wrong. Conservatives are forever vigilant for shows of weakness among presidents (or would-be presidents), which is how you get op-eds like this one from Larry Kudlow critiquing Obama for hugging Rahm Emanuel. If, after standing behind RomneyCare for years, Mitt suddenly confessed on the eve of running for president that his signature legislation as governor was a bust, it’d be perceived as both a naked pander and an expression of weakness at a tough moment — a double whammy. He’s better off sticking to his guns and taking his chances next year. Exit question: Right or wrong? Seriously, how many of our resident Mitt-haters would give him a second look if he apologized? Is there even one person?