On the one hand, there’s no candidate in the field who wouldn’t say the same thing. Barring a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, which is impossible for the GOP this go-round, to get any contentious legislation passed you’ll have to make a deal with the left.
On the other hand, if there’s anyone in the field who shouldn’t be reminding primary voters of his flexibility, it’s you-know-who.
Does this guy really not understand that the big worry about him isn’t that he’ll be too ideological to make a deal with Democrats, but rather that he’ll be so squishy that he’ll be easily rolled? Maybe this is part of his new “I’m a centrist and I’m stickin’ to it” authenticity push? Or maybe he’s worried about Huntsman outflanking him in New Hampshire with his own ostentatious “civility” messaging. If there’s any state where Romney can get away with a bit of extra bipartisan maverickiness, it’s New Hampshire.
Collaboration in Massachusetts was possible, Romney told business leaders in Salem, because he didn’t attack lawmakers from the other party as “a bunch of Neanderthals.”…
“I worked with [former Massachusetts Sen.] Ted Kennedy, for Pete’s sakes,” Romney said in Concord, noting that they disagreed on “almost everything.”
One issue that Kennedy and Romney worked closely on was legislation expanding healthcare coverage in Massachusetts. He recalled, to laughter, that at the ceremonial signing of the Massachusetts healthcare law, the Democrat had joked that when he and Romney agreed on a piece of legislation “it proves only one thing – one of us didn’t read it.”
“The truth was we had both read it and we’d found some common ground,” Romney said, “and I think that has to happen in Washington.”
Common ground with Ted Kennedy on RomneyCare: A winning primary message if I’ve ever heard one. And not the first time he’s pushed that talking point while on the trail, either. But consider this a reminder that his strategy for the primaries is basically to act as if there are no primaries. He’s the frontrunner and the self-styled de facto nominee until someone starts threatening him in the New Hampshire polls, so for the next six months the only candidate he’s likely to attack is Obama. Even after Pawlenty starts hammering him, he’ll do his best to ignore him lest an all-out war end up inadvertently elevating T-Paw in the process. Going to be a dull campaign among the centrist candidates, at least until Pawlenty starts to get traction.