The moment of truth has come and gone but the horrified real-time reaction in the conservative twittersphere echoes on. These nuggets from Philip Klein, Jonah Goldberg, and Mollie Hemingway will give you a taste; liberal Ezra Klein came closest to capturing the spirit of the thing while our old pal KP wondered whether Mitt’s ever actually met a Republican primary voter. I’m not surprised that he doubled down, though. Read this post from two days ago about the particular pitfall to Romney in apologizing. Pawlenty can afford to eat crow and say he’s sorry about cap and trade because his conservative record is otherwise solid; not so for Romney, who’ll forever be haunted by the seeming opportunism of his reversal on abortion before the last campaign and his transformation from social-con warrior to an economy-minded technocrat before this one. He won’t be able to hide from RomneyCare even if he begs for forgiveness, so why bother? Better to stand firm and at least try to undo the perception that he’ll say anything to get elected. Chris Cillizza:
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney used a speech on health care today in Michigan to send a broader message about his commitment to authenticity in the 2012 presidential race…
But, it wasn’t just the words Romney used that aimed to push the authenticity narrative.
He spoke without a prepared script and without a TelePrompter, choosing instead to use a PowerPoint presentation to make his case. He wore no tie. He was accompanied to the speech by just three staffers.
The entire presentation screamed openness, pushing the idea that Romney is someone willing to be transparent about what he believes and why he believes it.
No one would have believed him had he apologized so there was no sense in doing it. On the contrary, if I were advising him, I’d tell him to go on the attack and make his opponents be as specific as possible in what they’d do differently. The more he can discredit their plans as unworkable, the more he can reframe RomneyCare as the best choice from a very bad set of health-care policy options. In fact, if he’s feeling extra cheeky, he could use the public’s ruinous love affair with Medicare to his advantage. Under RomneyCare, the state forces you to buy a product from a third party; under Medicare, the state forces you to buy the same product from the state. It simply calls it a tax instead of a mandate, and instead of granting you coverage immediately, it shafts you until you’re 65. Do Pawlenty, Gingrich, et al. also oppose the “mandated” premiums known as FICA? I’m not sure Romney wants to go the Mediscare route since it’ll make fiscal cons even angrier at him than they are now, but if he gets desperate enough, look out. Click the image to watch.