There is another reason that Romney didn’t generate more criticism among conservatives for his health care plan in 2008 — most of the attention in the Republican primaries was on national security, social issues, taxes and immigration, because they were seen as more pressing at the time. And unfortunately, health care was viewed as a liberal issue, and conservative voters weren’t overly concerned with the candidates’ stances. So, during Romney’s typical campaign stump speech, he’d talk about how he’s an economic, social issues, and national security conservative; blast other candidates for being insufficiently conservative; talk about his management/economic expertise; and then, maybe, have a throwaway line like, “In Massachusetts, we found a way to insure everybody with a free market approach…” And a lot of people who didn’t take time to study the details of his plan, gave him the benefit of the doubt. Others argued that he did the best he could in liberal Massachusetts. But what happened in 2009 was that conservatives became a lot more interested in health care policy, and a lot more aware of what Obama was proposing and how closely it resembled what Romney did in Massachusetts. And so that’s why he’s facing a lot more grief for it than he did in 2008. That said, he could still win the nomination in 2012 in a weak field — as McCain did in 2008 in spite of immigration, campaign finance reform, voting against the Bush tax cuts, and a number of other deviations from conservatism.