Still, conservatives might be more favorably disposed if they understood the part Romney played in warding off various schemes feared by business. After an Urban Institute study recommended an individual mandate, Romney made that the core of his plan. That was a way of sidestepping the approach many Democrats favored: a payroll tax of 5 to 7 percent on businesses that did not offer health coverage. That idea, the subject of a planned ballot question, became the preferred approach of then-House speaker Sal DiMasi. Businesses worried, and with good reason, about the costs such a plan would impose…

All in all, then, the role Romney played was of a governor sensitive to business concerns and worried about the state’s business climate. Now, conservatives have come to view that individual mandate as an intolerable imposition on personal liberty, rather than an insistence on personal responsibility. In no small part that’s because such a mandate also plays a central role in Obama’s health care plan. But if they weren’t hyperventilating about the national law, they might come to recognize that the role Romney played on the state level was skillful, creative, and business-friendly.