Mitt Romney is this cycle’s Hillary Clinton because health care is this cycle’s Iraq. Like Clinton, Romney is competent and polished and has a powerful political machine. But his inability to draw a sharp contrast with a hated president on the issue that makes his party hate that president most is sucking the passion from his campaign…

When they look back at the 2012 Republican presidential contest, pundits may well conclude that Romney, like Hillary Clinton in 2008, was too clever by half. Thinking that Republicans wanted a candidate who could appeal to Democrats, Romney took a series of centrist and even liberal positions that helped him become governor of a blue state. Now those positions are coming back to haunt him as Republican activists demand a candidate of unbending right-wing convictions. Whether the American people actually share those convictions doesn’t particularly matter. What matters is that they are not shared by the president of the United States.