The primaries ended long ago. For the public, Obamacare is not Issue 1, or 2, or even 3. (Those are, respectively: jobs, corruption, and the deficit.) If anything, many features of Obamacare are highly popular. It seems silly to let the party base drive a national campaign into places that are bad politics, bad policy, and untrue to the party nominee’s own biography.
Instead of allowing opposition to Obamacare to entrap Romney into repudiating his own healthcare record altogether, he should explain to a national audience what the Republican primary electorate did not want to hear: that Obamacare is flawed because it pays for itself with an especially destructive set of tax increases, because it expands Medicaid too much rather than relying on private insurance, and because it does not include enough cost-saving. The goal of broader coverage, however, Republicans do not have to repudiate. They can embrace it, and they can prove their sincerity with the record of their nominee.