If the Republican Presidential Primary were held today, Mitt Romney would probably be the nominee. But this may be the high water mark for Mitt Romney after yesterday's speech at the University of Michigan in which he gave a full throated defense of Romneycare.
In fact, in his Power Point presentation on slide 7, Mitt Romney defends the individual mandate as okay at the state level, but not at the federal level. That nuance may be constitutionally sound, but it sounds very much like Romney defending European socialized medicine at the state level.
A lot of people have waited on the sidelines hoping Romney would distance himself from Romneycare or apologize for it as Pawlenty has done with his global warming nonsense. Instead, Romney embraced his record.
It is reassuring to see a candidate proud of his record -- but being proud of destroying the Massachusetts healthcare system is nothing to be proud of. Thanks to Romneycare, the Massachusetts government is imposing price controls on hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers. They are doing everything conservatives have feared would happen under Obamacare.
The Democrats continue to point out that Obamacare derives from Romneycare. As the Wall Street Journal scornfully notes today
F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote that "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." If we may judge by his health-care speech at the University of Michigan yesterday, Mitt Romney is a very smart man.
The likely Republican Presidential candidate fulfilled the White House's fondest wishes, defending the mandate-subsidize-overregulate program he enacted as Massachusetts Governor in 2006 even as he denounced President Obama's national reprise. He then proposed his own U.S. reform that is sensible and might do so some actual good, but which also runs against the other two plans. These are unbridgeable policy and philosophical differences, though Mr. Romney is nonetheless trying to leap over them like Evel Knievel heading for the Snake River Canyon.
This will not help Mitt Romney moving forward.