Rupert Murdoch says this about the Romney campaign:
“Tough O Chicago pros will be hard to beat unless he [Romney] drops old friends from team and hires some real pros. Doubtful….Of course I want him [Romney] to win, save us from socialism, etc.”
Murdoch’s observation was apparently confirmed today. A Romney spokesperson said that Romney:
agreed with the dissent, which was written by Justice Scalia, and the dissent clearly stated that the mandate was not a tax….The governor believes that what we put in place in Massachusetts was a penalty, and he disagrees with the Court’s ruling that the mandate was a tax.
At least, this shows that the Romney team did not successfully coordinate with congressional leaders on messaging, which seems like a pretty large oversight. As to which “tax” message would be most appropriate, perhaps the Romney campaign could simply say that ObamaCare is awful whether you call the federal individual requirement a tax or a penalty or both. And Romney could say that his preferred terms are ripoff and boondoggle.
Moreover, the recent SCOTUS decision (like the dissent which Justice Kennedy also helped to write) did not remotely imply or suggest that the Massachusetts requirement is better characterized as a tax instead of a penalty. The Romney team needs to speak in a way that turns lemons into lemonade, and that emphasizes the positive, without digging holes, and enflaming controversy.