Mitt Romney did himself no favors in his heavily-promoted healthcare speech to a hand-picked audience that wouldn’t ask him any tough questions. Jennifer Rubin sums it up:
It was really two speeches. The first was a defense of RomneyCare. But it was one that will only deepen conservative criticism. Romney proudly defended his plan and the individual mandate that is now the object of the entire Republican Party’s ire. His explanation — mandates were designed to stop the free-rider problem — is exactly the justification for the same feature in ObamaCare. The mandate, conservatives believe, is an infringement on individual freedom.
So, Romney defended the most controversial aspect of health care reform, the the part conservatives hate the most.
The second part of the speech was a long discourse on what Romney would do for the country. Guess what? He says that it would be “different” than what he did in Massachusetts. He ran through a number of conservative ideas that have shown up in other plans ( purchase insurance across state lines, equal tax treatment for individual and employer-provided insurance, etc.) But, of course, the takeaway is he didn’t choose such a plan for his own state.
Not only that, but Romney touted his Massachusetts plan in the past as a model for what should happen on the federal level.
“I think there are a number of features in the Massachusetts plan that could inform Washington on ways to improve health care for all Americans,” Romney told CNN. “The fact that we were able to get people insured without a government option is a model I think they can learn from.”
Romney comes off as politically tone deaf. Conservatives aren’t going to buy what he’s selling.