Ever Wonder What Mitt Romney's Been Up To Lately?
Mitt Romney considers himself the Republican Party's only plausible candidate for president in 2012, the only one even vaguely still attached to something recognizable as "mainstream." He's certainly the establishment candidate, at least so far. (And in Republicanland being the Establishment candidate, generally means being the candidate.) Yesterday's Hill reported that he was kissing up to his old rivals at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference in Michigan. He praised Giuliani and will benefit from a fundraising dinner McCain is throwing for him.
Romney... is entering the race as the runner-up from the previous cycle and as a candidate who has modified his previous formula to match the winning formula that characterizes contemporary Republican nominees. The vocally socially conservative, understated economist that was Romney ‘08 was the inverse of a successful Republican nominee, but now that Romney has righted his ship, he appears to be on the same path that took two Bushes, a Dole, and a McCain to the nomination.
On the other hand, Romney is seen as one of the political losers in terms of the health care debate. Massachusetts' health care system is a template for some Democrats, despite the fact that it isn't exactly wildly popular among Bay State voters (a recent poll showed only 26% think it's successful) and a red flag in the eyes of the GOP right flank.
Three years ago, Romney was heralded for his innovative effort to institute near-universal health care in his state. But now that the issue has emerged as a partisan fault line and the Massachusetts plan has provided some guidance for Democratic reform efforts, Romney finds himself bruised and on the defensive as the GOP rallies around opposition to President Barack Obama’s plans.
When Romney came to Washington last week to speak to social conservative activists at the annual Value Voters Summit, his potential 2012 GOP rivals chewed him up in front of the same audience over his Massachusetts legacy.
Before he took the stage to criticize the president’s approach to foreign policy and the economy, the former governor was dinged by one of his opponents for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.
“It’s going to bankrupt their entire budget,” former Arkansas GOP Gov. Mike Huckabee said of Romney’s health care program in his address to the summit. “The only thing inexpensive about the Massachusetts health care bill is that there you can get a $50 abortion.”
...Conservative attacks on his program have forced Romney to defend his once lauded achievement and to cede leadership to others in the party on one of his strongest policy areas... Romney’s status as the only governor in the country to have successfully negotiated for near-universal health care may have been an asset in 2008, said one top Republican strategist, but at the moment the issue stands to limit his appeal to GOP voters in the run-up to the next presidential election.
Romney hopes to get Republicans to stop thinking about him as the Republican who brought "socialized medicine" to Massachusetts by attacking Obama on foreign policy. Problem with that is that he has no cohesive vision on foreign policy that goes beyond hollow talking points and he's waiting to see which bandwagon looks like the best one for him to jump on. And if he fails again, maybe, like Mother Jones suggested last week, he can become Olympics Czar.