Thursday, April 13, 2006

Romney's Nightmare Before Christmas

Aaron at Massdemocracy thinks Mitt Romney just got his Christmas present. Lynne at Left in Lowell certainly was worried about it. Heck, I was terrified of this prospect for a few days too. Did Massachusetts Democrats just hand Mitt Romney the White House?

Here's what Aaron had to say:

I don't know what Dimasi and Traviligni stand to gain from a Mitt Romney presidency, but they handed him an early Christmas present with that photo-op yesterday.
Lynne added:

Flawed as the new health care reform bill is, as much as it doesn'tÂ’t address cost reduction or other major issues, Governor Romney should not get to put this feather in his cap.... Democrats, don't attend the signing ceremony.

The truth is, Aaron, Dimasi and Trav would stand to gain nothing. That's precisely why they should have taken the photo-op opportunity with Governor Mitt Romney. Just read this:

The editorial page of the [Wall Street] Journal said the plan ''is a recipe for higher taxes and more government intervention down the road."
We think the individual mandate itself is an unprecedented level of interference with individual choice and decision-making. ~Michael Tanner, Director of Health and Welfare Studies at the Cato Institute.
Still don't agree with me? Picture this: It's the Republican Primary. George Allen, Bill Frist and John McCain are duking it out with Mitt Romney in Iowa, South Carolina and potentially a few dozen other states. McCain won New Hampshire with almost 50% of the vote in 2000; he's going to win it again.

The other candidates will go in heavy in Iowa. Mitt Romney boasts his health care bill. What does everyone else do? Sit back and whine as they bow out to Romney and McCain? I don't think so.

Cue to the commercial. Mitt Romney is standing next to a half dozen other Democrats in Boston, Massachusetts - Liberal Mecca of Starbucks drinking, (gay) elitists everywhere. He's signing a bill that will cost hundreds of million of dollars, written by Democrats. He's smiling, talking with those liberal democrats and acting just like one of them.

Bill Frist's voice narrates, "I've spent my entire life in the health care industry. I am a medical doctor. I know exactly what is going wrong in this country and I know how to fix it. Mitt Romney thinks he knew how to fix it too, he doesn't think Americans deserve the choice to decide their health care. Under his proposal, tens of thousands of people from Massachusetts are forced to pay a new tax and aren't given the choice to decide what's right for their own bodies. My name is Bill Frist and I'll never force a bigger government on you to decide how you should take care of yourself." End commercial.

Romney can very well use this bill to help win the Presidency, but it will hurt him just as much as it'll help him, if not more so, during the primary. A nice photo-op with real Massachusetts Liberals will only hurt him more. Republican primary voters don't want bipartisan efforts, they want to win. They don't care that he worked with democrats to get this bill, that will only make it worse. Seeing pictures of him with liberal elitists in gay ol' Massachusetts won't help Mitt Romney win the primary. I don't even think Romney foresaw the backlash this has generated.

I'm going to end this by quoting part of my comment on Aaron's blog, it's highly relevant and really sums up my point well:
Mitt Romney just forced individuals in Massachusetts to buy into health insurance whether they like it or not. Some people will be paying thousands of dollars because of that... while I support the legislation, will Republican primary voters still support it, knowing that? Despite all Romney's effort to become Mr. Conservative, he's going to getlabeledd a Massachusetts Liberal anyway - thanks to this bill.

Republican primary challengers will be too smart not to use this ammunition.


Joe Schlieff said...

The problem McCain had in 2000 was his maverick tendancies aliented his base. For a candidate to win anything, he has to have a solid base of core supporters. Romney could very well spell his own disaster by alienting the small government base of supporters that helped Bush win in 2000.

The people who are impressed with big government healthcare aren't going to be voting for Romney anyways, so I see this as a lose-lose move in his presidential swing.

Ryan Adams said...

I think it can help pull some swing votes if Romney makes it to the general election, but like I said on my blog... I think this can become a big loser for Romney during the primary. You're definately right about that.

As far as McCain, I'm convinced the biggest cause of his loss was the fact that Bush got such a huge jump start - both in financing and in actual campaigning and gathering of support. However, we could debate that back and forth all day and it's completely moot because he lost.

Aaron said...

Ryan, my only issue here is that we're saying closer to the same thing than I feel your posting suggests. I acknowledged the fact that this will hurt him in the primaries, but help in the general if he gets there. Also, being associated with a bunch of Massachusetts liberals is something he would have had to deal with anyway, it is not a "new" burden on him as a result of the signing. Granted, the photo-op is a singular moment that can be used in an attack-ad as you pointed out, but having to shed the Massachusetts-liberal image was already an issue for him before Wednesday.

About Ryan's Take