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Romney’s Message Problem

March 1, 2011

Mitt Romney is running for President. Now for those who haven’t been living under a rock this isn’t a shock to you as Romney has been not so subtly running for the past several months, if not the past year. To make it not only past the primary, but into the top seat Romney must do what no other GOP candidate has to—fight against his own record. I’m not referring to his penchant for flip-flopping or even his relationship with players who have long since lost favor in his party, I’m referring to something much closer to home—well at least my home—Massachusetts and the state’s institutional memory.

Unlike every other potential Republican candidate vying for the Presidency in 2012 Romney can not fully discredit Health Care Reform or ObamaCare as it’s been dubbed by Congressional Republicans. There’s a simple reason for this, during his tenure as Governor of the Commonwealth Romney advocated for and generally sold the idea of Massachusetts’ public/private health care reform act to residents. His plan, hereby referred to as RomneyCare, is the basis on which national health care reform was built. Without Romney, President Obama’s health care reform might have been radically different.

In a year when the soundbite Republican candidates will most likely use is health care reform is killing America Romney not only has to defend himself against GOP attacks on the matter, but from the lefts ‘appreciate comments’. In an act of ‘killing him softly’ everyone from the Massachusetts delegation –with the pointed exception of Sen Scott Brown– will most likely be ‘celebrating’ the one thing about Romney’s governorship that they actually agree with.

It’s already begun happening. During an interview with the National Journal this past week Governor Patrick praised Romney’s work on the 2006 reform. Later the President did the same saying,  “I agree with Mitt Romney, who recently said he’s proud of what he accomplished on health care in Massachusetts and supports giving states the power to determine their own health care solutions”.

Republican contenders have taken a harder line. Last week the Globe reported, Mike Huckabee another 2012 candidate commenting, “It could be argued that if RomneyCare were a patient, the prognosis would be dismal,” in his new book, A Simple Government.

Like a lawyer in a courtroom brief Romney can’t ignore facts that he doesn’t care for. To make it past the primary the former Governor is going to have to address his role in the system in which his party is now decrying. I’m just not sure if an alternate narrative will catch fire in the public consciousness.

Read more about Romney’s potential campaign problem in the Boston Globe and the National Journal.

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