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“Repub­li­cans no longer talk about the virtues of gov­ern­ment so­cial pro­grams, es­pe­cially if they in­tend to run for pres­i­dent in a party that now con­sid­ers Medi­care the first cousin of so­cial­ism. Yet there was (Mitt) Rom­ney de­fend­ing a man­date to buy health in­surance as pas­sion­ately as in any sim­i­lar speech by Pres­i­dent Obama. When he was gov­er­nor of Mas­sachusetts, of course, Mr. Rom­ney cre­ated a health­care sys­tem very sim­i­lar to the one cham­pi­oned by the pres­i­dent. He could have walked away from it, as he did in the 2008 pres­i­den­tial race, or feck­lessly repu­di­ated it. ... Where he went off the rails, how­ever, was in not ac­knowl­edg­ing that that same logic ap­plies to the nation. Mr. Rom­ney tried des­per­ately to pivot from prais­ing his hand­i­work in Mas­sachusetts to trash­ing the very same idea as adapted by Mr. Obama. … In its blind ab­hor­rence of Pres­i­dent Obama, the party has also left be­hind for­mer cen­trists like Mr. Rom­ney, and it is un­likely that any amount of fran­tic pan­der­ing about the free mar­ket will change that. He is trapped not only be­tween the poles of his party but be­tween eras, a can­di­date caught in an elec­toral time warp.”

—NewYorkTimes “In the name of per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity, Mr. Rom­ney also in­tro­duced the in­di­vid­ual man­date, first in the nation, re­quir­ing ev­ery­one to buy cov­er­age or else pay a penalty. Free rid­ers, he said, trans­ferred their own costs to oth­ers, ei­ther through higher pre­mi­ums or taxes. This is the same ar­gu­ment the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is now us­ing to jus­tify the co­er­cion of the in­di­vid­ual man­date in the fed­eral courts. Be­cause the states have po­lice pow­ers un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion, Mr. Rom­ney’s plan posed no legal prob­lems. His blun­der was his phi­los­o­phy of gov­ern­ment. … In re­al­ity, his os­ten­si­ble lib­eral al­lies like the late Ted Kennedy saw an open­ing to ad­vance their own pri­or­i­ties, and in Mr. Rom­ney they took ad­van­tage of a politi­cian who still doesn’t seem to un­der­stand how gov­ern­ment works. … More im­me­di­ately for his Repub­li­can can­di­dacy, the de­bate over Oba­macare and the larger en­ti­tle­ment state may be the cen­tral ques­tion of the 2012 elec­tion. On that ques­tion, Mr. Rom­ney is com­pro­mised and not cred­i­ble. If he does not change his mes­sage, he might as well try to knock off Joe Biden and get on the Obama ticket.”

—Wal­lStreetJour­nal

“His blun­der was his phi­los­o­phy of gov­ern­ment.”

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