Mitt Romney has been distancing himself from the universal health-insurance plan he pushed through as governor of Massachusetts, hoping to woo conservatives who hate President Obama's similar national reform law. Suddenly, though, Team Romney appears to be tentatively embracing what Dems call "RomneyCare." Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul this week claimed the Massachusetts law that would have saved a family, featured in a pro-Obama ad, that lost health insurance. And Romney himself is saying that his experience with health-care reform qualifies him to create a better alternative to ObamaCare. Why is Romney touting his record on health care now? Here, three theories:
1. Romney has nothing to lose — and plenty to gain — by embracing "RomneyCare" now
This is a little risky, independent pollster Brad Coker tells The Washington Post, but it could "help blunt the 'Romney wants to take away your health care' argument.'" The GOP theory that conservatives won't show up in November if Romney doesn't disavow his health-care law "is a canard. They might not love Romney, but they hate Obama more." Plenty of people think Romney "would benefit politically from embracing his Massachusetts health-care record," says W. James Antle III at The American Spectator. Sure, it "blurs the distinction with Barack Obama on the issue." Now that he has the nomination in the bag, however, Romney might be testing the theory that his health reform record won't be poison in November, after all.
2. Romney is turning his back on the Right
The only explanation is that the Romney campaign has "decided to sabotage itself," says Erick Erickson at RedState. "Conservatives have put aside their distrust of Romney on this issue in the name of beating Barack Obama." Bragging about the ObamaCare-like law that Romney passed in Massachusetts will only re-open the wound, and send the "distrust trickling out again," making this, possibly, "the day the Romney campaign died."
3. This has to be a mistake
"The guy who claims he wants to repeal the ObamaCare mandate" can't seriously think it's a good idea to brag about his own health insurance mandate, says Meredith Jessup at The Blaze. Can he? Either Romney is "completely tone deaf," "has no concept of messaging," or he truly believes mandating health-care coverage is good policy, after all. "The problem? None of these scenarios plays well for Republicans in November."