Have Republicans abandoned Mitt Romney on health care?

Romney and his party haven't quite gotten their stories straight since the Supreme Court's ObamaCare ruling, splitting over whether the individual mandate is a tax

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) may not be eager to answer questions about whether RomneyCare's individual mandate is effectively a tax,
(Image credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Now that the Supreme Court has upheld ObamaCare as constitutional under the federal government's taxing power, "the Republican message machine is trying hard to accuse President Obama of increasing taxes on middle-class Americans," says Michael Shear at The New York Times. "But the party is doing so without the help of Mitt Romney." At first, the entire party was basically on the same page: Romney vowed to start dismantling the law on his first day in office, conservatives flooded his campaign with cash, and optimistic Republicans said the boost of anti-ObamaCare anger would sink Obama in November. But within a few days, cracks had appeared. On the Sunday shows, reporters started asking why, if ObamaCare is an onerous tax, Romney's very similar health reform package in Massachusetts wasn't a tax, too. GOP lawmakers either punted, saying state laws are different than federal ones or, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Fox News Sunday, "Gov. Romney will have to speak for himself about what was done in Massachusetts." Then, Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom "strayed wildly" off-message, agreeing with Democrats that ObamaCare's mandate to obtain health insurance isn't a tax. What should we make of the GOP's ObamaCare dissonance?

The Right may abandon Mitt: True conservatives were never excited about the GOP's 2012 standard-bearer, says Joel Pollak at Big Journalism, but we were "ready to rally to Romney's side over the ObamaCare decision, overlooking his past in order to use him as the vehicle for repealing ObamaCare and toppling Obama." His team just undid that by throwing the "ObamaTax" message under the bus. If Romney won't fight for conservative principles, conservatives are "going to start looking elsewhere — fast."

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