Political Animal


March 06, 2013 5:29 PM Mitt’s Nemesis

By Ed Kilgore

While Jeb Bush is having one of those weeks, Mitt Romney has been doing his best to distract attention from the suddenly inept Floridian with his own questionable utterances, particularly his comment during an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace that Obamacare gave the president an irresistible advantage during the 2012 cycle.

Loosely speaking, that may be true, insofar as Obama could straight-forwardly take credit for health care reform whereas Romney has had to spend at least half-a-decade in the grotesque position of denying the exceptional similarity between the president’s initiative and his own as governor of Massachusetts.

But the Washington Examiner’s Phillip Klein, echoing Reason’s Peter Suderman, suggests a more visceral reason: Romney wanted to campaign on his health reform record and Obama preempted that appeal by taking Mitt’s ideas national.

Anyway you slice it, Romney’s preoccupation with this subject makes sense: health care policy was his nemesis throughout the 2012 campaign, from his pretzel-logic about his own record to his struggles with the Medicare proposals of his running mate. I don’t know if he would have had a better chance of victory if he had been able simply to drone monotonously and vaguely about jobs the entire campaign, but the health care issue was not helpful.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Peter C on March 06, 2013 6:05 PM:

    Mitt's main nemesis was 'reality'.

  • c u n d gulag on March 06, 2013 6:15 PM:

    This would be pretty much the same as Ty Cobb hitting 53 Home Runs in 1918, whining about Babe Ruth hitting 54 in 1920, and 59 in 1921.

    Mitt, YOUR mistake was in contradicting your record in the general election, to get the nomination in the primaries.

    Thank the FSM that the Republican Party is so inept, or else the even MORE inept Democratic Party would be the one on the wane!

  • Bokonon on March 06, 2013 6:33 PM:

    Romney claims that Obama won the election by giving away "free stuff". And as part of that, Romney is claiming that Obamacare was a handout ... one that bribed voters (and specifically, minority race voters) into voting for the Democrats.

    Wow. That's great. How can Romney simultaneously claim that Obamacare is about people getting "free stuff" while Romney and his party are simultaneously against the individual mandate in Obamacare (which is about people NOT GETTING FREE STUFF, but having to BUY INTO THE PRIVATE INSURANCE SYSTEM)?

    This is particularly rich coming from Romney, the very same guy that ORIGINATED the health care reform pattern that was used Obamacare, and the guy who used to tout the fact that his reforms in Massachusetts were a private-industry-based healthcare model where nobody got a free lunch.

    But honestly? Who is thinking that much in the GOP? We are way past logic and policy at this point. Romney is probably just trying to do political damage to Obama, and de-legitimize Obama's victory while excusing his own loss, and planting the seeds for a GOP comeback.

    Because getting rid of Obamacare is more than a policy issue for the GOP - it is nakedly about election results. At least Romney is clear about that.

  • batavicus on March 06, 2013 10:03 PM:

    Wait, I thought his son said that he didn't really want to be president. Oh, nevermind.

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on March 06, 2013 10:11 PM:

    c u n d:

    It'd be more like Babe Ruth hitting home runs, and then having everyone go back and reinterpret his record so that he was actually the pitcher for the other team. So now he'd have to defend why those weren't REALLY home runs, really just singles and doubles with a lot of fielding errors.

    And then his old team, the one with all the Romney home runs, would beat the new team 12-1, and everyone would blame Romney for being such a shitty pitcher.

  • SqueakyRat on March 07, 2013 5:06 AM:

    If he had run on his health care record, he would never have been nominated.

  • Scot Stirling on March 07, 2013 9:02 AM:

    Mitt thinks "Obamacare gave the president an irresistible advantage during the 2012 cycle," and that explains why Mitt decided to campaign on a promise to repeal it, calling attention to Obama's "irresistible advantage" at every opportunity? "Mitt Romney says he'll grant a waiver to all 50 states on Day 1 of his presidency so that they don't have to comply with the Affordable Care Act..." (NPR); ""Well of course Iím going to repeal Obamacare. Iíve said that on the campaign trail, I think, every single day. Obamacare must be repealed Ė- in its entirety." (huffingtonpost.com) Because that's what great political leaders do - find their opponent's "irresistible advantages," and call attention to them.

  • Renai on March 07, 2013 9:35 AM:

    Why is Mitt still requiring national face time?

    Swinging the Finger of Blame 360 degrees to justify his loss satifies no one but he and Mrs "It's Our Turn", and probably not even they.

    The Romney's need to go home, stay home, and content themselves with presiding over the buttons on their garage elevator.

    Money will never buy class.