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Posted at 9:29 AM ET, 02/14/2011

Romney was big CPAC loser

By Jennifer Rubin

Chris Cillizza writes this of CPAC:

For [Mitt] Romney, the nominal frontrunner in the 2012 nomination fight, his goal with his CPAC speech was to do no harm. He did far better than that with a very well-received speech and a strong second place finish in the straw poll. If any of the top tier candidates strengthened their hand at CPAC, it was Romney.

I couldn't disagree more, and although my sample is hardly scientific, I think the vast majority of conservative activists, insiders and journalists would find Chris's analysis wildly off base.

Romney has a huge problem that a wide array of Tea Partyers, Republican activists and officials, and conservative operatives think he can't overcome: RomneyCare. He leads in polls a year before the first primary because of name recognition. So did Rudy Giuliani at the same point in the 2008 election cycle. (And a second place showing in the straw poll shows only that in can almost match Ron Paul in the number of students he can bus in to the confab.)

However, if there is one point of consensus among plugged-in Republicans on the 2012 field, it is that Romney can't win unless he does a mea culpa on RomneyCare. Since he didn't and he won't do that, he's not going to be the nominee. Other than Romney admirers (and even some of them!) it's hard to find serious Republican players who disagree with that.

And so when Romney ignored the topic at CPAC, he hardly did "no harm." To the contrary, he simply reinforced the notion that he has an insuperable problem. Not only did his "ignore the elephant in the room" tactic not go over well with Republican pols, activists and insiders, but the competition showed up. The presence of a number of smart conservative contenders who don't have the RomneyCare problem (e.g. Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)) reinforced the underlying problem with Romney's candidacy: Why vote for him when Republicans can vote for someone who didn't originate ObamaCare-lite?

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 14, 2011; 9:29 AM ET
Categories:  2012 campaign  
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Comments

Newt Gingrinch responded to the critical view of Romneycare:

• Romney is firmly committed to repeal of Obamacare
• It’s not accurate or fair to compare Obamacare and Romneycare
• Romney vetoed many provisions of the Mass bill and Romney was overridden by Democrats
• The original Romney bill was better and practical than what the liberal Democrats did to it
• The Democrats overrode Romney’s original bill on a whole series of items
• The issue is not as clear cut as Tea Partiers think or the liberal media has made the issue out to be

http://www.knrs.com/onair/Rod-.....ycare.html

Conservative Think-tank = the Heritage Foundation responded to Romneycare:

– Heritage On Romney’s Individual Mandate: “Not an unreasonable position, and one that is clearly consistent with conservative values.” [Heritage, 1/28/06]

– Heritage On Romney’s Insurance Exchange: An “innovative mechanism to promote real consumer choice.” [Heritage, 4/20/06]

– Heritage On Romney’s Medicaid Expansion: Reduced “the total cost to taxpayers” by taking people out of the “uncompensated care pool.” [Heritage, 1/28/06]

Romney's accomplishments:
* Earned over 260 million in the private sector - 25 years
* Took 2002 Utah Winter Olympics’ 300 million deficit and turned it into a 100 million dollar surplus - the most successful games on record.
* Took Massachusetts 1.5 BILLION dollar deficit and turned it into a 600 million dollar surplus withOUT raising income and other taxes (he did raise some "fees" on other services - about 2 million worth.)

Posted by: tommyh9999yahoocom | February 14, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer:

How did Romney come in 2nd at CPAC without apologizing for Romneycare?

How is Romney leading Obama in the polls without apologizing for Romneycare?

I think your theory needs some tweaking and a lot of care.


Posted by: tommyh9999yahoocom | February 14, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Heritage On Romney’s Individual Mandate: “Not an unreasonable position, and one that is clearly consistent with conservative values.” [Heritage, 1/28/06]
Posted by: tommyh9999yahoocom

You better get up to date with your references. Conservatism is much crazier today than it was in 06/pre finacial crash. Also,this is a NeoCon Post,not Conservative. The NeoCons use "Conservative" values to advance their agenda,but they don't believe in them.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 14, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Ruth:

If the "apologizing" is such a big deal, then why is Romney polling ahead of all of the candidates and recently higher than Obama?

The MSM wants Romney to apologize for Romneycare so that they can hammer him. They don't want him to apologize for Romneycare so they can hammer him.

These articles are meant to encourage Conservatives to think that Romney must apologize for "Obamacare" when in fact, Obamacare resembles what the Democrats assembled in MA.

Do you see what Newt Gingrich said about it, in 2010 (noticed its 4 years later after 2006)

• Romney is firmly committed to repeal of Obamacare
• It’s not accurate or fair to compare Obamacare and Romneycare
• Romney vetoed many provisions of the Mass bill and Romney was overridden by Democrats
• The original Romney bill was better and practical than what the liberal Democrats did to it
• The Democrats overrode Romney’s original bill on a whole series of items
• The issue is not as clear cut as Tea Partiers think or the liberal media has made the issue out to be

http://www.knrs.com/onair/Rod-.....ycare.html

Romney said that Romneycare and Obamacare are not of the same genus.

Newt is a conservative who said the same thing.

The MSM is desperate top stop Romney 2012.


Posted by: tommyh9999yahoocom | February 14, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I agree that RomneyCare will be an albatross around Romney's neck (fairly or unfairly). However, if he hammers home that he will repeal ObamaCare, he may be able to shake that albatross. Will Republican voters really care that much about RomneyCare if they're convinced that he'll repeal ObamaCare?

I think he should highlight repeatedly that the Democratic legislature in MA overrode his vetoes. That'll be a start towards him becoming albatross free.

RCAR, Do I fall into your "NeoCon" category? I've always been simply a "Con". There was never any "New" to it for me.

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | February 14, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

RCAR, Do I fall into your "NeoCon" category? I've always been simply a "Con". There was never any "New" to it for me.
Posted by: RitchieEmmons

Hey RE,A NeoCon is an ideologe who feels compelled to preach about,import,use force to convert others to their version of American Exceptionalism. The NeoCon believes in Preemptive warfare(which means they believe they can accurately predict the future,definition of hybris-crystalballism,)The NeoCon believes that the decision to go to war is first and formost a Presedential decision,not Congressional.
However,read the linked article and tell me your opinion,that will tell us whether you are more Neo or more Con.
http://www.nysun.com/editorials/the-fiat-kilogram/87235/

Posted by: rcaruth | February 14, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The Individual Mandate is a "reasonable" way to finance expanded insurance coverage and it is, at least, constitutional, at the state level.

However:

1) It is blatantly, indisputably unconstitutional at the federal level. Period. End of conversation. It is possible the Supreme Court will by judicial fiat amend the Constitution in blaring opposition not only to the clear meaning of that document but also the current will of the American people. If it does so, however, the notion of a Federal Government of enumerated, limited powers will be a complete dead letter.

That technicality should not be a matter of trivia.

2) Even as a (at the state level legitimate) policy it constitutes an element of intense government intrusion into the lives of individuals that is in stark opposition to the spirit of individual freedom and accountability that made this country great. To the extent that one worships the fetish of "Universal Care" one degrades that spirit and that greatness.

Naturally, expanded coverage is highly desirable and easily achievable by extensive tort reform at all level of government , extension of health credits and other methods of creating a
freer and more dynamic market in health care. Doing in in this way will also prevent the destruction of what is in some ways at least the best health care system in the world.

ROMNEY: HIs support for Romneycare and related rhetoric in the last two years is an absolute disqualifier. Yes its Constitutional at the state level; yes he was dealing with a VERY VERY Left Wing legislature and yes it could have been worse. However, his initial support for it (and yes he was proud of this "achievement" and claimed it as such) speaks very poorly about his policy judgement and ability to turn this country around from the mess into which it is currently being plunged. His refusal to acknowledge the comprehensive and appalling failure of RomneyCare (again he's defended it - with some caveats - even within the last 3 months - when pressed - as in the CPAC speech hid didn't broach it sua sponte) confirms that faulty judgment.

If he had acknowledge this failure, if he had from the beginning of the debate about ObamaCare used it as an illustration about the defects of the latter and he may have been (probably could have) overcome this defect in his record). His failure to do so and his continued avoidance of the subject make it quite clear that he cannot.

Even if he did do a complete Mea Culpa at this point its sincerity would be in the greatest doubt and politically it would be almost impossible for him to make a principled and clear argument against Obama on the President's greatest political liability.

Posted by: cavalier4 | February 14, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

And Ritchie, The NeoCon Elephant in the room is Israel, NeoCons see Israel as the 51st State,as the Core of our foreign policy,a God mandated obligation.
Normal conservatives are proIsrael but are laissez Faire. The see Israel as a strong ally like Holland,France,England etc,but a normal conservative believes that no nation including ours has an inalienable Right to Exist. We exist because of our efforts and our choices,not because of god,neither the Americans nor the Jews are a chosen people,and Israel and America are not God chosen nations. To believe otherwise is NeoCon land.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 14, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer,

I see you are being inundated with Mittens people comments. However, every intelligent person in the room would agree with your analysis, including me.

Romney will not be the nominee as you have said. This is HIS fault (not mine) and the fault of the absolutely, grotesque fawning by his overly dedicated and slavish supporters. Romneycare is ONE of MANY, MANY problems with this unlikable and deeply undesirable candidate. The end.

Posted by: SpellingMonster | February 14, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

RCAR, The Fiat Kilogram? My view on whether or not I support a fiat currency determines (at least partially) whether I'm "Neo" (sounds Matrixy!) or "Con"?

I am fully a supporter of the state of Israel (more than most Jews I think, which baffles me), but it has nothing to do with the fact that it's a Jewish state (although I respect the reasons why the Jews would want their own state). I support Israel because it's a democracy. More over, it's a democracy that's the "tip of the spear" in the West's fight against Islamic extremism.

I don't believe in a God chosen land/people or anything like that and agree that we exist because of our own choices. The reason for this may well be that I'm an atheist.

I believe in American Exceptionalism, but because the Constitution has made us so (or created the groundwork to permit this nation to flourish). As for the preaching and importing of this Exceptionalism, I wouldn't say that I support us imposing it on others as much as I'd say that I support America giving the people of another country the opportunity to freely and fairly choose their own political destiny. Emphasis on "freely and fairly."

I support pre-emptive war in cases such as with Iraq, but I don't presume to think that it's because I can predict the future with complete accuracy. It's because I think that we'll likely be better off in the long run by invasion rather than non-action. Never mind the thousands and thousands of lives that it will have saved.

I do think that the President (Commander In Chief) should be the one to lead us into war. 535 legislators couldn't possibly get such a thing straight. Also, I know that any President wouldn't go to war with 535 dissenting voices.

Based on what I just told you, I don't know if can be categorized as "Neo" or "Con" on the RCAR Scale Of Judgement. I'm sure you'll give it a shot though..

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | February 14, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Based on what I just told you, I don't know if can be categorized as "Neo" or "Con" on the RCAR Scale Of Judgement. I'm sure you'll give it a shot though..
Posted by: RitchieEmmons

On a NeoCon scale of one to ten,ten being highest,you're a nine,the only thing keeping you from a ten is your atheism.*
*Keep in mind,however,the original Neo-Cons,then called Trotskyites,were atheists. American Exceptionalism,NeoCon style, and Trotskyism are/were Utopian to the core.The only antidote for the pure poison of Utopianism is Conservatism. WFBuckley despised the NeoCons,that's a fact,not an opinion.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 14, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Spelling:

Do you have any other mystical fantasies would like to spout off about?

Posted by: tommyh9999yahoocom | February 14, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"On a NeoCon scale of one to ten,ten being highest,you're a nine,the only thing keeping you from a ten is your atheism.*
*Keep in mind,however,the original Neo-Cons,then called Trotskyites,were atheists. American Exceptionalism,NeoCon style, and Trotskyism are/were Utopian to the core.The only antidote for the pure poison of Utopianism is Conservatism. WFBuckley despised the NeoCons,that's a fact,not an opinion."

RCAR, So maybe even a 9.5 then??

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | February 14, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

RCAR, So maybe even a 9.5 then??
Posted by: RitchieEmmons

GRANTED

Posted by: rcaruth | February 14, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I'd vote for Jon Huntsman, Jr over Romney in a heartbeat. Jon needs to get over his early support of the global warming fiasco. I think he can be a real contender, even though he's not as doctrinaire a conservative as other contenders, but he's smart, an experienced and excellent government administrator, and a leader. He also doesn't come across as elitist and as staged as Romney. No, I am not Mormon.

Posted by: Portones | February 14, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Big difference between romneycare and obamacare is that romney care was done in a liberal state at state level. I am only against the federal government doing this. If the sates want to do it, by all means.

Posted by: nwwkerr2005 | February 14, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Posted at 9:29 AM ET, 02/14/2011
Romney was big CPAC loser
By Jennifer Rubin

.......Jennifer why do liberal/progressive Jews like you have issues with Mormons ?

Americans are seeing a lot of Jewish journolists attacking Mormons.

What is behind this Jewish hate?

Chris is correct..........Romney was the big winner at CPAC

And Jennifier Romney's HC plan in Massachusetts is VERY POPULAR vs. Obamacare which is very UNPOPULAR

And Jennifier, another Jewish lie of yours is Tea Party support........Tea Partyer's are Fiscal Conservative........like Mitt Ronmey.......

Posted by: allenridge | February 14, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Rubin falls into the trap of the journalist. Someone who doesn't ever manage a complex undertaking but is judged on the success of how well they write about people actually in the arena, battling.

The success rate of even the best is not 100%. Not all Romney's turnarounds were successful, only 80%. Lincoln was an extremely successful party leader and business attorney - but a lousy President and CiC in his 1st two years. The Founders had enormous success with the Revolution, then wrote down the abortion known as the Articles of Confederation, and then redeemed themselves with a flawed but still pretty good US Constitution.

The point is that you want successful people to deal with things that won't go away - like a need to form a successful nation, deal with a Civil War, a healthcare crisis that threatens US solvency.
They may not succeed on 1st effort, but better then than an untested, untried person of little success in the past running on "I haven't done any work on complicated problems, so elect me because I have not yet been unsuccessful".

And doing NOTHING with a failing and fiscally unsupportable healthcare system driving 60% of the US deficit and helping wreck the finances of most states - is not sustainable.

Lincoln, Romney, the Founders (and I don't put Mitt in the echelon of the others) have to face a learning curve. We know that from our own lives, most of us that have had eventual success in a complicated and difficult undertaking. Few initial efforts at anything really challenging are 100% success stories.
Romney learned from Obamacares flaws and from Romneycare's flaws.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | February 14, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Romney DIDN'T poll well because of name recognition. That's nuts. He polled well becuase he's the best option we have and CPAC conservatives know it.

Posted by: tomdutcher | February 14, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

None of the arguments about what the Democrats did to RomneyCare in Massachusetts help Romney at all because all they establish is that he designed and installed something the Democrats were able to turn into a massive pork-laden entitlement program within weeks. If that was unintentional on his part then he was totally suckered. A poorer ad for the value of 'business management skills' in government can hardly be imagined.

Posted by: Surprise1 | February 14, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Jennifer. I am a conservative activist and fine Cilizza's analysis right on! Its you I couldn't disagree with more.

Posted by: SteadfastImmovable | February 14, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Romney just passed as big health care bill that he promised would lower costs; and now the state's insurance premiums are rising at double the national average and RomneyCare is projected to go 2 billion in the red over the next decade.

Who could compare that to Obama's bill to restructure health care that was promised to lower costs but costs are actually projected to increase beyond what they would without the bill and go over budget...

Oh wait; I think I see it now.

But hey, "Fiscal Conservatism" involves large bloated bills that increase the size and scope of government and of over budget requiring increased spending and debt... at least according to many of the commenters here.

Run Romney, and I'll have a choice between a candidate who pushed a health care bill designed to lower costs that actually raised them and went well over projected costs... and a candidate who pushed a health care bill designed to lower costs that actually raised them and went well over projected costs (but is from the other party).

That'll get the fiscally conservative tea party on board like nothing else.

Posted by: gekkobear1 | February 14, 2011 6:27 PM | Report abuse

The problem with Mitt Romney is that he is perceived by far too many as all form and little substance. As much as he attempts to appear Reaganesque, even "Shape-Shifters" see Mitt Romney as inauthentic. The man has literally been on every side of every issue, so much that he makes John Kerry look firm in his beliefs. If America wanted a President without a soul, this Mormon would be the right fit.

Posted by: ChrisLondonNYC | February 14, 2011 11:55 PM | Report abuse

"Ron Paul is one of the outstanding leaders fighting for a stronger national defense. As a former Air Force officer, he knows well the needs of our armed forces, and he always puts them first. We need to keep him fighting for our country."
-Ronald Reagan

Ron Paul is the only Republican nominee who can steal Independent/Democrat votes from Obama. You want Obama out of the White House? Yes to Ron Paul!

Posted by: ladyliberty6 | February 15, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

There seem to be Health Care Collectivists (http://www.believeallthings.com/3345/health-care-collectivists/) on both sides of the aisle. Mitt Romney can and should address this issue. To continue to ignore it - or not address this issue - seems to be a political ploy until Iowa or until it becomes a bigger issue in the MSM.

Posted by: GregMcMurdie | February 20, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

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