To read Ryan Lizza's recounting of Mitt Romney's stewardship of health care reform in Massachusetts, and his now awkward about face, you have to pay and go behind the curtain. It goes without saying that I think you should do this. Lizza talks to the behind the scene wonks who helped make Romeny's health care reforms happen in the state, and chronicles the crucial support of the Bush administration.
I think the most depressing aspect of the reporting is that it's clear that, with the notable exception of the GOP's libertarian wing, the flip on an individual mandate is largely based on the fact that Democrats embraced it.
From the end of Lizza's piece:
As the Boston Phoenix pointed out, when "No Apology" was issued in paperback, in February, Romney made a notable change from the original version. In the hardcover, publish in early 2010, Romney, after reviewing the success of health care in Massachusetts, wrote, "We can accomplish the same for everyone in the country." In the paperback, the had been deleted.
The piece also took me back to an old criticism of Barack Obama as a negotiator. Obama seemed to believe, at least early in his presidency, that the content of conservative and liberal ideas were as important as the labeling. I'm not sure it occurred to him that claiming sensible conservative ideological real estate would not result in hosannas for his bipartisanship. Instead those formerly conservative ideas would be recast as a liberal government takeover.
Some portion of politics is just tribal. I think back to Joe Lieberman not supporting the Medicare buy in, and then flipping
after he heard Anthony Weiner say something positive about it.