What the war was for Democrats in 2004, health care legislation and bailouts will be for the Republicans in 2012. Romney fits the Kerry mold perfectly, and like Kerry he will be forced by the strength of the primary challenge from some Dean-like representative of the “Republican wing of the Republican Party” to run away from his record on health care and bailouts. In fact, Romney has already been trying to make people forget that he favored the bailouts when it mattered, and no doubt he will engage in some of his typical dishonesty when confronted with the question of his record of support for health care mandates.
Like Kerry, he will have zero credibility in opposing most of the President’s agenda, which means that Romney’s already fairly strange focus on foreign policy and national security may have to become the centerpiece of his campaign to distract attention from his record of signing off on universal health care in Massachusetts and endorsing deeply unpopular bailouts of Wall Street. For all of the ridicule he received, Kerry nearly won, but I doubt that Romney would be able to do as well as Kerry did unless economic conditions worsen severely.
Plus: Romney makes Kerry seem almost authentic.