Jennifer Rubin makes the argument that Mitt Romney was the big loser at CPAC because Romney failed to address Romneycare, contributing to the narrative that Romney has no politically good explanation.
According to Rubin, a simple mea culpa would help tremendously:
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….
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.
NiceDeb has a video and summary of Romney’s speech at CPAC, and gives the speech good reviews:
“Is it time to take another look at Mitt? He had mojo this morning at CPAC…He was loose and relaxed, and won the crowd over with great speech with many memorable lines….”
I met Romney once, when I was in law school and he was recruiting for Bain. The guy was tremendously impressive, and I think he has the potential to be tremendously impressive in a campaign. I want to like him as a candidate and to be able to support him (depending upon who else is running, of course).
But there is this elephant in the room that he doesn’t seem to want to address in a manner that will appeal to voters or faces reality.
Regardless of what else Romney says, he needs to address the Romneycare issue with more than nuanced constitutional arguments about how it is one thing for states to experiment and another thing for the federal government to overstep its authority. I agree! But ….
We like people who admit they were wrong. Everybody is wrong eventually, and politicians doubly so. Romneycare can be forgiven if it is acknowledged to have been a mistake from which lessons have been learned.
I made this suggestion on December 1, that Romney become the Responsibility Candidate with a speech similar to the following:
“To err is human. I had what at the time seemed like a good idea as to how to expand health care coverage, but it turned out wrong. I’ll take part of the blame, but others who acted beyond my control also share in the blame. The key thing is to learn from mistakes, not to compound them. That is a lesson I have learned.”
“Unfortunately, the Obama administration does not learn from its mistakes. Stimulus, health care, debt, deficits, spending out of control. The response is a refusal to learn from mistakes or to accept responsibility, at all.”
“You have a choice in this election. Elect a President who learns from mistakes and accepts responsibility, or re-elect a President who is incapable of learning from mistakes or accepting responsibility. The choice is yours.”
The readers took a dim view of such an approach two months ago, mostly because they had a dim view of Romney.
Regardless of whether you support Romney or not, wouldn’t it be better for him just to acknowledge the error? And doesn’t it become more of an issue the longer it is not acknowledged?