Whatever my criticisms of Rick Santorum, we owe him a debt of gratitude for this segment last night, which confirmed that Mitt Romney loves him some Romneycare:

As Jeffrey Anderson writes, Romney’s defense of Romneycare will be political death in the general election:

Romney then replied by issuing a defense of Romneycare that sounded a lot like the defense that Obama (who might have even been taking notes) is likely to give of Obamacare: “I didn’t say I’m in favor of top-down government-run health care. Ninety-two percent of the people in my state had insurance before our plan went in place.” (For Obamacare, it’s nearly the same percentage of people, only nationwide) “And nothing changes for them. They own the same private insurance they had before.” (As Obama likes to say, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”) “And for the 8 percent of people who didn’t have insurance, we said to them, if you can afford insurance, buy it yourself, any one of the plans out there, you can choose any plan.” (The same is true for Obamacare — except, as in Romneycare, for the large numbers of people who get shuttled onto Medicaid.) “There’s no government plan.” (There isn’t one in Obamacare either, as the public outcry caused the “public option” to be nixed.) ….

So if Republicans are going to have a mandate to repeal [Obamacare's] unprecedented threat to liberty and fiscal solvency, they will have to bring it up — or, rather, their nominee will have to bring it up. And he will have to know why he opposes it — not merely that he does.

There was a time when the loudest mouths in the Republican party recognized the disastrous reality of Romney’s refusal to walk away from Romneycare.  But that was then:

The Romney team expects that the distinction between a state individual mandate and a national one will be good enough to get through a primary against lesser-known opponents. He’ll just talk about other things, the reasoning goes, even though opposition to ObamaCare and the growth of the federal government has been the driving force behind the conservative movement for a couple of years. Most Republicans I speak with think Romney’s problem is insoluble. But a smart Republican insider cautioned me yesterday, “In a divided field you just never know.” I suppose. But still.

This is now, and we deserve to be angry.

 
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