Mitt Romney is going around the country trying to run away from his past. Specifically, from his history as governor of Massachusetts. More specifically, from the healthcare reform that he sponsored, which was one of the progenitors of the national reform that Congress passed in 2009.
For a smart guy, the Mittster is being remarkably dumb. The more he tries to avoid his history, the more his opponents will tag him with it; he'll have to spend more time defending himself than he would if he were straightforward. (Those who followed Mitt's campaign in 2008 will recall that that was a feature of his effort then. He has not learned from his history.)
Mitt would be smarter to take the opposite tack. He should say, "The Massachusetts healthcare reform package was imperfect. So is Obamacare [let him use the word; to digress, I think Democrats should take the name on as a badge of honor]. But it has many good features. In today's world, everyone needs healthcare, and insurance is the way we pay for it. No one except an insurance executive wants people to be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. No one wants a cancer patient to be told that he can't get more treatment, because his insurance has a limit and that limit has been reached. So, let's reform Obamacare, not repeal it. And, you know, if you look at my home state of Massachusetts, almost everyone does have health insurance, the state has a lower unemployment rate than most, it did not suffer as much from the recession and it is coming out of the recession better than other comparable states. The work we did in Massachusetts had a lot to do with that."
Mitt won't say that, of course. He doesn't have the guts to go against the Rebuplican tide. And he's probably right that the message I have outlined will not get him the nomination. But the one he is trying to peddle won't, either, and if by some mischance he is nominated, he'll go down to ignominious defeat against President Obama.
Oh, and the Rebuplicans are being dumb in their refusal to recognize the need for real reform of the nation's healthcare system. As in their refusal to recognize reality in so many other forms. Don't be misled by the mid-term elections: Americans are waking up to the intellectual bankruptcy of what used to be the Grand Old Party.