Many conservatives have been targeting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, singling him out among potential Republican candidates as one contender who cannot be chosen by the GOP as their presidential nominee because he had proposed a socialist program much akin to the health care reform supported and signed into law by President Barack Obama in early 2010.
Dubbed “Romneycare,” detractors pointed out that the Massachusetts health care insurance reform law enacted by Romney when he was governor of the New England state was proof the former governor was too liberal to be tough on the odious “Obamacare,” something many conservatives have foresworn to try and abolish, defund or weaken. But what if Romney’s more moderate political approach (which includes health care insurance) could be the ticket to a Republican victory in 2012? How horrible would Romneycare be then?
Polls have shown that there are no clear frontrunners in the Republican field of potential presidential contenders. One of the reasons for this is that some candidates are relatively unknown. Another reason is that most of the candidates that seem to be contemplating presidential runs in 2012 have been reluctant to commit — even to a presidential exploratory committee.
But there also exists the possibility that many conservatives, when searching the potential candidates, are seeing a group that, by and large, are simply too extreme in their views. Among the field that might be giving many moderate Republicans pause are potential candidates who believe that Social Security should be eliminated, Planned Parenthood is a genocidal plan against black people, President Barack Obama is involved in some conspiracy to falsify his place of birth, that abortions are indirectly responsible for the national debt, that Obamacare sponsors “death panels,” and that the future of the United States, if liberals aren’t stopped, will see an atheist country ruled by radical Islamists.
Not embracing these extreme views or at least not publicly acknowledging such views is a major point in Romney’s favor for nomination. It gives him credibility among mainstream voters, something many of his fellow colleagues do not have. Also working to his credit, he enjoys major name recognition (in part due to his loss to Sen. John McCain in the 2008 Republican primaries). And then there is the health care reform issue, which, surprisingly enough, could be his crossover asset.
Although health care reform is unpopular among conservatives, it is not unpopular among liberals, moderate Democrats and liberal-leaning independent voters. And although of those voters might be opposed to a few of Romney’s conservative views, there are quite a few disaffected conservative Democrats and conservative-leaning independents, not to mention the more selective Democratic voters who dislike President Obama for one reason or another, that could be lured into voting for a guy like Romney who isn’t seen as a “true” conservative. The health care issue could be the lure.
Was it not Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who said that the GOP’s most important goal was to ensure that President Barack Obama would not win a second term as president? What if that goal could only be realized in the ironic nomination for president of a Republican who helped institute a program many conservatives find too liberal for their taste? Could most conservatives quiet their reservations about Romneycare, a program that the former governor insists is different from the President’s health care reform, long enough to get him elected?
With such a crowded field of potential nominees that might not appeal to mainstream voters and the all important swing voters, it just might come to that — if Republicans want to see a Republican in the White House in January 2013.