JONATHAN CHAIT MAY 12, 2011
The Wall Street Journal editorial page twists the knife:
More immediately for his Republican candidacy, the debate over ObamaCare and the larger entitlement state may be the central question of the 2012 election. On that question, Mr. Romney is compromised and not credible. If he does not change his message, he might as well try to knock off Joe Biden and get on the Obama ticket.
Now, John McCain also had party orthodoxy problems on taxes, immigration, and other issues in 2008. But he resolved those by ditching all his unorthodox positions, a luxury he had because the national press corps that decided he was a principles maverick who would never act out of political expediency.
Romney doesn't have that luxury. Indeed, his second-largest problem is a reputation as a pure phony -- incurred the last time around in his transition from blue state moderate to acceptable conservative circa 2008 -- he has obviously decided that a McCain-like flip-flop would be deadly. So he has nowhere to go.