JONATHAN COHN MARCH 18, 2011
The Massachusetts health care reforms continue to haunt Mitt Romney. Earlier this week, Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina signaled, through an aide, that Romney must disavow the scheme and admit it was a "colossal mistake." Now Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, has attacked Romney for the plan:
We need someone who is a strong, principled conservative who believes not in government mandates, not in government control of the health care system, but in a patient-centered approach to health care
What makes these two quotes particularly remarkable is that both men endorsed Romney during the 2008 campaign, praising his governing abilities and conservative sensibility about policy. Greg Sargent seems to be enjoying the spectacle almost as much as Jon Chait is:
there was a time when conservatives like Jim DeMint hailed Romney as a true conservative precisely because his health care bill was built on what they said were conservative principles. But now that Obama has reinvented the individual mandate as tyranny, conservatives are beating up on Romney and Romneycare as a convenient way to burnish their own conservative cred with the base. Politics just isn’t fair.
Oh, and just for the record: The Massachusetts reforms have worked pretty well. Romney really should be proud.