Monday, April 5, 2010

What? Poor Mitt's health plan could sink him?

THERE WAS a brief moment back in the last presidential campaign when I gave Mitt Romeny a decent chance of winning his party's nomination. He had good posture, spoke clearly enough without a cowboy's twang, and his hair revived the World War II he-man image of Ronald Reagan - an attribute that neither John McCain nor Rudy Giuliani could ever hope to assume. On the negative side, he was from Massachusetts, which was much too hospitable to Harvard for anybody from South Carolina or Idaho to embrace. And seldom a day passed when a radio preacher didn't inspire angry Bible-quoting callers to accuse Romney of being a Mormon cultist - a zillionaire or not.

But the tie breaker appeared to be that Romney had figured out a solution to America's health care challenges with his plan for Massachusetts. He spoke about it often in polite political circles (there were no Tea Parties then). For a photogenic politician who always impressed me as preparing for a place in an altarpiece, how could anybody not give him the edge against, say, Fred Thompson , who growled a lot, and Mike Huckabee, who could have once had a walk-on role in an old Andy Griffith show.

Ironically, Romney, who appears to be one of those guys who has no luck, is being forced to defend himself against the very thing that he boastfully helped create: his state's health plan. That's because President Obama and other Democrats keep reminding everybody that their health care plan is very much like Romney's. You can see the problem. As Gail Collins of the New York Times pointed out, Romney has yet to come up with an appropriate game-changer. When a couple of reporters from Think Progress rudely inquired, Mitt could say nothing more than it was a "big topic" and "ducked into an elevator."

I still like his chances of being cast as a presidential candidate in the next Hollywood movie. Which is more than I can say about McCain or Giuliani.

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