Payne: Mitt Romney, front-tripper

Posted by hpayne on March 14, 2012

Rick Santorum’s Missibama win Tuesday night refueled his insurgent candidacy even as Mitt Romney made a good southern showing and picked up more delegates. But Romney’s weakness as the GOP standard-bearer was exposed by what did not happen Tuesday.

On the same primary day, the Congressional Budget Office released blockbuster news about Obamacare. The CBO report found the costs of the unpopular law are double - an estimated $1.76 trillion over 10 years – the amount originally projected. In addition, the CBO reports that four times as many – four million – Americans will lose their employer health insurance by 2016, far more than the 1 million the administration estimated. And 1-2 million fewer people will gain access to the law’s subsidized exchanges than Obama claimed, forcing an extra 1 million citizens into the already out-of-control Medicaid program. The CBO numbers confirm the scandal that Obama cooked the numbers in order to ram Obamacare through in 2010.

Predictably, this news was largely covered up by an MSM that has run defense for Obamacare’s fundamental flaws.

But that’s where Romney must shine.

In the absence of MSM coverage, he can use his high profile to make news on important issues. But given his vulnerability on Obamacare’s twin, Romneycare, the former Massachusetts governor is reluctant to address Obamacare issues given the fact that Romneycare predicted Obamacare’s epic problems.

Tuesday was an opportunity squandered. Instead of its presidential frontrunner, the GOP addressed the CBO’s numbers with lesser lights. “Both fiscally and for the sake of our health care system, Americans cannot afford the president’s healthcare law,” said Georgia Rep. Tom Price, chairman of the Republican Policy Committee. “The CBO’s revised cost estimate indicates that this massive government intrusion into America’s health care system will be far more costly than was originally claimed. The law’s true cost to American taxpayers is part of a series of promises President Obama and Democrats in Congress made that will be broken.”

Those words would have made a bigger splash coming from Mitt in ’12 – and his scrum of media followers.

Instead, Obamacare is Santorum’s issue – a less disciplined candidate who has a tendency to stray into social issues. The predicament exposes Romney’s crucial campaign mistake – not disavowing Romneycare at the start of his 2012 campaign. Had he done so, he could attack Obamacare mercilessly – not just winning the GOP base with his conservative turn, but also using a unique platform (“states are for experimentation and the Obamacare experiment failed in my state,” he might have said) from which to educate the American public on the horrors of the most partisan, ill-conceived legislation in modern times.

That’s what party standard bearers are supposed to do.

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