The Right's Coming Romneycare Defense

Written by David Frum on Thursday June 2, 2011

If Romney prevails in the GOP primary, give Hugh Hewitt credit for articulating the rationalization that will allow talk radio to swing back into line behind his campaign.

Here's an interesting exchange: NRO's Kathryn Lopez and radio host Hugh Hewitt walking back from their ardent support for Mitt Romney of 2008.

LOPEZ: Is Romney the best man in the field?

HEWITT: There are lots of good men (and soon to be at least one woman) in the field. At this point it seems clear to me that Governor Romney is the most electable, though Governor Pawlenty is very close on that scale.

On the other hand, if Romney does prevail, give Hewitt credit for being among the first to articulate the rationalization that will allow talk radio to swing back into line behind Romney next year:

LOPEZ: Can Romney overcome what is conventionally, universally considered his health-care problem?

HEWITT: Yes. I gave a speech on this to the Federalist Society earlier this year, emphasizing the core values of federalism and state sovereignty, and I expect more and more conservatives as they focus on the race will discount Team Obama’s attempt to confuse the Massachusetts plan and Obamacare.

LOPEZ: Is it unfair to consider it the precursor to Obamacare?

HEWITT: Yes, but that is a powerful narrative for Team Obama to spin and their friends in the MSM have picked it up. Among the many huge differences: The Massachusetts plan was constitutional and Obamacare isn’t. The Massachusetts plan was a negotiated compromise between two branches and two parties while Obamacare was a one-party jam down. Obamacare raised taxes and cut benefits massively and Massachusetts care did neither. The list goes on and on.