McGurn, Kristol: Healthcare Remains Albatross for Romney

Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012 01:59 PM

By Dan Weil

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Healthcare continues to weigh on Mitt Romney's presidential candidacy, despite his best efforts to put the issue behind him, say two prominent conservative pundits, William McGurn of The Wall Street Journal and William Kristol of The Weekly Standard.

One of the reasons behind Rick Santorum’s strength is that he has more credibility attacking President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform than Romney has, McGurn writes. “Put it this way: If Mr. Romney could speak about Obamacare the way Mr. Santorum does — not simply as a policy disagreement but as a threat to our freedom — he'd be locking up the nomination.”

That credibility is buttressing Santorum’s candidacy, McGurn says. “That [Rick Santorum] is where he is, despite his baggage, is more than the latest manifestation of Anyone But Romney. It suggests that a sizable part of America hungers for a leader willing to address the connection between human freedom and larger truths.”

As for Kristol, he says Romney’s problem is that he looks at healthcare as a technocrat rather than a true conservative. “Romneycare was an understandable effort to fix the system over which Mitt Romney presided in Massachusetts,” the pundit writes. “But the country has changed markedly in the last six years — without a corresponding change in Romney’s views.”

Healthcare is an issue that doesn’t lend itself to a technocratic fix, Kristol says. “Mitt Romney likes mandates. Conservatives — especially in light of Obamacare — don’t. Conservatives like liberty.”

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