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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Mitt Romney Shudders

Yesterday J.P. Green did a post on the Missouri “ObamaCare referendum,” noting its rather tilted character and echoing Jon Chait’s endorsement of a progressive way around the unpopularity of an individual mandate for the purchase of health insurance, as designed by Paul Starr.
But there’s another aspect of the Missouri vote that ought to be mentioned: the individual mandate that was the target of the the state law ratified by Proposition C wasn’t just a feature of “ObamaCare.” It was also a central element in RomneyCare, Massachusetts’ pioneer health reform effort. And amidst all the rationalizations that Romney has offered in an effort to distinguish RomneyCare from ObamaCare, he hasn’t repudiated his support for an individual mandate.
Even if you don’t think the Missouri vote was a fair representation of overall public opinion in the Show-Me State (and it’s dubious on that front, given the low turnout and the 2-1 Republican tilt among priimary voters), it was sure a good measure of how politically active Republicans feel. And a shudder had to shake Romney when he heard about it, since it’s very unlikely the 2012 Caucus-goers in next-door Iowa are going to feel any warmer towards the individual mandate seventeen months from now, when they once again pass judgment on Mitt’s presidential ambitions.

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