Larry Elder
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney wants to be president. And a plurality of Republican voters want him to be president. Recent polls show Republican nominee Romney beating President Barack Obama. Three big issues, however, threaten to implode the GOP front-runner's nomination, let alone general election victory: RomneyCare, RomneyCare and RomneyCare.

Few things unite the tea party, the GOP caucus/primary activists and the knock-on-doors, hang-the-signs, ring-the-phone volunteers more than their universal hatred of ObamaCare. Most Americans want ObamaCare repealed, some because it lacks a "public option." But the tea party-like Republicans -- and even regular Republicans -- overwhelmingly support ObamaCare repeal. It is up there with the worst legislation ever signed.

Eighty-five percent of Americans already have health insurance, and 89 percent of Americans call their own health care quality at least "satisfactory." But this wasn't good enough. So ObamaCare places the (SET ITAL) entire (END ITAL) system under the command and control of the federal government. ObamaCare forces people to buy from a nominally private vendor, who by government fiat must accept people with pre-existing illnesses. It rejects federalism, the quaint notion that a limited number of duties and responsibilities belong to the federal government -- the rest belong to the people and to the states.

Obama brags that he based ObamaCare on RomneyCare. This does two things. First, assuming Romney wins the nomination, it deflates ObamaCare --including its Massachusetts-like mandate -- as a campaign issue. Second, it forces Romney to either a) admit that RomneyCare "works," which would allow Obama to question why such a wonderful idea cannot serve as a role model for the other 49, or b) pronounce his signature issue as governor a failure, with Obama, of course, promising to do better with ObamaCare than the lousy job Romney did implementing the conceptually sound RomneyCare.

So how does Romney deal with this?

Romney had a chance to make lemonade. He gave an important and closely watched speech on RomneyCare early in the campaign. Would he admit RomneyCare's dramatic cost overruns and concede that it failed to meet his goals of emergency room use reduction, health care cost containment and universal coverage? Would he admit that a growing number of Massachusetts' doctors complain about inadequate reimbursement and that most primary-care physicians refuse to accept new patients? Would he acknowledge that, but for hundreds of millions in federal Medicaid money, RomneyCare's out-of-control rising costs would likely bankrupt his state?

No. He defended RomneyCare. Vigorously.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.