Wow: George Will Savages Mitt Romney

Posted: Oct 28, 2011 12:17 PM

Politico lands a sneak preview of George F. Will's weekend column, and leaks out a single, powerful paragraph.  Suffice it to say that Will -- a card-carrying member of the elite Beltway conservative establishment -- has a very, very low opinion of Mitt Romney as the possible GOP presidential nominee.  Brutal:

Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable, he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate: Republican successes down the ticket will depend on the energies of the tea party and other conservatives, who will be deflated by a nominee whose blurry profile in caution communicates only calculated trimming. Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis, a technocratic Massachusetts governor who takes his bearings from ‘data’ ... Has conservatism come so far, surmounting so many obstacles, to settle, at a moment of economic crisis, for THIS?

Using ALL CAPS to drive home a point is an abused play in the blogosphere, but it is rarely, if ever, employed by the staid Washington Post columnist.  Couple that abberation with his Dukakis comparison, and it's pretty clear that Will's disaste for Romney is unusually visceral.  We'll have to wait until Sunday to see if Will uses the balance of his column to promote another candidate, but his scathing assessment of Romney is newsworthy enough to merit its own discussion.  The Examiner points out that a key ingredient to Romney's steady momentum is widespread ignorance among Republican voters about his signature Massachusetts healthcare law:

Among those Republicans who actually expressed an opinion on Romneycare, the results weren't even close: 23 percent said they had an unfavorable view of the law, compared with just 3 percent who had a positive view. That's a nearly 8 to 1 margin of opposition to the law that was Romney's signature legislative accomplishment as governor. What's working to Romney's advantage, however, is that a whopping 70 percent of Republicans surveyed said they didn't know enough about the law to have an opinion. (Among all Americans, it was even higher at 76 percent.)

As I've written on numerous occasions, MassCare is a gaping chink in Romney's formidable electoral armor, yet few of his Republican opponents have even attempted to vigorously exploit it.  It's baffling.  According to recent polls, the former Massachusetts Governor leads in the first five primary and caucus states.  If someone really to separate himself from the pack and emerge Romney's top challenger, mounting a relentless voter education campaign on Romneycare could go a long way to overturning the apple cart.  But that would involve a lot more than lobbing in an ad or two, or briefly raising the issue in debates.  The 'anti-Romney' must become as acquainted with the details of the healthcare law as Romney is, and fashion very specific and detailed critiques.  He must be prepared to puncture Romney's slick four-point response and effectively articulate why this issue matters.  Is anyone up to that challenge? 

UPDATE - The same healthcare poll shows Obamacare plummeting to an all-time low in public support:

Only 34% of Americans now support Obamacare, according to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation monthly tracking poll. The previous low was 39% back in August of this year. The law's popularity peaked at 50% in July of 2010. A bare majority, 51%, now have an unfavorable view of the law, the highest percentage ever.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the public's continued loss of confidence.  Democrats aren't worried, though.  They'll just ban the term "Obamacare," blame everything on the "Republican Congress," and everything will be just fine.  Party of ideas.