For someone who has spent considerable time projecting an image, image is Mitt Romney’s major political problem. The polls are not widening for Barack Obama just because Obama is doing a superior campaign. It isn’t solely because the economy is gradually improving or international events are bringing a rallying around the president. It is a mix of developments, but foremost among those elements is Romney himself.
He has an image of a wealthy candidate out of touch with voters. Perhaps even more damaging is that no one, not even his supporters, really know what he believes. From 2006 to 2012, he made one of the quickest and most dramatic changes on policy in recent American political history. It isn’t just one or two issues that Romney has changed on, but a slew that have shifted him from being a relatively moderate governor to a hardcore conservative candidate.
At the front of those switched positions is his signature Romneycare legislation, which he guided through as Massachusetts governor. Now he is even changing his position on the arguments he once used to support Romneycare and other government-sponsored medical programs.
The Obama campaign has been quick to release this video pointing out the “new” Romney of 2012 from the “old” Romney of 2010. Today’s Romney believes that emergency room medical care or medical clinics are a substitute for medical insurance because no one is turned away.
There are just a couple of catches. Emergency room care is atrociously expensive. Preventive care is far cheaper but unavailable to those without insurance because the “free” medical care Romney is suggesting is only available when a person is at risk of dying or great injury.
This isn’t a death panels for grandma policy, but death panels for anyone who is medically uninsured.