Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has been widely proclaimed a winner in the improbable rise of new Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R- Want My Daughter’s Phone Number?), the flavor des jours of the news media (see here, here and here!).
But Wall Street Journal Potomac Watch diva Kimberley Strassel isn’t so sure. On Friday she wrote:
For all the benefits this contest held for the former governor, it also churned up what will prove the biggest obstacle to Romney 2012.
Mr. Brown brazenly turned his Senate bid into a referendum on President Obama’s health plan, and voters rewarded him with a job. Yet ObamaCare’s model was the health reform inflicted on Massachusetts by a certain Republican governor in 2006, otherwise known as RomneyCare.
That precursor shares many elements of Washington’s legislation, from an individual mandate, to employer taxes, to subsidized middle-class insurance. The program has bombed, creating giant costs while realizing minimal benefits. A big reason only 25% of Massachusetts voters strongly approve of ObamaCare is because of this experience.
But wait. There’s more.
Mr. Romney’s subsidized coverage is meanwhile doing what entitlements do: crowding out private insurers, compounding the cost explosion, walking the state toward rationing. So long as the former governor clings to these central points of his health plan, he’s on the wrong side of free-market policy and public opinion.
In the best journalistic tradition, the hardworking staff contacted Romney’s PAC, Free and Strong America, and asked the following question: Is what Kimberley Strassel wrote true?
Five minutes later, the Free and Strong Americans had yet to respond.
The hardworking staff will keep you posted.