Governor Mitt Romney's official portrait in the Massachusetts State House — unveiled in 2009 — pictures him seated with various meaningful objects, including a folder on the desk behind him.
That folder, the AP wrote at the time, is "a leather bill binder emblazoned with a medical seal, symbolizing the first-in-the-nation universal health care law he signed in April 2006."
It is, a reader reminds me, rather strong evidence that Romney considered the law his crowning policy achievement.
Funny, isn't it? Romney was proud of that health care law in Massachusetts - and rightly so. But now it's kryptonite in the GOP. But you reap what you sow.
Romney didn't invent "Obamacare." The basic plan came out of right-wing think tanks in the 1990s. It was mainstream conservative policy back then, the Republican alternative to the Clinton health care plan. And Republicans generally supported it, right up until it was accepted by Democrats, too.
Then, suddenly, it became positively satanic, according to the right-wing. After "death panels" and similar crazy accusations, all gleefully pushed by Fox "News" and other Republican leaders, what was originally their plan became the worst thing since gay marriage.
And there was Romney, stuck with his "crowning policy achievement" in Massachusetts, a good policy which helped many people (i.e. the kiss of death in today's Republican Party). Well, when you let fanatics take control of your political party, this is what happens.
Of course, this isn't the only reason Republicans distrust Mitt Romney. Even they can see how phony he is. I mean, it's pretty hard to do a complete 180 on every policy position, trying to seem liberal to Massachusetts voters, then turning around and assuring the GOP you're really a right-wing true-believer, without pretty much everyone figuring out what's up.
Mitt Romney has only one firm belief, that he should be elected to high political office. Everything else is negotiable, and every person in America knows it. Mitt will be whatever the voters want him to be. He'll even suck up to the Tea Party, he's that desperate. But will he stay bought? That's the question.
So it really is funny to see his "crowning policy achievement" become a millstone around his neck. And now, according to Indecision Forever, that millstone has become even heavier:
Back when he was governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney crafted a disturbingly compassionate and effective reform bill to address the issue. Now there's more troubling evidence suggesting Commonwealth Care served as a model for our death-enpaneling, insurance-providing president…
Newly obtained White House records provide fresh details on how senior Obama administration officials used Mitt Romney's landmark health-care law in Massachusetts as a model for the new federal law, including recruiting some of Romney’s own health care advisers and experts to help craft the act now derided by Republicans as "Obamacare."
The records, gleaned from White House visitor logs reviewed by NBC News, show that senior White House officials had a dozen meetings in 2009 with three health-care advisers and experts who helped shape the health care reform law signed by Romney in 2006, when the Republican presidential candidate was governor of Massachusetts. One of those meetings, on July 20, 2009, was in the Oval Office and presided over by President Barack Obama, the records show…
Romney is "the father of health-care reform," said [Jon] Gruber [an MIT economist and former Romney adviser]. "I think he is the single person most responsible for health care reform in the United States. … I'm not trying to make a political position or a political statement, I honestly feel that way. If Mitt Romney had not stood up for this reform in Massachusetts… I don’t think it would have happened nationally. So I think he really is the guy with whom it all starts."
I've got to laugh. Mitt Romney is so phony it's hard to see the downside in this. Then again, who would you rather have as president, a guy who pretends to be crazy or one of the other Republicans running for that office who really is crazy?
The thing is, I think Romney wants to be president so badly that his imitation crazy will be hard to tell from the real thing. So I'm not so sure we'd be any better off with the fake version.