Wall Street Journal | Romney’s Daredevil Act
F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote that “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” If we may judge by his health-care speech at the University of Michigan yesterday, Mitt Romney is a very smart man.
The likely Republican Presidential candidate fulfilled the White House’s fondest wishes, defending the mandate-subsidize-overregulate program he enacted as Massachusetts Governor in 2006 even as he denounced President Obama’s national reprise. He then proposed his own U.S. reform that is sensible and might do so some actual good, but which also runs against the other two plans. These are unbridgeable policy and philosophical differences, though Mr. Romney is nonetheless trying to leap over them like Evel Knievel heading for the Snake River Canyon.
Many people have tried to talk Mr. Romney down from this daredevil campaign act, but Mr. Romney privately says he doesn’t want to reinforce the rap he had in 2008 that he had reinvented himself too often. As a political matter, however, we think it’s better to change positions than to try to defend the intellectually indefensible.
Mr. Romney is not taking our advice, as his nearby letter shows. He even said yesterday that he would do it all over again in Massachusetts, which means he is in for a year in which Republicans attack him on policy while Democrats defend him on policy but attack him as a hypocrite. Who knows what GOP voters will make of all this, but we won’t be surprised if Mr. Romney’s campaign suffers as many broken bones (433) as Knievel.