If you want good coverage of the policy stuff in Mitt Romney's big health care speech today, turn to Jonathan Cohn, who just posted, and Ezra Klein, who will soon -- both of them live-tweeted, and they obviously know their stuff. But for the politics of it, you want to read Steve Kornacki this morning, who does an excellent job of laying out the case (that I've made, too, in the past, but not as well) for why the substance of Romney's remarks really isn't going to matter. Essentially, Kornacki points out that the movement conservative opposition to the substance of ACA wasn't really on policy grounds; it was a combination of general Republican opposition to health care reform plus the specific GOP choice to oppose anything Barack Obama proposed.
What that means is that Romney doesn't have a policy problem. If people want to support him, they will, and virtually any sort of song-and-dance will be sufficient to overcome the health care issue for him.
Now, it's very possible that Romney isn't going to win the support of very many important Republican groups for various other reasons, with abortion (and abortion-related issues) certainly #1 on that list (see Jamelle Bouie here; this is a point my brother, who is perhaps the leading Romney-watcher, has made for a long time). There's also the possibility that Republican elites are skittish of Romney because, accurately or not, they fear his religion will be poison with large numbers of GOP voters. It's even possible that unease with the Mittster over health care really will be the straw that broke the camel's back. But if that's the case it's because it is additional evidence that he's really Not One of Them, and that his various shifts have been surface efforts to disguise it -- and if all that is true, then once again it doesn't really matter how he plays it at this point.
I have no prediction on that, one way or another. I think he's a serious candidate who could win, but not an overwhelming frontrunner or anything like that. But I'm completely convinced that Kornacki is correct about the basic situation. It's not a policy problem. And therefore, the policy content of his speech just doesn't matter much.
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