Three years ago, conservative Republicans were falling all over themselves to support Mitt Romney in the Republican primary over John McCain. McCain was considered too moderate, and by the time the Republican primary came around, many conservatives had soured on Mike Huckabee, having heard rumors he was staying in the race as a spoiler purposely to help McCain win.
Fast forward to 2011. What has changed since then? Romney left office as governor of Massachusetts in 2007, choosing not to seek reelection. Other than writing a book and assisting with a couple of political campaigns, he has not done much. Yet now that Romney is the GOP frontrunner, many conservatives are speaking up against him.
Popular conservative websites like Free Republic and Red State have taken a noticeable slant against Romney. National Tea Party leader Lloyd Marcus, chairman of the Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama, has made it a campaign priority to stop Romney from getting the GOP nomination. In response to this onslaught of new attacks from the right, a website entitled WhyRomney.com was set up to debunk accusations that Romney is too liberal.
Romney is accused of flip-flopping on issues, and has come under especially heavy criticism for signing healthcare legislation as Massachusetts governor implementing an individual mandate. As Massachusetts governor, Romney was forced to work with a state legislature that was 84 percent Democrat. In order to getting anything passed in one of the most liberal states in the country, Romney was forced to make a few compromises. Romneycare was a bipartisan plan directed at insuring the uninsured, using the private sector to provide those services. The main goal was to cut down on the costs of emergency room services used by the uninsured. In contrast, Obamacare is a federal government takeover of everyone’s healthcare which also includes a public option. Leading conservative thinkers like Newt Gingrich support individual healthcare mandates, which Gingrich distinguishes from the draconian requirements of Obamacare mandates.
Romney worked with the conservative Heritage Foundation to craft the legislation. One Heritage writer thought it was one of the best healthcare solutions out there, “In reality, those who want to create a consumer-based health system and deregulate health insurance should view Romney's plan as one of the most promising strategies out there.” Another Heritage author encouraged other states to adopt the Massachusetts model. Three years ago, the most conservative Senator in the U.S. Senate, Jim DeMint, praised the Massachusetts healthcare plan, which he later said was hijacked by the Democrat legislature. The Democrat-controlled legislature overrode eight of Romney’s vetoes on parts of the legislation, including a provision forcing small businesses participate.