Mitt Romney is editing Mitt Romney.
In its print edition The New Yorker notes that the paperback version of Romney's book omits one sentence that appeared in the hard cover version. That sentence is:
We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country.
The sentence refers to Romney's health care plan, which in the hardcover book was mentioned frequently, and used to lead into the idea that Romney might do the same thing as president... something Romney mentioned frequently in 2007, before realizing that taking care of the sick, the young, and the poor was unpopular among Republicans, who would rather use the money to buy things to make other people blow up. (Or they would prefer simply to give people's money directly to insurance companies, as Hypocrite Paul Ryan's plan does.)
Romney's self-editing poses more of a problem than people are hitting on; it's not just that Romney is changing his viewpoints; it's that Romney now wants the government to subsidize people he called "freeloaders" not so long ago.
In enacting Mass-Care, Romney's guiding principal (aside from a detour into politically popular-veto land, allowing Romney to claim he was against something he was for) was to avoid free loaders, something he'd long proclaimed:
2005 Romney: What I am saying is if you can afford insurance and don’t get it, and you can afford care and you don’t pay for it, it is no longer appropriate for you to just pass that on to someone else…
2006 Romney: They should pay what they can afford to pay. If they need help, we will be there to help them, but no more free ride.
(source.) 2012 Romney, as everyone knows, now opposes the individual mandate he championed, but doesn't mention (and the press doesn't bring up) that Romney championed the individual mandate to avoid freeloaders, which were costing Massachusetts a lot of money each year.
But we say let’s rely on personal responsibility. Help people buy their own private insurance. Get our citizens insured, not with a government takeover, not with new taxes needed, but instead with a free marketbased system that gets all of our citizens in the system. No more free rides
There's those freeloaders again -- freeloaders being companies that don't offer insurance, and people who can afford to pay something towards their insurance, but don't, using emergency rooms as primary care clinics and then not paying (or slow-paying) their bills, spreading the costs to us, through payments to those institutions and higher insurance premiums.
2010 Romney: I know some people say ‘gee, your Massachusetts health care plan isn’t conservative.’ I say, ‘oh yes it is, because right now in this country people who don’t have health insurance go to the hospital if they have a serious illness and they get treated for free by government. My plan says no they can’t do that, no more free riders. People have to take personal responsibility.’”
Does his stance now -- that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, at least if done by the federal government -- indicate that Romney is for free riders, and opposed to personal responsibility? It sure seems that way. Romney doesn't phrase it that way; he says that the bill tramples the rights of states, claiming about RomneyCare that
We didn’t have the federal government come in and intrude on the rights of states
But that's kind of edited version, too; RomneyCare was implemented primarily to keep federal money coming; Massachusetts had long benefitted from a Medicare waiver that sent money to Massachusetts, and that was going to end in the second administration of the Worst President Ever.
But it didn't end, because Romney, with Senator Ted Kennedy at his side, went to the offices of the federal government Health and Human Services Secretary -- then Tommy Thompson -- and convinced them that RomneyCare would pass because they'd shaped it to be approved by the federal government.
Technically, that's not intruding; that's being invited in, but either way, Romney was fine with the federal government telling him what to do with RomneyCare provided that federal money kept on flowing into Massachusetts.
Will he, as President, strive to implement a modified version of ObamaCare that removes the federal individual mandate with something such as a forced-implementation by the states -- a la the way the Feds got all the states to put in a 21-year-old drinking age? Or is Romney now for freeloaders driving up the cost of health insurance for everyone who doesn't live in Massachusetts.