This, however, is far from true. The way to figure out what will probably happen is to look at the scenario from the other side. Instead of what might make Mitt feel uncomfortable, the issue is what is liable to throw Obama off stride.
Remember, Barack has been avoiding the topic of healthcare like the plague. Although ObamaCare was his signature piece of legislation, he never alludes to it. He does not brag about this accomplishment because he knows that it remains anathema for many voters. He realizes that they believe it was forced down their throats and hence will regurgitate it if they can.
Given this situation, all Romney has to do is throw ObamaCare in Barack’s face. He must remind voters of how much more it will require them to pay and how much less they will receive in exchange. He must also take them back to the dark days of backroom deals and sleazy payoffs, and ask if they want more of the same.
Those who believe that Obama will respond by attacking RomneyCare are wrong. To do so would put him at a further disadvantage. Many conservatives do not like Romney’s individual mandate, but Obama’s mandate was far worse. How then can he disparage Mitt without putting his own creation in an even more unflattering light?
There are, however, additional considerations. What if the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate? Can Obama defend its return? And can he support the rest of the program, assuming that the Court does not rule it invalid?
If Romney cheers a court ruling against ObamaCare and then advocates striking down the entirety of Obama’s legislation, he will win points with a majority of voters. Or if the ruling goes the other way, he can ride a wave of resentment to support legislative elimination of a much hated program. In other words, whatever happens in the court, it will redound to Romney’s benefit if he plays his cards right.
Nevertheless, many voters worry that Romney will not seek a repeal of ObamaCare. They fret that because he once supported something similar, he will fail to keep his word. They fear that once in office he will have no incentive to eliminate what he pledged to terminate.
But first, Obama cannot exploit this fear. To begin with, people know that he will not repeal a law to which he is deeply committed. Obama also knows that he has backtracked on many promises. To suggest that Romney might do the same would expose him to a withering counter-punch.
Second, Romney cannot afford to break his promise. To do so would put his administration on life support before it began. Hence why would anyone seeking the presidency so egregiously cripple himself? How would he benefit from such perfidy?
Nor do I think he wants to. Even if he is a flip-flopper (a characterization I find overdrawn), hasn’t he flipped in order to gain favor? So why would he flop in order to lose it?
Finally, I suspect Obama understands all of this. Whatever else he is, he is not a dummy. He must, therefore, recognize that fabricating charges he cannot substantiate would make him more vulnerable. Consequently, any attempt to intimate that he might do so would be no more than a bluff.
Fortunately, it is one Romney can call.