Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ted Kennedy Haunts Mitt Romney’s Career

Twitchy has the headline I was looking for, "NYT: Mitt Romney haunted by flabby, inebriated ghost of Ted Kennedy."

And here's the article, "Kennedy Helped Shape Romney’s Career, and Still Haunts It":

BOSTON — When Gov. Mitt Romney signed legislation in April 2006 requiring most Massachusetts residents to have health coverage, Senator Edward M. Kennedy stood by his side, beaming like a proud father. They were onstage at historic Faneuil Hall in Boston, a setting that had a special resonance for the two.

Twelve years earlier, they shared that stage as opponents in a bitter Senate race. Back then, Mr. Romney accused Mr. Kennedy of waging “untrue, unfair and sleazy” personal attacks. Now, the Republican governor was introducing the liberal Democratic senator as “my collaborator and friend.”

Mr. Romney’s complicated relationship with Mr. Kennedy, from campaign foe to health care partner, helped shape both his political career and his image. Today, as a Republican candidate for president, he is courting conservative voters, a constituency that does not look kindly upon Mr. Kennedy or the Romney approach to health care, which will come under scrutiny again this week when the Supreme Court takes up challenges to a similar measure championed by President Obama.

But try as he might to distance himself, Mr. Romney cannot escape Mr. Kennedy’s influence. On the campaign trail, he uses the senator, who died in 2009, as a foil, denouncing Mr. Kennedy’s “liberal welfare state” policies and boasting of how Mr. Kennedy “had to take out a mortgage on his house to make sure he could defeat me.”

He has said losing to Mr. Kennedy was “the best thing” that could have happened to him, “because it put me back in the private sector.”

Mr. Romney’s attempt in 1994 to “out-Kennedy Kennedy,” as people here say, led him to take stands on issues like abortion and gay rights that he has since backed away from, giving rise to accusations that he is a flip-flopper. Mr. Kennedy’s tough campaign advertisements, which portrayed Mr. Romney as a cold-hearted financier, rattled him, and his bruising loss in the race “viscerally pained” him, one friend said.

But he emerged tougher, convinced that it is better to punch first than to counterpunch later — lessons his campaign is putting to use today.
At Reason, Peter Suderman commented earlier on the video of Romney's bill-signing in 2004, "Watch GOP Frontrunner Mitt Romney Praise Liberal Lion Ted Kennedy For His Role In Passing RomneyCare":
Despite copious evidence to back up the connection, GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney has yet to admit the link between the Massachusetts health care overhaul he signed into law as governor and the federal overhaul President Obama passed last year. You can understand why he's declined: Given that Romney is running as an establishment conservative for the Republican nomination, the friendly connection to the rival party's leader and his most prominent policy achievement would be, well, kind of awkward.

But when the Massachusetts law first took effect, Romney did praise a different prominent liberal collaborator as one of the law's "parents" whose work was "absolutely essential" to passage: former Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, a longtime universal coverage advocate whose proposed 1975 health care overhaul was ditched after the Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would cost three times what Kennedy's staff had claimed.
Well, I like Romney --- and I have no confusion that he'd be light years better than Barack Obama as president --- but let's be honest: He's not conservative, or at least, his conversion to conservatism has been exceptionally recent. See Warner Todd Huston, "Dear Conservatives: Romney Isn’t One of Us But We Still Hold The Power If…":
Romney is not conservative. Anyone that says he’s conservative is only trying to convince themselves and is willfully ignoring not only Romney’s entire executive record when he was governor of Massachusetts, but ignoring all the tell-tale signs that his current conservative-tinged campaign rhetoric is just a show to get the nomination. Romney doesn’t mean a word of what he says. But we still hold the power to force him to stay on a more or less conservative path if he wins the White House.
Continue reading.