This is a message I sent to Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal on 1/1/12, not because of anything Henninger had written, but because he might have been the guy to get the point that Romney might be craftier than we thought.
It has occurred to me, in the course of my search for excuses for settling for Romney, that he might actually be a couple steps ahead of us on the ObamaCare thing. There is probably a 50/50 chance that Justice Kennedy will stumble into another of his periodic guilt trips and the Supremes will fail to invalidate the individual mandate, in which event the first principles argument (‘no Conservative could accept the mandate’) will suddenly appear to be rather quaint and out-of-touch – as will its proponents. Maybe it is crafty for him to abstain from going all in on repudiating the mandate component of ObamneyCare, and to preserve the option of arguing for a re-do on the more economically significant errors of ObamaCare – especially as it begins to appear that, among the original Ryan plan, the Ryan/Wyden plan, Romney’s own recent version of a re-do, etc., there is movement toward some kind of reform package that might satisfy both the public and the major political parties. If the Supremes could craft a ruling that permitted the mandate while making clear that they were not intending to set a precedent for further extensions into the freedom of individual citizens to make individual choices and contracts, they would make it hard for the true-believer conservatives to win the political argument.
None of this makes me happy, or confident for the future of the Republic; I am just trying to be realistic.
[Posted on mecmoss.com 10 Feb 2012]