Erik Hayden at the Atlantic notes a new development in the struggle over the health care legislation:
Why is a state able to impose a mandate that people buy health insurance, but not the federal government? Variations of that question have plagued Mitt Romney as he's tried to differentiate his Massachusetts Health Care plan from President Obama's health care reforms. But when the question was recently posed by ABC's George Stephanopoulos, the Republican responded succinctly: "States have rights that the federal government doesn't have," he said, before asserting a state's right to try different things to see what "works" and issuing a non-apology for his plan. On Good Morning America Tuesday morning, he "refused to apologize" for Massachusetts's plan.
Pundits have now seized on Romney's answer as a potential strong strategy for a looming 2012 presidential bid.
This line of argument—that it's OK for states but not for the federal government to implement such a plan—along with Paul Krugman's point that the Obama health care reform is quite similar to '90s-era Republican proposals, makes me see more clearly than ever that a large part of the Republican zeal for undoing the reform is merely a desire to take a political victory away from the President.