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January 22nd, 2010 1:05 pm
Where Do Brown and Romney Go From Here?

While some may have seen former Massachusetts governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaking at Senator-elect Scott Brown’s victory rally on Tuesday night, it may not have been apparent how deeply Romney was involved in getting Brown past the post.  Once again, Romney displayed a stunningly effective campaign machine that was slick, nimble, and full of money.  Unfortunately, Brown’s signature campaign issue was running against ObamaCare, which is achingly similar to RomneyCare – the one term governor’s biggest legislative legacy.

In less than four years, Massachusetts voters are so displeased with their state’s version of universal health care that they sent a Republican to Washington to be the vote that stops ObamaCare.  But Brown has a problem too.  He voted for RomneyCare while a state senator.  Since being elected, he’s said he supports expanding coverage as long as costs are reduced.  Good luck.  Though Brown will vote for a do-over on health care reform he is clearly signaling that he won’t just be a no; rather, a yes-but.  As in, yes, I agree we need to expand health care coverage – maybe even individually mandated universal health care coverage – but I don’t like some of the elements of the Democrats’ current plan.  If that’s the case, then Brown may be less a Tea Party go-er and more of a tinkerer.

The same is true for Romney.  He likes details and policy and loves to get into the weeds of government to make it run more like a business.  Since that’s his background as a highly successful turnaround artist, it makes sense.  But that may not be the path to the Republican nomination in 2012 when so many voters want leaders who will say no to tinkering, and yes to rolling back federal programs, bureaucracies, and spending.  Now that Romney has helped elect Brown, maybe it’s time for Brown to show Romney whether a Massachusetts Republican can gain a national following being a yes-but politician.

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