Jonathan Bernstein writes this, and I just don't believe it:
... this election will not be fought over health care. Oh, it's an issue, as it always is, but with 8 percent unemployment, it's not going to be what swing voters are hearing about. And don't forget -- those swing voters weren’t the ones keeping a tab open on SCOTUSblog this morning; they may see a headline, but they aren’t paying much attention to any of this even when it's dominating the news. And by next week, and then August, and then October, the Affordable Care Act isn’t going to be dominating the news anymore, and most swing voters will barely be aware that there is a health-care reform law.I think it's practically all swing voters are going to hear about from Mitt Romney. Yes, he's a convert to movement conservatism, and to a large extent he's faking it, but he is determined to run a wingnut-till-death campaign, and the base barely wants to hear about anything else. He's going to promise to repeal the law and get massive standing ovations from his crowd -- do you think he's going to stop? Pleasing the base seems to be all he cares about.
As it is, Romney's first promise in his campaign ads is to "repeal Obamacare." Recall that a week ago he released customized ads for four different swing states; he juggled the order of information in all of them, but in each one, repeal of the health care law was Promise #1. He has to do this. He is compelled to do this. It's what the base demands, and he won't dare to buck the base, even if the consequence is that he never competes seriously for the middle.
As DougJ wrote yesterday,
... the media narrative has shifted from "Romney will move to the center in the general" to "Romney will govern from the center even though he campaigned from the far right in both the primaries and the general". Clearly, Romney can't "tack to the center" even on issues where it would be politically advantageous for him to do so. Why? ...And that means treating the existence of the Obama health law as if it's worse than 9/11, the Holocaust, and a meteor about to destroy Earth combined. That means, in all likelihood, making a repeal promise the centerpiece of his campaign.
The fundamental fact of contemporary American politics is that no one fears anything except the far right. There's millions of examples from Shirley Sherrod to the Bush's Dubai ports and Harriet Miers fiascos to "Drudge rules our world", etc.
... The right will eat [Romney] alive he goes too far off their reservation.