TAMPA, Fl., April 2, 2012 —The Republican Party has energized its base around the idea that Barack Obama must be defeated to save America from “socialism.” They won a majority in the House in 2010 by focusing on Obamacare. They claim that this election is a turning point. Obama must be defeated or America will be “fundamentally changed.”
There is only one problem. All of the candidates they are running will lose to Obama, with the exception of Ron Paul.
In order to win the general election, the Republicans need independents and Democrats. They also need a media narrative that shows a clear contrast between their candidate and Obama. They get all of this with Paul and none of it with Romney, Santorum, or Gingrich.
During the 2010 elections, Republicans pulled off a rhetorical coup. They successfully labeled Obamacare as “socialism” while at the same time mobilizing millions of senior citizens against the program because it would hurt Medicare. Hats off to their spin doctors. It won’t be that easy this year. If they want to attack Obama on Obamacare, they can’t run a candidate who signed the same program into law in Massachusetts (Romney), who supported its individual mandate for twenty years (Gingrich), or who voted for the Medicare prescription drug benefit (Santorum).
Santorum hasn’t endorsed the individual mandate, but Obama can argue that he’s all for government healthcare and “spreading the wealth around” because of Medicare Part D. The Republican base might swallow Santorum’s rebuttals, but for the rest Obamacare gets neutralized.