This is freaking ridiculous. Obama and his minions are arguing that the mandate isn’t a tax, regardless of the fact that it is there to raise revenue to cover the costs of healthcare for everyone. And now Romney is saying he agrees (via The Hill):
Romney has a mandate of his own in Massachusetts and if he calls Obama’s mandate a tax, then that means his mandate is a tax and by implication would mean he raised taxes on citizens of Mass. Not good messaging when trying to become president. And as dishonest as the Obama campaign is they would likely use it against him as an attack even though they’d be guilty of the same. So because of Romneycare he has to forgo this great line of attack and undermine the argument being made by his allies and the Supreme Court that this is a tax.
This is the problem with a candidate who has to protect himself against the same attacks that could be used effectively against his opponent.
UPDATE: I reworded my argument as it has more to do with the implications that Romney raised taxes than an attack on him by Obama.
UPDATE 2: After thinking about this for a while, I believe that Romney has made the right choice here. If he admits Obama’s mandate is a tax, the next question is “so you are also saying that your mandate was a tax as well and that you raised taxes on people in Massachusetts?” – that’s a corner he’d rather not be in. He’s trying to stay targeted on Obamacare being bad public policy and minimize distractions and this tax thing could be a huge distraction if played wrong. So strategically he’s played this one right.