Recently, there have been some rumblings by certain Tea Party leaders concerning their opposition to Mitt Romney on account of his healthcare plan in Massachusetts. Right or wrong, this is a major problem for Romney that he will need to address in the coming months if he is to claim the frontrunner status for the GOP nomination in 2012 that many pundits are saying is his to begin with.
However, in spite of Romney's failure to adequately address the more questionable parts of his record, the Tea Party must understand that the opposition to Romney within their ranks is based on one thing: irrational fear.
Based on issues alone, it would be logical to conclude that Mitt Romney is in agreement with the vast majority of Tea Party principles. He balanced the budget for four consecutive years in a blue state without raising taxes. Isn't that what the TEA in Tea Party stands for, Taxed Enough Already? The very premise of the Tea Party movement is in accordance with Romney's record.
But what about RomneyCare? RomneyCare, signed into law by Romney in 2006, is a state-based healthcare plan with striking similarities to ObamaCare. However, unlike ObamaCare, RomneyCare did not raise taxes. But the bigger and more important difference is that RomneyCare was a state program and not a federal one. If states' rights and federalism are truly important to the Tea Party, they would readily recognize this distinction. And on top of all this, Romney has consistently voiced his support for the repeal of ObamaCare.
Perhaps RomneyCare isn't the only thing that irks some in the Tea Party movement. Maybe it's his flip-flopping on abortion. Well, considering that he flipped (not flopped) his position to pro-life, wouldn't that mean that the majority of the Tea Party should agree with him now? Changing positions on the issue of life isn't uncommon in either party. Both Jesse Jackson and Al Gore became pro-choice after previously being pro-life. Republicans like George H.W. Bush, Henry Hyde, and some would even say Ronald Reagan each had somewhat pro-choice pasts before becoming pro-life. And besides, it would be difficult for the Tea Party to claim success with a pro-choice candidate like Scott Brown while pointing the finger at Romney.