Dear Mitt, quit while you’re behind

DEAR MITT, QUIT WHILE YOU’RE BEHIND…. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) believes his presidential prospects will improve if he positions himself as the nation’s leading critic of the Democrats’ Affordable Care Act. It’s hard to believe a man seeking national office could be so foolish.

On its face, Romney’s strategy is burdened by his record. His health care reform law at the state level looks awfully similar to what Democrats have now done at the national level. A few years ago, Romney could base his presidential platform, at least in part, on his accomplishment. But now that the Republican Party has moved drastically to the right, and President Obama has signed a Romney-like plan into law, the former governor is in an impossible position.

But that’s really just scratching the surface. Romney also wants Republicans to know he thinks the new law is unconstitutional, presumably because of the individual mandate. That’s problematic, too. For one thing, his own plan featured a mandate. For another, there’s now a video showing Romney endorsing a similar mandate at the national level.

Greg Sargent flags this clip, released this morning by the DNC, featuring footage from a 2008 debate between Republican presidential candidates. In the clip, Romney notes his approval for mandates. When ABC’s Charlie Gibson notes, “You seem to have backed away from mandates on a national basis,” Romney replies, “No, no, I like mandates. The mandates work.”

Indeed, time and again, Romney has characterized mandates as a conservative idea.

Perhaps no one in modern political life has flip-flopped on more issues than Mitt Romney. The man simply bears no resemblance to his previous personas. But this reversal is just laughable — the same man who embraced health care mandates in his own proposal now believes health care mandates are an unconstitutional abuse.

It’s tempting to think Romney should try to change the subject to an issue where he’s stronger, but the truth is, I don’t know what that might be.