As a rule I don't use this blog to comment on politics. Not because I don't find politics fascinating, but because there are so many people out there who are both better informed and have more time on their hands than I. But once in a while I notice something that everyone else seems to have missed—and then I break my rule.
At the time I write this, we are five weeks out from the U.S. presidential election Obama vs. Romney. Romney's latest in his series of unforced errors are the comments he made to a private fundraiser back in May about the so-called parasitic 47% of the U.S. population. Certainly Romney has done about as much as a candidate could to lose this election. (And five weeks from now, we'll see whether this statement look stupid in hindsight.)
And yet—a significant problem for Romney has been created by Congressional Republicans. When Obama took office, Congressional Republicans announced that their number-one priority was making him a one-term president. In their wisdom, they decided that the way to accomplish this was implacable opposition to anything that the Democrats proposed.
And the worst of the worst (from the Republican standpoint) was health-care reform. Never mind that the essence of the proposal (the individual mandate) had originally been proposed by Republicans. Never mind that the closest model for the bill was Romney's health-care reform law as Massachusetts governor. Goal Number One required that health-care reform be painted as the work of Satan.
And so what is arguably candidate Romney's most worthwhile achievement—the Massachusetts health-care reform law—is off limits to his campaign. One of the more entertaining sideshows of the many that this campaign offers has been his excruciating efforts to avoid taking credit for it. If Congressional Republicans had instead adopted a strategy of participate-so-we-can-claim-credit-for-it-later, the nation's poorest rich presidential candidate would have one thing less to worry about.