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So Romney entered the convention season very slightly behind Obama. Romney got either a modest bounce (in Rasmussen) or a nonexistent bounce (in Gallup) from his convention. Obama got either a modest bounce (in Gallup) or a large bounce (in Rasmussen) from his convention. The result is that, in the tracking polls, Romney leaves the conventions farther behind than he started. So I guess the story of Romney’s dad giving his mom a rose didn’t get it done. People must be more interested in their own lives. Imagine that.

So today Romney had some thoughts on guaranteed issue.   One interpretation is that he is going to keep the guaranteed issue provision of Obamacare in place, and that this marks the beginning of Romney’s slow motion surrender on Obamacare. That is what Tyler Cowen thinks. There are more charitable interpretations, but you have to strain to make them. Romney mentions that his “own” plan will include protections for those with preexisting conditions. He mentions his own health care reform plan in Massachusetts as an example. But Romneycare’s combination of guaranteed issue + community rating + health insurance purchase mandate is, along this dimension, virtually the same as Obamacare. Romney might have been thinking of something along the lines of the plan offered by James Capretta and Tom Miller, but there is nothing in the context that would support such an interpretation, and only a tiny fraction of the population even knows that such a plan exists. I suppose Romney could have spared a few moments in his convention speech to explain the principles of his health care policy, but that would have interfered with the endless mentions of his business experience and the story about how he misses his kids. So Romney either told us what he was thinking (that he is basically going to keep Obamacare in place) or he flubbed explaining why his plan would be preferable.

I make fun of the policy shallowness of Romney’s convention speech and how he tried to use personal anecdotes to try to get people to like him without giving any real idea of what he would try to do as president. Part of this is the absurdity of the exercise. What gave Romney the idea that people were going to vote for him based on his ability to emote? That isn’t his strong point. It is like trying to win football games by making Peyton Manning your featured wide receiver. But I think I understand why Romney fooled himself into taking this approach. Does anyone doubt that, if you could offer Romney the presidency in return for keeping Obamacare and ROE, Romney would take the deal in a second? So the policy issues are just a bunch of BS he needs to say to win over subgroups of chumps, suckas, voters. The stuff about loving his parents and kids was real. The problem was that the realness of his love for his immediate family highlighted his cynicism and phoniness on everything else.

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