Bill Kristol here makes a point that it's better for Rick Santorum to apologize for No Child Left Behind than for Mitt Romney to defend RomneyCare so vehemently.
As we all contemplate what a choice that leaves us with, it reminds me of something I've been ruminating on regarding last night's debate performance. The conventional wisdom is that Santorum did worse because he explained, in part, and apologized, in part, for things he did while in the Senate. Romney, we're to believe, did better because, as Jim Geraghty put it this morning:
Yes, [Romney]’s pretty shameless about going after opponents’ inconsistencies and unpopular positions that he himself held earlier in his career – but the audaciousness of it tends to leave the opposition flustered and infuriated.
Last night, he jabbed at Santorum, “When I was fighting to save the Olympics, you were fighting to save the Bridge to Nowhere.” Really, after lines like that, people doubt Romney’s willingness to go after Obama? If nominated, Romney will probably lacerate Obama on the individual mandate, not cutting spending, insufficient support for drilling, demonizing the wealthy, and so on. Obama may coolly point out Romney’s past support for those positions . . . and I suspect Romney will just ignore it and point out that those positions are the wrong ones, and the American public opposes them. Would voters prefer the consistent man who stands for ideas they oppose? Or will they prefer a flip-flopper who currently holds the positions they support?
Republican voters have repeatedly said they want someone who can beat Obama. So Romney's "shamelessness" here might work to his advantage. But what does it say about us if we prefer such shamelessness over fessing up to mistakes? Or do we?