That's the title of Bill Kristol's latest over at the Weekly Standard.
"Why," Bill begins by asking, "is there still so much resistance among Republican primary voters to Mitt Romney, the likely but not inevitable GOP nominee?" Bill answers by quoting a an exchange four years ago among GOP primary candidates Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson and debate moderator Charlie Gibson:
Charlie Gibson: Governor Romney’s system has mandates in Massachusetts, although you backed away from mandates on a national basis.
Mitt Romney: No, no, I like mandates. The mandates work.
Fred Thompson: I beg your pardon? I didn’t know you were going to admit that. You like mandates.
Romney: Let me—let me—oh, absolutely. Let me tell you what kind of mandates I like, Fred, which is this. If it weren’t . . .
Thompson: The ones you come up with.
Gibson: We have an expression in television: We get in the weeds. We’re in the weeds now on this. . . . Yes or no, in your national plan, would you mandate people to get insurance? . . .
Romney: I would not mandate at the federal level that every state do what we do. But what I would say at the federal level is, “We’ll keep giving you these special payments we make if you adopt plans that get everybody insured.” I want to get everybody insured.
"Romneycare," Bill Kristol then concludes,
was an understandable effort to fix the system over which Mitt Romney presided in Massachusetts. But the country has changed markedly in the last six years—without a corresponding change in Romney’s views. If our current problems lent themselves to technocratic and managerial fixes, Romney could be a reasonably compelling candidate. But they don’t....
If we are sick of being managed by liberal technocrats, we’re not going to be thrilled merely to replace their rule with that of moderately conservative technocrats.
Mitt Romney likes mandates. Conservatives—especially in light of Obamacare—don’t. Conservatives like liberty.
Well and truly said, Bill Kristol. Well and truly said.