Romney has done some extraordinary things in his lifetime, but don't think he can change the dynamics of the health care debate with one speech -- a speech delivered long before anyone is really paying attention. The bottom line is that Romney's opponents are going to continue to blast him with his past health care policies. That is not going to change.
There are profound reasons why one could be against individual mandates. I just recently had an intelligent conversation with a friend who is strongly against them. We left that conversation unconvinced of each others' opinion, but with a healthy respect for the various factors and sides of the health care debate. My friend will probably not support Romney and I can respect him for that. If Romney loses because the conservative movement takes the time to consider what he did in MA and finds it lacking, then I can continue to be satisfied with the Republican Party.
However, we all know that this is not going to happen. There will be no debate on the issue. Here is what is going to drive the discussion. In fact, if Romney is going to change the dynamics of the discussion, he is going to need to change one of the following:
1. Anything that shares similar parts to Obamacare is really, really, really, really bad. Why? Because Obama is a Kenyan socialist bent on destroying America as we know it.
2. The low information voters that flocked to the polls during the Republican primaries don't really care to understand public policy anyway. They withdraw themselves from the outside world by limiting themselves to Fox News and talk radio all day.
3. During the Republican debates, the 60 seconds that a candidate gets to speak is not enough time to discuss public policy in detail. Furthermore, the low information voters would get bored anyway, so the candidates instead tried to give off rhetorical red meat and seek to tag the other candidates as not "conservative" enough. Romney's opponents will have every incentive to tag Romney with his past health care reform. And they will get away with it.
4. Ironically, the nomination of the Republican for President really has very little to do with the past accomplishments and policies of each candidate and everything to do with his or her temperament and empathy. Romney is not folksy and he isn't a fighter. Enough said. He is a RINO. Romney's problem with his health care policies have very little to do with the actual policies and everything to do with the fact that they are too similar to Obamacare. As I have pointed out many times, most Republicans had no problem with Romneycare prior to 2009. When Obama passed his health care plan, nothing had changed about Romney. But he was no longer seen as a big enough fighter.
Anyway, I hope that Romney today proves me wrong.