Shakespeare, Star Trek, and Disney have all used the device of identical twin characters who hoodwink or just confuse their adversaries before overcoming some obstacle, be it unrequited love, an alternate universe or uncooperative parents.
Mitt Romney in the running for the Republican nomination in the 2012 presidential election -- may be wishing he had an identical twin these days to overcome his obstacle, which is having been the governor who oversaw Massachusetts healthcare reform. Republicans are deeply critical of national healthcare reform, which, well, looks a whole lot like Massachusetts healthcare reform. Massachusetts mandated that nearly every resident obtain a minimum level of healthcare insurance coverage, and provides free health insurance for people who earn less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level but make too much to qualify for Medicaid. ObamaCare mandates that nearly every U.S. citizen obtain a minimum level of coverage, and provides Medicaid expansion for those earning less than 133 percent of the FPL. Massachusetts set up an independent public authority to act as an insurance broker in offering private insurance plans to residents. ObamaCare calls for health insurance exchanges to be set up by each state to offer affordable options for the uninsured.
Romney's take on this is, in part, is that while it's o.k. for an individual state to mandate health insurance for its citizens, it's another matter altogether for the federal government to do so. But here's where it would be handy if Romney could blame Massachusetts program on an evil twin. Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer called Romney's defense of Massachusetts. healthcare reform extremely defensive and weak. The Huffington Post posted a video clip labeled Ob'omneycare! The Ultimate Mitt Romney Obamacare-vs.-Romneycare Double Talk Train Wreck.
Barring a twin expose, Romney could take another tact and shoot for the 2016 presidential election, in the meantime becoming Obama's healthcare reform implementation czar. Writer Daniel Gross argued in a recent Newsweek column that Romney is ideally suited to be the job, and could use his experience as a manager, executive and entrepreneur to do nationally what he did in his home state. Chances are pretty slim that a social moderate like Romney has a prayer for the 2012 Republican nomination. Better to take a cue from Captain Kirk in a famous episode of Star Trek, in which the captain and friends find themselves on an alternate Enterprise, where the brutal Terran Empire rules and mirror versions of the Enterprise crew exist. Captain Kirk ends up being aided by Mirror-Spock and is almost able to convince him that the Federation way of life is better than the Terran way. Unless he's able to beam down an evil twin to take the flack for healthcare reform, maybe Romney is better off convincing the country that the Massachusetts way is better than the alternatives.