But for Jay Cost at The Weekly Standard, health care history isn’t as significant perhaps as political history. Cost goes over the familiar story of the GOP’s move away from the northeastern moderates—a candidate aligned with that wing hasn’t won the nomination since 1960, says Cost—and says Romney will struggle because of his time as Massachusetts governor. Back then:

Mitt, coming as he does from the liberal Bay State, was faced with a very difficult choice: either govern as a bona fide conservative and get nothing done as governor, or tack to the center as a Northeastern-style Republican and push the policy needle as far to the right as lefty Massachusetts (the only state to back McGovern in 1972!) would allow.

This is a near-impossible bind for any politician. It’s fair to say Romney was damned if he did (govern Massachusetts the way that state prefers and suffer with the conservative base) and damned if he didn’t (let Massachusetts grind to a halt, win the affection of the base, but take heat in the general election as a failed leader who put ideology over governance).

Now it seems Romney—at least among members of the right-wing press—is damned because he did.

Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.