Chuck Lane has a piece in The Washington Post suggesting that legal academics have vastly overestimated the strength of arguments defending the individual mandate’s constitutionality. According to Lane, opposition to the mandate is real, not politically-contrived, and it’s rooted in real concerns about the “the welfare state’s cost and intrusiveness.” To that end, he says this:
"Much has been made of the fact that Republicans had no objection, constitutional or otherwise, when the individual mandate first surfaced. But that was two decades ago."
Well, it’s true that the mandate surfaced two decades ago. But Romney supported a mandate—on a national (that is, each of the 50 states) level—just five years ago.* And Newt Gingrich supported it just four years ago. Is it really such a stretch to doubt the honesty of their conversions?
*Update: I’ve updated to clarify language, and Chuck Lane emails to point out that in Romney’s case, this was a policy, not legal, reversal. Fair point.