The fact that a whole bunch of Republicans in Washington suddenly said, this is a tax -- for six years he said it wasn't, and now he has suddenly reversed himself. So the question becomes, are you doing that because of politics? Are you abandoning a principle that you fought for, for six years simply because you're getting pressure for two days from Rush Limbaugh or some critics in Washington?As Sam Stein points out, Romney actually still supports the individual mandate in Massachusetts—the thing he's flip-flopped on is whether the mandate should be taken nationwide and now most recently on whether it should be described as a penalty or a tax. He's now decided it's a tax—but only at the national level. It's not a tax, according to Romney, in Massachusetts, even though it's the same thing.
But regardless of the little details, the larger point remains: Mitt Romney is an extraordinarily calculating and malleable politician. When he speaks, his goal isn't to communicate what he believes, it isn't to inform the public of his convictions—his goal is to convince people to give him what he wants. He's a sleazy salesman. And given that he doesn't think voters are smart enough to figure out that he's trying to bamboozle them, he's a sleazy salesman who doesn't respect his customers.