The one-term Massachusetts governor is speaking at CPAC right now. He’s offering lots of good applause lines. Sounding very right-wing. Mitt Romney cannot be the Republican nominee for president and he cannot be president. He is the author, in his Massachusetts health-care program, of the individual mandate that is the heart and soul of ObamaCare.

If he runs, and he will, his origination of this policy will give his opponents in the primaries a stick so large to beat him with that no amount of clever one-liners purchased from high-paid freelance political speechwriters and joke writers will be able to mitigate the damage. And that’s to say nothing of Obama talking throughout 2012 about how he doesn’t understand what the Republicans are complaining about — one of their lead candidates agrees with him!

I know Romney thinks he can get away with saying there’s a difference between an individual mandate at the state level and one at the federal level, and that might technically be true, but it’s not true when it comes to the conceptual origins of the policy. Plus, it’s sophistry.

To be completely honest, I can’t understand why on earth he is even bothering to run. This isn’t an albatross. It’s a two-ton weight chained to his torso, and he’s not Houdini.