Yep, just 2 years ago Willard “Mitt” Romney was arguing strongly for both an individual mandate to buy health insurance, and also for a “higher tax rate for not having gotten insurance.” As Jed Lewison puts it:
The one and only intellectually consistent argument Romney could make against Obamacare is that the difference between Romneycare and Obamacare is that Obamacare was unconstitutional … but he can’t make that argument any more. Deriding it as a tax on everybody or tax penalty on free riders won’t work because (a) it’s not a tax on everybody and (b) imposing a tax penalty on free riders was his idea.
So no matter how much Republicans might want to call Obamacare a tax, the argument won’t fly, especially since their nominee for president is the guy who invented it. For a party that says its top priority is to repeal Obamacare, they really couldn’t have picked a worse guy to represent their cause.