Tuesday is the fifth anniversary of then-Gov. Mitt Romney signing a universal healthcare bill into law for Massachusetts — a law that Romney used to be proud of, but now is a mark of shame for him (derided as “RomneyCare”) among the Republican base he needs to win over to get the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.

President Obama and other Democrats have said that Romney’s 2006 universal healthcare law helped set the stage for the national healthcare reform law passed last year. That has led to some significant Republican backlash against Romney, because the former Massachusetts governor is now seen as basically having enacted the same law that is one of the GOP’s biggest criticisms of Obama.

While Romney likely will ignore the anniversary as best he can, Massachusetts Democrats will shine a spotlight on it by throwing a party to mark the occasion. The politically-motivated celebration will include a “Thank You Mitt Romney” cake made specially for the photo opportunity moment.

That’s the sort of political theater that makes me love politics.

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With the fifth anniversary of RomneyCare tomorrow, it is puzzling why Romney chose today to announce the formation of his presidential exploratory committee. The fact that he will run for president again is no surprise, but the timing of his announcement is.

Romney is not the first Republican to announce his 2012 presidential aspirations with such peculiar timing this year. Remember Newt Gingrich made a similar announcement with a potential government shutdown looming, and it didn’t make sense why he would risk reminding people that he helped shut down the federal government in 1995.

At this rate, I expect Sarah Palin to announce she is running for president on the anniversary of her interview with Katie Couric.

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