Failed Republican Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, is getting the full CSI style postmortem as his political backers dissect his unsuccessful run for the White House. Opinions have been varied and interesting; some blame Romney for his constant flip flop on the issues, his infamous 47 percent comment, and his failure to launch an all out attack against Obama, while others accuse the President of voter fraud, class warfare and buying the election by spending over a billion dollars.
In their infinite wisdom, analysts even laid the blame on the superior computer technology used by the Democratic Party to get out the vote. They point to the abysmal implementation of the ORCA software used by Romney campaign workers to contact potential voters and wonder if their candidate might have carried several key states if only the program had worked as intended.
While this sort of thinking can drive even a sane political consultant mad, there a few reasonable and rational voices on the horizon. One of them is Stuart Stevens, the chief strategist for the Romney campaign. In his fascinating Op-Ed for the Washington Post, “Mitt Romney: A good man. The right fight,” Stevens took a thoughtful look at his candidate’s Presidential aspirations.
Stevens addressed the lack of support for Romney by the Republican establishment. The fight for the nomination was an ugly display of partisan politics and we must wonder how many undecided voters chose not to support Romney because of the disapproving rhetoric of his own political party. How many loyal Republicans decided not to vote for Romney, or not to vote at all, because Mitt simply wasn’t the perfect Conservative?
“I appreciate that Mitt Romney was never a favorite of D.C.’s green-room crowd or, frankly, of many politicians. That’s why, a year ago, so few of those people thought that he would win the Republican nomination. But that was indicative not of any failing of Romney’s but of how out of touch so many were in Washington and in the professional political class.”
Stevens, for his part, feels that Mr. Romney was a good candidate who made a valiant bid for the White House. He passionately defended Romney’s policies and the selection of Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate.
“(Romney) raised more money for the Republican Party than the party did. He trounced Barack Obama in debate. He defended the free-enterprise system and, more than any figure in recent history, drew attention to the moral case for free enterprise and conservative economics.”
“When much of what passes for a political intelligentsia these days predicted that the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan meant certain death on the third rail of Medicare and Social Security, Romney brought the fight to the Democrats and made the rational, persuasive case for entitlement reform that conservatives have so desperately needed. The nation listened, thought about it — and on Election Day, Romney carried seniors by a wide margin. It’s safe to say that the entitlement discussion will never be the same.”
Most of Obama’s supporters are under the impression the President received a overwhelming mandate from the American people, but in reality a small amount of the total vote cast made the difference in the battleground states. As usual, the overall voter turnout was disgraceful, with only 57.5 percent of the eligible voters even bothering to go to the polls on Election Day.
Obama entered the election with all the advantages of the incumbent and actually performed poorly when compared to the winning percentages of other Presidents running for re-election. In every election since the beginning of the 20th century, only Woodrow Wilson and George W. Bush had a smaller margin of victory than President Obama. Stevens raised several valid points about the so-called Obama edge.
“There was a time not so long ago when the problems of the Democratic Party revolved around being too liberal and too dependent on minorities. Obama turned those problems into advantages and rode that strategy to victory. But he was a charismatic African American president with a billion dollars, no primary and media that often felt morally conflicted about being critical. How easy is that to replicate?”
Ultimately, Mr. Stevens reluctantly understands the failures of his own party. However, while he grudgingly admits the Republicans need to change their thinking on several major issues, he still views the candidacy of Mitt Romney through rose colored glasses.
“Yes, the Republican Party has problems, but as we go forward, let’s remember that any party that captures the majority of the middle class must be doing something right. When Mitt Romney stood on stage with President Obama, it wasn’t about television ads or whiz-bang turnout technologies, it was about fundamental Republican ideas vs. fundamental Democratic ideas. It was about lower taxes or higher taxes, less government or more government, more freedom or less freedom. And Republican ideals — Mitt Romney — carried the day.”
“On Nov. 6, that wasn’t enough to win. But it was enough to make us proud and to build on for the future.”
Reality has an awful way of smacking the true believer right between the eyes. Obama carried the day, not Romney and it is Barack Obama who will be sworn in for a second term on a cold January afternoon in 2013. While the President and his wife dance the night away at several gala balls, Mitt will be pumping his own gas back in Massachusetts.
The Republicans are completely out of touch with many of the issues that concern the voters in the 21st century and if they don’t wake up to the truth, the next election will be an unmitigated disaster. Our nation has been re-made and if the Republican party wants to play a role in the future of America, the time has come to evolve and grow along with the voters.