As of November 22, it appears Mitt Romney has received 47,000 more votes than John McCain in 2008. Considering George W. Bush received just over 62 million votes in 2004, it is apparent Romney woefully underperformed. When one realizes the US population has 19 million more people than 2004, it is fair to say Romney missed out on close to 8,000,000 votes. Yet, the Romney apologists say he is not to blame. I believe there is much blame to go around from Romney the candidate, to the GOP leadership, to the GOP nomination process.
Romney the candidate was dreadful. He was utterly clueless on issues outside of what he wanted to discuss and never counterpunched Obama; even where Obama was most vulnerable. Even economic issues, which was supposed to be Romney’s bailiwick, seemed to be PowerPoint presentations from the late-1980s to mid-1990s. Romney looked like Ronald Reagan but campaigned like Jane Wyman.
The GOP leadership was, in essence, non-existent. It was as though they treated the results of the 2010 midterm election as rare event, instead of a trend. They treated the Tea Party as a bunch of ignorant yahoos and thought Senate losers like O’Donnell and Angle were the norm and not the exception. Thus, they ran a bunch of GOP Establishment retreads for winnable Senate seats. They all lost. In the two other winnable races in MO and IN, the GOP ran for the tall grass from Akin (I don’t blame them as Akin should have had the decency to allow another candidate to win this race) and failed to coalesce around Mourdock. A divided party can never win. They also lost seats in the House. Some of the more winnable seats were lost by inept candidates (a seat in GA comes to mind). Others were lost because leadership did nothing to combat poor redrawing of congressional districts by “non-partisan” Commissions. Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Whip, actually agreed to the process. And why not, he got a better district. Others were not so fortunate. A word of advice to the GOP; if they have to put “non-partisan” to describe a group; they are not. California lost 4 seats through this process. In FL, Allan West lost his race. He was not only a target of the Democrats but The FL State GOP redistricted West out of his old district. A question for the Democrats; how is it “racist” to criticize Obama, yet, okay to disparage West?
Another problem confronting the GOP is money. A lot of money has been redirected to SuperPACs like American Crossroads. American Crossroads, which is run by Karl Rove, spent close to $400 million in this election cycle. It would be fair to say their efforts were a disaster. Unfortunately, if the money were directed to the GOP, there would be no telling what those inept political strategists would have accomplished.
The biggest problem with the GOP during this election was a lack of strategy and message. It was amusing and sad to watch Romney discussing the need for tax cuts, without really addressing the need for significant spending cuts. There were several moments during the campaign where Romney was asked about parts of the Paul Ryan plan, which dealt with entitlement reform. Each time, he either punted or worse, he denied the plausibility of Ryan’s plan. It does make one wonder why Romney even bothered putting Ryan on the ticket.
In 1992, Bill Clinton ran on the slogan, “it’s the economy, stupid”. The Romney mantra was not to attack Obama because the voters believed Obama was nice and likable. The political strategists who thought this was the best way to win an election should really consider another line of work. There was certainly a lack of political acumen by Romney and his strategists. There were many times Obama would lead with his chin and Romney refused to strike. In the end, it was the failure of Romney and his political strategists to address economic issues such as regulation and overspending by the Democrats, foreign policy debacles, and most of all attacks on the Church and Faith by the Obama administration. This failure allowed Obama to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. This was Romney’s race to lose. Obama did not steal this election but there was one significant event that all the punditry missed; the decision by Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Fed, to inject $40 billion into the market. The market soared, and many did not vote to change the presidency. The election was lost at that moment. Romney can discuss 12 million new jobs, but they fall on deaf ears when people are fixated on their portfolios.