Ben Johnson


Why Romney lost

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

BOSTON, November 9, 2012, ( – With the tortured analyses, memoranda, and bluster about why Mitt Romney failed to win the presidency this Tuesday, it may be easier to analyze the reasons he did not lose the election.

Mitt Romney did not lose the election on Tuesday because he’s a bad man, an incapable campaigner, or too “severely conservative” on abortion or immigration (or virtually anything else).

By all accounts, Romney is a warm and affable person who takes his faith seriously and lives out works of charity. The odd caricature of him as a tax-dodging felon whose policies killed an employee’s wife bordered on sci-fi fantasy.

Nor was he a bad speaker, at least by Republican standards. John McCain, both Bushes, and Bob Dole could have benefited from his discipline, delivery, and work ethic. When he said he and Paul Ryan had “left everything on the field,” he meant it.

In fact, that was the problem. His all wasn’t good enough.

Mitt Romney lost the presidency for the same reason Republicans always lose presidential elections: Because they deserve to.

Wishing Social Issues Away

Some in the GOP say the election is a repudiation of the pro-life movement. To be competitive, Republicans must downplay “divisive” social issues like abortion or marriage and embrace “centrist” proposals. That is the same formula that led to nine moderate Republican defeats, from Herbert Hoover to John McCain.

Social issues are “divisive” no matter which side plays them. In this election, an incompetent president divided his way into a second term.

Barack Obama centered his entire presidential campaign around abortion-on-demand. He stoked the unfounded fears of single women by turning the election into a straw man referendum on banning contraception.

During presidential debates, Obama name-checked Planned Parenthood like an abortionist with Tourette Syndrome.

A compliant media magnified and, in some cases, invented GOP gaffes on abortion to paint the party as a collection of chauvinistic extremists obsessed with rape and “lady parts.”

Romney ran a monochromatic campaign, speaking in a drab economic monotone. When polls showed Obama’s ads stressing what the Democrats call “women’s issues” had gained traction in swing states, the Romney campaign responded that they were a “distraction.”

A wise businessman knows, when the customer has a concern, it is unwise to ignore it.

Mitt actually began his willful aversion to abortion during the primaries, when he refused to sign the pro-life pledge, skipped pro-life debates, and generally took social voters for granted.

He finally addressed the issue by running an ad saying “abortion should be an option” for women in some cases. The ad failed to outbid Obama for pro-abortion voters but confused and demoralized his base.

In short, Romney ran exactly the kind of campaign the GOP Establishment prescribed, like John McCain before him. Now their talking heads are tripling down, advising more of the same in 2016.

Republicans need to understand abortion is not going to recede as an issue. Rather than wishing social issues away, they need to address them in a responsible and accurate way without apology, equivocation, or undue defensiveness.

They need to offer a counter-narrative to the dominant media-Democratic consensus – a scientifically correct view increasingly embraced by younger voters.

Romney was ill-equipped for this. An Ohio reporter exposed his lack of familiarity with pro-life or religious liberty issues.

Bill Clinton once told Flavia Colgan that he appealed to evangelicals, because he could win some of their votes if he made the appeal and none if he did not. Romney did not contest the issue, and Obama routed him from the vacated field of battle.

Romney was too safe

Quick: Name one memorable moment from Romney’s campaign other than the first debate. That’s what I thought.

Romney turned in a masterful performance in the first debate, dominating Obama on every issue they addressed, appearing presidential, and attacking every facet of the president’s four-year record of failure.

After that, he ran the safest campaign since Thomas Dewey in 1948.

That is not to say Romney did not campaign hard; he did. But he assumed he could win on economics alone without nailing down his base in the primaries, addressing abortion, attacking on Benghazi, exposing Obama’s radicalism, defending religious liberty, investigating Operation Fast and Furious, or making a concrete case about why Americans should vote for him.

Even ObamaCare, which remains deeply unpopular, barely rated a mention outside the first debate. There was little talk of doctors leaving the profession, impending rationing, the huge and inevitable transition of somewhere between three and 20 million Americans from private insurance to Medicaid, or the individual mandate.

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

The president’s scandalous cover-up of the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi died as an issue during the second debate, when moderator Candy Crowley wrongly slapped down Romney and defended the president.

Bob Schieffer gave Romney what so few politicians ever receive – a bogey – in the opening question of the third debate, and Romney squandered it, rambling on other topics and complimenting his rival.

In part, this is a result of Romney’s own weaknesses. He could have reminded Americans that Obama put Libya’s al-Qaeda radicals into power with his war-by-decree. However, he could not because many of the GOP foreign policy “wise men” supported more delusionally hawkish policies in the region.

Instead, Romney focused everything on economic conditions which, while abysmal, are marginally better on paper than they were the day Obama was inaugurated. As a result nearly as many Americans trusted Obama to handle the economy as Romney. Coincidentally, half of all Americans do not pay taxes, and 47 percent of Americans (and rising) receive some portion of their livelihood from government programs.

If only he had run his campaign as a wise investor: in other words, he should have diversified his portfolio.

The GOP Establishment warred on conservatives, again

Some conservatives have called the GOP a “circular firing squad.” That erroneously assumes the GOP Establishment is on the same side as its pro-life base.

In reality, the GOP Establishment is part of the Beltway elite attracted to the perks of office and influence, with no higher goal than keeping them.

Anyone who reeks too much of mainstream American values is frozen out as completely as possible.

Four years ago, Nichole Wallace and the party Brahmins blamed John McCain’s loss on Sarah Palin. In 2010, Karl Rove smirked at Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell. This year, the GOP pulled its funding from Todd Akin and stepped away from Richard Mourdock—both engaged in winnable races – because they recoiled from those candidates’ views.

Telling a whole wing of the party it is dispensable is bad enough, and many voters did not show up at the polls on Tuesday. Telling values voters to go away is suicidal.

Demographics is Destiny

As I pointed out nearly 10 years ago, the 1965 Immigration Act radically altered American society and culture.

The British Labour Party deliberately changed the demographics of the United Kingdom for political ends.

Barack Obama was a community organizer, and he ran his campaign like one. He assembled a coalition of Democratic voters that included unmarried women, homosexuals, abortionists, the young, Hispanics, blacks, and labor unions (as well as, one assumes, felons, illegals, and the dead).

Pollster Scott Rasmussen noted the role of changing demographics, namely the “share of white vote falling to 72 percent.”

The share of the U.S. electorate made up of white Catholics has continually dwindled since 2000, while the percentage of Hispanic Catholics and irreligious has increased, according to Pew Forum.

Hispanics voted 71 percent for Obama, an increase in both share and percentage over 2008.

SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer and honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America Eliseo Medina unveiled the Left’s plans for this fast-growing group in 2010.

Medina, who was also a member of Barack Obama’s National Latino Advisory Committee, said if liberals can “reform the immigration laws, it puts 12 million people on the path to citizenship and eventually voters. Can you imagine if you had even the same ratio, two out of three, if we get eight million new voters that care about our issue and will be voting, we will create a governing coalition for the long-term, not just for an election cycle.”

(This story continues following video.)

With this admission on the table, it’s disconcerting to hear House Speaker John Boehner – egged on by Charles Krauthammer and other talking heads – say the first item on his agenda is passing a form of amnesty for illegal immigrants, which in Washington is called “a comprehensive approach.”

Where Do We Go Now?

Boehner’s backpedaling is a sign that traditionalists cannot put their trust in either party’s leadership.

Pro-lifers have two simultaneous tasks. First, they must go back to fight to influence the hearts and minds of the American people within the culture. By presenting biological facts, health statistics, and post-abortion testimonies, we must make abortion an unthinkable and detested alternative.

We must also fight the uphill battle to make an obvious and irrefutable case: that marriage is the fundamental building block of society, the most successful forum for raising children, and it ought not be subject to the malleable changes of passing fancy.

On the political front, we must take back our party – or join another one.

Either way, we must tune out the engineers of defeat who brought the GOP to this position.

Richard Viguerie, who has more than 50 years of political activism inside the Republican Party, greeted the election results by saying: “In any logical universe, establishment Republican consultants such as Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie, Romney campaign senior advisor Stewart Stevens, and pollster Neil Newhouse would never be hired to run or consult on a national campaign again – and no one would give a dime to their ineffective Super PACs, such as American Crossroads.” 

We must also change the channel whenever the Fox News “all-stars,” whose advice of increased spending and wars without end destroyed the GOP brand under George W. Bush, begin giving advice. Barack Obama was right about one thing: if you drove the car into a ditch, you shouldn’t do a lot of talking.

They will not go easy into that good night. The Republican Party Establishment, laden with “moderates” and neoconservatives, would rather lose an election that give up its grasp on the party

But their influence has now cost the party two presidential elections in a row, led by two lackluster candidates. It is past time for the party to clean its stables or close shop.

Cross-posted at

Share this article

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

Share this article

Featured Image
Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

Share this article

Featured Image
A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

, ,

‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

Share this article


Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook