Why Romney lost
BOSTON, November 9, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – 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.
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.
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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.
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.
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 TheRightsWriter.com.
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