Just what you need, another amateur coroner autopsying Mitt Romney’s rotting political corpse. But really, could I do any worse than the genius experts on the right who thought he’d be President Elect Romney now? At least I can back-up the things I’m about to say with things I was saying all along!
It seems most pundits are focusing on groups and identity politics to pinpoint where Romney failed. Why did Hispanics reject him? Why were women luke warm? Why did evangelicals not get fired-up? To me, that is like analyzing a football game using baseball terminology. You can’t explain a Republican loss using Democrat terms. Democrats are the ones who see the electorate as groups. Their strategy is to individually target each group, give them whatever they want, pass the costs on to another generation, and build a coalition that way. It works very well when done right. Republicans win when they see the electorate as being comprised of individuals not groups: individuals with whom the idea of limited government will resonate when properly presented and contrasted with the unlimited government ideas of the left. Both sides are very successful when they stick to their respective plans and have likeable candidates. Both sides lose if they try to employ the other’s strategy.
Mitt Romney lost because he surrendered. He lost because he surrendered the big conservative ideas and the contrast with the big liberal ones. He surrendered early and he surrendered often. Mitt Romney’s surrender was unconditional.
The first and biggest surrender was about Bush and the Financial Crisis of 2008. Mitt Romney’s line throughout the campaign was “Sure, Barack Obama inherited a mess, but he made it worse!” In other words, the mess was Bush’s fault. This was an insane surrender in a campaign that seemed to be about the economy. Perhaps Mitt Romney believed it really was Bush’s fault. Perhaps he didn’t want to fight the zeitgeist. Either way it was bad strategy, and it was wrong on the merits. Barack Obama did not inherit the financial crisis; he and the Democrat Party created it!
The fact is, the financial crisis of 2008 was the direct result of a redistributionist scheme to provide mortgages to anyone regardless of ability to pay. This began in earnest under Bill Clinton and was nearly reigned-in by responsible Republicans under George W Bush. Who stopped them? Among them a junior Senator from Illinois named Barack Obama who had spent the last decade advocating for this very scheme, first as a Community Organizer, next as a State Senator, then as a US Senator, and finally as President.
All the risk from this redistribution was supposed to be assumed by wealthy taxpayers via the Federal Government in the form of government agencies initialed FNMA (Fannie Mae) and FHLMC (Freddie Mac). No government official took more money from these “toxic twins” and at a faster rate than the junior Senator from Illinois named Barack Obama. His closest competitors in that money grab included Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Hillary Clinton. (We are soon going to hear about the third and fourth government mortgage agencies known as FHA and GNMA, but that’s for another day…)
Unfortunately, when the scheme went bad, the damage spread unintentionally to the private banking and investment sector bringing the entire global financial system to its knees. Mitt Romney was supposed to be a business expert but he never brought any insight to any of this!
The second surrender has to do with Osama bin Laden. It is hard to argue that Barack Obama is not responsible for finding Osama bin Laden, after all he was the Commander-In-Chief at the time. But the fact is, Osama bin Laden was located despite Barack Obama’s best efforts, not because of him. Barack Obama was an impediment to this success!
It took ten years of hard work to capture high-value terrorists, interrogate them, gather the intelligence, follow the leads, pinpoint bin Laden’s whereabouts, and finally pull off the successful Seal Team Six raid that killed him. Barack Obama opposed every single aspect of that effort. Moreover, every tactic, every technique, and every shred of key intelligence originated prior to Obama’s presidency. Mitt Romney never challenged this hagiography!
Barack Obama opposed capturing terrorists at all, and still does. That’s why anyone suspected of being a terrorist is executed via drone (along with their immediate family if any are near). Virtually no non-domestic terrorists have been captured since Obama became President. This has been a disaster from an intelligence standpoint. Without captured terrorists we never would have gotten the leads that eventually led to Osama bin Laden.
Obama opposed Guantanamo Bay and military tribunals for terrorists. This has been a deadly disaster of a policy. Obama, both as Senator and President, has advocated for the release of dangerous terrorists from Gitmo in order to eventually close the prison and avoid the messy trials. That’s how the leader of the 9/11/12 Benghazi attack got released from Gitmo and sent back to Libya while Obama was advocating for these very policies from the Senate. Gitmo prisoners were the ones who led us to Osama bin Laden.
Obama opposed interrogating terrorists. There has been no effective questioning of terrorists, harsh or otherwise, under President Obama. Without interrogations, bin Laden would still be alive and free today.
Obama opposed wiretapping terrorists. As President, he has quietly allowed some wiretaps, but his rhetoric has always been at odd with this. Without wiretaps, bin Laden’s courier would never have led us to the Abbottabad compound where bin Laden was holed-up.
Obama is no friend of the Military or the Intelligence branches. In fact, up until a month ago, the Obama Administration was actively seeking legal action against the very interrogators who got the intelligence that led to bin Laden. Let that sink in: For almost four years, Barack Obama was legally harassing the very people who were responsible for getting bin Laden. What’s more, these individuals were denied legal assistance and left to fend for themselves!
Mitt Romney never called Obama on any of this. Obama got a free ride with his radical base by opposing every single element of the effort to get bin Laden, and at the same time got to play to the rest of America by taking credit for the success and spiking the football!
The third surrender has to do with Barack Obama’s character. This surrender is best exemplified by Mitt Romney’s oft repeated line; “Barack Obama is a nice enough guy, he’s just in over his head!” Again, this was probably Romney just playing to the polls, which showed Barack Obama as a likeable fellow. But challengers are supposed to challenge! Challenge conventional wisdom, challenge the media, challenge the pop culture, and challenge the hagiography. Mitt Romney did none of that.
Barack Obama is arguably not a “nice guy” and he’s certainly not in over his head. He has burdened our kids with unprecedented debt and financial obligations that they can never repay. He has offered no credible plan to reverse any of this. All he has offered is an all-out war on the reasonable suggestions of others. How is that nice? He has championed an explosion in dependency and poverty: More people are on food stamps, welfare, unemployment, disability, and Medicaid than ever before and the all the money for that explosion is borrowed from our kids. How is that nice? Barack Obama is a self-described follower of Saul Alinsky, Karl Marx, and Cloward and Piven. Their strategy is to destroy the existing system of equal-opportunity and replace it with one of equal-outcomes after an economic collapse which they hope to foster. This has never worked out well anywhere throughout history. How is that nice? He has promoted class warfare, race warfare, and union thuggery all in a cynical pursuit of political power. How is that nice? Barack Obama has lied about everything from economics to Benghazi and everything in between. How is that nice? Mitt Romney never explained!
Finally, Mitt Romney surrendered his own character. As Democrats and the Obama operation were slandering him and accusing him of the most egregious offenses including a woman's death, conducting a war on women, committing felonies, cruelty to animals, tax fraud, bankrupting companies, etc., he continued to act as a character witness for Barack Obama! This was preposterous. The Romney strategy seemed to be based on the belief that Americans would somehow see what was happening, recognize it as a blatant attempt at character assassination, and reject it out of some high moral principles that they supposedly had. In what could qualify as the understatement of the year, that was a miscalculation.
It may be that this was not a winnable campaign from the outset. It’s hard to run against the pop media, pop culture, pop academia, pop music, pop entertainment, and the entire world, which awarded Barack Obama a Nobel Peace Prize just for showing-up. Moreover, in a country that has made everyone part of the entitled class and left it up to the unborn to pay for it all, sanity may come only when it must.