Skip to comments.How Romney Lost - And three lessons for conservatives going forward.
Posted on 11/07/2012 9:45:41 PM PST by neverdem
Columbus, Ohio — The realities of the electoral map meant that the Romney campaign really had no choice but to bet big on Ohio, and that bet was a loser. In addition to some critical on-the-ground specifics — Ohio is not hurting as badly as the rest of the country — there were three main reasons for that.
1. Ohio likes crony capitalism. The automotive bailout is popular in Ohio, and not just among self-interested workers and investors in that industry. Putting General Motors on federal life support is economically daft and morally dubious, but it gave the Obama administration a powerful tool for convincing middle-class workers that the president is on their side. He might be doing something silly and destructive, but to be seen as doing something is politically useful. That it was General Motors and Chrysler was critical: Americans have a particularly romantic attitude toward automobile manufacturers, probably because Americans have a particularly romantic attitude toward automobiles. The (mostly mythical) image of the blue-collar homeowner supporting a four-person family in comfort by spending 40 hours a week on the assembly line is up there with mom and apple pie in the pantheon of American sentimentality. If President Obama had associated himself with the bailout of, say, Eastman Kodak — which will cease providing health care and other benefits to 56,000 retirees as part of its bankruptcy — it would not have imbued him with quite the same glow. And that is a specific instance of the more general and lamentable fact that . . .
2. Class warfare works. It is juvenile and it is economically illiterate, but a fair number of Americans worked themselves up into a lather over Mitt Romney’s paying a relatively low tax rate. Taxing capital gains at a lower rate than wages has been for a long time a mostly uncontroversial economic policy with fairly wide support across the partisan and ideological spectrum. When Bill Clinton signed into a law a reduction in the capital-gains tax rate, there was no mutiny on the left. More broadly, most voters do not have anything like the economic sophistication even to understand what Romney did at Bain Capital, much less how such private-equity firms provide real economic benefits. These are the citizens Bastiat had in mind when he wrote about what is seen and what is unseen: They can see outsourcing and declining manufacturing employment, but they cannot see (at least not very clearly) the benefits associated with integrated global supply chains or increases in manufacturing productivity. It may not be possible to be too thin, but it is, apparently, possible to be too rich, at least for an electorate that can be swayed by envy.
3. Repealing Obamacare was not a deal cincher in Ohio. A number of people I spoke to in the state suggested that the Romney-Ryan ticket paid too much attention to repealing Obamacare without spelling out an alternative that was sufficiently simple and attractive to voters who are not committed conservatives. One veteran of the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations argued that while Ohio voters may not be crazy about the Affordable Care Act, neither are they burning partisans of the campaign to repeal it. As with the GM bailout, many voters regard Obamacare as an example of the administration’s trying to do something for them, even if they are not entirely sold on the particulars.
There is not much in this to comfort conservatives. The lessons of Ohio are that Barack Obama is a skillful demagogue, that the ancients were wise to number envy among the deadly sins, and that offering Americans a check is a more fruitful political strategy than offering them the opportunity to take control of and responsibility for their own lives. This is what Oakeshott had in mind when he wrote that liberty was something that many people simply are not equipped to “enjoy as an opportunity rather than suffer as a burden.”
For many years, Republicans have relied on Jude Wanniski’s “Two Santa Claus” theory, the strategy of using the promise of tax cuts to compete with Democrats’ promises of cash and other benefits. In part as a consequence of that strategy, a great many Americans pay little or no federal income taxes, while many of the other federal taxes they pay are indirect or partly hidden. Mitt Romney was right: You can’t use tax cuts to buy off people who are net recipients of tax transfers. Figuring out what we can offer them that is consistent with our principles is the task of conservatives between now and the next election.
— Kevin D. Williamson is roving reporter for National Review.
It didn’t help that Myth stood by all Summer as 0bama pulverized him. He was a weak candidate - unfortunately it was a real weak GOP field.
THere is really only one lesson to be learned for conservatives.
Quit being the battered, abused wife of the GOP ELite.
Put your foot down, both in the Primaries and the General Election and say no when they put up a candidate who is diametrically opposed to your principles as Romney was for any complete conservative.
By complete conservative, I mean a Social, Fiscal, and Defense/Military conservative.
Romney utterly failed on two of those, Social and Fiscal conservatism.
If we don’t force the GOP to listen to us, the GOP will ultimately go the way of the Whigs.
Many conservatives were against the bailouts. They’d also have a problem with Ohio because if you think 8% unemployment is bad, imagine if the entire state is unemployed!
My philosophy is if someone who smokes everyday has a heart blockage, don’t deny him surgery because he did this to himself. First fix the problem and then work with him to help him quit.
Obama’s approach is to perform surgery and then give the patient a cig to smoke so that he’ll keep coming back.
yes, he just let Obama campaign portrait him and didn’t fight back. Very bad summer time. Rupert Murdoch’d warned him that his campaign team was a big problem.
Lesson learned: GOP had better identify its winners very early on, support them, coach them on how to deal with the Enemedia, and teach them how to civilly debate each other without blowing up the party.
My top prospects for 2016: McDonnell, Pence, & Portman. Ryan should be House Speaker. Judas Christie: fuggedaboudit.
“Romney utterly failed on two of those, Social and Fiscal conservatism.”
Even if that is the case, defense more than makes up for it. We will soon have no nuclear weapons and utterly defenseless in the face of Iran, China and North Korea. It will get really scary soon and there’s nothing Congress, the states or the tea party can do about it.
The RNC needs to make sure there are no more than three candidates from the get go. More than that is counter productive. Also they need to run their debates instead of letting the MSM run them, because their only goal is to make all of them look bad.
No amount of work can overcome the effects of a poor candidate.
Exactly. I’ll have to write them that those conditions apply, as well as eliminating open primaries, before I ever send them another cent.
I don’t give a flying (fill in the blank) what yet another reporter thinks should be my lesson. I’ve read the daily drivel from just about everywhere for almost a year. They’re all without a clue. They are no better at predicting the future or analyzing the past than the average joe on the street. So, please, mr reporter guy, just shut up and try reporting just the facts.
You cant use tax cuts to buy off people who are net recipients of tax transfers. Figuring out what we can offer them that is consistent with our principles is the task of conservatives between now and the next election.
This is ignored at peril. Elections now are about building interest group coalitions not ideology. If anything is to be learned from the Libertarian Party it’s that no one cares about abstract ideas but they do care about the bottom line. Thinking about the issue of the GOP bridging the gap with minority voters, one idea is that the GOP starts to invest in minority business interests. By helping to break the cycle of dependency on democrat funds, you may be able to bring some of the black business class into the GOP fold.
As long as the media and dems continue to pick our nominee, we’re screwed.
Quote: “For many years, Republicans have relied on Jude Wanniskis Two Santa Claus theory, the strategy of using the promise of tax cuts to compete with Democrats promises of cash and other benefits. In part as a consequence of that strategy, a great many Americans pay little or no federal income taxes, while many of the other federal taxes they pay are indirect or partly hidden. Mitt Romney was right: You cant use tax cuts to buy off people who are net recipients of tax transfers. Figuring out what we can offer them that is consistent with our principles is the task of conservatives between now and the next election.”
I have an idea. It is difficult to tell people the pain Obama is causing them while administering a pain killer. Stop the unemployment benefits. If Obama wants to raise taxes, I say fine, lets raise them. Let us stop trying to convince the American Sheeple that this guy is bad for them while ensuring that they don’t feel the pain. Let’s bring the pain all the while holding Obama out as having “won” when he gets his way. That way, he owns the consequences. Over a fiscal cliff, great. Until it happens the American Sheeple just won’t get what it means. Time to reach rock bottom.
Oh and it is also time to declare war on the media. They are no more and no less than an unelected but ruling arm of the democrat party.
It has gone the way of the Whigs, the Neo-Con’s are not going to allow a real Conservative to run again for President.
OK, so who is the winning candidate for 2016? Not a name necessarily, but what’s that persons bio?
There wasn’t a candidate in the GOP primary that could have crafted a better campaign in an attempt to hold the base while catering to Swing State voters. From the start the race was going to be determined by less than ten states.
Please someone name the perfect candidate who could have done it? Not even Reagan could have beaten Obama.
We were sucker punched by the Evangelicals who throw aside their love of country for hatred of Mormons.
Complete Bull crap. If anything, Evangelicals stayed home because they didn’t want to vote for a liberal. Romney is 85 percent of Obama. Not enough difference for the Evangelicals to get out of bed to vote. I don’t blame the Evangelicals, I blame liberal Romney. Nobody told him he had to flip-flop his entire life. He has zero core and people saw that. If we would have run a conservative with conviction, the election may have turned out differently. Romney is a liberal and that is why he lost...nothing at all to do with Mormonism.
Well said, The GOP should definitely run their own debates, no more Candy Cows!