This is the key. This is why all those working-class white voters just plain didn't show up. We had the election in the bag. It was ours to lose. They were never going to vote for Obama no matter what. We only had to come up with an acceptable candidate. And we didn't.
Many of us saw this coming in the primaries. FR helped lead the charge in fighting against a Romney nomination. Why nominate a candidate with 1%'er baggage in a season when class warfare, income inequality, Wall Street distrust and corporate bailouts had already ticked so many people off? What was so great about Romney that made it worth trying to overcome that baggage before even beginning to get our political message out?
Problem is the beltway blue bloods that run the GOP are completely tone deaf to the perspective of the common folk in flyover country. They may have believed Romney was a great candidate. But they are totally blind to the distrust most people have towards people who got super rich by pushing big money around in things like corporate buyouts or stock trades, as opposed to someone they could respect who built a successful company from the ground up, became a rich and famous star through pure talent or came up with a brilliant new invention.
The long primary wouldn't have made a difference. There was no way Romney was going to be able to "define" himself in any way that could overcome the Democrats' negative highlighting of his business career. If you were involved in numerous companies that shut down and created bitter employees to rail against you in ad after ad, that's a little too steep of a hill to climb. Besides, whatever Romney did to define himself in this campaign didn't work out too well. It wasn't the "lateness" of his effort, it was the poorness of his effort and the incredible weight he would have had to lift to make himself seem like he could relate to the common man.
I will never give those traitorous Obama-voters-by-default any excuse for what they did. Those idiots are being turned out of their jobs by the thousands right now. But at least they got to make their statement against the rich guy by staying home and not voting for him.
This could all have been avoided. Romney was way too liberal and did come across as condescending and wooden, although I have no doubt that he is a decent person himself and he certainly would have been infinitely preferable to Obama - but so would my cat, and I don’t even have one!
I really blame Rush Limbaugh for this. When the Gingrich campaign responded to Romney’s personal attacks on him with a spot suggesting that Bain was not exactly just going around like Lady Bountiful handing out loans to small businesses, but was in fact buying and stripping large companies, and was not showing the good side of capitalism (because Romney, frankly, was not honest about his early days), Rush ran to his rescue and shot Gingrich down as being “anti-capitalist.”
That was ridiculous, but unfortunately, I think it worked with a lot of conservatives who worship Rush, and it really killed Gingrich’s momentum more than anything else. Rush himself can be very condescending (I hate it when he refers to some of his listeners as “hicks”) and while it’s entertaining to hear which fantastic golf course he has played at with what bunch of mega-rich guys or which game he has watched from the owner’s box or how he has paid for a $100,000 medical treatment by writing a check, most of us can’t do that. In other words, I think his own delight at being now in the world of the rich and famous blinded him to the significant drawbacks that Romney, born rich and liberal (his mother was pro-abortion and his father apparently liked Alinsky), would have in relating to the rest of us as the GOP candidate.
I didn’t care, personally, since I never liked Romney from the start and my opinion improved only when he had a brief flash of patriotism and combativeness, but I was prepared to vote for him in any case. I don’t even expect to like any of the people they put up for us as candidates anymore. But there were other people who couldn’t get past his persona; that is, they weren’t going to vote for Obama, but they weren’t going to vote for Romney, either. And they didn’t.
Gingrich commented that Romney was going to be demonized for his less than innocent business activities by the press, and this was actually what happened. And Romney had absolutely no personal sensitivity, so he was never able to reset the image and kept on saying stupid things (the “47%” comment) that gave his enemies fodder, exactly as Gingrich had said they would. But in the meantime, Rush destroyed Gingrich.