Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Willard Agonistes (Mitt Romney and How the West was Lost)
PJ Media ^ | January 21, 2014 | Michael Walsh

Posted on 01/23/2014 11:55:27 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

Like my PJ colleague, Victor Davis Hanson, I too am pessimistic about the future of our country. Like many of us, I fell into the trap of thinking that, during the election of 2012, the country would somehow come to its senses and evict from the White House an obviously unqualified charlatan with a threadbare act, and that we would begin the slow restoration of Foundational values to the Republic. Andy McCarthy, Roger Simon, Victor, Roger Kimball, Dr. Helen, J. Christian Adams — all wrong. And these are not stupid people; neither is Michael Barone, who also fell on his face.

But we have an excuse — we were had. By the GOP nominee, Willard “Mitt” Romney, a man with apparently serious daddy issues who never should have run because, deep down, he knew he wouldn’t win. And therefore didn’t even really try. If Obamacare is the greatest fraud ever perpetrated upon the American body politic, then Romney’s candidacy runs a close second. (And here we thought that the wretched John McCain was the worst candidate we’d ever get.) It’s time that conservatives learn and absorb that lesson, and ensure that it never happens again.

What else to make of a new documentary film, Mitt, whose principal message was recounted by Byron York the other day:

For viewers who follow politics closely, especially for Republicans who desperately wanted to defeat Barack Obama, there is a revelation in “Mitt” that is not just unexpected but deeply disheartening. At a critical moment in the campaign — the two weeks in October encompassing the first and second general election debates — the Romney portrayed in “Mitt” struggled with a nagging pessimism and defeatism, unable to draw confidence even from a decisive initial debate victory over President Obama. Deep down inside, the Romney seen onscreen in “Mitt” seems almost resigned to losing to Obama in those crucial showdowns.

Yes, you read that right; as they say in Cajun country, it’s enough to make you want to slap your mama:

It didn’t start well. Team Romney went into the first debate bruised and reeling from the controversy over Romney’s “47 percent” remarks. “Mitt” includes a scene from Romney’s debate preparation in which Sen. Rob Portman, playing the president, used the controversy to nail Romney in a quiet but devastating way. The “47 percent” statement was so damaging, Portman/Obama argued, not only because it was made behind closed doors — and thus represented Romney’s true feelings — but also because it was the foundation of Romney’s policy proposals. Romney didn’t have a very good answer.

On top of gloom about the fallout from “47 percent,” there was a general fear in the Romney camp about Obama’s debating skills. “We were really nervous, just thinking about President Obama,” son Josh Romney said. “He’s a great speaker and he has the mantle of the presidency.”

In a family get-together before the debate, someone in the family noted that Romney had done well in many, many Republican debates. “Will this debate be different?” one son asked. “Will you be intimidated by the fact that [Obama] is president?”

“Sure,” Romney said. “Are you kidding?”

“We shouldn’t be intimidated,” interjected wife Ann, sounding concerned. “You should not be intimidated by him. I am not kidding, Mitt.”

“He’s a very good debater,” York quotes Romney saying of Obama. “He’s a lot better than the other guys.”

Let the record show that I was never much of a Romney fan. As I wrote in January of 2012 in the New York Post:

Lost in the weekend’s back-to-back debates in New Hampshire was this illuminating remark by Democratic strategist Donna Brazile after Saturday night’s soporific contest in Manchester: “Mitt Romney won tonight because no one touched him. And for Democrats, you know what? It was good news for us . . . because we believe that the weakest candidate is the candidate that the Republicans are not attacking. And that’s Mitt Romney.”

The remark drew guffaws from some of the other assembled party faithful and media commentators, but Brazile spoke the truth. Democrats do believe that Romney is eminently beatable, the perfect foil for President Obama, in fact…

After all, the whole point of the primary season is to let the rank-and-file electorate decide whom the nominee should be — not the party elders and the media. And yet, from the start, it’s been clear that Romney is the choice of the Beltway GOP establishment, which regards conservatives and Tea Partiers as the grubby unwashed.

Meanwhile, Democrats and their media allies have been busy measuring Romney for the Occupy Wall Street/One Percenter memorial bad-guy suit. They can’t wait to rip him apart over his background as a corporate turnaround specialist who may have saved some golden parachutes but put ordinary folks out of work.

My conclusion then is my conclusion now:

But expect more of this as the campaign progresses, as the Democratic media complex desperately tries to change the subject from Obama’s failed stewardship to those nutty Christian moralizers on the right.

Will the Republicans let them get away with it? Or will they heed Brazile’s words and make sure they field their toughest candidate in November? Because this race is not to the swift, but the strong.

As the originator of Romneycare, Mitt was the single worst candidate the Republicans could nominate in an election that should have turned on the now-confirmed disaster of Obamacare, the one man who could not take on Obama’s “signature legislative accomplishment.” And, of course, he didn’t. Romney was despised even in his own “home” state of Massachusetts for trashing the state of which he was a one-term governor when it suited his larger political ambitions. Naturally, he lost it in a landslide, 61-38.

But wait, it gets worse. After winning the first debate against a listless Obama, Romney still thought he hadn’t done well, that the president would do better next time, and that he didn’t really have much of a chance:

Romney wasn’t buying it. Instead, he went into an extended monologue on how his father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, was a better man than he will ever be. As he spoke, Romney held the notes he had made during the debate (candidates are not allowed to bring any notes with them to the stage, but are allowed to make them during the debate). Romney pointed out that in every debate he began by writing “Dad” at the top of the paper.

“That’s what I start with: ‘Dad,’” Romney explained. “I always think about Dad and about I am standing on his shoulders. I would not be there, there’s no way I would be able to be running for president, if Dad hadn’t done what Dad did. He’s the real deal …”

Good Lord.

Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit has some trenchant thoughts:

I think Romney lost for three reasons. One: He’s right that Obama isn’t an aberration. There’s a huge constituency for the European/blue-state model in the U.S., whether it’s fiscally sustainable or not, and demographic change is more likely to expand it than shrink it. I don’t think it’ll be many years before we see another Republican president but I do think it’ll be many years before we see another Republican landslide. Two: He got out-organized. The irony of the passages from the movie flagged by York is that Mitt was, understandably, worried about his obvious weaknesses (his ability to communicate with voters, his unjust image as a rich guy who’d inherited all his successes) but not worried about his supposed strengths, i.e. his managerial acumen and organizational efforts. He should have been. Obama’s data-crunchers and behavioral analysts evidently ran rings around Team “Project ORCA.” Oh well. Three: Romney suffered from the same problem McCain did, albeit to a lesser extent — there was no real point to his campaign.

No point, that is, except a conflicting sense of entitlement (on display during the nomination fight) and a crippling lack of confidence that sought to atone for his privileged upbringing. It’s worth noting that that dear old dad, George Romney, was also a loser, who torpedoed his own presidential campaign in 1967 with his notorious “brainwashed” remark about Vietnam.

(VIDEO-AT-LINK)

The textbook definition of “empty suit.” And yet, for some reason perhaps even unknown to Mitt himself, Dad was his beau ideal. In this clip one can clearly see that the acorn didn’t fall very far from the tree: good old having-it-both ways Mitt, as adumbrated by his father. Romney’s refusal to admit that Romneycare was fatally flawed and conceptually harmful resulted in his pretzeling on the subject, which convinced a grand total of nobody that he would repeal Obamacare (because, let’s face it, the GOP doesn’t really want to repeal Obamacare) or could somehow make the gigantic kludge work.

And that, in the end, was the story of the election. A man born to wealth who also made his own way in the world felt that he could not beat a man from nowhere of no accomplishment and no discernible skills other than the ability to read a TelePrompter. Only in America.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2012; gop; ntsa; obama; romney
And we'll probably nominate someone like him again in 2016. The last conservative nominee was President Reagan in 1984. Babies born that year are entering middle age now.
1 posted on 01/23/2014 11:55:27 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

It’ll be hilarious if he runs again. I have a sinking feeling it could actually happen.


2 posted on 01/24/2014 12:04:14 AM PST by Greetings_Puny_Humans (I mostly come out at night... mostly.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

It is a good read.

The GOP seemed to find the man who was the opposite on most everything they are supposed to be, which makes sense since when Mitt Romney;s life is examined, Mitt left the GOP because of Reagan, he actually left the party and eventually became a supporter and fund raiser and voter, for democrats.

This situation was mind blowing to me and is mentioned in the article, quote “”As the originator of Romneycare, Mitt was the single worst candidate the Republicans could nominate in an election that should have turned on the now-confirmed disaster of Obamacare, the one man who could not take on Obama’s “signature legislative accomplishment.” And, of course, he didn’t.””

This was true of Romney on many of what should have been the areas of contrast, with the democrat opponent.


3 posted on 01/24/2014 12:08:38 AM PST by ansel12 (Ben Bradlee -- JFK told me that "he was all for people's solving their problems by abortion".)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Greetings_Puny_Humans

And a bunch of the right would vote for him again. Because just like the libs voting a second time for Barry, they would rather eat crap than crow.


4 posted on 01/24/2014 12:13:23 AM PST by Norm Lenhart
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet
Josh Romney said. “(President Obama’s) a great speaker and he has the mantle of the presidency.”


5 posted on 01/24/2014 1:07:08 AM PST by Tennessee Nana
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

Now listen up, GOPers. Enough is enough! We warned you early on that Fraud Romney (lying liberal RINO and grandfather of ObamaCare) was a sure loser. No more RINOs!! RINOs Dole, McLame and Romney were big L LOSERS!! Never again!! No more RINOs!! No more Bushes!! No to RINO Christy!! The GOP must run a proven conservative or it deserves to DIE!!


6 posted on 01/24/2014 2:13:28 AM PST by Jim Robinson (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jim Robinson

7 posted on 01/24/2014 2:34:23 AM PST by JoeProBono (SOME IMAGES MAY BE DISTURBING VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED;-{)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Jim Robinson
The GOP must run a proven conservative or it deserves to DIE!!

The GOP must die BEFORE 2016, at least as the"conservative" alternative.

8 posted on 01/24/2014 2:50:53 AM PST by Jim Noble (When strong, avoid them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: ansel12

Romney’s greatest blind spot was that he thought he was facing a political opponent that actually believed in American ideals of fair play and a level playing ground.

But Political Correctness has greatly redefined what is “fair play” and what is “level” in the field of skirmish.

The Democrat party has been itself reshaped and contorted until it no longer represents any support of the Constitution, but rather has taken to giving only lip service to the principles of honor, patriotism, and charity. A false “equality” has replaced personal responsibility and reward as an incentive to excel, and use that as a surging tide that raises all boats. We have seen exactly the opposite, that the ebb tide has left many of these boats stranded, until the low tide is reached.

But there has been a seismic change in the sea bed, in which even the next high tide shall never refloat many of those boats. The best parallel is the once freshwater Aral Sea in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, where the water that would have once flowed to replenish that lake was diverted for agricultural purposes, and the fisheries that existed only 30 years ago are gone for good, the species that once thrived there no longer able to survive in the now brackish waters.


9 posted on 01/24/2014 3:04:15 AM PST by alloysteel (Obamacare - Death and Taxes now available online. One-stop shopping at its best!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

A month or two ago I read a quote - perhaps from this film - that Mitt told his family he did not want to run in 2012 after losing to McCain in 2008.

His family actually had to talk him into it.

Perhaps that was just false modesty on Mitt’s part.

Still, it’s one of the most important jobs in the world, and Republicans chose a guy who lacked the passion to even want it.


10 posted on 01/24/2014 3:17:42 AM PST by zeestephen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jim Robinson
RE: “The GOP must run a proven conservative or it deserves to DIE!!”

A quote from Barry Goldwater's acceptance speech?

11 posted on 01/24/2014 3:21:25 AM PST by zeestephen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

Team Romney excels and loves only one thing:
Attacking conservatives and their families and children.

Romney is SCUM and the reason for Obama I, and Obama II.


12 posted on 01/24/2014 3:32:48 AM PST by Diogenesis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

Does anyone think the message of job creation works with people who are getting two years of unemployment benefits, food stamps, free health care, charitable handouts, on and on and on?

Perhaps, if the bennies ever start drying up people will realize that they need to go back to work.


13 posted on 01/24/2014 3:51:42 AM PST by HarleyD (...one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet
we thought that the wretched John McCain was the worst candidate we’d ever get

Um, no, that would be Bob Dole, although it's splitting hairs to choose between him and McCain for worst Republican candidate ever.

14 posted on 01/24/2014 4:34:03 AM PST by Hardastarboard (The question of our age is whether a majority of Americans can and will vote us all into slavery.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

Simple message for me in this story: It’s better to go through life with cheer and optimism than an attitude of doom and defeatism. Our No. 1 example of a person with a cheery demeanor is Ronald Reagan, and look what he accomplished.


15 posted on 01/24/2014 4:53:21 AM PST by sergeantdave
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sergeantdave
better to go through life with cheer and optimism than an attitude of doom and defeatism.

Believe it or not, that was the very first thing that attracted me to my wife those many years ago, that and her gorgeous smile.

She's still that way.

I'm about 80% gloom and doom in my demeanor - because of how politicians have ruined our once great country.

16 posted on 01/24/2014 5:14:01 AM PST by Graybeard58 (_.. ._. .. _. _._ __ ___ ._. . ___ ..._ ._ ._.. _ .. _. .)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Norm Lenhart

“And a bunch of the right would vote for him again. Because just like the libs voting a second time for Barry, they would rather eat crap than crow.”

Not this time.

You were right in 2012. In 2016, I’ll write in Daffy Duck before I’ll choose “the lesser of two evils” with a Christie or a Rubio.


17 posted on 01/24/2014 5:20:41 AM PST by moovova
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet
Like my PJ colleague, Victor Davis Hanson, I too am pessimistic about the future of our country. Like many of us, I fell into the trap of thinking that, during the election of 2012, the country would somehow come to its senses and evict from the White House an obviously unqualified charlatan with a threadbare act, and that we would begin the slow restoration of Foundational values to the Republic.

What foundational values? Romneycare? Debt? Taxes? Massachusetts had/has one of the highest debt to GDP ratios of any state in the republic.

Wake up and smell the socialism.

18 posted on 01/24/2014 5:34:08 AM PST by PGalt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

Taxachusetts debt to gdp…

http://www.usdebtclock.org/state-debt-clocks/state-of-massachusetts-debt-clock.html


19 posted on 01/24/2014 5:36:12 AM PST by PGalt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

It is worse than the article stated. Every primary opponent Romney had would have lost also, but by a bigger margin. All of them were political midgets. In 2012, no candidate of any heft threw their hat in the ring. All were flawed, from too many skeletons, too weird, too much a joke, too much pain medication after back surgery, etc. Romney got the nomination because to many primary voters, he seemed the most normal. He won by default, he really had no competition. The best thing we can hope for in 2016 is not a white knight, there isn’t one, but a contest in the primaries by the first string of GOP candidates. Even if it is heated, it will be beneficial, because the winner will have not been by default, but earned it.


20 posted on 01/24/2014 5:38:36 AM PST by gusty
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Graybeard58

“I’m about 80% gloom and doom in my demeanor - because of how politicians have ruined our once great country.”

I’m a lousy Christian and would hardly believe anything I say about Christianity, but I believe that if you go through life with cheer and optimism that God will pour His grace into you, making you spiritually strong.


21 posted on 01/24/2014 5:55:16 AM PST by sergeantdave
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet
...we were had. By the GOP nominee, Willard “Mitt” Romney, a man with apparently serious daddy issues who never should have run because, deep down, he knew he wouldn’t win.

The Mittster looks like three in a row for "daddy issue" candidates on the republican side, with Bush the younger and littlest John McCain making it three up and three down, and hopefully the end of that inning.

Unfortunately, voters seem to prefer the demonrat "daddy issue" candidates instead, like Clinton (two terms) and now the all time champ, with a best selling book about daddy, the one known as "obama" (two terms?...more or less, we'll have to wait and see).

The truth is, we, the people of arrested development, as a nation have had "daddy issues" ever since daddy was made worthless, given the boot and replaced with Big Brother and matching GuvCo "SugarDaddy" pacifier.

22 posted on 01/24/2014 6:13:55 AM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jim Robinson

Amen


23 posted on 01/24/2014 9:05:41 AM PST by svcw (Not 'hope and change' but 'dopes in chains')
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

“But we have an excuse...”

No you don’t. You were told from day one that Romney could not win.


24 posted on 01/24/2014 9:06:05 AM PST by ifinnegan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

Not with my vote


25 posted on 01/24/2014 9:06:06 AM PST by svcw (Not 'hope and change' but 'dopes in chains')
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: alloysteel

I would have thought that my post mentioned a couple of Romney’s blind spots.

“”when Mitt Romney’s life is examined, Mitt left the GOP because of Reagan, he actually left the party and eventually became a supporter and fund raiser and voter, for democrats.””

Another blind spot for Romney was running pro-choice ads in the closing weeks of his campaign.


26 posted on 01/24/2014 11:45:42 AM PST by ansel12 (Ben Bradlee -- JFK told me that "he was all for people's solving their problems by abortion".)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson