Skip to comments.The Tea Party Got It Right, Mitt Got It Wrong
Posted on 11/07/2012 5:32:07 AM PST by SJackson
In this election the Republican Party ran two wholly inoffensive blue state Republicans on a platform of jobs at a time when the economy was everyones chief concern and the incumbent had absolutely failed to fix the economy. And they lost.
The Monday or Wednesday morning quarterbacks will have a fine time debating what Mitt Romney should have done differently. The red Republicans will say that he should have been more aggressive and should have hit Obama on Benghazi. The blue Republicans will blame a lack of outreach to Latinos. Some will blame Sandy, others will blame Christie and many will point to voter fraud. And they will all have a point, but the makings of this defeat did not happen in the last two weeks; they happened in the last two years.
Mitt Romney won the primaries because he was electable. But, as it turned out, he really wasnt electable after all. Not when the chief criteria of electability is having no opinion, no point of view and no reason to run for office except to win. Not when the chief criteria of being a Republican presidential nominee is being able to convince people that youre hardly a Republican at all.
Romney was a star political athlete who had an excellent training regimen and coaching staff. But to win elections, you have to change peoples minds. Its not enough to try hard or to fight hard; you have to fight for something besides the chance to round the bases. You have to wake people up to a cause.
The Republican comeback did not begin with innocuous candidates; it began with angry protesters in costumes and Gadsden flags marching outside ObamaCare town halls. The 2010 midterm election triumphs were not the work of a timorous establishment, but of a vigorous grassroots opposition. And once the Tea Party movement started the fire, the Republican establishment acted like the Tea Party had sabotaged their comeback and cut the ties with their own grassroots movement. Separated, the Republican grassroots and the Republican Party both withered on the vine.
The stunning 2010 midterm election victories happened because a conservative opposition loudly and vociferously convinced a majority of Americans that ObamaCare would be harmful to them. And then that fantastic engine of change was packed away and replaced with political consultants who were all focused on seizing the center and offending as few people as possible. But you dont win political battles by being inoffensive. And you dont win elections by avoiding conflict.
Is it any wonder that the 2012 election played out the way it did?
The Democrats in the Bush years were about as unlikable a party as could ever be conceived of. They were hostile, hateful and obstructionist. They spewed conspiracy theories at the drop of a hat and behaved in a way that would have convinced any reasonable person not to entrust them with a lawnmower, let alone political power. And not only were they rewarded for that by winning Congress, but they also went on to win the White House.
Why? Because dissatisfied people gravitate to an opposition. They dont gravitate to a loyal opposition. They arent inspired by mild-mannered rhetoric, but by those who appear to channel their anger.
When the Republican Party sold out the Tea Party, it sold out its soul, and the only driving energy that it had. And there was nothing to replace it with. The Republican Party stopped being the opposition and became a position that it was willing to reposition to get closer to the center. Mitt Romney embodied that willingness to say anything to win and it is exactly that willingness to say anything to win that the public distrusts.
The elevation of Mitt Romney was the triumph of inoffensiveness. Romney ran an aggressive campaign, but it was a mechanical exercise, a smooth assault by trained professionals paid to spin talking points in dangerous directions. But, what if the voters really wanted a certain amount of offensiveness?
What if they wanted someone who mirrored their anger at being out of work, at having to look at stacks of unpaid bills and at not knowing where their next paycheck was coming from? What if they wanted someone whose anger and distrust of the government echoed their own?
Romney very successfully made the case that he would be a more credible steward of the economy. It was enough to turn out a sizable portion of the electorate, but not enough of it. He tried to be Reagan confronting Carter, but what was remarkable about Reagan, is that he had moments of anger and passion; electric flashes of feeling that stirred his audience and made them believe that he understood their frustrations. That was the source of Reagans moral authority and it was entirely lacking in Romney. And without that anger, there is no compelling reason to vote for an opposition party.
The establishment had its chance with Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor was everything that they could possibly want. Moderate, bipartisan and fairly liberal. With his business background, he could make a perfect case for being able to turn the economy around. They had their perfect candidate and their perfect storm and they blew it.
The Republican Party is not going to win elections by being inoffensive. It is not going to win elections by going so far to the center that it no longer stands for anything. It is not going to win elections by throwing away all the reasons that people might have to vote for it. It is not going to win elections by constantly trying to accommodate what it thinks independent voters want, instead of cultivating and growing its base, and using them as the nucleus for an opposition that will change the minds of those independent voters.
The Republican Party has tried playing Mr. Nice Guy. It may be time to get back to being an opposition movement. And the way to do that is by relearning the lessons of the Tea Party movement. The Democratic Party began winning when it embraced the left, instead of running away from it. If the Republican Party wants to win, then it has to embrace the right and learn to get angry again.
Mitt didn’t have a chance. Here’s what’s really happening.
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, followed always by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”
~ Alexander Fraser Tytler, Scottish-born British lawyer and writer, 1747 - 1813.
The Tea Party was a great thing but it didn't translate into anything effective enough to overturn squat.
The Tea Party was a great thing but it didn't translate into anything effective enough to overturn squat.
Pretended virtue lost to authentic vice.
I don’t think people looked at Obama and Romney and said “Romney is too liberal, I will vote for Obama instead”.
Romney beat two Tea Party candidates last night, in Red states, by 10 points and 15 points last night.
Which essentially destroys the whole argument in this article.
Here is why Mitt lost.... this is a stunning revelation, so please sit down......... He lost because he received less votes than Obama.... Stunning, I know.
I agree with so much of this article. The Tea Party was thrown under the bus, shut out and ignored - at the peril of the RINOs. They also could have embraced some of the Ron Paul support, but didn’t. His supporters were shut out as well.
Oh well, 4 more years of misery, and being lectured to by a dictator and his dictator wife. What a pretty thought.
I disagree with this one simply because he does not allow for the fact that we have a large population of black people who voted for Obama because he has black blood. And we have a large population of illegal immigrants that voted for Obama because he promises the Dream Act is the fast-track to citizenship.
“The Tea Party was a great thing but it didn’t translate into anything effective enough to overturn squat.”
Because the Tea Party shackled itself to the Geriatric Old Plotters. Be done with them and see some progress.
If we couldn’t beat an incompetent failure like Barack Hussein Obama, we cant beat anyone. The demographics are against us. There are now more moochers and takers than producers, and they voted for their boy. The liberals have spent generations producing idiots in the public education system, and building a news/entertainment propaganda delivery system. The idiots bought the propaganda, and we have 4 more years of the Kenyan. We are beaten. Not just today, but in the future too. The demographics aren’t going to get better. Get used to slavery, debt, high taxes and bowing to terrorists. America is dead. Limbaugh, Levin, and the others can shut down now and retire on their millions, while the rest of us put on shackles. Nothing will save this Republic now.
You dummies just don't get it, Conservatism lost big, Look at all the Senators that lost.
If Romney ran as a real Rino, he would have won. But his hard stand on immigrates, planned parenthood lost him the election.
The kids on under 40 are libs forever and Godless.
Smell the roses, conservatism is over in America,
In a few years We all we be Californians.
Even gay marriage won last night.
Turn off the lights the party is over!
At this point, only three opportunities remain for Republicans and conservatives.
1) For the Republican house to close ranks and not permit any more insanity from the Democrats. This may precipitate a recession by refusing to pass any more continuing resolutions to keep the inessential parts of the government functioning.
Obama and his bureaucracy can only run wild if they have the funds to do so. It is better that the government shut down than that they be allowed to do so.
2) Republicans should put their efforts into the mid-term elections right now, with their emphasis on capturing the senate, which will reduce Obama’s second term to two years instead of four.
3) Tea Party conservatives must put their foot down to the Republican leadership. Three times now, the leadership has foisted worthless presidential candidates on the party: Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. Never again.
In doing so, they have failed the party, but more so, they have failed the United States. Thus they have lost legitimacy as the leaders of the Republican party.
Republican and Democratic Parties have succumb to destroying the colonial U.S. and the traditions that made this nation great...I’m glad I grew up during Reagan - so I know what it is like to be part of a once powerful country...now. like the Romans...I get to watch as the Empire falls to the savages...
Zombieland - here I come!!!
Maybe we have arrived at the point where that circumstance is taking effect. I'd really like to see a politically incorrect stat: what percentage of the Dims female support is from single moms on welfare?
There is much talk about Obama's and the Dims gender gap advantage, and analysts nibble around the edges and talk about soccer moms, etc.
But how much of their female support is from single moms on welfare voting to keep the welfare coming?
You said it all.
I don’t disagree, I think we all have evaluted “the Buckley rule” in our own way and made a determination as to whether or not Romney was the “most conservative candidate who could win”.
Obviously, being more conservative doesn’t do anything unless the candidate can get elected. Sarah Palin realized early-on that her belief were too conservative for her to win, and she wasn’t about to compromise her beliefs. Gingrich and Santorum could not win. So here we are.
The electorate has changed, in part because of the economic collapse that has left many who would prefer otherwise with no choice but the government.
Whether we are at a tipping point or whether we will see another four years much like the last is beyond human ability to predict. But it is incorrect to blame conservatism because conservatism was not running in this election.
I dont think people looked at Obama and Romney and said Romney is too liberal, I will vote for Obama instead.
Now it’s time to get behind Sarah. Mitt declared so early, then a mess of people joined in, to boot. It was a messy primary.
Romney should have spoken up in support for Mourdock and Akin, told the public that we are all free to hold differing opinions, but those opinions don’t necessarily carry over into law. Instead, they disenfranchised them. It gave many a reason to pass, who might’ve supported them, otherwise. That probably hurt Romney, as well. Sent a message that real conservatives would not be welcome at the table.
I think the republican party shot itself in the foot. By not getting behind true conservatives, it left the door open for its demise. It’s time to start a real conservative party...call it the Tea Party or the Reagan Conservatives (would probably pick off conservative democrats this way). We need to start right now.
RACE TO THE BOTTOM; FEWER VOTES IN 2012 THAN 2008; FEWER VOTES IN 2012 THAN 2004 ~
Fortunately we still hold the House and something like 3/4 of the State legislatures. And those facts will become far more important as the Obama downward spiral continues on toward next summer.
With power production down so low the big cities can no longer allow air conditioning, you will see considerable unrest. The Democrats and their hordes will begin to kill each other and Obama and his crowd will be as powerless in the face of such events as they've proven to be in Libya. He'll let his own peeps die meaninglessly in the streets.
I’m exhibit #1 - a conservative who didn’t vote this year. I felt that no matter who won, things wouldn’t really change at all over the next four years. And they won’t.
Romney lost because he didn’t fight in the third debate. He could have buried Obama with Benghazi but chose the Karl Rove-endorsed “New Tone” that Bush adopted: never, ever fight Democrats, just play nice.
If Mitt had run on his real first name he may have had a chance. He needed to win 60% of the male vote overall to win. To do that he had to prove he was a forceful leader.
He’s Dole redux, shoved down our throats by apparatchiks in the party into the vacuum caused by the (temporary) crippling of Sarah Palin.
Romney would have lost by another 3-4 points if he had done so.
You have no concept how much Palin is despised out in swing-state land. I was talking to a guy a work yesterday - he's a nuclear physicist, in Virginia, voted Republican for President in every election since Reagan, with ONE exception - voted Obama in 2008 because McCain "picked that nut Palin" for VP.
It’s the free stuff, stupid.
America has utterly rejected conservatism and embraced Marxist-Socialism. We are under the direct judgment of Almighty God.
The good news is God is in control and the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back.
The best analysis I’ve read yet.
It echoes what I’ve been saying for years.
We need to learn the Art of Political War, as explained in David Horowitz’s book of that title.
We need to stop trying to get along. WE need to get in THEIR faces.
And we need to attack with the full arsenal of conservative principles.
That includes SOCIAL ISSUES.
The left has been welding the social/cultural issues to political and economic issues since the 1960s, through regulation, legislation, and funding.
If we give up the social issues or try to appeal to the left on the social/cultural issues, we unwittingly give up the entire argument.
Morons like akin and mourdock need to be kept far away from politics. Scaring away mushy voters and women is not a winning strategy.
In fact, eliminate all gonadal politics and focus on what can be done to improve the lives of those that vote and are willing to earn the money they receive.
Very few people desire a politician that meddles in their personal decisions.
From the Tea Party Patriots website:
Tea Party Principles, Not Republican Establishment, are the Clear Path to Victory
Today, Tea Party Patriots, the nations largest tea party organization, criticized the Republican Party for hand-picking a weak, Beltway elite candidate who failed to campaign forcefully on Americas founding principles and lost.
For those of us who believe that America, as founded, is the greatest country in the history of the world a Shining city upon a hill we wanted someone who would fight for us, Jenny Beth Martin, National Coordinator of Tea Party Patriots. We wanted a fighter like Ronald Reagan who boldly championed Americas founding principles, who inspired millions of independents and Reagan Democrats to join us, and who fought his leftist opponents on the idea that America, as founded, was a Shining city upon a hill.
What we got was a weak moderate candidate, hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country-club establishment wing of the Republican Party. The Presidential loss is unequivocally on them.
While it might take longer to restore Americas founding principles with President Obama back in office, we are not going away.
With the catastrophic loss of the Republican elites hand-picked candidate the tea party is the last best hope America has to restore Americas founding principles.
Our work begins again today. We will turn our attention back to Congress, to fight the battles that lie ahead including balancing the budget, repealing Obamacare, cutting the debt, holding the line on the debt ceiling, and the many other issues that will arise to threaten America.
I’m going to read that in more detail, because you’ve put some good thought into it, and what we’re doing obviously isn’t working.
Without trying to sound like a spinmaster, now is the time for all good conservatives to figure out what to do. Reagan ain’t coming back to save us, and the times are not those when Reagan won. We’ve tried the RINO approach, and I’ll admit I’m among those who truly believe in conservative principles, but get lost in the “electability” argument.
So I think you’re pointing us in the right direction. Thanks.
Rove was given way too much of a free hand. Romney should’ve kept him at bay. Even many republicans are sick of him. I think many just sat it out. The problem with voting for a 3rd party candidate who declares after the republican primary is that it is WAY TOO LATE to garner enough support to do more then spoil the election. Besides, Gary Johnson was NO CONSERVATIVE, either. Both Ron Paul (had he ran a 3rd party) and Gary Johnson had very non-conservative views. I could not support either one. Talk is cheap, but actions are telling.
We need to begin a real 3rd party right now, call it the Tea Party or Reagan Conservatives, the Constitution Party, the Founder’s Party...whatever. But start it now so that people are already seeing it as a viable alternative.
There, fixed it.
The moderates have already turned their guns on the tea party and conservatives in general.
Sure the tea party backed candidates lost some races but we also won some. Tea party backed Kerry Bentivolio won the moderate 11th district seat in Michigan by a wide margin. Michele Bachmann held her seat.
As for the Akin and Mourdock seats, sure they screwed up but the so called “moderates” did all they could to keep them wounded. Even as recently as yesterday they were gleefully reminding people of their mistakes. I have little doubt that many of them actively voted for the democrats in those races because proving themselves right is more important than doing the right thing.
My stance on moderates remains the same. They’re nothing but lying, manipulative, bottom feeding, scum. The GOP has been moderated into a coma and they need to hike up their big girl panties and go moderate the party that actually needs it.
True, but he is a competent manager of government, the only Republican candidate with both the skills and demonstrated balls to cut spending and still win elections.
I held nose and voted in hope but I would feel better if I had voted for Sara. Get the Tea Party organized, I will support you.
The tea party activism translated in getting the house back in 2010.
The problem in the meantime is $3 trillion in handouts to the 47% in the form of new gubmint debt.
>Romney should have spoken up in support for Mourdock and Akin
No. Those two and anyone like them need to be avoided like the plague.
America is running out of voters that support meddling in personal affairs.
Mitt Romney didn’t even get as many votes as McCain did!
That is the most shocking thing I just found out.
For all that Mitt is personally honest and competent, he is part of the finance, deal-cutting economy, not the economy that builds things and delivers goods.
And if there is anything free market conservatives should know by now, it is that Wall Street is not their friend, and not an "ally" with which they should wish to be associated.
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.
― Alexis de Tocqueville
I believe that George Washington would have fared no better in this election than Mitt Romney. 50% of Americans want free stuff more than they want a constitutional republic.
I think this author nails it.
You can’t win by always playing defense.
With no offense you never score a touchdown.
Sure occasionaly you grab a fumble and run it into the end zone, but that is not a winning strategy to make it to the Superbowl.
SARAH PALIN 2016
Really. And what part did the state-run media — and even the GOP establishment — play in destroying those Tea Party candidates?
That is not the lesson the Stupid Party is going to take from this. Next candidate will likely be even worse, like a Bloomberg.