Friday, November 9, 2012
The GOP needs to answer some tough questions
In light of Mitt Romneys catastrophic and societal-changing loss to Barack Obama on Tuesday, it is time for the future leaders of the GOP to do some soul searching and to look in the mirror and take a long look at the mess we have created for our future with this defeat.
We need to answer some tough questions. Like...
1. Did Mitt Romneys Mormon faith cause him to lose the election?
Answer: It is difficult to say with any certainty. Many Evangelical Christian voters have a difficult time with accepting Mormons. I'm a Catholic myself, and Catholics tend to look at Mormons as being a bit "eccentric". While they are still part of the larger tree of Christianity, many other Christians don't buy into some of their beliefs. The word "cult" gets thrown around by critics of Mormonism. I personally don't condemn them, but many others remain highly skeptical.
In a time of economic crisis, when the country could have used a good businessman like Mitt Romney, Romney actually ended up getting about 2 million fewer votes than John McCain got in 2008. That doesn't make any sense. After four years of Obama, voters should have been running screaming to the polls to get rid of him.
It is highly likely that some Christians couldn't pull the lever for Mitt Romney. I estimate his Mormonism may have possibly cost him up to half a million votes. But many of these votes were coming from states that he won in the election. So I don't think it was a huge factor in his loss.
2. Did Ron Paul or Gary Johnson cause Mitt Romney to lose the election?
Answer: They certainly didn't help him win it! Romney has himself to blame for alienating the Ron Paul supporters. That was an idiotic move. Trampling on their freedom by changing the rules at the Convention only enraged them and made many of them sit this election out. I repeat my comment that Mitt Romney got fewer popular votes than John McCain, and that makes no sense.
People concerned about liberty and freedom should have been voting overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney, but Romneys boneheaded stubborn play at the Convention alienated many potential voters for him. He also should have let Paul speak without demanding some type of oath of sworn fealty from him. That was really shabby and un-Presidential behavior from the Romney camp. Ron Paul is 77 years old and had earned the third highest delegate total in the primaries. This was going to be his last Convention in the spotlight. Would it have really have been so difficult for Romney to let the Convention play out and let the Ron Paul voters vote for Ron Paul? Some of the Paul supporters had waited years for that moment, and Romney stole that from them. So yes, his treatment of Ron Paul cost him hundreds of thousand of votes in the election. Many of those Paul voters voted for Gary Johnson. Others just refused to go vote or left their selection blank in protest.
Gary Johnson got a good chunk of votes in Ohio, Florida and Virginia, but not enough to swing the election towards Romney. Ron Paul supporters have admitted to me that their response was scattered. Some voted for Romney, many voted for Johnson, and some skipped it altogether.
Romneys boneheaded bullying at the GOP National Convention cost him hundreds of thousands of Ron Paul votes and maybe the election.
3. Did Mitt Romneys selection of Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential choice cause him to lose the election?
Answer: The choice of Ryan certainly didn't help. Ryan was from the blue state of Wisconsin and his selection did not help flip that state in the election. The better choice, and more logical move by Romney, should have been to pick his VP choice from a swing state in order to guarantee that that state had more "skin in the game". Picking Marco Rubio would have absolutely helped Romney make up that 61K vote difference in Florida and most likely would have swung the election to him with the help of an extra million Latino votes. Not picking Rubio was dumb. Plain dumb.
Picking Rob Portman in Ohio might have helped, but could it have made up the 107K vote difference there? Maybe. Picking Bob McDonnell in Virginia might have helped swing that state to Romney, but it is unclear as to the certainty of that. But Rubio would have helped Romney win Florida, which he absolutely needed. So ignoring Rubio for Ryan didn't help him win. It helped him lose.
4. Did Romneys lack of effort with the Latino vote cost him the election?
Answer: Absolutely. In a close election that Romney lost by about 300K votes scattered across a few swing states, there will be nothing but regret in the future for Romney over how his staff actively ignored the Latino vote. Latinos are natural Conservatives, with their family-oriented lifestyle and, for the most of them, their Catholic faith and strong work ethic. It was Romneys hardliner stances against illegal immigration that turned off Latino voters in droves. I'm not saying Romney should have changed his policy views, but he should have spent more time explaining to Latino voters how his policies are actually better than Obamas for their own families and relatives.
Romneys effort here were disheartening to say the least.
5. Did the boneheaded comments about rape by Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock help sink the Romney campaign?
Answer: Yes. 100%. As candidates for some of the highest offices in the country, Akin and Mourdock should have been better-prepared to answer their critics. They should have sat down with a team of advisors and figured out every single attack that would be leveled at them and come up with a way to counter those attacks. The message of this election should have been like the Clinton campaign message years ago "It's the economy, stupid!"
Rambling off into the weeds and making boneheaded comments about rape not only cost Akin and Mourdock their elections, but it also helped to effectively kill Romneys chances. Akin and Mourdock alienated hundreds of thousands of female voters. Romney is not to blame for their mistakes, but Romney had aired a campaign ad for Mourdock in Indiana. That didn't help matters and also gave the Democrats more ammunition against him.
6. Did Chris Christies bear hug of Obama after Hurricane Sandy help Romney lose the election?
Answer: Yes. Christie helped Obama look Presidential by touring around the damaged areas of New Jersey and having press conferences together. In fact, Christie did something that few people have ever done....he made it look like Barack Obama was actually doing his job! Probably cost Romney half a million votes right there.
7. Did Mitt Romney's lack of a coherent message cause his loss?
Answer: It helped. Romney had flip-flopped on so many issues in the past that it was unclear what he actually stood for...what he actually believed. It is difficult to follow a leader like that.
If the GOP was going to lose, I much rather would have gone down with Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich doing the fighting. Gingrich was so hostile to Obama that you could have put their debate on pay-per-view and sold tickets.
There are many lessons to be learned from Romneys loss. The main ones being:
No more RINOS for Presidential Nominees.
No more squishy moderates.
And no more leaders who can't define who they are or what they stand for.
Mitt Romney (a.k.a. the invisible man) showed us what happens when you roll the dice with someone like that.