This editorial by Stuart Stevens, the chief strategist for the Romney presidential campaign, in the WaPo is going to go down in annals (Sp?) of history as one of the funniest exercises of log-rolling of our time.
“Over the years, one of the more troubling characteristics of the Democratic Party and the left in general has been a shortage of loyalty and an abundance of self-loathing. It would be a shame if we Republicans took a narrow presidential loss as a signal that those are traits we should emulate.”
Well, besides not citing any sources to support his argument, I have to give Stuart Stevens props for a bold lede. Essentially, when you get past the slander, he’s saying that what caused the Democrats to win was disloyalty and self-loathing, because, you know, when you hate yourself and are disloyal, what you really want to do is vote for the same guy you voted for previously. Thanks for that impeccable logic. Let’s continue:
“I appreciate that Mitt Romney was never a favorite of D.C.’s green-room crowd or, frankly, of many politicians. That’s why, a year ago, so few of those people thought that he would win the Republican nomination. But that was indicative not of any failing of Romney’s but of how out of touch so many were in Washington and in the professional political class. Nobody liked Romney except voters.”
Well, Stu (may I call you Stu?), perhaps if you had allowed The Stench to go on some unscripted interviews with anyone other than Fox News… No one thought he would win the nomination because, frankly, your candidate was a windsock who changed positions more frequently than a $20 hooker at the GOP convention. And as for nobody liked The Stench except the voters, well, it seems like they didn’t like him much either. What else have you got for us?
“In doing so, he raised more money for the Republican Party than the party did. He trounced Barack Obama in debate. He defended the free-enterprise system and, more than any figure in recent history, drew attention to the moral case for free enterprise and conservative economics.”
If you equate being successful with raising money, then he did well. If you equate success with, you know, actually winning then he didn’t do just not well, it was a spectacular and expensive fail. As for free enterprise, that was as far as I can tell never an issue; as for conservative economics, there is no such thing as conservative economics, there is only rigging the system so that the Haves become Have Mores.
“When much of what passes for a political intelligentsia these days predicted that the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan meant certain death on the third rail of Medicare and Social Security, Romney brought the fight to the Democrats and made the rational, persuasive case for entitlement reform that conservatives have so desperately needed. The nation listened, thought about it — and on Election Day, Romney carried seniors by a wide margin. It’s safe to say that the entitlement discussion will never be the same.”
And the political intelligentsia was right, now wasn’t it? Paul Ryan, besides being a notorious zombie-eyed granny starver is also a fetus-fondling God botherer of the first sort, who drove women and gay people to the exits. There was nothing to like about him, and in fact, he didn’t even carry his home town. I’ll give you credit, though: the entitlement discussion will never be the same. The discussion now is how to preserve the safety net, not how to gut it and give the spoils to the bankers. Thanks Mitt!
“On Nov. 6, Romney carried the majority of every economic group except those with less than $50,000 a year in household income. That means he carried the majority of middle-class voters. While John McCain lost white voters younger than 30 by 10 points, Romney won those voters by seven points, a 17-point shift. Obama received 4½million fewer voters in 2012 than 2008, and Romney got more votes than McCain.”
And yet, he lost, Stu. And you know those people making less than $50K/year? That was about 47% of the population. Does that ring any bells to you?
“But having been involved in three presidential races, two of which we won closely and one that we lost fairly closely, I know enough to know that we weren’t brilliant because Florida went our way in 2000 or enough Ohioans stuck with us in 2004. Nor are we idiots because we came a little more than 320,000 votes short of winning the electoral college in 2012. Losing is just losing. It’s not a mandate to throw out every idea that the candidate championed, and I would hope it’s not seen as an excuse to show disrespect for a good man who fought hard for values we admire.”
Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004? You mean the two elections that were quite literally stolen? Do you use that mouth to brag about those elections to your momma?
“In the debates and in sweeping rallies across the country, Romney captured the imagination of millions of Americans. He spoke for those who felt disconnected from the Obama vision of America. He handled the unequaled pressures of a campaign with a natural grace and good humor that contrasted sharply with the angry bitterness of his critics.”
Willard captured my imagination, that’s true. I kept wondering what position he was going to take each time he opened his mouth, or the various lies that he spewed out. I was fascinated that anyone could break the land-speed record for sheer depraved lying and then break it again the next day.
“There was a time not so long ago when the problems of the Democratic Party revolved around being too liberal and too dependent on minorities. Obama turned those problems into advantages and rode that strategy to victory. But he was a charismatic African American president with a billion dollars, no primary and media that often felt morally conflicted about being critical. How easy is that to replicate?”
Stu, is being too dependent on minorities a dog whistle, especially when you then call it a problem, twice? Some say Yes!
“Yes, the Republican Party has problems, but as we go forward, let’s remember that any party that captures the majority of the middle class must be doing something right. When Mitt Romney stood on stage with President Obama, it wasn’t about television ads or whiz-bang turnout technologies, it was about fundamental Republican ideas vs. fundamental Democratic ideas. It was about lower taxes or higher taxes, less government or more government, more freedom or less freedom. And Republican ideals — Mitt Romney — carried the day.”
It certainly wasn’t about turnout technologies for you guys, but you are right: it was about fundamental Republican ideas. No one liked them, no one liked your message, and no one liked who was delivering these messages. When you start off by marginalizing the poor, attacking women, and telling gay people that they are second class citizens, and then continue on by attacking people of color and asking kids born in this country to self-deport, do you have any wonder why you lost? It was Republicanism that lost, it was the dismissive paternalism of a white southern men’s club that lost.
“On Nov. 6, that wasn’t enough to win. But it was enough to make us proud and to build on for the future.”
Yeah, you do that. When you are down, the only way you can go is up. Unless you have a shovel.