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Mitt Romney Still Doesn’t Get It

Mitt Romney gave his first interview since losing the Presidential election to Fox’s Chris Wallace yesterday, and when it comes to the subject of why he lost the election, it’s fairly clear that he still doesn’t get it:

Mitt Romney stood by his belief that President Obama was aided in his re-election by giving gifts to minority voters, during an interview that aired on “Fox News Sunday.”

“The president had the power of incumbency, ‘Obamacare’ was very attractive, particularly to those without insurance, and they came out in large numbers to vote,” Romney said. “So that was part of a successful campaign.”

This isn’t all that different from what Romney said in a conference call with supporters, when he said that the President won the election  because he offered “gifts” to minorities. As I noted at the time, this was an utterly ridiculous statement:

While more sophisticated, Romney’s assessment of the election isn’t all that different from what we’ve heard from the likes of Rush Limbaugh over the past week. For Limbaugh, the explanation for Obama’s victory can be found in the fact that he played “Santa Claus” to a whole host of special interest groups ranging from minorities to women to young voters. It is, perhaps, an easy conclusion to come to if you’re a Limbaugh-type conservative. After all, for them the entire Obama Administration has been about giving people government benefits, and they typically cite things such as the increased number of people on  food stamps as proof of their argument. Of course, while it’s true that the number of people on food stamps has increased over the past four years, the main reason for that is because of the economic collapse in 2008 and the fact that we’re still struggling to get out of that whole. While I agree that the President has done far too little to fix the economy, blaming him for the fact that more people qualify for food stamps today than four years ago is kind of like blaming the cold weather for the fact that you need to wear a jacket when you go outside.

The bigger flaw in Romney’s assertion, though, is that it clearly misstates what the entire election was about. Even though I disagree with him on many issues, President Obama did not campaign on giving free stuff to people no matter how much conservatives want to tell themselves that he did. What the President did do, and quite effectively I have to admit, is appeal to a wide variety of interest groups by giving them the impression that he actually cared about the problems they were dealing with. This is something that Romney never seemed to be able to do, and when he tried it came across as a sort of false sincerity that clearly didn’t play well with voters. While that may not have been the main reason that the Republican ticket lost, it certainly didn’t help the ticket make its case over the course of the election.

Clearly, Romney hasn’t spent much of the time since November involved in personal reflection.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Romney still doesn’t care about the 47%. To be honest he doesn’t care about the 97%.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  2. gVOR08 says:

    The interesting question is why is Romney doing these interviews and going to CPAC? Surely he’s not delusional enough to think he’s running again in ’16, Is he? And if he is, he’s making the same mistake over again, talking to the base and pissing off 2/3 of the electorate.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  3. Ron Beasley says:

    Daniel Larison nails it.
    The Story of Romney’s Career: “What I Said Is Not What I Believe”
    Money Quote:

    In that case, it was a good bet that Romney was always more likely to lie to his audience than not, and for that reason he disqualified himself through sheer, overwhelming dishonesty.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  4. C. Clavin says:

    I’m sure this can be corrected “retro-actively”…just like his resignation from Bain Capital was.
    It’s tough being born on third base, headed for home, while you dad is in right field keeping the ball away from the outfielder. You guys will just never understand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  5. swbarnes2 says:

    Again, where is the evidence that Romney is not accurately describing the beliefs of Republicans and people who vote them into office?

    I’m getting tired of Doug and James constantly implying that every single thing Republicans do is an outlier to their true Platonic ideals.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  6. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Romney’s done a hell of a lot more for people than Obama ever has. Unless, of course, you count Obama’s generosity with other people’s money, where Obama vastly outshines Romney. Romney limits his compassion to his own pockets.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 39

  7. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    That’s so dumb there are no words.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  8. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: Charitable contributions, volunteer work, creating jobs — that’s just a few areas where Romney shows a hell of a lot more character than Obama.

    But I forget — Obama was a community organizer. He selflessly told people that they were owed something by someone else. That’s so much better.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 32

  9. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Mmm, well, Cochise, sometimes however you have to recuse yourself from the liberal cocoon even to see, much less to appreciate, linings of unpleasant truth within larger clouds.

    Or stated another way:

    13.2% – black unemployment rate, Nov. 2012 (93-7, Obama).
    10.0% – Hispanic unemployment rate, Nov. 2012 (71-28, Obama).
    6.8% – white unemployment rate, Nov. 2012 (59-39, Romney).

    Think about that for a few moments. No, actually think about it. With your brain plugged in.

    That all said, the real issue is not whether Team Obama handed out gifts to win the election. Hell, if that were the real issue then since the time at which LBJ unleashed the proverbial carpet bombing campaign in the “war on poverty” no Democrat ever would have lost a national election. No, the real issues are to what extent have we with politics by pure racial identity already devolved into a de facto third-world country, and related to that to what extent is the ensuing fiscal and economic damage reversible.

    The prospects are bleak.

    As for Romney, personally, the reality is that he meant well and truth be told he was a C+ to B- candidate. But when tens of millions reflexively vote like robots to keep themselves in poverty and unemployment, and when millions of others stay home and don’t vote, to “send messages” or because of personal pet peeves, the inescapable conclusion is that it was going to be a very tough row to hoe. Combined with the obvious effects of the media, the minimum voting age being about 15 years too low, and the fact that Team Romney staggeringly was inept at pure politics, and the results of last November’s election were not at all surprising much less shocking.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 22

  10. Lynda says:

    Whatever happened to the party of personal responsibility?

    I watched the whole interview and the only reference I heard to errors was one nonspecific comment from Mitt about some “mistakes”. However, when they actually discussed the reasons why they thought they lost, two things mentioned were that the campaign did not let “Mitt be Mitt” and that they were blindsided by the better ground game of the Obama campaign.

    Well who was ultimately in charge of the campaign if not Mitt Romney? He portrayed himself as a turnaround artist and superb manager. If he felt the campaign was messing up then he should have fired the campaign manager/staff and brought in new ones to do a better job. After all it is not like Mitt Romney ever expressed much remorse in ever having to fire anyone!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  11. michael reynolds says:

    @swbarnes2:

    Exactly. Well said. How many hundreds of examples do we have to see before we get it: Yes, Republicans are clueless and genuinely believe a lot of stupid things. It’s a core character trait.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

  12. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So? Being good at football is not a relevant to the Presidency either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Charitable contributions to one’s church is not true charity. If you were donating the same amount to a church you didn’t believe in it would be a different story. But here you’re simply buying your way into Heaven. It is, in fact, equivalent to a bribe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3

  14. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @grumpy realist: Charitable contributions to one’s church is not true charity. If you were donating the same amount to a church you didn’t believe in it would be a different story. But here you’re simply buying your way into Heaven. It is, in fact, equivalent to a bribe.

    Thanks for the report from the anti-religion side. Now if you can just get more people to agree with you than just the hard-core God-haters, you might get the law changed so church-run charities aren’t tax-exempt.

    At which point the charities will heavily cut back on their works (so they can pay their taxes), and you screw over all those people currently benefiting from them. For example, all the Catholic hospitals who don’t limit their services to just those of their faith.

    Unless your plan is to make people currently helped by charities dependent on the government instead…

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 17

  15. Lynda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    “But I forget — Obama was a community organizer.”

    A “community organizer” whose campaign organization thrashed that of “business wizard” Willard Romney and did it with less money. This after outplaying the much vaunted “Clinton machine” let alone decimating the McCain campaign.

    Perhaps being a community organizer is not such bad training if you want to actually win elections rather than just whine about the results

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 1

  16. john personna says:

    Yeah, good catch. One cannot exactly distance oneself from “the 47%” moment, while also complaining about people without insurance coming to vote in large numbers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  17. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Lynda: Oh, I’ll be the first to admit that Obama is one of the greatest campaigners we’ve ever seen. Part of the reason is that he never stops campaigning. He’s still campaigning today, even though he can’t run for re-election.

    Too bad that that skill seems to come at the price of totally sucking at governing…

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 20

  18. john personna says:

    @Lynda:

    Perhaps being a community organizer is not such bad training if you want to actually win elections rather than just whine about the results

    Indeed, as has been pointed out for years now.

    Nonetheless “community organizer” continues to be a signal in the identity politics of the right.

    Think “black.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  19. swbarnes2 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    For example, all the Catholic hospitals who don’t limit their services to just those of their faith.

    When a Catholic hospital refuses your medical wishes (i.e when a pregnant woman wants to live, or when a terminally ill person wishes to die), its hard to call that a “service”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  20. rudderpedals says:

    Things made better with light editing:

    Unless your plan is to make people currently helped by personal injury and medical malpractice awards dependent on the government instead…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @swbarnes2: And as we all know, “women seeking abortion” make up such a huge percentage of hospital admissions. Plus, since euthanasia is now legal, we should also make it mandatory for all hospitals and medical practitioners to provide it on demand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  22. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Boy, you really got nothing, do you?
    Oh, except those predictions about how Romney was going to wipe the floor with Obama in the election.

    Tell me again why anyone should ever listen to you about anything?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  23. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: You really are worthless. I make a point of never making predictions, so your little cheap shot is — typically — a lie.

    Go ahead — find me making “predictions” about Romney winning. You’ll find lots of times I said Romney should win, as he would make a better president than Obama, but predicting it?

    You’re stupid, delusional, or a liar.

    Or, alternately (and probably more accurately), a stupid, delusional liar. All of which you’ve amply demonstrated on numerous occasions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 14

  24. C. Clavin says:

    Totally sucking at Governing?
    Seriously?
    Obama has gotten more done in one term than most do in two…unless you actually count 9.11, Iraq, and the worst economic crisis since the Depression against Bush.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  25. MBunge says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “He’s still campaigning today, even though he can’t run for re-election.”

    So, is this officially the latest right wing complaint about Obama to not make any sense?

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  26. john personna says:

    @MBunge:

    Don’t forget, he should “lead” without “campaigning.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  27. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Obama has gotten more done in one term than most do in two…

    True enough. He’s kept the economy in the tank, he’s sent the debt skyrocketing, he’s overseen foreign policy triumphs in Libya, Syria, China, Iran, Russia…

    And he gave us the never-ending entertainment of Joe Biden, the dumbest man to ever be one heartbeat away from the presidency.

    You’re right, I wasn’t giving Obama his due.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 16

  28. Lynda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    So why keep do you keep bringing up that Obama was a community organizer? What possible relevance is that other than John Personna’s interpretation of identity politics?

    I disagree with a lot of what happened under Reagan’s and George W Bush’s presidencies but my criticisms are based on how they performed as president rather than their jobs prior to government which were respectively “Screen Actors Guild president” and “Baseball franchise managing general partner”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  29. An Interested Party says:

    This post and the thread that goes with it amply illustrates how Romney and those who support/supported him are chewing on the most sour grapes…keep chewing and let us know if the taste ever improves…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  30. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @john personna: Well, there’s THAT problem, too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  31. C. Clavin says:

    Jenos….
    The economy in the tank???
    Have you seen the Dow? Corporate profits?
    We have weak growth for one reason….Government austerity. Who is behind that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  32. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: I’m sorry, I’m not looking at the economy for the rich and powerful. I’m looking at it by the unemployment stats, the food stamp rolls, the welfare rolls, the demands on charities. You know, the people who aren’t part of the 1%. The ones Obama supposedly cares so much about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  33. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Lynda: So why keep do you keep bringing up that Obama was a community organizer?

    Because that was his most prominent experience before he went heavily into politics. It’s roughly equivalent to always bringing up Bain Capitol when discussing Romney, even though he left it about a decade ago.

    He certainly didn’t leave much of a mark as Constitutional Law Lecturer — not a single scholarly article.

    Nor much as a practicing attorney, for that matter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  34. MarkedMan says:

    Is religious giving really charity? It depends. If you are giving your time or money to feed the hungry, educate the poor, or clothe the naked, then it certainly is charity, and of the highest order. If you are giving to build a church or pay the pastor or the rectory heating bills, then it is a club membership fee. You are paying dues for your clubhouse and no matter what the IRS calls it, to me it is not real charity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  35. C. Clavin says:

    @ Jenos…
    If that were the case then you would support Obama. It’s the Republicans who are intentionally holding back the economy and killing the middle and lower income brackets.
    Unfortunately I know exactly how duplicitous you are being.
    (don’t bother looking it up…it means you are full of $hit)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  36. J-Dub says:

    To quote President Obama, “Please proceed, governor”. Keep talking and keep digging yourself deeper in that hole from which you will never resurface.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  37. legion says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: How dare he consider improving the lives of those around him more important than making huge bank! He’s clearly unqualified for anything other than local Party Commissar!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: So now you’re reduced to sputtering incoherent rage, because you’ve been called for the fraud that you are.

    You crowed for months about how Romney was going to thrash Obama and the Rs would take the senate. Every stupid thing Romney said was proof that he was going to sail to victory.

    He was your guy, you pinned everything on him, and you lost. The American people repudiated everything you would stand for if you actually stood for anything other than trolling.

    Go back to the Slurpee machine. At least there you can have a positive impact on the world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  39. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Lynda: So why keep do you keep bringing up that Obama was a community organizer?

    Because that was his most prominent experience before he went heavily into politics. It’s roughly equivalent to always bringing up Bain Capitol when discussing Romney, even though he left it about a decade ago.

    Think it through. Why on earth would you not want a President with experience of helping real people with real, local, small scale problems?

    Isn’t it more like your own retelling of Romeny’s community assistance to the poor and unemployed?

    Either it’s Republican good, Democrat bad, or a far darker motivation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  40. john personna says:

    (Note that no one made fun of Romney because he did good works.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  41. swbarnes2 says:

    @wr:

    You crowed for months about how Romney was going to thrash Obama and the Rs would take the senate. Every stupid thing Romney said was proof that he was going to sail to victory.

    Did he really? I looked through some old posts, with the name Jenos Idanian, and found almost nothing like that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  42. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    I’m sorry, I’m not looking at the economy for the rich and powerful.

    Perhaps no one has told you that average people have 401K accounts and IRAs, and that the stock market is actually kinda important to them. Or perhaps you pine for the days when millions of Americans were watching their retirement savings vanish like dew on a summer morn under Bush.

    Perhaps no one has told you the housing market is recovering, and that the value of what is, for most people, their single largest asset, is really pretty important. Or do you miss the tidal wave of foreclosures that was another feature of the Bush economy?

    Perhaps no one has told you that even tepid job growth is better than losing 500K jobs a month, like we did in the good old days.

    Oh wait. People have told you all this. Countless times. You are just too fracking stupid to understand it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  43. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: As long as one woman dies, it’s too much. It’s very easy for you to talk about “morality” given you know bloody well you’re never going to be in that position.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  44. Lynda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    It’s roughly equivalent to always bringing up Bain Capitol when discussing Romney, even though he left it about a decade ago

    There is a world of difference between hiring someone for a job and assessing how well someone is doing in a job they already hold.

    At interview, all job history is often considered with the bias towards more recent experiences to help guess how that person will perform in the role. You have limited information hence you look at all of it you can. So I thought Obama’s community organizing was relevant in the 2008 election although I never quite got why it was a negative for the reasons John articulates above.

    Romney’s business experience was similarly relevant in 2012 especially since he ran like a scalded cat from his main achievement as a governor, healthcare reform.
    However, Obama has been president for several years. If his mismanagement of everything is as bad as you say, surely you are weakening rather than strengthening your argument by focusing on anything but his presidential performance?

    A much closer analogy is liberals who still refer to Reagan as a “failed actor”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  45. wr says:

    @Lynda: “A much closer analogy is liberals who still refer to Reagan as a “failed actor”. ”

    Especially since Reagan was anything but a failed actor — unless we consider someone a failure if he doesn’t rise to the very top of his profession. He had more than a decent career as an actor… all of which had nothing to do with his performance as president.

    But righties have heavily invested themselves in the idea that before he ran for president was lazy and shiftless. That’s why the whine about him “voting present all the time” and not publishing as a law professor (as if that’s a metric that means anything to them).

    It’s funny, but I can never quite figure out what it is Obama that drives people like Jenos to think of him as lazy and shiftless and uppity. I’m sure there must be something. Maybe someday we’ll figure it out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  46. anjin-san says:

    what it is Obama that drives people like Jenos to think of him as lazy and shiftless and uppity.

    Well, the unspoken, but ever present implication that as a community organizer Obama’s role was nothing more than helping poor black folks obtain gubmint cheese gives us a pretty big hint…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  47. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Romney’s done a hell of a lot more for people than Obama ever has.

    The people of the Grand Cayman Islands agree.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  48. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    at the price of totally sucking at governing…

    That succinctly describes the current Republican Party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  49. Jeremy says:

    Damn right I am a “God” hater, religion is retarded and archaic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0