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Republicans Could Have Done A Lot Worse Than Mitt Romney

One argument I’ve heard from some on the right in the week since Election Day is that the election results prove that Mitt Romney was the wrong candidate for the Republican Party to nominate this year.  The most common complaint is one that we’ve heard from the GOP after every losing election, namely that the candidate wasn’t conservative enough. Notwithstanding the fact that Romney has shifted positions on several issues over the years, I find this a rather bizarre argument to make. From the primary campaign forward, Romney ran on a fairly conservative platform that touched upon all of the issues that were important to the Republican base. Even when he started moving closer to the center in October, it wasn’t much of a substantive change in his ideas and, most importantly, his candidacy had all the elements of the GOP coalition fired up as Election Day approached. The fact that people are now claiming that he wasn’t the right candidate strikes me as being a somewhat hypocritical effort to whitewash the past and explain away Romney’s defeat as something than what it clearly was.

More importantly though, even if these arguments are taken as true, Mitt Romney was still the most electable candidate in the Republican field this year: 

If you think Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” sneer and Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments cost Republicans this year, imagine how the press would have covered the “war on women” debate if Santorum — who actually did speak out against birth control in the primary campaign — had been the top of the Republican ticket. If you think it was too easy for Obama to define Romney with a blizzard of negative ads over the summer, imagine how much material a Gingrich candidacy would have given the White House’s admakers to work with. If you think that Romney suffered from being perceived as too much like George W. Bush Part II, imagine if the Republican candidate in 2012 had been a yet more tongue-tied and more right-wing Texan governor whose debate performances made Obama’s Denver sleepwalk look Ciceronian.

“How much worse could it get?” Last asks. In the electoral college, maybe not that much worse. But in the popular vote? There I hardly think Romney was scraping bottom. His 48 percent of the vote wasn’t even close to the floor for Republican candidates this cycle: Out of eighteen high-profile Senate races,the Washington Post noted last week, Romney outperformed the party’s nominee in eleven of them, and was outperformed in only four — all in deep blue states he was never going to win anyway. “In five races,” the Post pointed out, “the GOP candidate under-performed Romney by at least nine points” — a number that includes not only Akin and Richard Mourdock, but also Republican candidates in Montana and North Dakota, “who both lost in states that Romney carried by at least 13 points.”

No, a Gingrich or a Santorum wouldn’t have ended up 13 points below Romney’s final total. But it’s very easy to imagine a summertime ad offensive from the White House knocking them down to Romney’s low ebb in the national polls — say, 43 percent or so — and then basically keeping them there, winning by 7-9 points in the end instead of 2-4.

This is a fair reading of what would have happened had Gingrich or Santorum been the nominee. Some analysts were saying since the campaign started that Romney was the perfect opponent for Obama because his own record offered so many opportunities to create a negative picture of  the candidate. This job was made all the easier by the fact that the Romney campaign nearly ceded the airwaves to Romney completely during the summer, allowing the Obama campaign an its SuperPacs to flood the airwaves with ads that the defined Romney negatively and forever set the tone of the race. The same thing would have happened had Santorum or Gingrich been the nominee. The attacks would have been different, of course, but there was far more material with actual political substance in both their records on a whole host of issues that the Obama campaign and its allies would have been able to use to maximum effect. As for the ultimate result, there is simply no reason to believe that either of these candidates would have had any more luck overcoming the President’s clear advantages in the Electoral College than Romney did. If you disagree with me, then I challenge you to name a single swing state that Obama won last week that either Santorum or Gingrich would have been able to win. I would submit that there isn’t one, and that it’s quite likely that running against either one of them would have allowed Obama to rack up an even bigger Electoral College advantage than he actually ended up getting.

I’d also suggest that none of the other candidates that were in the GOP race this year would have had any more luck against the President. Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann were fools who would have been easy prey for the Obama campaign. Rick Perry seemed like a guy who had potential, but he proved to be a crappy campaigner who was unable to overcome his own debate foibles. Ron Paul was a crank who only appealed to a limited portion of his own party and likely would have caused a large segment of the GOP base to stay home on Election Day. None of these people would have had a shot against the President, and likely would have sent the GOP down the road to electoral disaster.

There were two candidates in the race who had the potential to compete against Romney on the electability front, but they both ran lackluster campaigns that put them far out of contention for the nomination:

I think Pawlenty and Huntsman are different cases from Santorum, Gingrich and Perry. The first two were the primary candidates who arguably matched up best on paper against President Obama in the general election, and the two who never received much of a look from voters because of the primary season mood and their own strategic miscalculations (trying to become the Wall Street Journal candidate and going all in for the Ames straw poll for T-Paw, trying to re-run John McCain’s 2000 campaign for Huntsman). Those miscalculations tell against their general-election prospects: If you can’t even get a look from Republican voters in a wide-open year, how on earth are you going to turn out enough voters to beat Barack Obama in the general election? But chance as well as strategy determines the shape of a primary campaign, and there are enough unknowns with each to make a semi-plausible in-hindsight case for rolling the dice on one of them instead.

I certainly made clear in my posts here that I thought Jon Huntsman should be taken far more serious than he was during the course of the campaign. In a year when a former pizza guy whose entire campaign consisted of repeating the number nine over and over again managed to climb to the top of the polls, it was absurd that someone with Huntsman’s resume and vision wasn’t able to get the attention of his own party. Partly, you can blame that on a campaign that, at first, seemed intent on pissing off the base of the GOP rather than appealing to it, but I would also suggest that many people on the right initially wrote Huntsman off completely simply because he had accepted an Ambassadorial posting from President Obama. It wasn’t until the end of 2011 that some conservatives started taking a second look at Huntsman, and by then it was too late. His campaign was saddled by low fundraising and his third place finish in New Hampshire was nowhere near being good enough to justify continuing to run.  If things had been different, perhaps Huntsman could have been a contender and a clear alternative to Romney, but it wasn’t meant to be. Had Huntsman won the Republican nomination, though, it would have been a very interesting race. It would have been somewhat more difficult for the Obama campaign to pain him in a negative light the way they did with Romney, and his foreign policy experience would have been an effective weapon in blunting the President’s advantage in that area. I can’t say that Huntsman could’ve beaten Obama, but it would’ve been one heck of a race to watch.

Tim Pawlenty, on the other hand, was someone I really didn’t have a strong opinion on. He was not impressive in the debates that he appeared in during the summer of 2011 leading up to the Ames Straw Poll, and his decision to pull out after losing that mostly meaningless poll seemed to indicate that his heart really wasn’t up for continuing the fight. Had he stayed in, it’s possible that voters would have turned to him as the “not Romney” after Rick Perry’s campaign collapsed but, again, we’ll never know. In any event, I don’t picture Tim Pawlenty as being the kind of candidate who could have given Barack Obama a run for his money.

So, in the end, Republicans soothing their post-election souls by trying to blame Mitt Romney for last Tuesday’s loss have to accept the simple fact that he was the best, most well-organized, and most electable candidate that they had in their field. Otherwise, they’re just deluding themselves.

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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. john personna says:

    You know, one of my long held positions here has been that money might matter in the early stages, when the pack is first forming. We can see, perhaps that money did not win the election, but it’s harder to say who wasn’t there for lack of it.

    It’s interesting that Rove is joining my position, promising to push money towards electable candidates earlier in the process.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  2. Umm… what about Gary Johnson? You know, that guy you were pretending to vote for when you wanted to deny being a Republican?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 2

  3. Murray says:

    Perhaps the best for the GOP would have been nominating Santorum or Gingrich and let him get tramped in the election. There wouldn’t be any “he wasn’t conservative enough” talk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  4. gVOR08 says:

    Tim Pawlenty, on the other hand, was someone I really didn’t have a strong opinion on.

    Nor, apparently, does anyone else in the entire world have a strong opinion on Tim Pawlentzzzzzzz. Sorry, I was thinking about Pawlenty and dozed off there for a minute.

    Huntsman appeared to be running to lay groundwork for a serious run in ’16, assuming the incumbent would hold on. My impression was that he was trying to set himself up as the sensible conservative in contrast to the rest of the clown car, but the GOP primary voters weren’t having any of that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  5. Argon says:

    Huntsman? He accepts evolution and until he was slapped, global warming too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  6. gVOR08 says:

    @Murray: Yes they would. Whoever ran would have had to make some pretense of appealing to the middle, and the GOPs would have doubled down on the crazy, insisting whatever little concession to reality the guy made compromised him, and they would have won if they had nominated a true conservative. It’s a “true Scotsman” test. A true conservative would win, he didn’t win, ergo he wasn’t a true conservative.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  7. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Romney was a B-movie candidate within a playlist of “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” “Heaven’s Gate,” and “Gigli.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  8. Eric says:

    My favorite was Huntsman and he would have fared better than Romney in the general election. He had a great appeal with the liberal base at one point (something Republicans should have taken advantage of) and he was still a true conservative.

    Also, Obama was afraid of him. That’s why he asked him to be an ambassador.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  9. J-Dub says:

    @Argon: The GOP had better start accepting the notion of evolution or their party will go the way of the dinosaurs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  10. Jen says:

    I found the criticisms of Huntsman being a RINO baffling. He was more conservative than Romney, and, importantly, he was *consistently* so. The only “knocks” against him were that he’d served as Obama’s ambassador to China and that he believes in evolution and global warming. Ironically, these “knocks” against him from the perspective of the base are exactly reasons why I supported him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  11. J-Dub says:

    It was apparent from the GOP primary that any potential Republican candidate with a brain knew to stay out of it this year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  12. Geek, Esq. says:

    The problem was that old Moderate Mitt couldn’t have gotten through the clown show primary, even against the dim bulbs opposing him. So, he had to morph into severely conservative Mitt, a Latino-kicking, race-baiting, homophobic, sneering plutocrat.

    Honestly, had Romney been free to run as the guy he portrayed himself as in the first debate, he probably would have won. But, having no core of his own, he reflected the Republican party’s id, and his etch-a-sketch only went so far to polish that turd.

    Romney outperformed virtually every Republican Senate candidate. Romney’s main weakness was that he had to embrace the values of the Republican party to get its nomination. And the Republican brand is rightfully toxic in modern America.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  13. Geek, Esq. says:

    @Jen:

    Willingness to work with Obama and to embrace science and rationalism are mortal sins in the eyes of the GOP base.

    Sane Republicans either need to take over their party from the unholy alliance of the crazies and the conservative entertainment complex, or they need to get used to this kind of result every four years, and probably every two years not long after that.

    Rush Limbaugh is still the moral and intellectual head of the Republican party. Maybe someone should do something about that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  14. Rob in CT says:

    It’s not clear to me that Huntsman would have been “Huntsman, reasonably moderate-ish Republican” had he actually been in competition for the nomination. Looking at their records, can anyone really explain to me why Huntsman would be considered moderate and reasonable in comparison to Mitt Romney?

    No way. But Romney ended up spending a lot of his time sucking up to the GOP primary electorate, and his attempt at Etch-A-Sketch in the debates wasn’t enough.

    The problem here isn’t the candidates, themselves. It’s the base.

    Murray,

    Santorum might have been the guy to finally kill that argument. Gingrich, on the other hand? No way! He’s the guy with all the half-baked grandiose schemes (Mars base, etc). He’s a “conservative” star because he’s nasty to liberals, not because he’s actually conservative. As soon as he lost, the reality of Gingrich (nasty grifter who specializes in sucking at the teat of gummint and failed marriages) would have been held up as yet another example of “we lost b/c we didn’t nominate a true conservative.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  15. CB says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Gold star for you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. mike says:

    That is the most unflattering picture of Gingrinch that I have ever seen. He looks like he just ate a 3rd grader.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  17. john personna says:

    I don’t think the base can ever forgive Huntsman for working with Obama.

    It’s really kind of sad that Obama’s ploy, appealing to Hunstman’s better nature, was such a deal breaker for him later. Because of course it depended on the worst nature in the base, that they would not see it as serving the national interest. That they’d be party before country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  18. C. Clavin says:

    Romney ran an incompetent campaign…based on mendacity and hate.
    Yet he was the best the Republicans had to offer.
    I have said this repeatedly in the past…but it means more post-election…it’s pathetic what has become of the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  19. Moosebreath says:

    @Rob in CT:

    “He’s a “conservative” star because he’s nasty to liberals, not because he’s actually conservative.”

    Exactly. Chris Christie will realize this as well over time (if he hasn’t already).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  20. john personna says:

    OMG, this is exactly what I expected to happen:

    Stephen learns how to give Colbert Super PAC money to himself and thereby hide it forever from all eyes and use it in any way that he wishes.

    It is possible to run for president for fun and profit, after all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  21. Geek, Esq. says:

    @john personna:

    Huntsman was a lousy candidate anyways–a more moderate, less energetic version of Pawlenty, without the willingness to debase himself before the crazies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. @Stormy Dragon:

    Johnson was in the same category as Huntsman and Pawlenty, but he decided to leave the party.

    And I did vote for him, and was happy to do so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  23. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    In retrospect, Obama’s victory was inevitable. A lifetime “community organizer” from the Chicago political machine who runs on a platform of “you deserve more free stuff, and I’m going to give it to you” would be, in today’s day and age, almost impossible to beat.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 36

  24. john personna says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    Temperamentally moderate perhaps, and not a glad-handing pol.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. MBunge says:

    @john personna: “I don’t think the base can ever forgive Huntsman for working with Obama.

    In fairness to today’s GOP base, joining the Presidential Administration of the other party and then trying to run for the Presidential nomination of your own would, even in far milder and less polarizing times, be a major problem for most voters. That’s why accepting a nomination from the other party is almost always a sign that you’re getting out of electoral politics.

    That Huntsman didn’t understand that, and especially didn’t understand how much bigger a problem it would be in this Republican environment, soured me on his judgment and wisdom.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  26. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You should really try not to be such an ignorant ass. What actual news did we have this week?

    White House Grand Bargain offer to Speaker Boehner Obtained by Bob Woodward

    Look, just look, at all that reduced spending.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  27. @MBunge:

    Becoming an Ambassador is generally not considered “joining” an Administration, it’s representing your country. Huntsman isn’t alone in history in this kind of bipatrisanship. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr served as Kennedy/LBJ’s Ambassador to South Vietnam and then ran, briefly, for the 1964 Republican nomination

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  28. C. Clavin says:

    @ Indiana Jones…

    I like free stuff. Free stuff like:
    Air Traffic Controllers
    Food Inspectors
    Customs Agents
    Intelligence Agencies
    Teachers
    Firefighters
    Cops
    The Military
    Roads
    Bridges
    NASA
    I was grateful for my free NOAA the night that Sandy hit my dooryard

    And yeah…I like that our Seniors don’t have to live their lives out in poverty because we choose to help them do it with grace and dignity. I also like that we choose to take care of our Veterans after they have served the Nation valiantly.

    But keep spewing your talking points…gleend from this mornings episode of Fox and Friends…because you are what’s wrong with the Republican Party.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 2

  29. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    In retrospect, Obama’s victory was inevitable. A lifetime “community organizer” from the Chicago political machine who runs on a platform of “you deserve more free stuff, and I’m going to give it to you” would be, in today’s day and age, almost impossible to beat.

    Wow, not a single thing you said there is correct. Impressive.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  30. mantis says:

    @C. Clavin:

    But keep spewing your talking points…gleend from this mornings episode of Fox and Friends…because you are what’s wrong with the Republican Party United States of America.

    FTFY

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  31. Scott says:

    Ron Paul was a crank who only appealed to a limited portion of his own party and likely would have caused a large segment of the GOP base to stay home on Election Day

    One analysis or hypothesis I haven’t heard about Romney’s underperformance and lower turnout of Republicans is a kind of a negative factor: the non-turnout of Ron Paul supporters to support Romney. I have a couple of friends who are of the anti-war, anti-government crowd who just ended up not voting. Since Paul regularly got 10-15 percent of Republicans, that had to have an effect on Romney’s vote totals.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  32. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    [Obama's] platform of “you deserve more free stuff, and I’m going to give it to you”

    I’ve seen this a couple times, but what exactly free stuff means is never explained. Social Security? Medicare? Medicaid?

    And really, if that’s the lesson the GOP is going to take away from this election, I don’t even know what to say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  33. mike says:

    @C. Clavin: aren’t teachers, firefighters, and cops state employees? Are you advocating that the federal gov’t should tax everyone then pool the tax money and give out to the states as it deems fit rather than letting the states tax individually and pay these folks?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  34. mantis says:

    @David M:

    I’ve seen this a couple times, but what exactly free stuff means is never explained.

    Most wingnut idiots like Jay Tea’s idiot puppet Jenos Idanian #13 believe that all the blacks and gays and other groups they don’t like are going to secret government giveaway parties with loads of valuable prizes. For your own sake, don’t try to understand life inside their bubble.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  35. mantis says:

    @mike:

    aren’t teachers, firefighters, and cops state employees?

    Some are, but for the most part they are employees of local governments, school districts, etc.

    Are you advocating that the federal gov’t should tax everyone then pool the tax money and give out to the states as it deems fit rather than letting the states tax individually and pay these folks?

    To a certain extent this already happens. The federal government provides a lot of funding for education, and to a lesser extent funds emergency responders in a variety of capacities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  36. Your Inner Voice says:

    The choices ” a lot worse than Mitt” weren’t on the ballot, the backstabbing RINOs got Mitt on the ballot and he just lost. He was the very worst choice as he had already been rejected for Juan Amnesty McVain (the Other Soros Candidate), the previous loser. The Establishment RINOs are complicit with commie-libs to surrender this country to socialism as it gives them more power with less accountability, at which the Stupid Party excels.

    The commie-libs stock-in-trade is “good intentions”, so I don’t want to hear RINOs using it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 14

  37. David M says:

    @Your Inner Voice:

    The choices ” a lot worse than Mitt” weren’t on the ballot, the backstabbing RINOs got Mitt on the ballot and he just lost.

    That’s one way to describe the GOP primary I guess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  38. Rob in CT says:

    WAKE UP SHEEPLE!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  39. Jeremy says:

    @Murray: I think a Santorum candidacy this year would’ve have done wonders for our politics; a massive shellacking there might have cleaned out the gutters, so to speak.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  40. michael reynolds says:

    I love hearing from Jenos and Tsar and superdestroyer and Florack because I know they are reminders to James that a reformation of the GOP is mere fantasy. Those four are the GOP. They are more central to modern “conservatism” than guys like Douthat or Jindal or Frum or Joyner.

    It’s sad that the so-called “good” Republicans have given their lives to what is now a fatally poisoned elephant, but it’s not like they weren’t warned and warned and warned again. Deals with the devil generally end poorly. The good Republicans profited from racism, extremism and incoherent rage and told themselves it wouldn’t define them, that they were in charge and they could control the situation. Guys sitting in clubs and hotel bars in Washington drinking good Scotch thought they were running things. Kind of funny in a dark sort of way.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 1

  41. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Looking ahead to ’16 the GOP could cobble together a formidable ticket with any two-person permutation of the following: Bob McDonnell, Marco Rubio, Rob Portman, Brian Sandoval, John Kasich, Pat Toomey, Bobby Jindal, Susana Martinez, Scott Walker and Paul Ryan; but the problem is that over the next four years the GOP primary selectorate will go from retard to full retard, e.g., Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, etc. The Dems might win the ’16 election by default.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  42. Geek, Esq. says:

    @David M:

    “Free stuff” is a dog whistle for “lazy brown and black people want to steal your stuff through taxes if they can’t break into your house or car.”

    Romney’s 47% comments were perfectly consistent with what the GOP base believes. To understand the GOP, one must always keep in mind that it is first and foremost a white identity party. Exploiting white resentment towards minorities is they key pillar keeping their house standing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  43. C. Clavin says:

    @ Mike…
    Yes…cops and teachers and friefighters are generally state employees.
    Every State receives Federal Funding…as direct payments or grants.
    Many Red States recieve more in Federal funding than they send to Washington in taxes.
    Many Blues States send more to Washington in taxes than they receive back in funding.
    Obama twice tried to get Congress to send additional funds to the States to prevent the layoffs of Cops Teachers and Firefighters. Twice Republicans in the House refused. Today were are down about 1.7 million public sector jobs…mostly cops, techers,and firefighters. If that 1.7M jobs were added back into the roles UE would be in the 6% range and GDP would be a point higher…say 3.0 instead of 2.0 for round numbers. That’s a completely different economy.
    So yeah…I like my “free” teachers, cops, and firefighters.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  44. CSK says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    You’ll never see Palin on a national ticket. For one thing, it involves work, to which she’s apparently as allergic to as she is to syntax. In the second–and related place–she’s become a very rich woman doing absolutely nothing except starring in reality shows.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  45. sam says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    In retrospect, Obama’s victory was inevitable. A lifetime “community organizer” from the Chicago political machine who runs on a platform of “you deserve more free stuff, and I’m going to give it to you” would be, in today’s day and age, almost impossible to beat.

    Loser. Oh, and sore loser, too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  46. mike says:

    @sam: Instead he should act like a fiscal conservative like say George W. Bush (prescription drug plan, unfunded elective war) and run as a Repub

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  47. john personna says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I followed an old man out of the neighborhood today … as we moved along at 20 mph I was able to catch up to read his bumper-sticker, stuck jauntily at an angle across the rear window ….

    “I don’t trust the liberal media.”

    ‘nuf said, pops.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  48. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Your Inner Voice: I think you might have made your point better if you could have worked in at least one reference each to DemocRAT party and LIEbruls.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  49. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    In retrospect, Obama’s victory was inevitable. A lifetime “community organizer” from the Chicago political machine who runs on a platform of “you deserve more free stuff, and I’m going to give it to you” would be, in today’s day and age, almost impossible to beat.

    But…but…but….Benghazi!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  50. An Interested Party says:

    …a platform of “you deserve more free stuff, and I’m going to give it to you” would be, in today’s day and age, almost impossible to beat.

    As if Romney wasn’t promising free stuff? Supposed tax cuts for everyone, including big, huge tax breaks for the wealthy, big increases in defense spending, and the biggest whopper of all, that all of this would somehow lead to balanced budgets…hell, I’m surprised he didn’t offer everyone free unicorns…that would of been as fanciful as his ideas…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  51. grumpy realist says:

    Republicans only are able to believe in the Tax Cut Fairy, the Infrastructure Fairy, and the Balanced Budget Fairy. All of which are supposed to magically improve matters with no effort on our part.

    Hell, considering Mitt’s comments about how his election would somehow just magically fix things, you can add the Mitt Romney Fairy to that list…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  52. jukeboxgrad says:

    michael:

    The good Republicans profited from racism, extremism and incoherent rage and told themselves it wouldn’t define them, that they were in charge and they could control the situation.

    I can’t imagine a better obituary for the GOP: some white guys who drink good scotch didn’t anticipate the price they would eventually pay for jumping into bed with a bunch of ignorant bigots.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  53. MM says:

    Perhaps the best for the GOP would have been nominating Santorum or Gingrich and let him get tramped in the election. There wouldn’t be any “he wasn’t conservative enough” talk.

    yes there would. Gingrich is twice divorced and an adulterer. Santorum is Catholic and has made noises in the past about helping the poor.

    When you start from the hypothesis that a “real” conservative cannot fail, then whoever loses must by default not be conservative enough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  54. anjin-san says:

    “you deserve more free stuff, and I’m going to give it to you”

    I can only surmise that Sock Puppet Boy #13 enjoys the feeling of having Bill O’Reilly’s hand up his ass.

    Sweet deal for O’Reilly, he has become very rich fleecing the rubes…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  55. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    In retrospect, Obama’s victory was inevitable. A lifetime “community organizer” from the Chicago political machine who runs on a platform of “you deserve more free stuff, and I’m going to give it to you” would be, in today’s day and age, almost impossible to beat.

    Who promised more “free stuff” than Mitt Romney? He promised more tax cuts and more defense spending. That was the Bush formula – “hey America we’ll wage 2 wars and we’ll cut taxes at the same time, nobody will have to pay for anything!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  56. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: Free health care.

    Free contraception, including abortion.

    Free phones.

    Free college education. (Loan forgiveness — it’s a long-term goal.)

    Free internet service.

    Free cars. (Well, not exactly free, but subsidies on the Volt and “Cash For Clunkers” came close.)

    And all paid for by making the rich pay “their fair share.”

    “Fair” is such a wonderful weasel word. It has no absolute meaning, so it means whatever the speaker wants it to mean. And it is used to rationalize almost everything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

  57. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Even for you that’s a big bunch of stupid. Didn’t you see Bobby Jindal saying Republicans had to stop being stupid? Take it personally.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  58. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    That list is pretty much exhibit one against the conservative entertainment complex.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  59. Choas says:

    It doesn’t matter who the GOP selects to run for office. It is not the messenger, it is the
    “extreme” conservative views. The wold has changed, and they must change with it.
    Romney told Americans in so many words (the 47% and others) that they did not matter and when he became President, he would cut many of the programs that people depend on for survival. I thought that he was the best GOP candidate for this election, however, he
    was not the best prepared candidate. You can’t throw money at a campaign and hope to win with a message of destroying people’s livelihood, you need a little more compassion and
    real solutions to America’s problems. The GOP tries to satisfy and keep the rich happy when clearly the target audience if you would like to win, is not the rich. You have to give the Middle Class and the poor hope. What we continue to forget is that “most” Americans have the right to vote regardless of their economic status and that is what matters at the end of the election. Therefore, the GOP must appeal to all economic brackets and offer people some sense of hope when on the campaign trail. The GOP must do a better job with the message. Romney’s message scared people who didn’t have money, but they did have voting power. Think about that in 2016.
    P.S. And never again add a Sara Palin to a ticket. Every time I think of her, I think of the show ” Are you smarter than a 5th Grader”. Why did they do that? Not a smart move. I would love to see 2016 ticket include Mark Warner and Eric Cantor of Virginia. Cantor, needs alot of work, or maybe Mark Warner and Paul Rayan would be a better match. That I would love to see.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  60. Mister Jimmy says:

    Cantor, Warner and Ryan (Rayan?)–Israeli-owned stooges and Zionist sock puppets.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  61. Rick DeMent says:

    Look tax cuts are the ultimate in “free stuff”, here let’s borrow money from China and distribute it through the tax code. It doesn’t get any free-er then that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  62. MorningStar says:

    “They” Won….”We” Lost. It is imperative that we maintain the high ground and drop to the low level of the opposition and accept our defeat and move on to do better next time.

    I don’t like the outcome of the election, but it’s time to understand what went wrong and make corrections so it does not happen again (it’s already happened twice). Good article. Thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  63. Greg says:

    To anyone who didn’t support that crank Ron Paul’s run for the presidency: You can ignore the stupidity of your choices, but you cannot ignore the consequences of your stupidity. The encroaching police state, non-stop wars, attack on your freedoms, and the fast-approaching collapse of the dollar are coming your way. Romney’s people cheated Ron Paul at every turn, and Obama’s people cheated Romney at every turn. What goes around, comes around. When stupidity, decadence, corruption and sloth go around, what comes around isn’t pretty – and that’s what is headed your way my liberal and neocon citizens. Keep voting for warmongers and the welfare state, and pretty soon you’ll be all be drinking Victory Gin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  64. bordenl says:

    “a former pizza guy whose entire campaign consists of repeating the number nine over and over again” Great line and generally well-argued post. I don’t know if Mataconis has seen Huntsman being mentioned as a Secretary of State candidate, but today I see that the mentioning machine has decided that the administration is behind Rice.

    Mataconis, 3rd party voting or even none of the above is not stupid. In a democratic society you have a perfect right to do that especially if anyone can check 538 and see that about 6 states will control 99% of the election. It is a good libertarian principle that you have this right even if it will not benefit you at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  65. bordenl says:

    99% of the difference in the election. Obviously those 300 electoral votes didn’t come from 6 states.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  66. bordenl says:

    It was 8 states. Same difference :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  67. Sam says:

    Ron Paul is a “crank?” If you think that the only anti-killing-innocent-people-all-over-the-world candidate is a crank, then your politics are scary and immoral.

    I guess you would be totally fine having a drone drop missiles on your neighborhood without warning and killing your entire family. As you watch them bleed out before you you must be thinking to yourself, “Wow there must have been a really good reason for that missile killing my entire innocent family, I support it!”

    Because if you aren’t into that kind of thing, then you must be a crank.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  68. Sam says:

    @Greg: Amen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  69. swbarnes2 says:

    @Sam:

    Ron Paul is a “crank?” If you think that the only anti-killing-innocent-people-all-over-the-world candidate is a crank, then your politics are scary and immoral.

    Umm, no. His anti-killing-innocent-people-argument is not what makes him a crank. It’s the gold-standard nuttery and the virulent racism (we haven’t forgotten the racist newsletters, and I’m sure you haven’t either) that make him a crank. It’s a deep pity that a popular anti-war figure embraces such madness, but them’s the facts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  70. Sam says:

    @swbarnes2: “Virulent racism?” That is a bit of an exaggeration no?

    But even if it isn’t, I think we can all agree that killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of innocent “brown” people all over the world in the last 20 years (by both Repubs and Dems including Obama) is a tad more racist than ignorant words (not even written by Paul directly) in a stupid newsletter that a few thousand people may have read at the time. I mean seriously, drones and bombs kill people, words don’t.

    Further, even the gold standard, while not an ideal system by any means, is certainly better than a debt based currency and cannot be dismissed as a totally ridiculous idea. Don’t forget we were on a gold standard for 150 years already and the country seemed to survive and at times thrive.

    Either way, it shows true ignorance on your part of how our system of government is supposed to function, because THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE is the endless imperial wars and that just so happens to be the area where the president can make the most direct and immediate difference without asking congress. Installing a gold standard is not something Ron Paul could do on his own so it wouldn’t have even been a threat.

    In sum, people call him a crank because of some of his views which he couldn’t have implemented anyway. However, where he is completely sane and moral and could have made a real difference, people decided not to vote for him anyway, demonstrating their own moral depravity.

    Oh well, I guess killing children is a small price to pay to avoid the gold standard.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  71. Abbass (Steve) says:

    That was some fancy dancing, and I read it wondering how you’d deal with Ron Paul, wondering if you’d even mention him. I see you got down to it though.
    “Ron Paul was a crank who only appealed to a limited portion of his own party and likely would have caused a large segment of the GOP base to stay home on Election Day”

    That sort of off handed dismissal of Ron Paul from what is now three election cycles in a row by the media mongrels of whom you are now recognisably at least a part, is exactly what is used to keep this enormously popular (WORLD WIDE) candidate from rising beyond relative obscurity. Ron Paul who does actually speak directly to the concerns of the vast majority of not only Am3ericans but people the world over. I am an Australian as it happens and of my many friends the world over, the majority of them are also Ron Paul supporters. Excluding him the way they did and by treating his supporters the way they did, is what lost the GOP this otherwise easily winnable election (even without the vote rigging machines). Paul supporters, otherwise highly motivated and many recent converts to the GOP only because of Paul, stayed home as did more than half the eligible voters.

    Gee do you think the reason many of them stay home might be the fact they are the most informed and therefore aware that their vote is only for the lesser of two evils? There was not enough room between the two eventual players to slide a credit card as far as their “promises” went and we can assume that either more of the same or a slightly less user friendly version of fascist slide into hell would be not worth wasting time to choose over.

    On behalf of the people who really need your help, as one who has a public platform from which you could if you chose educate people (a democracy requires an informed public to function); I say thanks for nothing. Whether or not they realise it, your sort of phony corralled “analysis” is worth less than nothing, it actually is what perpetuates the giant lie and fraud which is American Democracy and which has already seen to the death of the Republic. It just remains for the debt collectors to arrive at the door. The midnight knock is coming.

    To you and all the whore media mongrels like you whose words are like poison or anaesthetic allowing the vampires to do their work un molested, I say again, thanks for nothing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  72. Abbass (Steve) says:

    @swbarnes2: I and possibly others mistook your comment from its inception and hit the like button too fast.

    You got it wrong. Whether or not his proposed solution was the right one, at least Paul was talking about what mattered, and he woke many people up to the problem of the Federal Reserve and of fiat currencies in particular, which in case you got up late and missed the last decade, is in the process of collapsing from its own inherent and inbuilt weakness. Namely that it is actually just a wealth creation system for the few who control the reserve banks. Oh that’s just a couple of families, what do you know. As for the racism, that is a vile lie, spread by Zionists mainly. Nothing in his words has hinted at racism and I say this as a white Aussie with very close connections to our Aborigines and who is a Muslim convert married to a Pakistani lady. Not only am I not racist I am very sensitive to it and he is not remotely close to a racist. As I said those arch racists the Zionists who consider racism to be not giving them recognition as superior to all others, are behind this nonsense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  73. Abbass (Steve) says:

    @Mister Jimmy: And Romney ‘bff with Bibi’ wasn’t?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  74. Dan Matheny says:

    I am in agreement with so many of the comments regarding Ron Paul. I met Dr. Paul a number of years ago, and I can assure you that he is not a crank. What this race needed to about was whether to move forward with Zionist socialism or return to a truly republican form of government where the role of the national government was relegated to the limitations stated in the Constitution. Instead, we had a choice between a communist or a socialist.

    Romney was a paper bag date. In many ways he was clean as a whistle, but like Obama, it’s all for show. In order to vote for him, you had to ignore that Obamacare was taken from Romney’s model in Massachusetts. You had to ignore that Romney at one point said a woman had the right to choose, and then switched positions and said what he really meant to say…

    Obama is going to TRY to establish a dictatorship under the guise or restoring order. The electoral process is officially over. The veil is rent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2