Coffee is for closers, Mitt.

November 7, 2012

I’ll have detailed thoughts later in the week, but some first blush thoughts:

* There will be fighting about ideology and demographics in the coming days, but I don’t buy it. For several reasons. The first being, no one actually knows what ideology Romney ran on. If you believe Romney’s ideology mattered, then what were voters rejecting? Romney’s hard-line on not giving in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants? Or the constant sly tips that he wouldn’t repeal Obamacare whole? Or the openness to raising effective tax payments by cutting personal income tax deductions in unspecified ways?

For the most part, Romney was an ideological Rohrschach test for voters onto which they could project whatever views they wanted.  As such, you can’t really say that they were uniformly rejecting some particular brand of ideology.

But of course, that’s not what these fights are about. One of the things you’ll see the coming GOP ideology wars is the very neat alignment between what a given analyst says Republicans must do to win and what that given analyst personally prefers. As always, I’m wary of those arguments. You should argue ideological positions on the merits, not on some belief in their political expediency.

* I continue to maintain that the 2012 election was determined not by ideology but by personality. Candidates matter. Not always, and not everywhere. But when you play at the highest level you need to meet some basic threshold of political ability in order to maximize the chances of victory that circumstances allow. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again: In terms of political ability, Mitt Romney is not only the worst major-party nominee since World War II (at least), but his weaknesses were particularly ill-suited to this particular race.

This isn’t to say that Romney had no chance of winning. But I’d argue he had the worst chance of any of the major candidates in the 2012 field.

* To gauge how terrible Romney was, consider this: The single biggest thing to jump out at me tonight is that, if the results hold up, Romney will have succeeded in flipping only IN and NC. That’s an amazing fact. In 2008, John McCain–viewed then (and now) as a lackluster candidate–ran a mediocre campaign in an environment where his party was being held responsible for two unpopular wars and there was an ongoing financial crisis hanging over his head. He was outspent by a large margin. Fast-foward to 2012 and Romney has none of that baggage–if anything, it’s the opposite. The environment is completely oriented against the incumbent president. The money is just about even. And all Romney can do is flip IN and NC?

That’s a damning indictment of Romney as a candidate. If you were to run the VORP numbers, it would suggest that Romney was a giant net negative relative.

And none of that was especially hard to divine. Anyone who has been around politics for even a few years, and saw Romney campaigning, should have understood how catastrophically bad he was.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Kevin November 7, 2012 at 12:16 am

RE: btw Megyn Kelly is a national treasure

My wife , who’s never voted, doesnt watch news, much less Fox , gave me a “gimme” for MK. BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!

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Nedward November 7, 2012 at 3:33 am

I honestly don’t grok how decaffeinated Diet Mitt even fits into this or any part of your GGR memery, but may I suggest Bill Nelson in the Ricky Roma role

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Jason O. November 7, 2012 at 7:33 am

So at the end of the day, were the leads good or were they no good?

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Phil November 7, 2012 at 8:20 am

The country may be screwed but at least you got to write your I-told-you-so

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Jack G November 7, 2012 at 9:23 am

We should not nominate candidates who cannot carry their own states.(re;Al Gore) Mitt Romney couldn’t carry either of his home states nor Paul Ryan’s home state. You can’t win that way.

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tateofpa November 7, 2012 at 9:26 am

Yep it’s time to become even more purple republicans and move towards that blue, moving even toward the dems and drop all pretense of being fiscally responsible and business friendly. In other words it is time we embrace the EU model.

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SpiderMike November 7, 2012 at 9:59 am

A Russian immigrant lady calling into a radio show this morning, described the Obama win as “The OJ verdict on a national scale”. When immigrants from Eastern Europe warn us that the Democrat progressive agenda is exactly what they lived under and escaped from, we had better take heed.

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Judith November 7, 2012 at 10:10 am

Romney was a worse candidate than Dole? than McCain?

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wfb November 7, 2012 at 10:46 am

Than Dukakis? Than McGovern? Than Stevenson? Etc.

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Matt November 7, 2012 at 11:02 am

Would we know if votes were systematically disappeared? Suppression is easily evident, stuffing is easily evident.

I just can’t believe that, after 2010 and the last 4 years, turnout was 14M less than 2008.

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KLSmith November 7, 2012 at 11:26 am

Agree with web and Judith. Mitt may have been the wrong candidate but, ain’t no way he was even worse than some of those other guys. Blame the weak-kneed Republican advisors and elite that help “guide” our choice of these type candidates and the style of campaign they wage.
Our candidates have to run against the Dems and the media. And too many of our fellow citizens are uniformed and clueless. No big conspiracy here but, it’s obvious why the Dems don’t want a decent educational system in this country.

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ADH November 7, 2012 at 12:17 pm

No way. McCain did better because he was running as a war hero in a time of war, and as the wars have wound down Obama has been able to turn the traditionally Democratic weakness on foreign policy into a strength (the press pretty much ignoring Iraq and Afghanistan and more recently Libya doesn’t hurt either).

And ideology absolutely came into it: look at the woman vote and recall the “war on women” BS we’ve heard for the last 6 months. In the end, Romney was unable to close the gender gap after all and that’s what pushed Obama over the top.

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Mark November 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm

This guy is a complete moron. Blame it all on Romney – what a surprise. No way that Santy or Newt could have done better. The problem is certainly not that the GOP wasn’t conservative enough. These are bare knuckle times, and you can’t let your opponent define you. It is hard ball – all the time. There are several more reasons, but the bottom line is that Obama is a Chicago machine politician that will do or say anything to remain in his free house and 747 for a few more years.

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Ursus November 7, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Romney/Ryan did have a platform of pro-growth economic policies and sane spending. That is what the country rejected. Everything else was irrelevant, and blurred on purpose.

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Quartermaster November 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Mittens performance is even worse when you look at McNasty’s in 2008. McAmnesty pulled 8 million more votes than Mittens did.

Another GOP establishment boy goes down in flames. The GOP establishment needs to go. Now.

Either that or secession.

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