The reason Romney lost (odds are, you haven’t heard it yet)

The three most prevalent answers for what happened last night are, in order: Romney’s flaws, demographics, and the Democrats’ ground game. All of them certainly had a role (the second of them still fuels my flirtation with rebooting the right with a different party), I think there is one “fundamental” that was more important at the end of the day.

Usually, an incumbent presiding over an economy as bad as what we’ve seen since January of 2009 is sent packing – emphatically. The president’s argument was, essentially, that 2008 was so bad and so out of character in economic terms that the normal rules of judging his record don’t apply.

Now where could the president possibly get this idea?  Well, in 2008, a whole slew of Republicans insisted…things were so out of character in economic terms that they needed send $700 billion to major Wall Street banks. Among the GOPers who violated free market principles out of “necessity” were President Bush the Younger, his cabinet, now-Speaker Boehner, most of his caucus, Senate Minority Leader McConnell, most of his caucus…and both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

Now, it helps that I fervently believe the bank bailout (a.k.a. TARP) was a terrible economic mistake (and yes, I said it back in 2008, too). That said, a candidate who opposed TARP could explain why it made a touchy economy much worse, how the deepest part of the Great Recession came during the bailout’s passage and implementation, and that those who backed it (Bush and Obama) made a serious and critical mistake.

That would have separated the candidate from TARP and Bush (the latter still blamed by 53% of the voters for the current stagnation – Fox News). Instead, Obama’s argument about the dangers of 2008 were echoed – however subtlely – by Romney and Ryan themselves.

Simply put, those of us who picked Romney over Santorum or Gingrich (both of whom opposed TARP) made a mistake. Could Obama have beaten either of them? Perhaps, but he certainly wouldn’t have been able to use the “inheritance” argument, because both of them would have insisted the economy did not need the bank bailout; that the president made things worse by his support for the bailout as a 2008 candidate; and that as such, the economic hardships from 2009 on should be placed solely at his feet.

Whatever the Republican party chooses to do in 2016, if they wish to win back the White House, they must nominate an outspoken opponent of TARP – preferably a member of Congress who voted against it.Otherwise, voters will continue to hold the Democrats innocent of their economic record until the next peak in the economic cycle – which could be as late as the mid 20’s.

Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal


11 thoughts on “The reason Romney lost (odds are, you haven’t heard it yet)

  1. The eleven most prevalent answers for what happened last night are, in no particular order: Romney’s flaws, demographics, poor down ticket candidates, incompetent entrenched state party leaders, no cogent message, his Mormon faith (an ugly but unavoidable fact), “Conservative” third party candidates, the lunatic fringe of the Tea Party, dismissing a large portion of the base, poor communication and cooperation between the RNC/Romney Campaign and local GOP committees/officials and the Democrats’ ground game.

    Meet me on 75% and I’ll buy the first round

  2. Is it possible that the GOP is merely seen as the party of old white guys? It needs to reach out to (young) women, Hispanics, blacks and other ethnic groups or face extinction. If not, it’ll die on the vine

    1. Yes, it seems not being a party that focuses on race and gender has hurt republican. I’m not sure I want to belong to a party that focuses on race, gender, and class. But that’s just me.

    2. The party doesn’t have to place emphasis on particular races and classes. It should say that the party embraces all Americans, regardless of their background, race, color, and creed. I thought the point was to go beyond races and classes and look at the content of character. Besides, there are an increasing number of rising stars in the GOP that present a diverse background, including Rubio, Jindal, Haley, Martinez, Ryan, and Davis. But, of course, in the eyes of liberal Democrats, they just don’t count.

    3. Even among the demographic groups Obama carried so heavily, there were swing voters who likely were won over by his argument about the economy.

  3. Dear Lovettsville Lady – Many people agree, and, yes, race, gender, and class are pretty poor distinctions in a country with our constitution (I mean the document, not our “health”!). It’s time to learn that each party needs to consider how to serve its critics as well as its backers. If a two party system is dividing us to such an extent that America is crippled by its own opposing brands of hubris, then perhaps we need to investigate a way to incorporate more official points of view. Yes, I’m suggesting, multiple (more than two) parties! After all, are all so easily classifiable into two drawers? How sad!

  4. The Romney and Obama campaigns both failed to get out the vote. Obama received almost 6 million less votes in 2012 than 2008. So far Romney has received almost 2 million less votes than McCain.

    In fact George Bush in 2004 received more votes than Obama in 2012. 62 million vs 61 million. Yet the population during this time increased by about 8%.

    I think the reason Romney lost is a very negative campaign by Obama against a Republican challenger who did not excite his base.

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