Romney's Defeat

November 09, 2012

With the 2012 elections over, I would like to offer a couple of reflections on Mitt Romney's defeat and what I hope Republicans will take from it (the photo is one I took of Romney last year in Iowa). Overall, the outcome was not much of a surprise. I have been saying for months that President Barack Obama held a strong advantage in the electoral college and therefore would be reelected. We saw that Tuesday night. As Republicans sift through the results and ponder their loss, I hope the legacy of Romney's campaign will be one that helps the Republican Party return to a more moral economic base. After all, Romney will go down in history as one of the worst presidential candidates since he lost to a weak president who was beatable. Romney's focus on economic policies to favor the wealthy and hurt the poor--even to the point of rolling back measures President Ronald Reagan enacted to help the working poor--ultimately destroyed his campaign. His wealth, arrogance, and out-of-touch comments made this the ultimate meme about him. I previously dealt with his comments not being concerned about "the very poor" in a post here. On other occasions, he inaccurately derided 47 percent of Americans as victims, claimed corporations are people, and made several comments showing how out-of-touch he was because of his wealth (such as his $10,000 bet during a debate and his comment about his wife driving a couple of cadillacs). Adding to that, his secrecy about his taxes, his efforts to lower his tax rate through overseas investments, and his record as a "vulture capitalist" at Bain meant Romney never recovered from the image of being a rich, uncaring figure like Mr. Burns (who "endorsed" Romney).The decision to put Paul Ryan to the ticket only magnified Romney's anti-poor image since Ryan's budget is reverse Robin Hood at its worst; I pointed out the moral problem with Ryan's budget (see post here). That is not an inherently conservative position. President Teddy Roosevelt would have no place in Romney's party, and even Reagan would likely find himself on the outs. If the Republican Party cannot find a way to care about the "least of these," they will continue to struggle in campaigns (and should find themselves increasingly criticized by Christians driven by the Bible and not partisan affiliations). Hopefully Republicans will in the future reject the Romney-Ryan economic vision. If they do, then the utter and deserved failure of the Romney campaign will bring some positive change we can believe in.