Mitt Romney Bashing — No, His Campaign Wasn’t The Whole Problem

Scott Wilson of the Washington Post has put out this video providing a detailed, “insider” explanation of Mitt Romney’s failure to win the presidency. The video itself says very little that is untrue per se, but it leaves the distinct impression that the Romney campaign was much closer to victory than any rational review of the evidence would suggest. Here’s the video, followed by a detailed breakdown.

:09 OK, we’ve already heard that Barack Obama benefited “in large part” from the campaign of Mitt Romney. Really? Barack Obama received roughly 4.5 million more votes that Romney. Is it accurate to say that 2.25 million people were sufficiently wishy-washy to have voted for Mitt Romney if he’d campaigned better? If we take away every “close” state (those decided by less than 5 points), Barack Obama still wins. Mitt Romney’s weakness as a candidate could have made for a closer election, but not a different one. Barack Obama benefited “in large part” from relatively unshakable Democratic majorities in states that total 272 electoral votes. Few were more critical of the Romney campaign apparatus than this blog, but its comical stupidity was not “the” reason or even a significant reason Obama won.

:35 Romney had spent all his money securing the nomination? He was still pulling in more than Obama almost every month of the campaign. He also had more SuperPAC supporters flush with cash, outspending Democratic-leaning groups 2 to 1. The Romney campaign proper did have less “cash-on-hand” and more debt, but hardly in the amounts that justify Wilson’s point that Romney was unable to counter Democratic attacks — especially if you consider the multi-millionaire could have loaned himself tons of money to cover shortfalls.

“If only there was some other source Romney could tap for money…”

:52 “He had no way to defend himself.” True…but that wasn’t for lack of money. Sometimes substance matters. This also contradicts his earlier argument. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich beat up Romney on the same issue. If Romney had so much money in the primaries, and money is all he needed to defend himself, why was he completely unable to protect himself then?

2:06 Romney privately admitted that they screwed up when they criticized the administration over Benghazi. Well, yeah. But given the embarrassing antics of the GOP over the impending nomination of Susan Rice, I’m not altogether sure this is Romney’s fault rather than a disaster imbedded in the DNA of the Republican Party.

2:21 Romney was “gun shy” about Benghazi after the first press conference? Did Scott Wilson watch this campaign? Because Mitt Romney and his campaign did nothing but launch unsubstantiated attacks about Benghazi until October 16. This article from the morning of October 16 talks about how Romney is using the issue to “unravel” the Obama campaign. Something changed that night though. Romney became gun shy all right, but not until he got the smackdown on national television.

3:18 Paul Ryan wanted to talk about inner city poverty, eh? This is part of that whole “I want to pretend I’m like Jack Kemp” thing. The Romney campaign wouldn’t let Ryan do this because it’s kind of idiotic. The leadership of the Catholic Church has gone on record calling Paul Ryan a scourge of the poor. His credibility on the issue is so through the floor that it would have sidetracked the campaign in 4 hours (2 if running at Ryan rates). The Romney people were much much smarter than the Ryan people here — and that should terrify any conservative fan of Paul Ryan. The winning economic message really is jobs and the middle class. You know how I know this? Because Obama talked about those issues and won. Most people think they’re middle class, even if they aren’t. The self-identified poor don’t constitute enough votes to buoy the Republican ticket. There’s just no aspect of this strategy that could work.

Yeah, making the whole campaign about how the GOP cares about poverty before this would have worked out real well.

3:34 “Where that became particularly important…” Oh do tell!

4:07 Ryan thought that if they talked about poverty it would have been easier to refute the 47% video?!? No dipshit, if you were talking about poverty before that video came out, the entire campaign would have looked even more craven and dishonest than it actually did. If there was any positive for Romney from the 47% video it’s the fact that about 98% of the country think they’re in the 53%, allowing him to blow off the comments as regrettable “hard truths” about lazy people taking “your” money. If the campaign had focused on poverty it’d be totally screwed. And, by the way, if the campaign was based entirely around Paul Ryan’s “devotion to the poor,” the soup kitchen episode would have played out a lot more like the 47% video did.


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