WASHINGTON, November 7, 2012 — Governor Mitt Romney lost and it was not a squeaker. President Obama won both the popular and electoral vote. As of this morning the tally stood at 303 electoral votes for Obama, and 206 for Romney with 29 votes still in the balance in Florida.
Where did Republicans go wrong? Some will say having a candidate like Mitt Romney. But that’s not fair. He did everything the GOP wanted him to do and wanted him to be: Right winger, moderate, hawk, dove, anti-abortion and then sort of for it in special cases, anti-auto bail out, pro-auto bailout.
Romney Was the New Republican Party
You name it and he flipped and flopped whatever direction you pointed him towards. He was criticized for taking so many positions on the same issue within the space of the week.
Yet even Democrats admit Romney worked hard to win the election and his last six weeks on the campaign trail, after his superior performance at the first debate energized his base, showed his mettle.
Plus remember, he swept the primaries, literally wiping the floor with his Republican challengers, knocking them off one by one. If there ever was an election ready for a big Republican win, this was it.
Mix into that the economy continues to be wobbly, jobs are not roaring back, paychecks are worse than ever, and along camea businessman, offering his know-how on how to turn things around.
And the incumbent who had stayed aloof and too cool for his own good during his four years in the White House suddenly had to sell his story to the American public about how he and his policies had been good for America.
It was the natural born salesman (Romney) against the professor (Obama) and yet somehow, some way, Americans decided on another four years with the professor.
Why Obama Won
So what went wrong for the Republicans, who still retain the House, but lost the big prize? It would be easy to blame the candidate, but that wouldn’t be fair.
There are several reasons Gov. Romney lost, none of them having to do with him as a person or a candidate.
Here is the truth, plain and simple:
1. Obama is and always has been one lucky son of a gun as a candidate, starting when he ran for the state legislature to his race for the Senate to running against Senator John McCain in 2008. Sometimes it was the stumbles and bumbles of his opponents or just a poorly run campaign, while his campaign was steady and focused, a fine-tuned and well-oiled machine.
This time Obama’s luck came on the back of a storm that slammed into the East Coast, allowing Americans to see him doing real presidential stuff, like directing FEMA, meeting with N.J. Governor Chris Christie, or comforting a distraught woman. Those were hard images for Americans to erase. He showed what being President of the United States is all about.
2. Add to that the economy did start to improve. Not dramatically, but incrementally with two good job reports in a row, October and November. The stock market was way up from when he stepped into the Oval Office and people’s retirement savings looked more and more secure.
3. Obama’s bailout of the auto industry resonated with people, especially in the industrial Midwest. It showed he cared about working Americans and the companies that provide those jobs. Add to that the auto companies started paying back the bailout loan and the auto industry continued to grow stronger than ever.
4. Obama’s position on women’s rights from the Lilly Ledbetter Act to insurance for contraception to supporting Planned Parenthood only grew more vigorous and support from women became equally fervent.
5. The Latino community showed its appreciation for Obama on the DREAM Act and his opposition to Arizona’s draconian laws on immigration, and they rewarded the President with big turnouts.
6. Obama had Osama bin Laden killed. That says it all. He showed himself to be tough and resolute when it came to foreign policy, whether it was crippling sanctions on Iran or drone attacks in Pakistan. And yet he always stressed diplomacy first.
GOP Rethinking Its Future?
Now that the Republicans have been rocked back on their heels by the election, the question becomes, What next? Will they assess the damage and examine the whys behind Romney’s loss? Will they understand that America is much more moderate and diverse than the current GOP?
Will they have the guts to wrest, no yank, their party away from the Tea Party, which has undermined all that the Grand Old Party once stood for? Will the GOP have the courage to stand up to the Right flank and move back to moderation? Will it once again become the party of Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt?
To continue on the path that they have been following in recent years, the same one that they forced their own presidential nominee to tread, can lead only to the demise of the GOP. Now is the time for Republicans to rethink and regroup and return to their core principles.
The Democrats had to do so after the resounding defeat of their presidential candidate Senator George McGovern in 1972, and they became a better party for it, more inclusive. It’s time for Republicans to reassess their place in history.
To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.
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