Mitt Romney lost his chance to become President for at least nine reasons.
First, he was not simply an opportunist; he was widely recognized as one. He was despised by those on the Right as well as those on the Left, and for the same reason: He would take any position on any issue–even if this meant contradicting his previous position on it.
Second, he was not only rich, he made it clear that this was the only group he truly cared about. His public comments shouted this:
- “I have friends who are owners of NASCAR Teams.”
- “Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs.”
- “Corporations are people, my friend.”
- “Forty-seven percent are dependent upon government.”
Yet it is possible to be wealthy and trusted by those who aren’t–like Robert F. Kennedy, who identified with the poor and oppressed.
Third, Republicans enraged and alienated Latinos by their constant anti-immigrant rhetoric. A politician has to consider how his actions will affect voters–and whether they will win support or opposition.
Fourth, Republicans enraged and alienated blacks by their constant hateful attacks on Obama. Clint Eastwood’s empty chair ”comedy” act at the Republican convention pleased his right-wing audience. But it outraged a lot of others–especially blacks.
Many blacks might well have sat out the election–or even voted for Romney because they didn’t feel their lives had improved under Obama. But the savagery of the anti-Obama attacks–and the obvious racial bias of many of them–drew millions of blacks to the polls in his support.
Again, this was something Republicans should have taken into account–but didn’t.
Fifth, Republicans angered and alienated women–by constantly talking about
- gutting Planned Parenthood
- outlawing abortion
- “legitimate rape”
- banning birth control.
Republicans constantly talked about “getting government off the backs of the people.” But they also threatened to insert it into the vaginas of American women.
Sixth, Republicans enraged and alienated voters generally and minorities in particular by their blatant efforts to suppress the voting rights of their fellow citizens.
Republicans falsely claimed widespread voter fraud in areas where there was absolutely no evidence for it–such as Pennsylvania. And when voter fraud was discovered, the culprit was a get-out-the-vote consulting firm hired by Republicans.
Election workers in Palm Beach County, Florida, discovered numerous registration forms that appeared to be filled out in the same handwriting, some including wrong addresses and birthdays. All had been submitted as coming from Republican voters.
Seventh, Republicans allowed their party to be represented by slimeballs like Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh.
Trump at first disdained Romney, saying he was “just a hedge fund guy; my wealth is many, many times bigger than Romney’s.” Then Trump–out of hatred for Obama–embraced Romney, who allowed himself to be held closely by this bullying buffoon.
When Trump claimed he could prove that Obama wasn’t an American citizen, Romney refused to distance himself from him, let alone say, “I don’t want support from someone who’s so filled with hate.”
And he similarly refused to condemn Rush Limbaugh for calling Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute.” Fluke’s “crime”: She had testified before Congress on the need to have insurance companies cover contraceptives.
Romney didn’t dare condemn Limbaugh. He was too scared of losing Limbaugh’s endorsement–and thus the support of his aptly-named “dittohead” audience.
So he chose, by default, to lose the support of far larger numbers of Americans generally and American women in particular.
Eighth, Republicans ultimately depended for their success on a voting group that’s constantly shrinking–aging white males. Having alienated blacks, gays, women, Latinos and youths, the Republicans found themselves with no other sources of support.
Ninth, Republicans–and especially Romney–put out so many blatant lies that they came home to hurt them:
- Romney claimed that his tax plan wouldn’t reduce tax rates for the wealthy. Not only would it have done so, but that’s why so many billionaires were supporting him.
- Romney initially opposed the President’s bailout of General Motors. But when that resurrected the American auto industry, Romney changed his tune and said he had always been for the bailout.
- Near the end of the campaign, Romney said that Jeep was shipping jobs to China. The truth was that it was not–and Jeep gave widespread publicity to that lie.
- Summing up Romney’s attitude toward the truth: ”We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” said Neil Newhouse, a Romney pollster.
Knowingly or not, Romney’s campaign followed the tenet laid down by Adolf Hitler: “People more readily fall victim to the big lie than the small lie.”
Romney apparently believed that if he could blanket states with millions of dollars’ worth of false advertising, he could lie his way into the Oval Office. This had, after all, worked for him during the primaries against his Republican opponents.
In the end, Americans came to know the truth, and the truth did make them free–of Romney and the Republican agenda.