There will be no end to the analysis of what went wrong for the Republican Party in this year’s presidential election. That, of course, means a close examination of the candidate, Mitt Romney, now a castaway by voters and a man whose political career is over — probably. We say probably because we remember Richard Nixon, who had nine lives as a politician. His political life was pronounced dead several times. He refused to die until his resignation as president sealed the political coffin.
Actually, for not being a very attractive candidate, Romney did pretty well. He gave President Obama a close race. Romney was a hard sell. For whatever reason there was something about him that didn’t catch on with many voters. No one doubted his “cleanness” as a man, and the fact that he was a very good person. He was charitable to the highest point but he didn’t use that kindness trait the way some people said he should have in the campaign. He was qualified, had an excellent business background and he knows and understands government. He got caught in reversing himself on some issues but that’s not unusual for a politician. In fact, it could be a good trait.
Romney recognized that he lacked appeal to some voters. He tried to look “common” by wearing jeans early on in the campaign. That was dumb. It didn’t freshen up his appeal. He worked hard, but so did President Obama. Romney never could win the African-American vote — that was impossible, and Hispanics didn’t warm up to him either.
It was heard often in the campaign the words, “I don’t like either one of them.” That’s not a new position. It was heard in a number of other campaigns for president.
Everybody said the election was about the economy. Well, President Obama overcame that negative point, but there’s no question the state of the economy did give Romney votes. But not enough! It may be that the millions of Americans who receive checks from the government didn’t particularly care for Obama, but they feared a change in their federal incomes so they voted for status quo. Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan didn’t seem to be a big factor in the election. Perhaps it was because we’ve set a timetable to get out. We heard a lot about the debt, cuts in programs, and tax hikes, but again there was that status quo mood. It is the mood of voters that wins elections. Obama had a better read on that factor.
We again are at a still water state. We have a just so-so likable president and the Republican House will attempt to block any major liberal legislation by the president. If Obama takes a more moderate, middle-of-the-road approach, he may have a degree of success. He’s concerned about his place in history. That’s not too unusual. All presidents have had that concern.
It may be that the status quo mood doomed Romney.