And with the demise of Mitt Romney come the inevitable few months worth of “What went wrong?” columns rehashing the new conventional wisdom about why Mitt lost. Howard Fineman:
I have covered a lot of presidential campaigns, and I can’t think of one that so lost its way-so expensively-as that of the former governor of Massachusetts. A board room and business favorite, a man with a Midas managerial touch, he was widely admired and even beloved. But he was a Republican of an old moderate school-that of his own father-and, like George W. Bush, Romney the Younger decided that he had to jettison all that he was to become something that he was not.
The NY Times:
Yet Mr. Romney’s advisers acknowledged Thursday an array of tactical missteps and miscalculations. Perhaps most significantly, they conceded that they had failed to overcome doubts about Mr. Romney’s authenticity as they sought to position him as the most electable conservative in the race, a jarring contrast to his more moderate record as governor of Massachusetts. And during the January nominating contests, as his opponents attacked his shifting on issues, polls showed his favorability ratings plummeting.
Mr. Romney spent more than $35 million of his own money trying to get himself elected, but his campaign faced challenges from the start, some from obstacles beyond his control.
Pretending to be something he is not would be one of those chief obstacles. It really is that simple. I constantly trash the folks at Red State for their incessant Bush boosterism (which on many days is so over-the-top it makes Hugh Hewitt blush), but one thing they got right and stated early and often was their belief that Romney was a complete fraud. It was Erick who
came up with resurrected the phrase Multiple-Choice Mitt. Any candidate who can not sell themselves to these guys is in for a LONG campaign, and Romney’s make-over was just so phony that he couldn’t fool our moronic electorate (I’m a Democrat now, which means I don’t have to pretend the people are rugged and smart anymore). Probably fitting to let Dan McLaughlin from Red State have the last word:
I may expand on this later…I am sympathetic to the people who bought into the idea of the Romney campaign but, as happened to those of us who backed Rudy or Fred, the time has come to accept that the reality of the campaign was never what it was cracked up to be. In Mitt’s case, he just wasn’t the champion of conservative principles and enforcer of conservative orthodoxy he played on the trail…
A hamburger is a delicious and popular meal. A grilled chicken sandwich is nutritious and reasonably tasty. You can sell a hamburger, and you can sell a grilled chicken sandwich; both have their virtues. But as anyone with a marketing background could have told you, you can’t get people to buy a grilled chicken sandwich by convincing them that it is a hamburger.
See you in 2011, Mittens.