|"How did I beat you? Do you think that's air you're breathing?"|
#10. He picked Republican House Congressman Paul Ryan.
After the surge of the Tea Party, Congress' approval rating dropped to all new historic lows. So who better to put on your presidential campaign ticket than a member of this highly unpopular group, right? And not only do you pick a member from the worst Congress ever, but you go the extra mile and pick the guy who made a name for himself by drafting perhaps the most controversial budget in recent memory that squarely put Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security (aka the "third rails" of politics) in front of the American people for debate. By the way, in case there was any doubt, adding Paul Ryan to the ticket did not put Wisconsin in play. At all.
#9. He did not pick Senator Ron Portman of Ohio.
Retrospect being 20/20, Ohio turned out to be THE nail in the coffin which officially confirmed Obama's re-election. The state was so close that even after it was called by all of the major networks, the Romney camp (not to mention Karl Rove and Fox News) refused to concede the loss officially. Stated differently, any extra help in Ohio would have been nice for the Romney camp. Portman is a U.S. Senator for Ohio. That means he's won in Ohio on a state-wide level. While we can never know for sure if adding Portman to the ticket would have put Ohio in the win category for Romney, it certainly couldn't have hurt.
#8. He refused to release his taxes.
This is something that really resonated with a lot of people and created more questions than it was probably worth. We may never know why Romney refused to release his taxes, but whatever the reason was Romney has to now ask himself if it was truly worth it.
#7. Mitt Romney is a say-anything flip-flopper who has no core.
Look, let's not beat around the bush, ok? Republicans were never crazy about Romney from the jump. Why? Because everybody knew he was a flip flopper. Real talk. Nobody likes a flip flopper. Democrats found this out the hard way when their Massachusetts flip flopper John Kerry lost to George W. Bush in the 2004 election. Apparently Republicans didn't get the memo about Massachusetts flip floppers. The bottom line is this: if you're going to take out the first ever African-American President of the United States, you need to have core convictions that inspire America to follow you. At the end of the day, Mitt Romney simply did not have any core convictions other than the personal desire to do or say anything in order to become President. That's not inspirational.
#6. He dismissed the Black & Latino Vote.
All jokes aside, if there was a serious lesson for the Republican Party last night it is this: the United States of America is becoming less White. In 2008, Obama only won 43% of the White vote, yet he won 53% of the popular vote because he carried the Black vote by 95% and the Latino vote by 67% (he won 70% of the Latino vote last night). Republicans can no longer afford to cater exclusively to the White male power structure while dismissing would be minority supporters. The White vote is not what it used to be. Minorities and women now make up a voting block large enough to successfully elect the President of the United States without the blessing of the White male vote. Republicans can either get with the times here or go the way of the 8-track.
#5. He fumbled the Woman Vote.
How many times did Romney fumble the opportunity to court the female vote during the course of this election? To be clear, it was not Romney's pro-life ideology which lost him the female vote, because there are many women out there who are also pro-life. Rather, it was the totality of one mishap after another when it came to women's issues. From fumbling the equal pay issue during the second debate to the "binders full of women" remarks to jumping on the anti-Planned Parenthood bandwagon, it became painfully obvious that women's issues were a distant afterthought to a Romney-Ryan administration.
#4. The 47% Comment.
What? The 47% comment is not ranked number 1 on the list? No, it's not and here's why: although it is true that this comment nearly sunk the Romney campaign, it was effectively undone by Romney's performance during the first debate. It had the potential to end the election but Romney, being the crafty salesman that he is, was able to convince the 47% during the first debate that he actually didn't think of them as a bunch of big government loving free loaders who refuse to take responsibility for their lives. Ain't politics grand?
#3. His Auto bailout ad was debunked as a lie by the Auto Industry, but he kept running it.
As we saw on election night, it was all about Ohio Ohio Ohio. And what was one of THE biggest concerns in Ohio? The Auto Industry. Now, to be sure, Romney had already lost some cool points on the Auto bailout issue when he wrote an article in the NY Times titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." As you can imagine, this didn't play over too well with the people in Michigan and Ohio where the Auto Industry provides jobs to so many people. But where Romney really miscalculated was in running a completely false ad during the final weeks leading up to election night which basically accused Obama of trying to ship auto jobs overseas. The Auto Industry itself had to personally come out against Romney over the untruthfulness of the ad, which only served to remind everyone in Ohio just how much they could not trust Mitt Romney.
#2. He believed the Republican narrative about Obama's job performance.
It's one thing for Republicans to spin a false narrative about everything that Obama does. It's an entirely different thing, however, to build your entire campaign strategy around it. Critically, the Romney campaign allowed itself to drink in the Republican Party kool-aid regarding what Republicans think Obama has done over the past 4 years (overseas apology tours which never happened, death panels which never existed, gun restrictions which were never signed into law, a military which was never weakened, etc.) as opposed to what Obama has actually done over the past 4 years. If the Republican narrative about Obama were true, then Romney could have easily won the election by making it a referendum against Obama. Clearly, that strategy did not work.
#1. He failed to LEAD the Republican Party out of the Dark Ages.
Mitt Romney lost because the Republican Party moved entirely too far to the Right and Mitt Romney never took a stand to correct it. Consider the following (h/t to FED_UP):
In 2010 the face of the Republican Party became:
- Allen "Crazy" West
- Sarah "I can see Russia" Palin
- Michelle "Batshit Crazy" Bachmann
- Christine "Wicked Witch" O'Donnell
- Republican " F*** the Union" Governors
- Donald "I know he's a Muslim" Trump
- Rick "Oops I can't remember the 3 branches of government I would destroy on my first day" Perry
- Herman "9-9-9" Caine
- The perceived-to-be racist Tea Party holding the entire country hostage instead of finding common ground
The American People spoke out last night when they rejected all of the above as legitimate signs of leadership. Mitt Romney may not be included among the aforementioned extremists, but the nation could not bring itself to put those types of people into power as evidenced by the Democratic sweep of last night's Senatorial elections.
Mitt Romney never stood up to these extremists. He never stood up for women's issues when they came under fire at a state level. He never stood up against vaginal probes, or rape ("legitimate" or otherwise). He never stood up against Donald Trump's "birther" rhetoric. He never stood up against the crowds during the Republican Primaries who booed a gay soldier of the United States Military just because he was gay. He never stood up against the attempts to disenfranchise Blacks from the right to vote. And he never stood up against Arizona when it passed a law that, on its terms, necessarily discriminates against Latino's who "look" like they might not have been born here. In other words, the Republican Party has failed to evolve and Mitt Romney never stood up to correct it.