In the wake of President Obama’s electoral college blowout over Mitt Romney, conservatives have done a lot of soul searching to figure out what went wrong. Was it the fault of conservative ideology, policies, or rhetoric? Was it their unwillingness to compromise?
Or was Mitt just an awful candidate?
It’s my opinion that conservatives aren’t the problem: Mitt Romney was. To make my case, I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 awkward moments of the 2012 campaign. As you will plainly see, Mitt and his team are behind most of them.
10. That awkward moment when Mitt Romney is explaining outsourcing versus off-shoring and it’s all just layoffs to voters.
In order to defend himself from the charge of “Outsourcer-In-Chief”, the Romney campaign defended him by saying:
“This is a fundamentally flawed story that does not differentiate between domestic outsourcing versus off-shoring nor versus work done overseas to support U.S. exports,” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul. [WaPo, 6/22]
Has he met the undecided voters?
Hell, if you went to a Tea Party rally, you couldn’t find two people who could explain this, besides of course the guys NOT RUNNING IT who were on the Heritage Foundation payroll..
Romney knew his business history, so not having a better answer is definitely:
9. That awkward moment when Mitt Romney is saying that the election is all about the economy and jobs and Todd Akin starts talking about rape.
Romney called Akin’s comments “inexcusable” in an attempt to distance himself from the latest in what Democrats called the “War On Women”.
Was that enough? Probably not. A month later he refused to condemn Richard Mourdock for the same thing, and kept running ads endorsing Mourdock.
Of course, to his credit, he did condemn Rush Limbaugh’s multi-day meltdown about Sandra Fluke being such a slut. It was a strong condemnation: he said “those aren’t the words I’d use.”
Romney can’t control what other Republicans says. He does, however, control how he responds.
So when it comes to losing with women by double digits, this situation is:
HALF ROMNEY’S FAULT.
8. That awkward moment when people notice @MittRomney has been buying followers.
In the hours following the Aurora shooting, @MittRomney started getting followers. Lots and lots and lots of them, all at once. So people asked questions. It looked bad.
As a staunch conservative, of course, I don’t really mind him buying anything, unless he gets a bad ROI. However, I was disappointed that the Romney campaign didn’t use the defense I suggested:
So just because of the bad PR it got him, unless some rogue 3rd party was buying him followers, this one is also :
7. That awkward moment when Mitt Romney cites a book or study as proof of his claims and then the author tells him “you know nothing of my work!”
Romney would later try to correct this by assembling collections of sources that did agree with him. Unfortunately, the credentials he found were a bit weak.
Let’s face it: there are plenty of conservative think-tanks ready to produce any study you want to reinforce our ideology. Reading bestsellers from liberals was always a losing strategy.
So that makes this one all:
6. That awkward moment when Mitt Romney asks GOP governors in Ohio and Florida to stop saying the economy is improving.
The economy was improving in Florida, and Governor Scott wanted to take all the credit. Of course, Governor Scott certainly deserved credit: how could jobs not be created after he started asking welfare recipients for clean pee?!
But that didn’t fit with Mitt’s message that Obama had failed, so couldn’t Scott just shut the hell up?
This is NOT ROMNEY’S FAULT.
This is on Gov. Scott: if he feels the need to brag when it contradicts the party’s candidate, then he needs to learn to do it like Rick Perry: make sure it sounds like it’s happening despite Obama.
5. That awkward moment when the Romney-Ryan campaign is asked to stop using a song at rallies by the band that recorded it.
The producers of Friday Night Lights told Mitt to stop using their slogan. And Thin Lizzy’s mom telling him to stop using “The Boys Are Back In Town”. But for pure embarrassment, nothing beat Paul Ryan saying Rage Against The Machine is his favorite band, and then the band called him “a jackass” and “stupid” and said “Paul Ryan is the embodiment of the machine our music rages against”.
This is all on Romney and Ryan. By now conservatives should know to stick to Kid Rock, Dave Mustaine, and of course the always reliable Ted Nugent.
TOTALLY ROMNEY’S FAULT.
4. That awkward moment when Mitt is campaigning on the idea that government shouldn’t do anything and a hurricane reminds people they need FEMA.
Poor Mitt! Such bad luck that America couldn’t go a whole campaign season without needing their government! First there was a hurricane during the Republican convention, and then another one a week before the election. And more than that, Gov. Christie says Obama and the government did a good job!
NOT ROMNEY’S FAULT.
Conservative ideology is right: the weather just didn’t cooperate. In the future, Republicans should push for elections to not be held during hurricane season.
3. That awkward moment when Rep. Darryl Issa holds a hearing on contraception and doesn’t invite any women.
Yes, contraception is a matter of religious freedom, protected under the First Amendment, and it makes perfect sense to only call on old male clergy to discuss it. But Rep. Issa is a committee chairman, so he should know better than to hold a hearing that won’t play well in the press, especially with voters Mitt is courting.
This is just another case where the ideology is right—clergymen should make decisions about women’s bodies—but since women get to vote, conservatives just need to remember their codewords and not do things that inflame the weaker sex.
NOT ROMNEY’S FAULT.
Not even a little. And besides, we all know Mitt is married to a nice woman, so he can’t be sexist. That’s impossible!
2. That awkward moment when Mitt Romney is fact-checked to his face by Candy Crowley.
This was so unfair—Mitt was merely repeating what Fox News told him to be true, when all of a sudden Obama please-proceed-governor-ed him, and then Crowley humiliated him.
NOT ROMNEY’S FAULT.
Jim Lehrer had led Mitt to believe he could say whatever he wanted and it would go unchallenged.
1. That awkward moment when Republicans spend a billion dollars and destroy the economy and the black guy wins anyway.
NOT ROMNEY’S FAULT.
The jury is in! Most of the problems with this campaign were clearly Mitt’s fault.
Obviously, the problem is not the conservative ideology.
So in 2016 we can continue to push the same policies in the same way and expect different results… because we’ll have a candidate who can better communicate our message. In fact we should push for more extreme policies, because America will definitely love our policies more if they are pure!