A great deal went wrong in the Presidential election, to the point where some of us over here were reminded of the 1993 when opposition leader John Hewson lost what was regarded as the unlosable election. Given the sluggish economy, joblessness, high energy prices, the massive wastage on green energy and stimulus, as well as a 50% increase in debt, by any objective measure the GOP should have romped home and taken the Senate as well.
While Americans are probably the best people to judge the reasons for the failure of the Republican campaign, a couple of things stood out from over here.
The first was the extraordinary negativity of the GOP primary contest. In the US politics are played rough, but with the possible exceptions of Ron Paul, Huntsman, Cain, and Johnson, who tended to present positive views and solutions, the candidates seemed to concentrate on trying to win by mortally wounding all others. By the time it was over the Democrats didn’t need to dig for dirt; it was handed to them along with a proven test bed of what was most effective.
The second was the treatment of the Ron Paul crowd. Ron has an incredible appeal to younger voters given his age and pulled some respectable tallies in the primaries. The idea of giving Romney the right to replace his delegates at the convention was totally wrong headed on every level. Had they contested the nomination on the floor of the convention they would have lost, but at least they would have been treated with respect. The GOP’s action basically told them that they were unwanted and it’s a fair bet most of them stayed home on the day.
Republicans can consider themselves lucky that Paul did not respond by endorsing Johnson.
Now Jenny Beth Martin, the National Coordinator of Tea Party Patriots has weighed in by blaming Romney and the ‘establishment’ for the loss:
“What we got was a weak moderate candidate, hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country-club establishment wing of the Republican Party. The Presidential loss is unequivocally on them. “While it might take longer to restore America’s founding principles with President Obama back in office, we are not going away.
“With the catastrophic loss of the Republican elite’s hand-picked candidate – the tea party is the last best hope America has to restore America’s founding principles. …
While Romney may have been less than perfect, he was not the entire problem. The Tea Party itself has some weight to bear in the loss, which can be summed up in two words, Akin and Mourdock. These two social conservatives were not only by their idiocy able to lose certain GOP winning positions, but in doing so managed to damage the prospects of many other candidates.
Akin was the weakest of three challengers in Missouri who led sitting unpopular Senator Claire McCaskill in polling before the primary. With Tea Party support he was able to win the primary over better and saner contestants. He immediately made his incredibly stupid statement on female bodies having a resistance to getting pregnant in cases of ‘legitimate rape’. This is not only wrong but suggests that if a woman gets pregnant it is evidence that she was not really raped.
Just to double up on total stupidity, the Tea Party decided to replace Dick Lugar with Richard Mourdock who then insisted that pregnancies resulting from rape were a ‘gift from God’ and were not grounds for abortion. Dick may have been old and not quite what the Tea partiers wanted, but at least he was not stupid enough to make a comment of that nature.
In one fell swoop, the Tea party not only caused the loss of a safe seat, but lost a certain pick-up. This though is not the worst of it. The Dems were able to use these two idiots to beat the saner GOP candidates around the heads with and no doubt caused the loss of a number of contests, which were close. While the Presidential race was not that close, there were a number of states that might have gone the other way had these fools not been given their day in the sun.
While it is reasonable to argue that it was not possible to assess that these idiots were quite that bloody stupid, it seems reasonable to think that more effort to vet these people was in order, given the critical nature of the contest. Where the Hell do they find these people?