Top Republicans say Romney didn't offer specifics

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2002
Top Republicans say Romney didn't offer specifics
7
Thu, 11-15-2012 - 11:53am

Top Republicans say Romney didn't offer specifics

Top Republicans meeting for the first time since Election Day say the party lost its bid to unseat President Barack Obama because nominee Mitt Romney did not respond to criticism strongly enough or outline a specific agenda with a broad appeal.

http://seattletimes.com/html/politics/2019685016_apusrepublicansromneyslessons.html

By PHILIP ELLIOTT

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS —

Top Republicans meeting for the first time since Election Day say the party lost its bid to unseat President Barack Obama because nominee Mitt Romney did not respond to criticism strongly enough or outline a specific agenda with a broad appeal.

In conversations at the Republican Governors Association confab in Las Vegas, a half dozen party leaders predicted the GOP will lose again if it keeps running the same playbook based on platitudes in place of detailed policies. Instead, they asserted, the party needs to learn the lessons from its loss, respect voters' savvy and put forward an agenda that appeals beyond the while, male voters who are its base.

"We need to acknowledge the fact that we got beat," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said in an interview. "We clearly got beat and we need to recognize that."

Little more than a week after Romney came up short in his presidential bid, the party elders were looking at his errors and peering ahead to 2016's race. Some of the contenders eying a White House run of their own were on hand and quietly considering their chances. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie scheduled a private meeting on the sidelines with Haley Barbour, the former Mississippi governor who is widely seen as one of the GOP's sharpest political operatives.

"We need to have a brutal, brutally honest assessment of everything we did," Barbour said. "We need to take everything apart ... and determine what we did that worked and what we did that didn't work."

Other potential White House contenders such as Jindal, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker were outlining a vision for the party in coming elections.

"We need to figure out what we did right and what we did wrong, how we can improve our tone, our message, our technology, our turnout - all the things that are required to win elections," McDonnell said. "We are disappointed, but we are not discouraged."

With polls in hand and shifting demographic trends in mind, these Republicans are looking at how best to position the party to make inroads with growing numbers of Hispanic, black and young voters who overwhelmingly voted Democratic last week. The Republicans were still smarting over constant criticism of Romney from Obama and Vice President Joe Biden - and what they saw as Romney's often ineffective response.

"They spent all their time making Mitt Romney unacceptable and making him out to be someone who was untrustworthy and unacceptable to enough of the American people - and it worked," Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said in an interview.

In the hallways at the conference, the governors and their top advisers uniformly blamed Romney's loss on an uneven communications strategy. They said Romney allowed himself to be branded a corporate raider who put the interests of the wealthy above those of middle-income voters.

"We didn't have effective means by which to counter the attacks the Obama-Biden campaign took against Mitt Romney and his team," Walker said. "I just don't think you can let that go unanswered."

Time and again, the governors pointed to Obama attacks that settled into voters' minds.

"His whole campaign was a fear-and-smear attack to make Romney unacceptable and to blame George Bush for anything that happened while Obama was president," Barbour said. "This was all personal: that Romney is a vulture capitalist who doesn't care about people like you, ships jobs overseas, is a quintessential plutocrat and is married to a known equestrian."

Barbour added, "An attack unanswered is an attack admitted to."

Had the criticism been shown to be false or unfair, the results might have been better, said Bill Bennett, an education secretary in the Reagan administration and an informal adviser to governors.

"We were in a big fight. We came with a knife; they came with a gun," Bennett said. "If Mitt Romney had responded and had we responded on his behalf - and had his campaign pushed back more forcefully - I think it would have been a different result."

Jindal, however, attributed Romney's loss to a lack of "a specific vision that connected with the American people."

"His campaign was largely about his biography and his experience," Jindal said. "But time and time again, biography and experience is not enough to win an election. You have to have a vision, you have to connect your policies to the aspirations of the American people. I don't think the campaign did that and as a result, this became a contest between personalities and - you know what? - Chicago won that."

Romney cast his loss in a different light, at least in a phone call with top donors Wednesday. He asserted that Obama won re-election because of the "gifts" the president had already provided to blacks, Hispanics and young voters and because of the president's effort to paint Romney as anti-immigrant.

"The president's campaign, if you will, focused on giving targeted groups a big gift," Romney said, citing immigration proposals aimed at Hispanics and free contraception coverage that appealed to young women. "He made a big effort on small things."

Romney said his campaign, in contrast, had been about "big issues for the whole country." He said he faced problems as a candidate because he was "getting beat up" by the Obama campaign and said the debates allowed him to come back.

The Republican nominee didn't acknowledge any major missteps and said his team had run a superb campaign.

 nwtreehugger  

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012

Tax and spend...amnesty...class warfare...more social handouts...attack business...nope, apparentlly you can make a sale selling old goods...as long as the people you're selling to are pretty ignorant and dependent.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009
Thank you for making my point. Marketing old goods is no way to make a sale.

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012

The problem was not with conservative policies and values, but in Romney's failure to run an aggressive campaign that clearly articulated those aforementioned values and policies against the barrage of lies...many of which you've mentioned above...deceitful soundbites and pandering put out by Obama and his gang of Chicago thugs...and all propped up by a corrupt liberal media.

The GOP doesn't need to learn a lesson in demographics, but in effective marketing.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009

To Chestnuthooligan,

There seems to be a certain amount of "civil war" within the Republican party.  Lindsey Graham agreed with you in August:  “The demographics race we’re losing badly. We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."  The Republican message was unfriendly to women (reproductive/contraceptive choices are under assault), Latinos (refusal to consider a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens and comments about "self deporting" did nothing to help); and gays (evangelicals tend to think that they have the inside track with God and are still carrying an inordinate amount of influence with conservatives).  Add to that the fact the "grand old party" doesn't much appeal to younger voters and you have a recipe for diminishing returns. 

They're going to have to change their message, not just alter its articulation. Used to be that they could get people to vote against their own interests.  Now, not so much. The makeup is wearing off and the ugliness underneath is offputting for those who they would woo.  They'll have to metamorphose and it will likely be painful, because there are a fair number of entrenched ideologues who simply cannot accept that the voting populace has evolved; while they have not. 

From my POV, it's high damn time.  If we cannot have a third party, then at least the two parties going mano a mano should be more representative of the nation's majority instead of serving a very small and exclusive sector. 

Romney is a prototypical case in point.  He never seemed to understand how to relate to any demographic other than the upper one percent of the one percent.  Poor, poor, poor baby.......  Now he's "explaining" his failure by trying to make his opponent look small; and comes across as a thwarted, petulant brat. 

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012

There's no need for the GOP to change any of it's policies, they just need to find a better way to articulate their message, find a way to deal with the liberal press and stop being wimps when they campaign.  You can't be "nice" when Democrat campaigns have to look up to see the gutter.

The task should be easier in 4 years after Obama has completely trashed the country, raised everyone's taxes and Obama supporters find themselves on the sorry end of a two-class health care system.

And yes, the EC did go to Obama...*sob*...sad for the country, he gets to keep his job...but the reality is that Obama has no mandate and his policies...even his entire presidency...are opposed by half the country.  It should also be remembered that the Republicans retain a majority in the House.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-2009
Romney was very specific about tax cuts, 20% across the board. He was less specific about how replace that revenue and balance the budget because all the choices would alienate key constituencies needed to win an election. BTW - Obama won by EC 332 - 206 in the only way it mattered in electing a President. Devastating loss to the GOP who will continue to be demographically challenged unless they change their policies.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012

A lot of nonsense and hand-wringing if you ask me.  Romney specifically said he couldn't be specific about the tax cuts because they would have amounted to dictating to the Democrats instead of working with them to close the loopholes.  Other than that, Romney was pretty specific.  Obama, on the other hand, never put forth a plan and still got re-elected...mostly based on lies about Romney and lies about his record.

The real reason Romney lost is because 1) his campaign strategy was too "safe"  2) Obama was able to use Presidential authority to buy votes with different demographic groups  3) because the press sided with Obama, never calling out Obama and constantly attacking Romney.  It made it very difficult to get the truth to the people.  But even after all that, Obama was only able to win by a slim 2% margin.