On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, despite the influx of hundreds of millions of dollars spent in negative advertisements to deny President Barack Obama a second term, he won by an overwhelming majority, and Willard Mitt Romney along with other Republicans got trounced. Not only did Obama win, but he won in a landslide victory capturing over 300 electoral votes and over two million popular votes. During the election process, Dick Morris, Fox News analyst, made several bizarre predictions grossly inconsistent with national polling data and common sense. His predictions were “so far out on the limb” that Bill O’Reilly told him that if Barack Obama wins the election, Morris would be “through.” Morris predicted that: (1) Romney would defeat President Obama in “a landslide;” (2) Republicans were going to win 10 Senate seats; and (3) Obama would drop out of the presidential race, just to name a few of the Morris predictions. Morris was wrong. After recovering from “shell shock,” Mitt Romney told his supporters that he lost because “Hurricane Sandy” changed his momentum, a statement also not supported by the polls.
Many on the right were devastated at the Romney loss and the blame-game has begun. Even before President Obama’s win was secured, Romney supporters and right wing commentators were eager to identify reasons Romney lost, and for some, Chris Christie topped the list. Governor Christie’s praise for Obama’s swift Hurricane Sandy response irritated conservatives and Romney insiders who were upset at the image of Romney’s most prolific surrogate touring the Jersey coastline with Obama in Marine One. In an attempt to justify his own failed predictions, Morris said: “But the more proximate cause of my error was that I did not take full account of the impact of hurricane Sandy and of Governor Chris Christie’s bipartisan march through New Jersey arm in arm with President Obama. Not to mention Christie’s fawning promotion of Obama’s presidential leadership. It made all the difference…By working seamlessly with an acerbic Republican Governor like Christie, Obama was able to blunt Romney’s advantage in this crucial area.”
Some conservative leaders also lashed out at Romney saying his attempts to paint himself as a centrist and hide his principles cost him the presidency. They vowed to wage a war to put the Tea Party in charge of the Republican Party by the time it nominates its next presidential candidate. “The battle to take over the Republican Party begins today and the failed Republican leadership should resign,” said Richard Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com. He said the lesson on Romney’s loss to President Obama on Tuesday is that the GOP must “never again” nominate “a big government established conservative for president.” Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots said Romney failed to make the kind of strong case for conservatism that would have won the election. Of course it’s the Tea Party that probably cost the Republicans the Senate for the second election in a row.
Newt Gingrich said that party strategists were mistaken in believing the unemployment rate and struggling economy would doom Obama to a one-term presidency. “We were wrong,” he said on “CBS This Morning.” He and other Republicans, such as Karl Rove, “misunderstood what was happening in the country.” Part of the “rethinking” party leaders should do is how to appeal to Hispanics and other demographic groups who supported Obama’s re-election, Gingrich said. “Unless we do that we’re going to be a minority party,” he said.
Ron Bonjean, a former communications adviser to Republican House and Senate leaders, said the party’s wing that opposes abortion rights and same-sex marriage is poised to portray Romney’s loss as a repudiation of nominating more moderate candidates. “They will likely call him a flawed candidate,” Bonjean said. “There’s going to be an element of Republicans who don’t think they went conservative enough.”
Shortly after the television networks called the race for President Obama, Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, sent an e-mail to reporters blaming the loss on “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.”
Charles Krauthammer, a conservative political columnist, dismissed Romney as “a transitional figure,” on Fox News. “He’s a Northeastern liberal, and that’s not where we’re going,” Krauthammer said. “That’s not where the future of the Republican Party is.” Krauthammer said a new generation of Republican leaders, such as Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio, will give the party a more conservative bent. Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly said that the folks who voted for Obama wanted “free stuff” and that’s what Obama would give them. Karl Rove told his donors that Hurricane Sandy was the cause of the Romney downfall. ”The billionaire donors I hear are livid,” one Republican operative told The Huffington Post. “There is some holy hell to pay. Karl Rove has a lot of explaining to do…I don’t know how you tell your donors that we spent $390 million and got nothing.” Karl Rove also suggested that the Obama campaign had successfully “suppressed the vote” with negative advertising. Part of the Obama advertising campaign strategy was to define Romney early and to that degree, Rove does have a point.
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