Any business that criticized its customers for not liking its products by implying that the customers were too dumb to recognize quality when they saw it, would soon be out of business – and rightly so.
A good number of establishment Republicans, and even some conservatives who should know better, are beginning to sound like they blame the American voters for Tuesday’s epic GOP defeat at the polls.
This is not only bad strategy for the future, it is just plain wrong.
Those inclined to subscribe to this foolish “blame the voter” analysis look at Obama’s liberal agenda and abysmal record and conclude that by re-electing Obama voters must be suckers, or that a majority of Americans want something for nothing.
The problem with this analysis is that those weren’t the choices the Obama and Romney campaigns presented to the voters.
Obama ran as a liberal with a liberal agenda based on an overarching national theme, “fairness.”
The Obama campaign had a coherent vision of the future and made everything about fairness: fairness demands we raise taxes on the wealthy; fairness demands the Obamacare mandate; fairness demands we allow same-sex marriage; elect me and your government will impose “fairness” on American society.
What was Governor Romney’s vision of the future? That was never very clear.
It wasn’t freedom as opposed to government imposed “fairness.”
It wasn’t constitutional government or traditional values, those themes never appeared in a Romney or national Republican ad or debate.
During the campaign we criticized Governor Romney for playing “small ball” and not nationalizing the election by presenting a clear conservative alternative to President Obama’s liberal agenda.
Unfortunately, that advice fell on deaf ears and you couldn’t find conservative ideology anywhere in the Romney campaign, the establishment GOP’s national advertising or even from Karl Rove’s much vaunted Super PACs.
No matter where you turned, the overarching theme of Republicans and Mitt Romney was “elect me and I’ll make things run better.”
Making the welfare state more efficient is not exactly a compelling conservative vision of the future, or even a credible one given the recent Washington Republican record on spending, earmarks and pork.
In 1988 Republicans vaporized another Massachusetts technocrat – Democratic Governor Michael Dukakis – when he ran on competence and the “Massachusetts Miracle” against then-Vice President George H. W. Bush.
Dukakis came out of the Democratic national convention well ahead of Bush in the polls, however, Bush and the Republicans focused on Dukakis’ somewhat cold personality and his snooty liberal dismissal of the rituals of patriotism to the point that even conservative icon Barry Goldwater said, “Tell George Bush to stop wrapping himself in the flag,” and start talking about the issues.
Bush ignored that advice and by the time the GOP was done, everyone knew Dukakis was a card carrying member of the ACLU, who thought burning the flag was OK, was weak on crime, and against the death penalty even if his wife was raped and murdered.
Voters got the message; Bush stood for their values and believed in Reagan’s vision of American exceptionalism and Dukakis did not.
Obama took that lesson and ran with it – hammering Romney as a mean-spirited elitist plutocrat who would toss Grandma out of her wheelchair and workers out of their jobs.
Romney’s answer, “President Obama is a well intentioned man whose policies haven’t worked.”
In 2010, the Tea Party wave election brought Republicans back to power in the House, and elected hundreds of constitutional conservatives down ballot, by offering voters a clear choice between leftist Democrats and Republicans who stood for smaller, limited constitutional government.
When Tea Party candidates stood for a constitutionally limited government in opposition to liberal candidates whose policies led to economic stagnation and suffocating government regulation being imposed upon this country by President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress – overwhelmingly the voters chose the Tea Party candidates.
The Romney campaign and their allies in the establishment Republican Party rejected that proven model for political success, and instead ran a content-free campaign selling Mitt Romney the technocrat.
American voters think technocrats make good Governors and cabinet secretaries, but they want a President with vision. As long as Republicans blame the voters for Romney’s defeat, instead of articulating a clear conservative alternative to the Democrats’ radical leftist vision of America’s future, they are going to have a hard time recapturing the White House.