Monday, November 26, 2012

This Just In: Mitt Romney Needed The 47 Percent, After All

Poetic Justice Dept.: Honestly, you couldn't make up this kind of stuff, if you that the dust has long settled on Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential defeat, we're being inundated with The Irony To End All Ironies: contrary to what he told his fundraisers earlier in the proceedings, the Mittmeister will end up with...47 percent of the popular vote.

As of last Friday, according to Yahoo News, Romney netted 60,221,746 votes, versus 64,430,488 for President Obama. Expressed in percentage terms, those totals amount to 50.8 percent for Obama, and 47.5 percent for Romney, respectively, though once the numbers from Democratic strongholds like California and New York are figured into the equation, Romney's final tally is likely to end up at...47 percent.

Presidential post-mortems are heavy on self-justification and spin; after all, that's how most of the consultants, pollsters and other characters of nebulous job descriptions make their money while a campaign is hot...and, conversely, seek to cover their rear ends when their predictions go south.

We've already covered this subject in our last post ("Why Mitt Romney Lost: Now Let The Circular Fingerpointing Begin"), so there's no need to retread that ground anew, but it's worth reflecting on these various spins can be rolled out.  On one hand, Mitt Romney fared marginally better than his last rival, John McCain, who garnered 
59,948,323 votes during his 2008 losing campaign. That's a 273,423-vote uptick -- small, but enough to say, "Well, I guess I did better than that dude, at least...whew."

On the other hand, as the old sports cliche goes, the game wasn't quite as close as the score would indicate. Obama bested his Massachusetts rival by about 4.2 million votes -- hardly the stuff of a landslide, to be sure, but in the grand scheme of things...a clear-cut enough verdict of some kind.

Romney failed to win any of the so-called "battleground" states -- including Florida, New Hampshire, Virginia and Ohio, where Obama led throughout the year...and the GOP standard-bearer singlarly failed to get off the ground. The Electoral College count fell to Obama, 332-206 -- again, not a blowout, but not exactly a cliffhanger, either, unless you're comparing the 2008 result (which swung Obama's way, 365-173).

Even as the last votes are counted, and the last chips are left to fall, it's fascinating to see how many people -- particularly those on the far-right side of the coin -- continue denying what's in front of them.  We've been hearing these voices making the political talk show rounds -- you know, those Sunday morning mausoleums where failed consultants, failed pundits and failed politicians who haven't pulled down a real job in eons can reach the opposite verdict from the one that the voters rendered.

If you haven't heard the various clarion calls for a kinder, gentler GOP, chances are that you've heard the dominant riff: "We need a better ground game, do a better job of getting our troops out, that's all."  In truth, however, the best ground game in the world couldn't have helped Mitt Romney, particularly after his infamous video dismissal of the 47 percent -- you know, the ones he heaped contempt on, saying that they'd never vote for him, anyway, because they liked being dependent on government -- became public fodder.

Perhaps the simplest takeaway from the whole business is that, if you run a toxic candidate -- or an inept candidate, or a bad candidate, of which Uncle Mitt was all of the above, and then some -- your chances of winning any office, from County Dog Catcher, to President -- are virtually nil.  That may be an inconvenient truth for proponents of voter suppression theories, and similar airy-fairy-grams, but certainly closer to reality. In our opinion, this comment from Newsweek ("From Mitt To Moot: Mitt Romney's Quick, Quiet Fade") offers the best epitaph for Romney's 2012 campaign:

"All along, with the brief exception of the first debate, the GOP candidate seemed to hesitate and waffle.  He changed his positions so often, we had trouble knowing who the man who was -- even when he was right in front of us, there was a curious emptiness to his image.  Now he's gone, leaving behind the modest totems of hair pomade and the number 47."

That's as good as an epitaph as any, we suspect. -- The Reckoner

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