It would be an understatement to say that I was disappointed when Mitt Romney came up short in 2012. 2012 should have been a layup, a chip shot for Mitt Romney. Barack Obama's combination of incompetence, arrogance, and intense partisanship has put him out in front of Jimmy Carter in the race for worst president in modern times. But Mitt managed to blow it.
Mr. Romney’s campaign team was notable for its mediocrities, led by a strategist whose theory of the race was that voters had already rejected Mr. Obama so the challenger merely needed to seem like a safe alternative. He thus never laid out an economic narrative to counter Mr. Obama’s claim that he had saved the country from a GOP Depression and needed more time for his solutions to work.
And don’t forget the management calamity of Mr. Romney’s voter turnout operation, code-named Orca. Mr. Romney likes to say he reveres “data,” but Mr. Obama’s campaign was years ahead of Mr. Romney’s in using Big Data and social media to boost turnout. The Romney campaign was so clueless on voter mobilization that well into Election Night the candidate still thought he would win. He lost a winnable race 51%-47%, including every closely contested state save North Carolina.
There is no question that Mitt would have been a vastly better president than Barack Obama, but that's not setting the bar very high. Obama said he intended to transform America. He wants us to be a socialist democracy, one that elects progressive leaders on the promise that they will maintain the various federal entitlements upon which we are intended to become dependent. We are well on our way if ObamaCare is allowed to stand.
But a Romney presidency starting in 2016 will move America only slightly back toward the center. Meanwhile Obama's encroachments on our freedoms, the politicization of the federal bureaucracy, including the Justice Department, the EPA, and the IRS will remain in place. Obama put them there, the tools he uses against his enemies and the American people, hoping to establish lasting progressive majorities. Should Romney run and win in 2016, there they'll stay, awaiting the next progressive "visionary" who will pick them up and use them to rebuild Obama's totalitarian apparatus when Romney's term is done.
Obama had to be stopped in 2012. Romney's first step towards halting and rolling back the Obama transformation was winning that election. He didn't do it. He couldn't stop the transformation then, and we can't expect that he'll stop it now. I wonder if he even knows that that is what needs to be done.