In a call Wednesday with top donors, Mitt Romney attempted to explain why he lost his bid for the White House. Instead of reflecting on the missteps of his campaign, the lack of specifics of his numerous “5 point plans,” and his inability to connect with voters in an authentic way, Romney pinned his loss on President Obama’s “gifts” to key constituencies, namely minorities, young voters and women.
“The Obama campaign was following the old playbook of giving a lot of stuff to groups that they hoped they would get to vote for them… specifically the African American community, the Hispanic community and young people.” He summed it up, “In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups.”
What “gifts” was Romney speaking of? He name-checked Obamacare and the President’s immigration executive order, which allowed undocumented immigrants who came here as minors to stay in the country.
“With regards to African American voters, ‘Obamacare’ was a huge plus – and was highly motivational.”
“You can imagine for somebody making 25, or 30, or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free healthcare, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free healthcare worth, what, $10,000 a family, in perpetuity, I mean this is huge,” he said.
Despite Romney’s claims, President Obama didn’t win because he gave blacks, Latinos, and young people “gifts” (the black unemployment rate bears this out). He won because Romney ran a shoddy campaign that was rife with gaffes, tone-deaf comments, and was unable to speak to people’s issues.
What Romney calls “gifts,” other politicians call policies—and people want politicians who speak to their concerns.
Although many have tried to paint Obamacare as a “handout” to minorities, every uninsured person—white, black, or otherwise—benefits. This “gift” wasn’t just to assuage black folks, it was to insure that millions of Americans will no longer have to go bankrupt due to medical bills. That’s a “gift” that works for all of us.
Romney’s assertion is extremely simplistic at best, and downright myopic at worst. It has made many take another look at his 47% “gaffe”.
“Mitt Romney was very wrong to see 2012 as a referendum on “stuff.” It was a referendum on the question, which candidate would do a better job promoting prosperity and creating jobs. That was the referendum that Romney and the Republican party lost. We lost both because voters did not believe in the job-creating magic of upper-income tax cuts – and because voters were unpersuaded that the GOP even cared that much about job creation, as opposed to wealth preservation.”
While many Republicans are looking to blame anyone but themselves for last Tuesday’s loss, Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour says they need realize why they lost.
“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.”
Unfortunately for Romney, he still seems to be in the denial stage. It remains to be seen if Republicans as a whole will reflect on the loss and chart a better course for the future.