When I was on the Today show in February of 2009 to promote my documentary about the 2008 presidential election, Media Malpractice, I told Matt Lauer that President Obama was a lock to win in 2012. Before the votes are even counted, I am willing to confidently stick with that prediction (with the only caveat being that a 90 percent favorite, like Obama currently is, isn't quite a "lock"). With that said, here is the first autopsy of the Romney campaign from a hardcore conservative.
Romney got a "stand down" order before the last debate.
Mitt Romney had President Obama on the ropes going into the third debate. He could have knocked him out for good on the Benghazi fiasco but his people miscalculated and thought it wasn't worth the risk because they already had enough momentum to carry them to the finish line. They apparently thought that the election ended on October 23rd.
The media blacked out Benghazi.
In a rational world, Romney's wimp out in the third debate would have been a smart move because the news media would have done his dirty work for him on Benghazi and he could have stayed above the fray. Obviously that didn't happen. Instead there was essentially a scandalous blackout of the issue on the outlets that actually matter in a close election. Making the matter worse, in the second debate Candy Crowley made it appear as if it was Romney who was wrong on the issue, simultaneously confusing independent voters and intimidating the Romney campaign off the subject.
The Benghazi blackout was helped along by Hurricane Sandy (though it would have happened anyway) and it allowed Obama to pretend to be better than George W. Bush when it comes to handling such a crisis. Chris Christie lavishly praising Obama for simply retuning his calls certainly didn't help the Romney effort. Somehow Obama never got any of the blame for all of the things that went wrong in the aftermath of the storm.
A lack of response to attacks in Ohio.
I am baffled as to how the Romney campaign had such a lousy response to the bogus attacks on his stance on the auto industry bailout. Obama ran some incredibly scandalous commercials lying about what Romney said (even Obama booster David Letterman indicated he was disappointed) and the fight back was too little too late. I know the Romney Ohio campaign manager, Scott Jennings, and he is an extremely unimpressive person. This campaign has not changed my opinion of him. It is my belief that they realized too late that Romney was dead in the water in Ohio and that is why they made a last ditch effort in Pennsylvania where Romney had not already been attacked by millions of dollars in largely false ads.
Too much faith in a conservative wave.
Conservatives like to think that there is a "silent majority" out there that the media/pollsters will suddenly show up on Election Day. There is very little evidence that this actually exists. The 2010 election deludes conservatives because they don't seem to realize that in presidential elections the turnout is much higher, especially in the states that actually matter. Republicans only have "tides" in low turnout elections. When the "low info" voters get to the polls, Democrats simply can't be blown out in the key states. I never understood why conservative commentators couldn't understand that Obama's turnout would be just fine in the states which would actually decide the election.
Inability to reach undecideds.
Undecided voters, or "low info" voters, do not get their news from any of the traditional outlets. This is why Democrats, especially media darlings like Obama, have such a huge advantage (and why they and the media are always urging these people to vote). For example, the Mario Lopez-hosted entertainment show Extra has been a virtual half-hour Obama campaign ad for the past couple of weeks (Michelle Obama was practically a permanent co-host for the show in late October). I believe more voters are actually influenced by that type of programming than anything that MSNBC or Fox News does.
Impotence of the conservative media.
I have written extensively about how the fragmented nature of the modern media has created a situation where conservatives have lost the ability to have any real influence of the voters who decide closely contested presidential elections. The conservative media on televsion, radio and online is perfectly happy to simply feed its base of supporters exactly what it wants to hear (thus creating delusions about reality which inevitably hinder the ability to actually win). I have also been saying that the conservative media has a huge economic incentive for Obama to be reelected. While that reality has not necessarily manifested itself in the conservative media taking a dive (though if Romney was ever really going to win I have my doubts about how they would have reacted), there is no doubt that their complete inability to influence any mainstream coverage of the Benghazi proves that they have no real power to properly shape the debate on a national level.
Pennsylvania Electoral College plan got killed in wake of Sandusky scandal.
By far the most underrated reason that Romney is going to lose is what happened late last year in Pennsylvania. That was when (not coincidentally, just after the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke) Republican Governor Tom Corbett scrapped a plan which would have passed both houses of the state legislature which would have allotted the Pennsylvania's Electoral College votes by congressional district. This would have been devastating to the Obama campaign because under his best case scenario it would have cost Obama at least 20 votes in the EC and meant that the Romney camp would not have had to burn so many resources banging their head against the wall in Ohio.
The War on Women.
How this campaign (and the makeup of the U.S. Senate) got largely decided based on issues like contraception and rape is inexplicable to me and will likely be a subject of mystery for many historical researchers in the future. The topics were largely fake, but Obama and his friends in the media, knowing full well the only way he could get reelected was by maintaining a huge gender gap, did a great job of manipulating the wedge issues. How Obama managed to get reelected going in the direction of creating blatant social division when he got elected claiming to be a "uniter" is quite extraordinary.
The false caricature of Mitt Romney.
I have no problem with people disagreeing with Mitt Romney or wanting President Obama to be reelected because they align with him philosophically. However, the obscene caricature of Mitt Romney as an out of touch, over-privileged rich guy who doesn't pay taxes, can't be trusted and would do anything to become president because of personal ambition, is simply scandalously unfair. Romney is a self-made man who has undoubtedly given more of his time and money to charitable causes (and probably to the federal government as well) than any presidential candidate in the history of the country. The stories of his generosity (though mostly ignored by the media and his own campaign) are quite extraordinary. The fact that he never got credit for having two Harvard post-graduate degrees (when Obama was given so much in 2008 for just having one) was just not fair. Mitt Romney is a great man who America would have been proud to have as their president. Instead, as it turns out, perhaps we as a country didn't really deserve him
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