Editorial

Mr Romney is very wrong

Friday, November 16, 2012    

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Having run an aggressive and intense campaign for the US presidency, Mr Mitt Romney can be forgiven for feeling extremely disappointed at his loss.

He is no doubt even more aggrieved for the fact that he was beaten by such a huge margin — 332 to 206 Electoral College votes — by President Obama after almost all political polls leading up to the November 6 vote showed that the race would be tight.

As we would say in Jamaica, 'It hot, but hush'.

We are, though, concerned by Mr Romney's analysis of his loss. A report in the New York Times tells us that Mr Romney, in a conference call with fund-raisers and campaign donors on Wednesday, said that President Obama had followed the "old playbook" of using targeted initiatives to woo specific interest groups — "especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people".

Describing the Obama campaign as "very generous" in what they gave to those interest groups, Mr Romney is reported as saying: "With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift. Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents' plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008."

According to the New York Times, exit polls showed that Mr Obama won a slightly smaller share of 18- to 29-year-old voters than he did in 2008, although he increased his share in Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

Those polls also "showed little appreciable difference between Mr Obama's performance among black voters nationwide and in many swing states in this election and in 2008," the Times said, adding that among Hispanic voters nationwide, Mr Obama won a greater share in 2012 than in 2008.

Mr Romney's claims have apparently made some members of the Republican party uncomfortable, because later on Wednesday those claims were forcefully rejected by Mr Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana and incoming chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

Governor Jindal did not mince his words, stating that Mr Romney was "absolutely wrong" and that the defeated presidential candidate's views do not represent where the GOP was going as a party.

"That has got to be one of the most fundamental takeaways from this election: If we're going to continue to be a competitive party and win elections on the national stage and continue to fight for our conservative principles, we need two messages to get out loudly and clearly: One, we are fighting for 100 per cent of the votes, and secondly, our policies benefit every American who wants to pursue the American dream. Period. No exceptions," Mr Jindal said.

Offering his own analysis of the election outcome, Mr Jindal said Mr Romney failed to outline a vision for where he wanted to take America, resulting in the election becoming a campaign between personalities.

Those are harsh criticisms to swallow, and Mr Romney may very well take great offence to them. However, it is clear to us that the GOP needs to engage in serious introspection.

It is against that background that the Republican party needs to place serious weight on Mr Newt Gingrich's analysis published earlier this week on Politico.

Encouraging the GOP to be "intellectually honest and courageous", Mr Gingrich said they first need to learn why the party lost the presidential election, then implement the lessons learnt.

That, we hold, is the only way forward.

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