, Newburyport, MA


November 8, 2012

What enthusiasm gap?


However, in Ohio, I think it was Romney’s opposition to the auto bailout that sealed his fate. No matter how much he tried to lie his way out of it, Romney, the son of the former American Motors CEO, could not escape his 2008 New York Times Op-Ed piece: “Let Detroit go bankrupt.” Even worse, Romney tried to take credit for the bailout, despite the fact that the type of bankruptcy he advocated would have liquidated Chrysler and GM because no one but the federal government was able to d provide a bridge loan until the bankruptcy was finalized.

One has to wonder if a better candidate would have defeated Barack Obama. My biggest fear was that Republicans would nominate a sensible candidate like John Huntsman. Instead, they chose a shape-shifter because they overestimated his business background.

Voters also rejected a candidate who paid a lower tax rate than even workers that don’t make enough to pay income taxes and had the audacity to demand an additional tax cut that would have reduced his overall tax rate to less than 1 percent.

My sense is that Republicans will look back and determine they lost this election because they weren’t conservative enough. If only they had a real conservative candidate, they would have won. I think not. Americans rejected the Ayn Randian-selfishness that labeled the elderly, the disabled, our troops in combat zones and the working poor “moochers.” They rejected a “you’re-on-your–own” philosophy of Republican governance exposed by Hurricane Sandy.

The question is, will the moderate wing of the Republican Party be extinguished by some kind of Tea Party purity test or will the moderates, energized by the example of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, retake their party. If they can’t, they risk turning into a modern version of the Democratic Party of the 1980s. Moreover, the electoral map has experienced a seismic shift and the future looks much worse for Republicans. The odds are the Republicans will double down and pick someone like Rick Santorum.

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