I wrote this post not long after I finished recording this week’s episode of The Delivery when the election returns were pouring in like a flow from a backed-up sewer. I admit right up front it’s not carefully-edited and I didn’t plan any of it out. I simply wrote and hit the “Publish” button. That’s the way blogging goes sometimes.
Tonight was, by any measure, a disaster for the Republican Party. Not only did its hand-picked candidate, Mitt Romney, lost to arguably the weakest incumbent President in my lifetime but the party got destroyed in a number of Senate elections that should have been wins. The party is weaker now in Washington than it was after the historic Tea Party election of 2010.
I did not think it would turn out this way. I freely admit, I looked at the enthusiasm of the activists around me, saw the hard work of everyday people who have full-time jobs and families yet spent countless hours working to turn out the vote for a candidate they clearly did not want all that much and I thought…yeah. I thought this was an election the party hierarchy couldn’t louse up. I thought we could drag the dead Romney campaign horse over the finish line.
I forgot something important, though. I forgot that when you’re dragging a dead horse, you’re, well, dragging a dead horse. It’s not a bouquet of flowers or a wheelbarrow full of bacon. It’s a stinking, bloated carcass that anyone with any good sense would have left where it was. Only in politics are we expected to put our sanity aside to the point where we’ll willingly latch onto said carcass and heave it forward inch by nauseating inch while trying to convince our friends and family that it doesn’t stink quite as badly as that other fetid corpse over there.
I was wrong.
Several months ago, on The Delivery, I said there were several candidates who could beat President Obama but none of them would because none of them would put up the sort of fight winning required. Obviously, I reconsidered that opinion, but it turns out I shouldn’t have. I was wrong to go back on my first impression.
Early on, I believed that voting for someone was a far more powerful thing than voting against someone. I didn’t see where any of the candidates had made anything like a compelling case for them. Goodness knows, Mitt Romney did nothing of the sort during the election. He attacked his opponents with a fury he didn’t even unleash on President Obama. Even the candidates I liked seemed to shy away from pushing themselves over pushing against the others. I had hoped those pundits and professional Republicans who said you could win an election by not attacking the President’s weaknesses were right. After all, they’re paid the big bucks to get these things right and I am Just A Blogger.
I was wrong.
As the general campaign wore on, I figured Team Romney and the GOP knew what they were doing. Sure, they were holding back huge sums of cash instead of forcing Democrats to fight against good candidates in mostly blue states but that was only smart politics. Pragmatic politics. They didn’t build a ground game, preferring to let others do the heavy-lifting, but I was told that was smart politics, too. I believed it. And I convinced other people to believe it, too. I figured Team Romney and the GOP had a plan when they mostly stayed silent as the story of Benghazi grew so large that even the hesitant national media had to cover it in depth. I figured they had something in store as the President crushed our candidate over and over and over again on his economic plan even though he never bothered to put one out of his own. I truly believed they were worthy of trust and I put my own credibility on the table with theirs when I asked you all to help me.
I was wrong.
So now here we are, folks. Losers. In deep trouble as individuals and a country, with a broken economy, a megalomaniac for President, a foreign policy in something worse than tatters, and slim prospect for improvement for at least the next four years, if not the next decade.
I helped bring that about. I knew better. I promise you I did, but I didn’t say all the things I ought to have said, didn’t push the the things I believed were right. I got meek and I was wrong. I’m sorry.
Category: The 2012 Horse Race