One common meme on Twitter and on conservative blogs nowadays is that Mitt Romney was right about many things during the 2012 election campaign, while Obama, the Democrats, or the MSM were wrong. (The latest posting in that vein can be found here.)
Such an observation is neither enlightening nor helpful in any meaning way. Obama, the Democrats, and the MSM were (and are) wrong about just about everything, and it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist (or even a trained monkey) to figure this out. At the same time, it could be said with equal accuracy that Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, yours truly, and even (heaven forbid) Ron Paul were right about even more things than Mitt Romney was in 2012. However, all share something in common with Mitt Romney: None were elected president.
In this one respect, it is important to remember the important things that Romney got wrong in 2012. Romney was the man who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, who lost the election that no one said could be lost. He did this by focusing on the bad economy and on his own management skills, rather than on a conservative message and the need for leadership and vision. Essentially, he thought that all he had to do was dwell on Obama’s failures, and let Obama beat himself. In this important sense, Romney may have offered a positive countenance, but he did not in any way offer a positive message that would inspire people to vote for him. While Romney failed at messaging, his failures in running a ground campaign during the general election and a GOTV campaign on election day were even more spectacular, belying his reputation as a good manager.
While some people may complain that it takes different skills to run successfully for office than it does to serve successfully in office, if one cannot run a successful campaign, it makes no difference here nor there. The bottom line is that Romney has only run one successful election campaign in his entire career, against a string of rather high-profile failures. Given his manifest incompetence at running for office, it serves no purpose at all to pretend that he has any great wisdom in politics or anything to offer when it comes to current political debates. He has the ignominy of being the man who lost to one of the most incompetent presidents who has ever served in office, to a president who had less than a fifty percent approval rating on election day. When weighed in the balance, this failure counts for much more than any successes Romney might have accomplished in his political career.
Romney’s fecklessness cost America four more years of hardship and misery, so let’s stop talking about how “right” he might have been on this or that issue. It is time for us to move on.