GOP elections: Best of times; worst of times

DEBARY -- This isa time of reflection for the Republican Party. A month has passed since Barack Obama wa selected to a second term in the White House, and many Republicans are still asking each other what went wrong.

Barack Obama won the 2012 election by a margin of electoral votes and the popular vote that made theis a resounding victory for a second Obama term. T

he president should get credit for achieving record-breaking turnout numbers from urban areas for the most part, and that did win the election for him. But we should also acknowledge that Mitt Romney, whoseSecret Service name was Javelin, lost the election. Why?

In the week leading up to the election, right-wing pundits like Dick Morris on Fox News were predicting not only a narrow Romney victory, but rather a landslide that would show just how much Americans truly disapproved of Barack Obama and just how much they longed for a true leader with success in the private sector to put a topsy-turvy America back to some semblance of normalcy. They got it wrong!

In the week leading up to the election, right-wing pundits like Dick Morris on Fox News were predicting not only a narrow Romney victory, but rather a landslide that would show just how much Americans truly disapproved of Barack Obama and just how much they longed for a true leader with success in the private sector to put a topsy-turvy America back to some semblance of normalcy. They got it wrong!

And when that victory failed to materialize, the Blame Game began within Republican ranks. Rather than one central reason, there was a perfect storm of various issues: GOP mistakes, outside events, the liberal media bias and Romney campaign failures that caused us Republicans to lose this election.

Despite media reports to the contrary, many people never really"warmed up" to Mitt Romney. He was simply "not Obama" and that,  in the end, didn't prove to be enough to garner him the presidency.

Had the GOP been a more united party and ha dit thrown its full support behind Mitt Romney, he could have won. However, Romney was heavily battered and bruised by his own party members in the primaries.

In a general election, when there's an incumbent no one wants to vote for, and a challenger that no one wants to vote for, people will stay with the incumbent and that isexactly what happened on Nov. 6.

The biggest mistake by far: The GOP is not, and has not even tried to be a "big tent." By that I mean that the Republicans went into their convention running as an almost completely White Anglo-American party, in an era when the country is moving away from that.

With few minorities and fewer females (even white American women, oddly) in support, they simply didn't appeal to the masses and Romney's loss was a result.

Romney lost embarrassingly among young people, African-Americans and Hispanics, all of which is a brutal reminder for Republicans that their party is ideologically out of tune with fast-growing segments of the population.

Obama beat Romney among Hispanic voters by a whopping 44 points, a  margin of victory that likely propelled the president to victories in Nevada, Colorado and possibly Florida.

The stunning defeat alarmed Republicans, who “fear extinction” unless the party can figure out how to temper the kind of hard-line immigration rhetoric that Romney delivered during his Republican primary bid.

“Latinos were disillusioned with Barack Obama, but they areabsolutely terrified by the idea of Mitt Romney," said GOP fundraiser Ana Navarro, a confidante to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio.

The GOP never managed to make the case that they would (or could) improve an economy which seems to be already, although very slowly, improving. Their best arguments concerning the economy consisted of "it should have happened faster” isn’t a winning statement.

Thus, a slowly improving economy forced their stances on social issues to the forefront and it cost them th eelection. The GOP was seen as being on the “extreme hard line" of several key social issues: Abortion, gay rights, equality in women's pay, etc.

All are important issues and the GOP seemingly decided to plant its flag on the side of “It's my way or the highway." If they had adopted even moderate stances on these issues, or at least acknowledged different viewpoints, they may have succeeded. They chose a more extreme viewpoint and failure was the end result.

There are many other issues: a VP choice from a more winnable battle-ground state might have gotten Romney the electoral votes needed. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida could have given Romney a double whammy – a clear and early victory in Florida and a big chunk of Hispanic-American voters.

The liberal media also legitimized a gutter campaign run by Obama – a mudslinging,  the likes of which no candidate could fend off. The “47 Percent” hidden recording, which was completely taken out of context, made Romney appear to be of touch with the majority of Americans.

Many campaign aides pointed the finger at Sandy, the punishing superstorm and October surprise that razed communities big and small the East Coast and consumed news coverage for what was supposed to be the final full week of campaigning. The storm, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told CNN, "broke Romney's momentum."

But the bottom line is this: In a time when millions of Americans are hurting financially and eyeing a future that does not include the concept of retirement or even a nice family vacation, the idea of voting for an ultra-wealthyson of privilege was always a hard sell for the GOP. Republican Pary leaders thought the election was “in the bag,” got over confident,and then got played by Obama.

But the bottom line is this: In a time when millions of Americans are hurting financially and eyeing a future that does not include the concep tof retirement or even a nice family vacation, the idea of voting for an ultra-wealthyson of privilege was always a hard sell for the GOP. Republican Pary leaders thought the election was “in the bag,” got over confident,and then got played by Obama.

From framing Romney as an out of touch rich guy, to making it seem that a popular president was actually an "underdog," the Democratic party simply outfoxed the GOP. While the Republicans concentrated on one area of defense, the Democrats simply switched gears and came at them from another angle.

The political skills displayed by Obama were simply too much for the Republicans. There is no doubt: The better man lost. Mitt Romney should be the next president.

However, as much as we wish, that is simply not going to happen. As conservatives, we fully understand that life is not fair. Now we must move on, and do the best we can to rebuild the GOP and our country.

God Bless America.

Dana Dougherty Picture

Short Bio

Dana's Domain by Dana Dougherty

Dana Dougherty is a political columnist for HeadlineSurfer.com. She also is a Florida Republican state committeewoman & former VP of the West Volusia Republican Club, though these activities are separate from her column. Dougherty, a Deltona resident, earned her MBA from Stetson University in DeLand. She was a delegate at the Republican National Convention in the past two elections. Dana's Domain" (and its contents), is the sole copyright-protected intellectual property of NSB NEWS LLC, and cannot be reproduced, copied or published in whole or in part without prior written permission of the publisher. HeadlineSurfer.com (and its predecessors NSBNews.net & VolusiaNews.net) are intellectual property of NSB News LLC. All three domains fall under the umbrella of Headline Surfer®, launched April 7, 2008, by multiple award-winning breaking news & investigative journalist Henry Frederick.