I’ll be blunt: I do not think Mitt Romney ran a good campaign. Don’t get me wrong, I think he worked his heart out as did many who worked for him. I think he made himself into the best candidate he could (which is different from saying he was a great candidate). But I also think that Romney’s theory of the contest was wrong. As I wrote at the time, the Republican convention was a mess. I think Romney strategist Stu Stevens’s contempt for ideas — never mind conservative ideas — was absurd. I think the failure of the Romney campaign to offer a compelling explanation of any kind (at least until the second debate) for how it wasn’t a third Bush term was fatal (as I discussed here and elsewhere). Politics is about persuasion. And persuasion requires making serious arguments. Stevens, by all accounts, has contempt for serious arguments.I like that part about Mitt's seriously flawed campaign.
None of this means that all of the talk about changing demographics and long-term structural challenges for the GOP is without merit. I have strong views about all of that as well.
In fact, I have a different view from some about the coming wave of recriminations: I welcome it. I don’t know that things need to be vicious or personal, but they do need to be honest. And honesty requires we say things that may feel personal to our friends. This is one of the great and abiding strengths of the conservative movement and the thing I love about it most. Contrary to the conventional wisdom among liberals, conservatives are actually far more willing to examine their dogma and their first principles than liberals or “centrists” are. This has been the source of conservatism’s lasting strength.
It’s going to take a while to sort through this mess...
I said so much in September, although Mitt's debate performances were excellent (even the third debate, which Bill O'Reilly pegged as weak and costing Romney the election, which is absurd).
But read Goldberg's piece in full, at the link.