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Handelsblatt, Germany

And the Loser Is…

Republicans already have a scapegoat for their electoral loss — their erstwhile best hope, Mitt Romney. And not only because the loser is unrepentant.

Translated By Ron Argentati

17 November 2012

Edited by Lau­rence Bouvard

Germany - Handelsblatt - Original Article (German)

Not so long ago, Mitt Romney was the last best hope for the Republicans. Hardly any of his colleagues doubted for an instant that he would beat Obama in the presidential election. Many of them painted colorful pictures of the conservative changes that would soon be taking place in the White House. A scant two weeks later, Romney seems to be the greatest Republican scapegoat since ex-President George W. Bush. One-time supporters morphed overnight into massive critics. Many want to see this election loser disappear as quickly as possible from the political stage.

The reason for their discomfort: Within just a few days of losing, his first public words concerning the loss on November 6 had not a hint of possible mistakes he might have made himself. In a teleconference with campaign donors, he blamed Obama's “gifts” to voters for his loss — above all, gifts to African-Americans, Latinos, young voters and women — and it was both his choice of words as well as his singling out of minorities that angered his backers the most.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal commented in a television appearance, "We don't need to demonize, and we also don't need to be saying stupid things." Jindal realizes his party will have no chance of winning the next presidential election, four years from now, if it doesn't have the support of those minorities. That was the main lesson taught in this election, where millions of dollars were spent: The current Republican base is shrinking as the minority groups grow. Romney and his party missed that trend entirely this time around.

Right in the middle of the election campaign, multimillionaire Romney was caught on video telling a group of supporters that the 47 percent of Americans supporting Obama were those dependent on government handouts who had no desire to take responsibility for their own lives. He later had to backtrack in panic to ensure damage control while promising the public he wanted to be president of all Americans.

Now that Romney is claiming that Obama only won the election because of his targeted gifts, he confirms the opinion of many commentators that his 47 percent video indeed showed Romney's true character: a rich and privileged manager with no concern for everyday people. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie agreed with Jindal's assessment, characterizing Romney's words as “a terrible thing to say.” Christie was the man who gave the keynote speech for Romney's nomination at the Republican convention.

The heavy anti-Romney criticism is caused not so much by what he said. Prior to election day, Obama used the power of his position on issues such as granting the children of illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship; he was the first president to publicly support same- sex partnerships, women's rights and government aid for ailing and poor citizens. But what had always been the norm in Democratic Party platforms, Romney condemned as gifts to minorities.

The bottom line was that Obama got over 3.5 million more popular votes than Romney. These numbers opened some Republican eyes to the fact that unseemly behavior doesn't help win voters and resulted in more criticism of Romney's unsportsmanlike conduct. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad made it clear: “I guess my feeling is that we need to turn the page, and we need to focus on the future and not make excuses for the past.” The Washington Post translated that and similar announcements as a message to Romney reading, "Thanks for playing. Now go away."



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