Friday, November 9, 2012

Why Romney shouldn't have won--politics aside

On the day of the election--and for the weeks and even months preceeding--Governor Romney knew he had the election in the bag, according to reports gleaned from his inner circle. That's why he only wrote a victory speech.

President Obama and his team were also quietly confident--confident not so much in their ad campaign or in the attendance at their rallies as in their rubber-meets-the-road ground game--all the offices they'd set up, all the retail politics they'd put in place where his campaign had the human face of a neighbor asking your for your vote for him.

Apparently Romney and his team were disdainful of this ground game, and, conversely, supremely confident in their first-hand experience of rallies and sense of momentum.

I'm reminded of the confidence of the Japanese Imperial High Command on the eve of Pearl Harbor. They were confident that their country's fighting spirit and unification under their Emperor would defeat the relatively untheological logistics of the Americans.

Whether the analogy is correct or not, Romney's misplaced confidence--midplaced because the most non-ideological pollsters weren't reading it the way he was--makes me confident the right man won.

Apart from politics, I want the President of the United States to base his efforts, his policies on cold, hard, unvarnished reality. I don't want a dreamer in the White House. I don't want someone there who believes his ideas trump facts.

I want an inductive thinker.

Obama isn't my ideal leader. I don't think he'll make his place in the rankings of American historians much above the 15th place he currently holds. But he'll do a lot better than another President who, like George Bush II, placed more value in what his gut told him than in what unemotional, hard-eyed technical people told him.

I did not think Romney was like this. He was presented to us as Mr. Fixit--as a man of facts. As the guy who'd be America's CEO. Someone tightly wedded to reality.

It's not like he's delusional. He made a much vaster fortune than 99% of Americans have made, and despite his advantages, he still earned that money very skillfully, unlike Bush, who got his money through a skeezy baseball deal. So I'm surprised that he turned out to be less realisticin the sphere of politics than he was in the sphere of business.

Perhaps because politics is more tied to moral values and beliefs for him? But he turned his back on so many values he'd once declared fundamental to his political philosophy.

So in the final analysis, perhaps he just wanted the gig too much, and let that desire swamp his common sense. He has a powerful mind. But a powerful mind can be steered into dark waters full of icebergs.

And in the last analysis, whatever a candidate's political philosophy, Mitt Romney proved in the way he lost that he shouldn't have won.

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