The chorus blaming Romney for the demise of the Republican Party this election cycle is becoming deafening. And it will only get worse after November 7th.
But I'm here to say its not his fault - at least not totally. Its true that he's run a terrible campaign. But all you have to do to recognize that there's more blame to go around is to imagine if one of their other candidates had won the primary...Gingrich? Santorum? Perry? Cain? You've got to be kidding me!
Anyone who would have been a more reasonable candidate either knew better than to get in this time around (Jeb Bush) or got creamed in the primaries (Jon Huntsman).
One key to understanding what's happening here is to remember those audience responses during the Republican primary debates...booing a gay soldier, cheering for state executions, cheering "let him die" to a question about the government's role in treating someone without health insurance.
That's the core of the Republican Party right now. And that's what Romney has been forced to deal with. Its helpful to think about the trajectory of how we got here.
As I tried to point out this morning, what Romney said in that video has really been at the heart of the conservative approach to policies for more than 30 years. Its just that up until lately, they'd put a good facade on it all and pretended like they cared - especially during elections. Regardless of how we felt about Reagan, he changed the debate and the trajectory of our political discussion. The Republicans so completely controlled the message about the role of government that even electing Clinton to two terms meant things like welfare reform and the end of Glass/Steagall.
Then along came the Bush/Cheney years and the whole thing blew up in our faces. As I've been saying for months now, Republicans had a choice...they could rethink the whole thing or double down on their failed policies. They chose the latter and gave the extreme wing of their party the megaphone. All pretenses about caring were abandoned and they went full force on their message of ending the social compact that had been in the process of development from FDR until Reagan arrived on the scene.
So now Romney is going to pay the price for aligning himself with all that. I'll not shed any tears on his behalf. But even if it takes a while yet for the rest of his party to figure all this out - at least we Democrats need to understand the big picture of what's going on here. This is not about one candidate or one campaign. Its been coming for a long time now and its probably a good thing its all coming out in the open.