America Voted “ABR”

Remember ABR – “Anyone but Romney?” It was the internet meme that took hold after Romney came in second or worse to the Republican savior de jour in the polls, later continuing that trend in the primaries by coming in second to Gingrich and Santorum.

Is it really a surprise to anyone that America’s voting pattern toward the Republican candidate matched Republicans’ voting pattern toward him over the past year?

Some like Jacob Weisberg at Slate make the point that Romney lost because he couldn’t separate himself from what Weisberg calls “conservative extremists.” How blind. Romney lost because he never aligned himself with those Weisberg calls “conservative extremists.”

I keep reading today that the Republican base wasn’t energized enough and missed an opportunity to defeat a weakened Barack Obama. Again – who is surprised? The Republican base made no secret for a year that Romney wasn’t their guy. Did the RNC actually expect a rally behind Mr. Second Place? Did anyone?  

The Tea Party wasn’t asleep. The Tea Party pretended to be asleep. They were never going to awaken for candidate “Etch A Sketch.” Who could trust him? That’s the opposite of the candidate the Tea Party looks for. 

More importantly, the way to deal with a mealy-mouthed candidate like Barack Obama is to be as direct and powerful in your speech as you can be. Think of New Jersey’s lessons via Chris Christie.  No, he isn’t a perfectly conservative guy. But the directness Christie uses on conservative issues like taking on unions excites the conservative base. Or think of Gingrich (without the baggage).  We needed smash mouth football and instead we got a preppy game of croquet.

Conservatives are proud to be conservative. Did Romney ever sound so? Did the man who said “I’ll keep the good parts of Obamacare” really put the base in fighting spirit for the campaign?

Conservatism and its ideas didn’t lose. The base didn’t lose. 

Romney lost, and he was neither conservative nor part of the base to begin with.

That’s two in a row, RNC. Hopefully you get the point now. Next time, rely upon Conservatism to get you to the win column.

  1. Guruforhire

    I remember remarking a long time gone that the primary difference between Romney and the other guys in the primary is that the other guys won elections……

    We nominated and ran a serial loser candidate who would tell anybody anything, and exemplified everything everybody hates about politicians.  The perfect archtype.

    We could run Mr. Rogers on prozac and he would viewed as an extremist nutjob out to rape our kittens and eat our puppies.  Running waffling moderates gets us nothing except moving the national goal posts on the left-right spectrum to the left.

  2. Man With the Axe

    The question that this post raises in my mind is whether conservatives win (next time) by getting more conservatives to vote at all, or by winning more thoughtful and persuadable people to believe in conservative values and principles.  We do the former by making it clear that we will be unbending in achieving conservative ends.  We do the former by showing that we are not as doctrinaire as the opposition portrays us to be.

  3. Chris Deleon

    From a proud ABR, spot on.

    Yes, we need a more conservative candidate.  And yes, Howellis, we need a great persuader, not just someone who is rigidly conservative.  Someone who can educate and convince people in the middle– and perhaps even on the left– to join our side of the aisle, permanently.

    Listen, our guy will ALWAYS get labeled an extremist by the media.  With a moderate like Romney, we get all of the downsides of being labeled extremist by the left, with none of the benefits of an actual conservative.

  4. Tommy De Seno
    C

    Howellis -  Conservatives must do both.  You make a very astute observation there.

    I do think persuading more people to accept conservatism is the more important part.

  5. BrentB67

    You are going to take a lot of heat for this post because of one reason – you are correct sir. Great post.

  6. mask

    I had a hard time picking a favorite candidate in the GOP primary.  I don’t think Romney was particularly conservative but I grew to like him more and more.  I wasn’t convinced that he was (or had become) a conservative like myself but that he was a guy who fixed things and would start to turn the country back in the right direction.

    I’m still not sure what to make of the claims that the conservative base didn’t turn out.  Did millions and millions of voters decide that Obama was better than Romney and so it was better to just sit this one out – that permanent ObamaCare, more liberal SCOTUS judges etc were better than getting Romney in?

    I also find it galling that liberals have painted Romney as some rock-ribbed conservative.  Like much else in their campaign it’s lies and more focused on creating a false perception of reality than running on an actual record or policy platform.

  7. Tommy De Seno
    C
    BrentB67: You are going to take a lot of heat for this post because of one reason – you are correct sir. Great post. · 1 minute ago

    Thanks.

  8. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.

    How is the RNC to blame? The Republican voters — the same voters who apparently didn’t care for Romney — chose him, in the primaries.

    I’ll never understand how our primary system keeps choosing candidates that nobody seems to be happy with.

  9. Duane Oyen

    Yeah, Santorum or Michele Bachmann would have run away with the race.

    I knew we’d see a lot of this sort of nonsense posted here today.  “Americas is a center-right country, so all we need to do is find the right silver-tongued Reagan clone to peddle the merchandise.”

    To start with, America is not, nor has it ever been, a “center-right country” in the manner defined by many here.  If it were, we would not have had 40 years of House Dem control before 1994, it would not have elected FDR 4 times, or embraced LBJ’s Great Society with its collective hand out.

    Ask someone if he is “conservative”, but get the definition locked down- don’t infer your own definition.

  10. FloppyDisk90

    Show me some proof (hard statistics) that there are masses of conservatives in states like Ohio and Florida and Colorado, etc…staying home because the Republican candidate isn’t conservative enough.

  11. Mark Stewart
    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.: How is the RNC to blame? The Republican voters — the same voters who apparently didn’t care for Romney — chose him, in the primaries.

    I’ll never understand how our primary system keeps choosing candidates that nobody seems to be happy with. · 0 minutes ago

    That’s what I don’t get – the candidates choose to run, and we vote for them.  Romney got more votes in the right places than other candidates.  I don’t understand how the RNC can affect this?

  12. Tommy De Seno
    C
    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.: How is the RNC to blame?

    They have a leadership role in developing platform and candidate message.  I’m not asserting they hold 100% of the blame, but they share in it.

    If you think they don’t have influence over candidate message at all levels, don’t forget who coordinates the fundraising.

  13. FloppyDisk90
    Duane Oyen: Yeah, Santorum or Michele Bachmann would have run away with the race.

    I knew we’d see a lot of this sort of nonsense posted here today.  “Americas is a center-right country, so all we need to do is find the right silver-tongued Reagan clone to peddle the merchandise.”

    To start with, America is not, nor has it ever been, a “center-right country” in the manner defined by many here.  If it were, we would not have had 40 years of House Dem control before 1994, it would not have elected FDR 4 times, or embraced LBJ’s Great Society with its collective hand out.

    Ask someone if he is “conservative”, but get the definition locked down- don’t infer your own definition. · 0 minutes ago

    I think this election should finally put a stake throught the heart of the center-right meme.

  14. Tommy De Seno
    C
    FloppyDisk90: Show me some proof (hard statistics) that there are masses of conservatives in states like Ohio and Florida and Colorado, etc…staying home because the Republican candidate isn’t conservative enough. · 3 minutes ago

    The result.

  15. FloppyDisk90
    Tommy De Seno

    FloppyDisk90: Show me some proof (hard statistics) that there are masses of conservatives in states like Ohio and Florida and Colorado, etc…staying home because the Republican candidate isn’t conservative enough. · 3 minutes ago

    The result. · in 0 minutes

    In other words, you have no proof.  This is what I expected.

  16. dittoheadadt
    Mark Stewart

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.: How is the RNC to blame? The Republican voters — the same voters who apparently didn’t care for Romney — chose him, in the primaries.

    I’ll never understand how our primary system keeps choosing candidates that nobody seems to be happy with. · 0 minutes ago

    That’s what I don’t get – the candidates choose to run, and we vote for them.  Romney got more votes in the right places than other candidates.  I don’t understand how the RNC can affect this? · 1 minute ago

    I ditto both of these.  How is the RNC to blame? Romney faced a tough primary season, taking on all comers, and beating them all. You can’t blame the RNC or Romney because a Reagan didn’t enter the fray. Romney prevailed, fair and square (and no, he wasn’t my first or second choice, but nothing was going to stop me from voting for him). He is undeniably a good and decent, and accomplished, man.

    Anyone who didn’t vote for him because he wasn’t conservative “enough” ought to be taken out to the woodshed with the LP voters who cast theirs for Johnson.

  17. Tommy De Seno
    C
    FloppyDisk90

    Tommy De Seno

    FloppyDisk90: Show me some proof (hard statistics) that there are masses of conservatives in states like Ohio and Florida and Colorado, etc…staying home because the Republican candidate isn’t conservative enough. · 3 minutes ago

    The result. · in 0 minutes

    In other words, you have no proof.  This is what I expected. · 2 minutes ago

    That came off as flippant; I apologize.

    Last I checked Romney is trailing John McCain by over 2 million votes.  That seems to be proof that some folks stayed home.

    Obama is off by about 9 million votes.   Energized conservatives should have taken him out.

  18. dittoheadadt

    “Is it really a surprise to anyone that America’s voting pattern toward the Republican candidate matched Republicans’ voting pattern toward him over the past year?”

    That is logic in reverse, or something. The reason for the GOP primary voting patterns was because of the perception that Romney wasn’t conservative enough, which if it were true should have endeared him MORE to the rest of America – the moderates and indies and soft Libs.

  19. The King Prawn

    Huzzah, Tommy.

  20. Tommy De Seno
    C
    dittoheadadt:”Is it really a surprise to anyone that America’s voting pattern toward the Republican candidate matched Republicans’ voting pattern toward him over the past year?”

    That is logic in reverse, or something. The reason for the GOP primary voting patterns was because of the perception that Romney wasn’t conservative enough, which if it were true should have endeared him MORE to the rest of America – the moderates and indies and soft Libs. · 0 minutes ago

    I don’t disagree.  His primary opponents fell apart (with some media help) one by one. 

    He was the last man standing, having nothing to do with his positions.  If he won the primaries on his positions, Conservatism is dead anyway.

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