Santorum Defines Why Romney Lost, And Why R’s Will Continue Losing

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According to Rick Santorum, one of the reasons Mitt Romney lost was because his campaign mishandled the “you didn’t build that” kerfuffle. 

Oddly enough, there is the barest kernel of truth to Santorum’s take on this particular issue but he fails to recognize that truth (a real problem on the right) showing why Republicans will continue to fail in nationwide campaigns. 

For Santorum the “you didn’t build that” quote from President Obama should have been the cue for the Romney campaign to feature the working people in  various companies, instead of focusing on the rich entrepreneurs that founded those businesses.   Bring the janitor and the line worker onstage with the fat cats, and say “we DID build that”… instead of focusing on the upper crust as the aggrieved parties by President Obama’s socialist rhetoric. 

Santorum’s tactic may have provided for an interesting dynamic between the two campaigns as to who really cared about the middle/lower class working man, which debate I am confident would (still) have been carried by Obama.  After all, Romney hardly failed to bring working folks front and center in his campaign appearances on a regular basis, even if those workers had to be coerced a bit to make the appearance.  

The trouble with Santorum’s take on “you didn’t build that” is that it was a wholly fabricated controversy.  Anyone who honestly looked at it immediately realized that there was no there there.  

Conservatives jumped all over “you didn’t build that” as soon as the president said it.  It was heavily featured in the Republican National Convention.  The Romney campaign focused on the quote, time and again claiming that President Obama had disrespected business owners and did not understand how the economy worked. 

All of it was a lie.  To take the President’s meaning as an attack on small business owners and entrepreneurs, one had to take the quote entirely out of context and twist his meaning beyond recognition.  Once the entire quote is heard it is immediately obvious that the president is referring to the nations infrastructure and national institutions that make small business possible.  Obama specifically mentions teachers, road and bridges, the internet, and the entire American system when “you didn’t build that” is listened to in context. 

Santorum is right.  Focusing on this particular quote was a mistake.  The part he gets wrong is acting as though pushing a different angle on the lie would have returned better results.  This is why conservatives will have a hard time in national elections, until they  make some very fundamental changes. 

Trying to sell a blatant lie as the truth, no matter what approach you take to the subject, will not get Republicans more votes.  What are the chances that anyone who believed the Republican line on “you didn’t build that” would ever vote for President Obama, even if he had never said the line.  Anyone who believed their take on the quote was going to vote against Obama anyway.  

Frankly the Romney campaign really took a beating on the issue of veracity.  Early in the campaign they announced that they would not “be dictated by fact checkers” and late in the campaign they ran a completely dishonest ad claiming that Jeep was moving jobs to China.   Those lies and all the distortions in between were, and still are, gospel truth to the righties but  in reality  Republicans did themselves no favors by being so transparently dishonest. 

With all due respect to Mr. Santorum, thinking of new ways to approach old lies is not what the GOP needs to win going forward.   I for one welcome them to continue to keep trying though.

This entry was posted in Barack Obama, Campaigns, Conservatives, Election, Mitt Romney, Republican National Committee, Republican Propaganda Machine, Rick Santorum and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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