A Mitt Romney supporter's lament
My wife worked for George Bush in Texas and I've been involved in politics here, Britain and the US for 25 years. We supported Romney and I predicted he would win by 5-8 points.
It has been a fascinating, frustrating and absorbing watching the greatest democracy in the world elect its leader for the next four years.
Inherent to America's strength is its ability to change its leader so easily, guided by a great constitution, the courts, not so much by an objective media, and a participatory public.
Nearly $4 billion was spent and the vote came down to the wire (provisionally: 49.5 per cent to Obama, 49 per cent to Romney).
Romney was hurt by a long and bitter nomination process within the GOP (Republican party), but eventually they united behind him.
Evangelicals (some 30 million of them) were unsure about the Mormon thing (never an issue for me).
Romney's strong stand against illegal immigration during the primaries hurt is chances with Latino and immigrant voters. He also suffered a vigorous media assassination campaign that spent millions demonising him as an uncaring capitalist rich guy. He is rich, and a guy, but seems to be a genuine, caring and loving man.
Hurricane Sandy affected the race. A week earlier, and I'm sure Romney would be president today. He surged from mid-Sept and eroded Obama's 2008 lead to nothing. Obama's win is wafter thin.
Obama failed in the debates, but his ground game targeting exactly the right voters and areas to get re-elected was better than the Republican effort.
The Democrats were tactical and it got them there. I am sad that Obama's base is largely ethnic or racial rather than necessarily based on policy, more to do with image, vision and feel-good, and this will be a challenge for the returned president confronted with very real worries.
That is why I preferred Romney, who I think takes the presidency more seriously. Obama is known, even among supporters, as lazy. That seems apparent from his absence at the daily security briefings and his inability to confront the real reasons for the attack on the diplomats Benghazi.
Obama's confused approach to Islam and Christianity concerns me, as it has impacted strongly on foreign policy. I wonder how the families of the slain at Benghazi felt listening to his victory speech last night.
Obama has charisma, much more than Romney, and his rhetoric inspires and motivates. This enabled him to hold on. He also has the huge Latino and African-American demographics behind him as a matter of course.
This is a challenge the Republicans have to address. In 2016 I suspect Marco Rubio and Mia Love will be the candidates: A Latino Republican presidential candidate with a black female VP (having already selected a female VP in 2008, Gov. Palin).
I look forward to an American female president (following Britain, India and NZ with female leaders). Hillary Clinton is perhaps the most likely and I'm sure she will run in 2016 with the Clinton machine behind her and Obama's support.
The Republicans ran an incredible campaign. It was always much easer for Obama to win, as incumbent, so in that sense I feel Romney made more ground than Obama.
But politics is not always about who is the best, who worked the hardest, there are other complex factors at work.
Obama deserves his win; in one sense I hope he wins Florida so there is an unequivocal vote for him in the popular vote, rather than the tie we had on election night.
Politics is fascinating. The next four years demand a hard-working studious president who can address the very real issues confronting America. Obama has never passed a Budget; he has to.
It is interesting he reaches back to Bill Clinton's presidency to achieve this, which I think reveals the huge gap. His second call after accepting Romney's, was apparently Clinton.
Obama was very inexperienced when he arrived. Now, he has to build a legacy and pull America from the doldrums. Celebrity fun and going on The View will not achieve that.
Hard graft, bi-partisan accord, creative policy crafting... things Obama has to find within himself if he wants to be remembered as a good president having defeated the very capable Romney.
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