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Election 2012

Former Mass. Gov. Jane Swift's message to the GOP, "It’s the demographics, stupid." In this photo, Swift, left, speaks to Gov.-elect Mitt Romney in the governor's office during inaugural ceremonies at the Statehouse in Boston Thursday, Jan. 2, 2003. (Matt West/AP, pool)

It wasn’t Hurricane Sandy that propelled President Obama to victory on Tuesday, but the votes of millions of real life women from across the country who found the national GOP social agenda out of touch and offensive. They were joined by an overwhelming percentage of minority and younger voters, who find Republicans either indifferent or downright hostile to their concerns and priorities.

This new coalition, formed in 2008 and hardened during this election cycle, is bad news for the currently configured GOP nationally, but is even worse for Republicans in New England and Massachusetts. By January there will be only two Republican U.S. senators and two voter-elected statewide officials in New England. By comparison, in January 2003 we had one more than that total in New England governors alone.

Mitt Romney is the most direct victim of the current GOP national platform … though he is not an ideologue, Romney was forced to play one on TV due to the extreme views of the party base.

It’s astonishing to realize it’s been 10 years since a Republican has won a November election for a congressional or statewide seat in the commonwealth (Scott Brown’s Senate victory came in a January 2010 special election). In fact, things have gotten so dire that unless the demographic trends change, a Massachusetts Republican will never win a major seat again during a presidential election year because of the high pro-Democrat turnout.

Brown and Richard Tisei were strong, popular candidates who both have long records of governing in a bipartisan manner. They raised a lot of money and ran smart campaigns against either unproven or politically vulnerable opponents. Yet they lost, dragged down in large part by the failure of national Republican leaders to soundly dismiss the most polarizing views regarding rape and immigration from GOP primary-nominated candidates like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock.

Brown and Tisei are, in fact, the post-partisans we’ve been waiting for. Throughout his entire campaign Brown touted his independence and Democratic endorsements. He distanced himself from the national GOP agenda. While Elizabeth Warren was Bill Clinton’s warm-up act at the Democratic National Convention, Brown had a brief, low-profile visit a week earlier when the Republicans gathered in Tampa.

In fact, the die may have been cast for Brown’s loss back in mid-August when reports of Akin’s comments on “legitimate rape” started attracting national attention. On Aug. 19, the GOP had a better than 60 percent chance of retaking the Senate, according to New York Times blogger Nate Silver. Going into Election Day the odds had plunged to 4.7 percent. Akin, Mourdock and other co-conspirators gave Warren and other Democrats the opportunity to remind female voters of the extreme elements of the GOP’s social agenda.

In his humble and uplifting acceptance speech, the president pledged to work with Republicans. Unfortunately — for all of us — when President Obama extends his hand across the aisle in January, Scott Brown and Richard Tisei won’t be there to accept it.

The aging of the GOP base is another concern. Pundits have long claimed that the youth vote is unreliable, but they once again came out for Obama in droves. The GOP has essentially lost a generation of voters, even recent college graduates with few job prospects.

Unfortunately, when President Obama extends his hand across the aisle in January, Scott Brown and Richard Tisei won’t be there to accept it.

I have taught a political leadership course at Williams College for the past several years and it is apparent that college students just don’t get the big fuss over reproductive choice and gay marriage. Even my Republican students appear not only blind to color and ethnicity, but sexual orientation as well. It’s just no big deal.

In an email on the day after the election one of my recent students, who has interned for GOP candidates, wrote “the social stuff has no future as an issue. Everyone my age I know, from all regions of the country and demographics, is at most extremely apathetic towards gay marriage/abortion.” Same-sex marriage advocates had been 0-32 at the ballot box until Tuesday, when they won gay marriage ballot questions in all four contested states.

There is an old political saw that says: “If you’re Republican at 20 you have no heart. If you’re a Democrat at 40 you have no brain.” While I have never agreed with that view, any sort of a conservative evolution is by no means guaranteed for young people today and as they become a larger slice of the electorate, we can’t afford to have 60 percent of them voting reliably Democrat.

Immigration is another problem. Conservative talk radio loves the Aunt Zeituni stories, but policies like self-deportation and the Arizona law are loser issues for Republicans. The vitriol exhibited toward immigrants by the party’s base has completely wiped out the GOP’s Latino voting bloc that helped elect President George W. Bush in 2000.

If you’re keeping score at home, Obama won 55 percent of the women’s vote, 60 percent of the youth vote, 71 percent of the Latino vote, 93 percent of the black vote, 73 percent of the Asian vote, and 77 percent of the gay vote. These are big spreads that will balloon into much larger raw vote totals as our nation gets more and more diverse.

All of this brings us to Mitt Romney, the most direct victim of the current GOP national platform. As I know from personal experience, Romney is focused on winning and accomplishing a specific task by using analytics and rational thought. As governor, he was further to the right of me and my GOP predecessors, Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci, but he was by no means a fire-breathing conservative.

While Romney is not an ideologue, he was forced to play one on TV due to the extreme views of the party base. He played that role throughout the endless GOP primary process, and was required to defend his conservative bona fides standing on the debate stage with Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum.

He finally won over the base, but only after they sampled every red-meat flavor of the month. By that point, Romney had very little chance of coming back and attracting more than a sliver of the younger, non-white vote.

He almost pulled it off though, with a masterful first debate. Call it Etch-A-Sketch if you want, but it was truly one of the greatest debate performances in modern political history. While he closed on Obama in the polls, there was just enough time left on the clock for the president to recover and gain a narrow popular vote victory.

Many Republicans, me included, are disappointed by the results on Tuesday. But unless the GOP wakes up to the 21st century, there will be plenty more slumped shoulders on election night for years to come.

Related:

Tags: Barack Obama, Election 2012, Gender, Mass. Senate, Mitt Romney, Race

The views and opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the writer and do not in any way reflect the views of WBUR management or its employees.

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  • jefe68

    I could not agree more with Professor Swift. She forgot to mention former ambassador Jon Huntsman who never even had a chance with the extremist nature of the GOP base. He was in my view a much better candidate than Romney.

    • pcvirginiabeach

      If you are willing to lie to win a primary, maybe you don’t deserve to be in charge of the ability to destroy the world? Romney lost because he lied non stop and scared the hell out of everyone with his non stop lies. Gov Swift is right about the party needing a little reality check… but wrong about the reasons he lost this election. Mitt lost because he’s a liar.

      • jefe68

        The main thread in Gov Swift’ article is pointing to the extremism of the GOP and how it’s been more or less hijacked by the crazies. Newt Gingrich is a good example as is Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum. Mitt Romney aside I do think Gov Swift is correct in here critique of the GOP. I mentioned Jon Huntsman because I remember that he was the only GOP contender who seemed sane and when the GOP medicine show (the first debates) was aired he was the only candidate who believed in global warming and a woman’s right to choose. Although he too fell victim to the regressive ideology that defines the Republican party. That said, Mitt Romney was a lair of epic proportions but that’s not what caused him to lose the Latino vote. I’m sure it did not help, but it was most likely the GOP platform and vitriol against immigrants that sealed that vote for the Democrats. Even when President Obama has the highest record of deportations in of illegal immigrants of recent presidents he still was able to get 75% of the Latino vote. It is about demographics, the lies Mitt Romney told and kept on telling did him in as far as his credibility, but the GOP’s platform also played roll. People should also not forget that Mitt Romney also had 48% of the popular vote.

        • pcvirginiabeach

          How does that stack up with his argument now?… that those that put Obama back into office were looking for “gifts” when the simple fact is- that his base, elderly white people, have the biggest draw on gov money for social programs. No my friend, Mitt ran a campaign on hatred and lies… and now that the lying is done, only the disdain for the working class remains.

          • Lilly

            Both parties ran ugly hateful campaigns based on many lies…some that are and will show themselves soon. The whole Benghazi cover-up and blatant lies is of huge concern. Also, it is a lie to paint someone as a killer, as the Obama campaign painted Romney as, or when Reid stood up and suggested Romney did not pay his taxes, which was a blatant lie. That being said, Romney was not my choice, and neither was Obama. Telling the truth is the minimum expectation we should expect from our leaders, and each time we don’t, we allow them to dig a deeper hole to throw us in.

    • pcvirginiabeach

      and also because Obama ran a great campaign based on reality rather than… well… lies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9113649 Matthew Karlsson

    Someone may want to proof read this article. There are some rather jarring grammatical & spelling errors in it.

    • Shlebs

      Proofread is a single word term; if you’re going to be the Internet grammar-wonk that misunderstands new media and is hated by everyone, you better double-check your own work.

  • Mike_Card

    Was she referring to Michele Bachmann? Or is there another conservative knucklehead with a similar name?

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  • pcvirginiabeach

    Gov Swift can say what she wants, but here in MA Gov Romney was the most disliked politician I have ever seen. Not sure why she is being to kind to the man who ran an undercurrent slime campaign to run her our of office? I understand her love of party I guess…. but the bottom line is that in the end there was enough time and enough data for the people to figure out Romney was a liar before it was too late. We had to figure that out in MA after the damage was done. No accident he lost by 23 points here and killed any chance Brown had to survive the liberal law prof Warren, even with the huge populace townie vote here in MA.

    When you do what Mitt did to try to buy and lie to victory with false adds and ever shifting positions it is not called “etch a sketch” or “a masterful first debate”, it is called what it is- lying. The man lied to an entire nation for months. Lying is not “a part of politics”… it is just lying, and Mitt Romney is one liar this country rejected.

    Jane- Now ask Williams college how many veterans they have attending after a decade of global war… see any around? Ah yes, that fine line between elite and elitist. Not sure why a townie like Jane would want anything to do with the place… but what the hell, god bless the purple bubble.

  • winter

    “While Romney is not an ideologue, he was forced to play one on TV due to the extreme views of the party base.”

    You’re right about the first part — Romney is NOT an ideologue. But he was not FORCED to do anything. Romney changed positions at will, often doing 180 degree turns on very serious economic and social topics such as tax cuts, abortion, and immigration. But he did this because he CHOSE to do so. One eminently electable Republican, Jeb Bush, has been preaching exactly your message to the Republican party, for a few years now. He would not have been a weathervane, and maybe, just maybe, because he says what he believes, people of different colors and creeds would have trusted him a little more. Because they may have known what he stands for.

    • pcvirginiabeach

      That’s right… no one forced this man to lie, and lie often. He did that all on his own!

  • ebs27

    I would question the wisdom these days of asserting that if you are still a Democrat at forty you have no brain. As the Republicans try to analyze what went wrong, they should add “sciencephobia” to their list of things that define the out-of-touch nature of the current party.

    While not as large a problem here in Massachusetts, candidates such as Michele Bachman and Rick Santorum were given a national platform and were taken seriously despite denying science, from evolution to climate change (with no challenge from the “liberal media”) I believe anyone who is a Republican these days and is willing to let religion corrupt national politics to the extent that we saw this year should reexamine what defines intelligence and work to move zealots to the fringe where they belong, not onto the Science Committee in the House.

    Talk about a party that has its head buried in the sand!

    • Fed14

      The Bible is never an excuse for such ignorance. They need to change ASAP if they want to be taken seriously.

  • Mia

    Former governor Swift is completely correct in her assessment of the state of the Republican party.

    There was a time when the GOP included moderates and progressives as well as conservatives; this mix ensured that the electoral platforms reflected the realities of society and changing modern life. Every bloc got something in the platform, and no one got everything. This trained members of the party to prioritize what was important, and compromise (!) among themselves before they had to compromise with the “other side”.

    Unfortunately, moderates and progressives were hounded out of the GOP, ensuring that only one, conservative, bloc remained, unchecked and vulnerable to every increasingly fascist and paranoid demand, if it could be loosely tied in with the conservative view of the world.

    For a healthy democracy, we need a strong and relevant GOP, and perhaps a few other alternative political parties as well – and that currently seems very unlikely.

    But kudos to Ms Swift for calling out her party on its failings and proscribing a reasonable and common sense remedy.

  • Jurgen Kern

    This is a very good and reasonable article by Governor Swift. I would only add two things: first, I agree with others that Romney sabotaged himself by changing core positions like on abortion and health care reform. He threw his own signature achievement under the bus. Second, and more important, this result is the consequence of the politics of rage. Republicans haven been appealing to emotions and pushing hot rhetorical buttons for years, and certainly since 1984′s Contract with America. The Democrats have appealed much more to people’s intellect. That turns the traditional formulation about liberals aging into conservative on its head. If you believe in science, if you care about math, if you want to run the numbers, the Democrats are now the only party for you. Until Republicans recognize how right-wing talk radio and Fox News has changed political discourse from one which promotes compromise to one which promotes zealotry, the political equation isn’t likely to change.

    • jefe68

      Well said. Fox news is a huge factor on promoting stupidity. Such as people being afraid of President Obama. I’ve heard this from my girlfriends mother who openly said Obama scares her. Then there is Rush Limbaugh. Who has to be one of the worst in fostering hate in this nation. The man would be banned in most Western nations for his use of the the airwaves to promote the garbage he does. But that’s how we roll in the US, we have the First Amendment and that lets rubes like Rush say whatever they want. We take the good with the bad. That said this man’s influence is astonishing.

  • Sinclair2

    Ronald Reagan’s debate in New Hampshire when he said, “I paid for this microphone!”, far exceeds Romneys first debate performance. Romney’s first debate was beyond what most people expected; however, Obama’s lackluster performance that night made Romney look even better. I cannot agree with Jane Swift’s assesment that Romneys performance was great.

  • CircusMcGurkus

    You know, this is kind of shocking. When Jane Swift was governor, she stepped aside so Romney could run and win. Without any malice here, it is unlikely that Gov. Swift could or would have beaten Treas. Shannon O’Brien – at least victory was more assured for Romney (despite his horrific campaign against Sen. Kennedy where the first inklings of blowing in the wind showed themselves in a very bright light…he won because he got better at debating and because O’Brien was not a great candidate). Governor Swift, therefore, CONTRIBUTED to this male dominated party line.

    I 100% agree with Professor Swift about the social issues destroying the Republicans – this is not news to Democrats who realized the demographic shift years ago and returned to their populist past. Also, Democrats actually believe in science and math – Republicans used to – but now they are happy to make declarations and not surrender their campaigns to fact-checkers.

    This nonsense started with their standard bearer, Ronald Reagan. If the GOP could search deep into its roots – to Lincoln, to Teddy Roosevelt, to Eisenhower and to local great Republicans like Sen. Brooke and even Henry Cabot Lodge, it would not recognize its own reflection. Reagan ruined the economy by beginning this horrible debt cycle – remember Texas Gov. Ann Richards, talking about how it’s easy to buy whatever you want if you are putting it all on your kid’s credit card? That was 1988. After 8 years of the mythical welfare queen and the harsh, irrational “war on drugs”, and the polarization in regard to immigrants, especially if they spoke Spanish.

    The Democrats are not the tax and spend party – they resemble the old Republicans, in fact – caring, concerned, open minded and willing to support national programs where need demands it and allow for the laboratories of the states to develop better ideas on their own (reflected even in the ACA). Clinton was and Obama is a moderate. There is nothing socialistic, nothing radical about their programs. However, what both of these men did and continue to do is permit evolution and growth, respond to that and join in with the future generations, not talk about the glory days of the past.

    The Republicans made their choice years ago with Reagan and his embracing of the (then right wing and now mainstream) Moral Majority. But, Reagan was all talk – he riled up the masses to engender a whole lot of hate and division without really doing anything. It was his successors, particularly those who ran on his name in the House and Senate who have absolutely destroyed the GOP. It can revitalize – the Democrats did – but it needs to figure out who it wants to be and then be it, not just take money from the Koch Brothers and make asinine promises to Grover Norquist while seeking to disenfranchise the rest of the country.

    This article is a little disingenuous because it denies Professor Swift’s total acquiescence to the powers that be in her party. She could have stood up. She could have said, “no – I was elected with Gov. Cellucci and I have a great plan for Massachusetts.” She did not do that. And, a lot of women in her party – or women becoming involved in politics, and members of other formerly disenfranchised communities can look at that and say, “I couldn’t have stood up either – I am going to the party I know will accept me as a whole person.”

    • pcvirginiabeach

      “When Jane Swift was governor, she stepped aside so Romney could run and win”…wrong. Romney spent a lot of his own money making sure she could not run by discrediting her as a single mother. It is sweet poetic justice that Mitt lost 18 points because women would not vote for him!

      • CircusMcGurkus

        I am right up there with those opposed to Mitt Romney as all of my posts on this election reflect- but that is just ridiculous because Jane Swift was NOT a single mother. She was married (to a guy with a lot of experience at marriage which became an issue). The Republican Party used the same vetting techniques on Swift as on Palin…they would tow the line and they had ovaries. Cellucci wanted the governorship so much he high tailed to Canada within a year or two leaving Swift at the helm. Even if the populace was left in the dark, the Republican Party knew they were electing Jane Swift as governor and then got buyer’s remorse.

        The discrediting of Jane Swift had nothing to do with Romney or his money- there were concerns about her husband, her policies, her qualifications, her abuse of public office (using a helicopter to get home to W. Mass was one line item, staff babysitting for her was another) and her ability to beat O’Brien. The point is, if your party is moving in a direction and you have the opportunity to stand up but don’t, then do not cry and scream a decade after that steamroller runs you down. Even if you think Swift stepped aside due to Romney’s money (and I absolutely do not think that reflects the reality of the situation), Romney did NOT send out feelers for the job while Weld or Cellucci were in office and watch as polls reflect their diminishing numbers – he did that to Jane Swift and then rode in on his white horse (before Rafalca, I guess) to save the election for the MA Republicans.

        If Swift believed, as a woman, this was not just to secure that a Republican were elected governor but that it was aimed at her from some boys club and yet said nothing about it, but offered to step aside then she should admit her own complicity. If anyone had a reason to alert the media about Romney and the tactics of the Republican Party, Jane Swift did and chose to remain silent…until this article after a catastrophic message was sent to the national party from the nation and written only after she culled the words of Republican pundits (who were all a lot more erudite and interesting…David Brooks used “epistemic closure” to describe why the polls were so misread and Romney was a deer in the headlights of life).

        This article says, “cry, the beloved party” when in truth the women and minority members of the party bear just as much responsibility as the old boy network they are blaming for its outrageous social issue agenda (these issues are in the party platform and nobody protests) and its inability to reach out to the majority of Americans. It is disingenuous to fail to accept a role and kind of tardy – these issues have been around for a long time; it just took a while for them to be realized in true democratic form….which is the first time they seemed to enter Jane Swift’s head.

        • pcvirginiabeach

          The attacks on her for use of the helo to get to her kids came from Mitt.

          • CircusMcGurkus

            This is revisionist history. Dislike Mr. Romney as much as you like, but do not remake reality. The press reported about concerns related to Swift’s ethics and judgment. The helicopter issue was unrelated to the staff babysitting. These lapses belonged to Swift; they had nothing to do with Mitt Romney. Her approval rate was in the gutter for months and she had only been elected as a running mate, not on her own strengths originally. She became governor when Cellucci went to Canada. Mitt Romney has a laundry list of things for which he is responsible and for which it is reasonable to attack him. But, it does not help your argument when you when you make things up to satisfy your own animosity.

  • Tony
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  • gentlewomanfarmer

    Despite her educational achievements, I am disappointed with Ms. Swift’s analysis here. Alas, it is easier than I thought to confuse Scott Brown’s lack of curiosity and intellect with bipartisanship these days. And the “masterful” performance of Mr. Romney in the first debate is, regrettably, measured only against the laughably low standard that his campaign set for him and the inexplicably lackluster performance of Mr. Obama.

    The problem with the Republican Party is two-fold: the message, and the messengers. Both must evolve for this party to be viable. And this puts those of its members that do not believe in the theory of evolution in quite a bind.

    • pcvirginiabeach

      When you have to rationalize the insanity of “legitimate rape”, “act of god rape”, tax cuts during a global war and the recent Presidential loss of the opportunist who ran an undercurrent dirty campaign against you for gov… when you have to rationalize things for the current Republican party, it is impossible to give a sound analysis.

  • SueD

    Respectfully, Governor Swift makes some very good points here. (And she has certainly felt, first hand, the opportunistic side of Governor Romney). But, Elizabeth Warren “unproven” or “politically vulnerable”? Hardly! In her work on bankruptcy and the CFPB, she has proven her abilities and her commitment to middle and working class families. That ridiculous Native American and asbestos business, in the end, made Scott Brown, sadly, look desperate and petty much more than it made Warren “vulnerable”. Enthusiasm for Elizabeth Warren brought out legions of people, like me, who became more active in politics this year than ever before. (In my case, as a first time State convention delegate and GOTV organizer). In my opinion, Brown didn’t lose it nearly as much as Warren won it!

    • massappeal

      Actually, as a political candidate, Warren *was* both “unproven” (she’d never run for office, let alone been elected) and “politically vulnerable” (because of some of her strong statements in support of the Occupy movement or in opposition to Wall Street). As it turned out, she improved tremendously as a candidate throughout the campaign…to the point where Brown ducked out of the final debate.

      (By contrast, Brown had run for (and won) numerous elections over the past 20 years.)

      Where we agree is that Brown ran a bad campaign—one aimed at destroying Warren’s reputation but instead damaged his own reputation as a “nice guy”.

  • AReasonedVoice

    This was a thoughtful article and appreciated.

    As Professor Swift points out, the problem was with the extremism within the Republican party, and the extreme/intolerant language used by them.
    IMHO, it is extremism of any sort that is the problem, we shouldn’t forget that the problem isn’t uniquely Republican; extremism can come from anywhere. This is why the Libertarian party has never done well despite the fact that many moderate Republican and Democrats lean libertarian (fiscally conservative, socially liberal). But the party always seem to nominate candidates with extreme views (e.g. Ron Paul).
    Since Clinton, the Democratic party has become less ideologically extreme, more inclusive, and that is one reason it has been attracting more minorities.
    The reason I bring this up is because of the number of posters here who repeatedly call Mitt Romney a liar. That may play well with those with our political views, but looks pretty intolerant and extreme to those with different political views. (Many of the extreme Conservatives also call Obama a liar. E.g. because of unfulfilled campaign promises or the negative ads he ran).
    My point is not to debate the accuracy of such statements, but rather to point out that to maintain that edge, Democrats should also be aware that they should also learn to refrain from extreme/intolerant language and labels. We can disagree with others based on policies, we don’t need to label them as liars or stupid, etc. It just makes us look petty.
    Elie Wiesel said it best: “The ‘ism’ we have to fear most is extremism”

    • SueD

      This comment has an important message for all of us. I am as guilty as anyone of using terms like “liar”, and worse, for some of the GOP candidates in this election, at least in chats among friends. But, this is not constructive. Better to say that Romney made inaccurate, untruthful, misleading statements in the debate, not that he himself is a “liar”. Ideally, cite examples, with support that the selected statements were, indeed, untrue. Name-calling is just inflammatory and makes the discourse uglier. And, it’s unlikely to persuade those supporting other candidates to consider our views. You are a “Reasoned Voice”, thank-you.

      • Isobel Clinton

        I’m confused: why is a man who tells lies to the whole country in an attempt to become the most powerful person in it not a “liar”? Who is a liar then? I remember the days when Republican candidates for office did not lie, or let their aides lie for them. Governor Swift reminds us of those people when she points to the successful New England Republicans of the past. If I were a Republican, as many honorable and intelligent members of my family are, I would be furious about the lying–as they are.

        • SueD

          Sorry, Isobel, but I didn’t say he is not a liar. What I said is
          that calling him a liar is not constructive, as compared to concentrating on his statements and pointing out some that are untrue and why. In other words, focus on the objective evidence rather than your subjective judgment of his character. It’s a subtle point, I know, but degenerating into name-calling back and forth is not likely to achieve anything. In any case, I’m glad the election came out the way it did.

  • David Frenkel

    Romney chose to pander to the base. He was not forced. So few turnout for GOP primaries that he could have chosen to lead a move to the center and galvanize many GOP supporters who do not participate in the primaries to turnout. He may be a manager but he showed he was no leader.

  • Adam G.

    Excellent article by Governor Swift. On her behalf, I didn’t like the way Mitt Romney swooped in and hijacked the GOP gubernatorial nomination from her back in ’02. She needs a better editor, though: Scott Brown and Richard Tisei have never “governed”, they have legislated. And Richard Mourdock isn’t/wasn’t a congressman.

  • MelissaJane

    ‘BUR, I think this sentence is inaccurate and needs to be corrected: “In fact, the die may have been cast for Brown’s loss back in mid-August when reports of his comments on “legitimate rape” started attracting national attention.” It wasn’t Brown who babbled that particular idiocy; it was Todd Akin. I’m no Brown supporter, but he should not be tarred with that brush.

  • ppaddler

    The GOP should by all means hang on every word uttered by the lunatic fringe known as the Tea Party. With any luck, the Republican Party will go the way of the dinosaur as a result.

  • FerialDay

    I was a Republican once, but no more. The frustration of watching the once-great Republican Party sink to the depths it has … how to describe it. And its shameful treatment of women who presented themselves as candidates (not just Jane Swift, excoriated for being a working mother, but also Kerry Healy, who, with the exception of Elliott Richardson, was the best candidate the Republican party has run in my lifetime). Shame on you, GOP. You deserved your recent drubbing and worse.

    And while I’m at it, let me tell you how happy I am that the Republicans can no longer wave the flag of the certifiably Patriotic party. You people are no more patriotic than millions of Democrats who didn’t vote your crude and cruel line. Your BFF the NRA is no longer helping you, also.

  • weckerson

    Thanks Jane, for a rational analysis. I’d add that the Republicans assault on science, sanity, and the environment turned me off, and probably many others. And, as governor of our state, Mitt spent half of his term running for president. We were clearly a stepping stone to feed his ambitions. He also never tried to disabuse conservatives of the notion that MA is a “dirty word”. He also made a very disparaging remark about MA during one of the debates (“…as much as [Massachusetts] is governable”] but he was very quick to take credit for MA’s #1 ranking in student achievement. No wonder Mitt lost horrifically in MA.Go Ephs!

  • JoelN

    I tend to think that the modern got drunk with power and forgot what made them great. Reagan was in many ways the culmination of the Goldwater movement. During Reagan’s era, however, the GOP tilted hard right socially due to the Moral Majority, while also losing its fiscal sensibility (Cheney’s “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter”). For millennials, and generally for the country as whole it seems, this was a toxic turnabout, as we appear broadly to be a fiscally-conservative, socially-moderate nation (hence why many analysts consider the country “center-right”). Maybe the GOP could find its way again if it would nationally embrace candidates like Tisei (an openly-gay, libertarian-leaning Republican) and Brown (a pragmatic fiscal conservative with centrist social views) and give them the spotlight, as opposed to allowing the left to define the party as being a bunch of Todd Akins and Sarah Palins due to the GOP’s grotesque pandering to the most unrepresentative portion of its base (how Santorum could even be a viable candidate). Certainly would make someone like me, who voted for Barr in ’08 and Johnson this time around, more likely to consider the Republican nominee in future elections.

    • JoelN

      In first sentence, “the modern *GOP*….”

  • durango seeker

    I’m an independent voter here in MA. Ms. Swift’s excellent article makes many good points. Her opinion of Romney’s first debate performance is where I disagree. Yes, he was aggressive and dominated the debate, but he played fast and loose with the facts, and this highlights a glaring problem with his campaign: his willingness to lie. Starting with the very first ad, he flat-out lied about so many issues (I won’t bother to list them all here), and he didn’t care when called out. The campaign simply stated that they weren’t going to let fact checkers dictate to them! They got away with it for a while, until even the reporters got fed up. The final insult was the Jeep/GM/China fiasco. First he was against the auto bailout. Then he tried to take credit for it. Then he said it was a failure & the jobs were going to China. That’s at least 3 lies about this ONE issue. This whole strategy of going extreme in the primaries & then moderate in the general election is absurd – you can follow a candidate on YouTube & see what he said yesterday vs. last week vs. last year. Sure, anyone can change positions on an issue over time – but not on SO MANY issues, and not in such a short time. In the last debate, Romney was repeating Pres. Obama’s foreign policy almost word for word, as if it were his own (Jon Stewart did a very good segment on this.) Calling him the “etch-a-sketch candidate” is just another way of saying it: Mitt Romney is a liar. No amount of SuperPAC money can change that.

  • Kathy_Waugh

    It would be wonderful if the GOP took a good, hard look at itself and rejected its extremists. But I must point out this: hateful social positions were not just expressed by a few outliers, as Swift implies, they were BAKED INTO THE REPUBLICAN PLATFORM. “No abortion/no exceptions” is a position not only held by Mourdock, but by Paul Ryan, the Vice Presidential candidate. Romney issued a few vague clarifications, sure, but women did not believe he would stand up to the extremists. They saw where the GOP was headed, they saw Romney as essentially powerless on social issues, and they rightfully said “no thanks.”

  • http://everydayscholar.tumblr.com/ Adam Mandeville

    I’m sorry, but I find it confusing when Republicans complain about the state of the party and suggest that the GOP needs to adopt ideas that are held by liberals. It’s not just about having an outdated view on issues and losing elections; it’s about real people and real human rights. If you truly believe in human rights for immigrants and gay people, you should vote for the party that supports them, and it should outweigh concerns you have for your own pocketbook. Would you have been happy if Republicans won and then maintained their anti-gay, anti-immigrant views? I hope it’s a wake-up call, too, for Republicans to actually embrace human rights and not just perform a balancing act — holding on to whatever conservatives ideals they can while sacrificing others just to win the presidency.

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  • J__o__h__n

    I didn’t like the way Romney forced Swift out of the race for governor.

  • Crusader75

    With all due respect, Ms. Swift, he lost because he lied more than he told the truth. He lost because he could not even manage a national campaign as an honorable, ethical Chief Executive…and despite your condescending ‘old saw’, it was precisely the intellectual acumen of the entire populace, not just the 47% towards which he was so derisive, that defeated him. It is no coincidence that ‘old school Republican values (translated hypocrisy) are the highest in those states where the educational system is the worst. So, Ms.Swift, I can only hope that you are more honest and accurate with those poor students in your class or they should not have to pay tuition for such inaccurate, ideologically deficient pedagogy.

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  • Johannes Galt

    im an objectivist (conservative libertarian sortof) and I hope next time we get a fiscal conservative who is mostly concerned about the economy. I dont frankly care for republicans who fixate on getting rid of abortion and other social issues. Id leave that up to current laws on the books or to the states. The republicans have in essence 2-3 bases they have to cater to and Obama masterfully exploited the stances this forced romney to take. I wish we could nominate a centrist fiscal conservative one of these days (maybe rand paul?). Everytime the republicans try to campaign on social issues they tend to get hammered most of the time. I think theyd have a far greater chance of winning without the social baggage that is so divisive but it would be hard to nominate somebody like that given the power of the religious part of the base. Im mainly concerned about the insane debt the country has and the economy and dont care about too much else at the moment. I didnt care for Huntsman as he didnt strike me as conservative really given his record (and i couldnt vote for a republican who took a job under obama as ambassador). Hes a moderate moderate lol masquerading as a republican. He probably could get elected as a blue-dog democrat someplace though. I wouldnt mind that. And as for including progressives no freaking way imho any progressive can just go ahead and join the democrats. its just re-branded “new and improved” communism and socialism. Sorry I like freedom and I dont want it to continue to dissapear. A good chunk of americans like me still dont like big government and never will. That doesnt make them un-american so watch your fire there. Your communism and totalitarianism is showing, lol

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  • Lilly

    Republicans should not run away from conservative views, but rather clearly define and promote them. The Democrats have done a good job pulling the wool over peoples eyes and letting them think that the Republicans hate people, when in reality it is the democrat position that holds people back and pigeon holes people into class, race, sex and religious interests. It is the Democrats that mocked Hillary Clinton, when she was running for president, in a way that made me take a double take at the dems. It was the democrats and the liberal media that showed Sarah Palin’s legs and then mocked her and set her up to look like a “dumb broad”, when in reality, she had the courage to have a family, run for office and have principles. Just recently Obama was standing up for his UN Ambassador, Rice, by suggesting she is not smart enough to know the truth from a lie (very patronizing). Everything promised to Latinos, black who are poor and to students with loans, as well as what is in Obamacare, all have caveats that excludes more, and holds people in debt to the government…these promises were noted early on with the mortgage assistance, shovel ready jobs and using taxpayer money to invest in energy companies that took the money and ran. the current administration stand up for Muslim rights, but stand down and silent where Christians are concerned. As for gay rights, well lets just see what happens..

    My point is, if Republicans run away from the truth out of fear, and move more to the left, this country will be in trouble…we will be just like France. The democrats, who are not the democrats of the past, run on deception “read the bill to see what is in it” and are just as indebted to the Unions and celebrity elites, than republicans are to Wall Street..and democrats are also indebted to Wall Street. Democrats are also indebted to the professors, like the ex-Governor. The Republicans need to embrace conservative principles and to educate people on what those principles are…they should not allow the liberal media to define them inaccurately. The people also need to seek truth.

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