Michael Kranish has written an amazing post-election analysis of the 2012 presidential campaign, The story behind Mitt Romney’s loss in the presidential campaign to President Obama. I do not mean that in a good way. It does nothing so much as apply the Romney family narrative on top of the facts of the campaign.
Kranish clearly had a lot of access to Tagg Romney, because he is quoted throughout the article. The story he is trying to push is that Romney lost because those meanies in the campaign wouldn’t focus on Mitt’s personal story and all the great things he’s done for the little people over the years. Early on in the campaign, Tagg made a list of 12 people who Romney had helped—things no one knew about. The campaign wasn’t really interested. And it is no wonder way. One of these stories—highlighted in the article—was Mitt helping the dying 14-year-old son of a church member write his will. Not exactly helping the lepers in Calcutta, right?
In order to push this narrative, Kranish deceptively writes:
This is not true. Those who wanted a candidate who “shares my values” voted for Romney by 55-42. This is not the same as a majority of voters preferring Romney’s values. The same is true for people who wanted a candidate with a “vision of the future” (54-45). What Kranish, who I’ve always thought of as an honest reporter, is doing is nothing short of journalistic malpractice. I don’t know what he could be thinking. But given that he got the Obama statistic wrong too, it may just be that he is innumerate.
The other part of the narrative that Kranish is pushing is that the election all came down to Obama’s great ground game. There is no question that this helped matters. But Obama beat Romney by almost 6 million votes—over 3.5 percentage points. This is not due to the ground game and it is not the case because people didn’t get a chance to know that Romney helped 14-year-olds with their wills.
As Romney was very clear before he lost: the campaign was a clear choice on policy. Romney’s policies are unpopular. Romney was offering the policies of George W. Bush. And as bad as things are, as anemic as the recovery is, it a hell of a lot better than what we got from Bush. And it is getting better. That’s all you need to know about the 2012 presidential election.