The Right Opinion

GOP Turns Sure Victory into Defeat

By Michael Reagan · Nov. 8, 2012

Wait until next year – 2016, that is.

That's what disappointed Republican spinners kept saying Tuesday night as they watched Mitt Romney's hopes crash and burn in swing state after swing state.

How many times did I hear a Republican talk about how their party's deep bench of future all-stars will return it to power in Washington in four years?

But all the Ryans, Rubios, Bushes, Haleys and Christies in America can't put the GOP – or the country – back together again.

The GOP is a wreck – and not just in California, where the party's registration is now below 30 percent.

Look how easily the Republican Party managed to turn what should have been a sure victory over an incompetent and dangerous incumbent into an embarrassing defeat.

First they tore each other to shreds in a bitter primary, smearing their eventual nominee in debates as a rich, uncaring profiteer who put working people out on the street and shipped their jobs overseas.

Then, while Obama's ads in the battleground states reinforced the Republican-made caricature of Mitt, the Romney campaign did just about everything wrong.

It squandered the GOP convention and tried to make their candidate into “Mitt the Moderate.” Team Romney also shunned their natural allies in talk radio and didn't reach out for help from conservatives like me.

I would have been glad to help the Romney campaign in Ohio or Pennsylvania, where I worked for my father in 1980. I offered, but the phone never rang. It didn't ring for Bill O'Reilly or for the other major radio and TV talk shows, either.

But Team Romney's biggest mistake was playing prevent defense after his big victory in the first debate. It was a terrible, fatal blunder.

Instead of hammering away at the horror of Obamacare, the cover-up in Benghazi and President Eye-Candy's four years of failure, Romney ran the last five weeks hoping the clock would run out before Obama could recover.

But you don't play prevent defense when you are running in second place in Ohio, Virginia, Florida – and Tuesday's results proved it.

Hurricane Sandy struck Mitt a final blow, giving Obama the chance to look presidential and making Mitt disappear from the media for four days.

But give credit to Obama's Chicago Gang. They ran a much better campaign – on the ground and in the air. They got out the vote and Obama got out his message of class envy and federal entitlements for all, without any trouble from his toadies in the media.

Now bigger deficits, higher taxes and a stagnant economy lie ahead for as far as the eye can see. And socialized medicine – which my father warned was coming to America 50 years ago – is going to soon become a reality via Obamacare.

Team Romney blew an easy win because it had a poor game plan. But it also lost because the Republican Party is all talk and no guts when it comes to fighting for real conservatism – Ronald Reagan conservatism.

GOP bigwigs constantly praise my father. For years they've used him to suck true conservatives into the party, but they've never really embraced Reaganism or its ideals.

They didn't in the 1980s and they still don't today. They only talk about him. The party bosses don't really think like him.

Most of those Republican candidates who lost Tuesday played the same game of pretend. “I'm like Ronald Reagan!” “No, I'm like Ronald Reagan!”

But most of them aren't like my father. They weren't waving the “bold colors” of real conservatism he talked about in 1975. The banners of the losers – like Mitt's – were colored in “pale pastels.”

The GOP needs a new playbook. Unless it starts embracing my father's conservative ideals instead of just paying lip service to them, the so-called “Party of Ronald Reagan” may never win another national election.

Copyright ©2012 Michael Reagan


JC in Illinois said:

Mike, your father was the greatest president I'll ever see in my lifetime. But even he couldn't win now with the fractured interest groups, ever-expanding welfare rolls, and horribly biased media. Somebody to the RIGHT of him could not win. Somebody as far left as Mitt could not win.

God bless you for keeping the faith, but we're done. Minorities, unions, and folks on the dole will never vote for a conservative. It's over.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 8:42 AM

Jim in Alabama replied:

How quick we forget. Just two years ago a ton of serious Conservatives swept into office. There was a fight for real conservative values and it worked all over the country. Politics is no place for nice guys. It's a cage fight or you'd better go home. What we need is a Gingrich without the baggage.
Which reminds me...look at how Romney whipped Gingrich and look how his handlers chose to fight Obama. THIS IS WHAT RINOS DO! They get down and dirty when putting their genuinely conservative opponents away and then make nice with the Communists so as not to offend anyone. And they lose every time.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 9:16 AM

Joe in Texas replied:

With respect to your comment, freeloaders don't vote in mid-term elections. Most if not all the die hard conservatives that voted in 2010 also voted on Nov. 6th, but it wasn't enough. McCain still outshined Romney.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 1:18 PM

anamandy in glens falls, ny replied:

JC, I agree with you but I also hold out hope by simply remembering another conservative who faced a situation more dire than Reagan did after Carter. That woman was Margaret Thatcher. GB was in the toilet and she managed to resurrect it after radical leftists, like Obama, had brought the country and her people to her knees. That gives me hope. Hopefully, within the next 2 years the people will start crying out for a leader like that.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 1:54 PM


Michael, I was thinking the same thing. The GOP needs to find a way to grab those indecisives around the collar, make them see, without turning them off. I thought Romney did a great job, but could have done more - ie: targeting women and young people. He needed people to WANT to vote for him. I know quite a few people who didn't want Obama, nor did they want Romney, so they didn't vote. In that case, Obama really won.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 8:50 AM

d.w.hudson in Michigan said:

Michael, the Bush legacy of RINO Republican compromise, economic idiocy, and unconstitutional entitlements continued its legacy with totally predictable results. They endorsed another RINO milque-toast compromiser and are shocked, shocked I say, that he lost. Pathetic.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Orf in Pennsylvania said:

If you want to be really sick, you should see "Obama's National Anthem" at

This is a very skillfully done video showing the future of the Divided Socialist States of America under their new leader, Imam Obama.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Orf in Pennsylvania said:

Michael, the problem wasn't Romney's campaign so much as it was the Fourth Estate. The mainslime media boosted Obozo and slammed Romney. They covered up all of Obama's failures and crimes. They are traitors to America. The best thing the Republicans could have done was to get the FCC to retract the licenses of all the biased media, who deliberately prevented many people from knowing the truth about the poseur in the White House.

Goodbye America! It is too late now to do the things that should have been done decades ago.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 10:28 AM

demsarerats in Oregon replied:

Orf in Pennsylvania, re “Michael, the problem wasn't Romney's campaign so much as it was the Fourth Estate,” no, the problem was the Romney campaign, we now have Fox and talk radio which RR never had and still won landslides in a hostile media environment. The demographic landscape is worse but a better candidate could have won with a stronger negative campaign against Obonga.

Romney unsurprisingly lacked the guts to beat Obonga. For what it is worth, Newt or Rick would have been much stronger candidates; they were both men with street-fighting instincts, Romney has none.

“The best thing the Republicans could have done was to get the FCC to retract the licenses of all the biased media” is silly dreaming.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Rod in USA said:

The 47% (which will become the 54% by 2016) will never approve of a message of independence. We've passed the tipping point.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 11:00 AM

J.P. in Ohio said:

The major problem for the Republican Party is integrity. They talk a good talk, but don't follow through in office. We didn't get to $16 trillion by just the Democrats holding the checkbook. I was going to mail a pen to President Bush (GW), but I kept hoping he would find his veto pen. Took way too long for that.

The other difficulty is their message of limited government and spending doesn't sell. But that is politics. You don't get elected threatening to take away all of the goodies that were given out to get elected.

Republicans don't need a new message; they need to follow through on the one they've touted for years.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 11:26 AM


I felt a little bile rise in my throat when I thought of this, but maybe we need to play the liberal game, get elected, then start making the necessary changes to get us back on track!

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Jeremy in CA said:

Michael has it exactly right (pun intended).

The party of Reagan has done nothing but nominate squishy moderates for president ever since Reagan. True conservatives could not possibly have done worse than the actual nominees.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Tad Petrie in Westerville, Ohio said:

Mr. Reagan, it is LONG past time for a change in the GOP! In the 2014 midterm elections, conservatives MUST gain control of both the House and Senate or we will most likely be where Greece is now! In order to do that, the establishment Republicans in leadership positions MUST be voted out of office! If those establishment types are not removed from Congress, NOTHING will get accomplished. The Tea Party needs to focus on those people and work to have real conservatives elected in their place! Specifically, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Jeb Hensarling, Tom Price, Mitch McConnell, John Barrasso, John Thune, Roy Blunt, and Jon Kyl! If there is any hope at all to get something accomplished from this mess we have gotten ourselves into, These INCOMPETENT establishment Republicans MUST be voted out of office!

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Ed Watts in Near Palm Springs said:

The last conservative to run for the presidency was none other than Ronald Reagan, and he was not a bit shy about being a "right-wing" conservative. Oh, yeah...He won by huge landslides, too -- two times. Every time the GOP puts up a centrist, "moderate" candidate, he either loses or, despite every possible attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, he wins by the tiniest of margins. This has been true for many decades, and I am astonished that the "leadership" of the Republican Party can't/won't connect those dots.

As it is said in the mixed metaphor: "This ain't rocket surgery!"

God bless your father and his memory, Mr. Reagan. He was a great American.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Ernest Wilson in Maryland said:

I think this view is correct. Governor Romney did not try to defend the conservative view, he reacted to the bogus charges of his opponent but failed to make the case for his party. His mantra of " I know how to fix it" came across as more hollow words not real change that made sense to people. Left unchallenged was the Obama charge that "we cannot return to the Bush policies that caused it all". As always the anemic Republican organization made little or no attempt to get out their voters. Now I hear that 3 million fewer Republican,s voted than in the McCain attempt.

The airwaves are full of those wanting to blame Governor Christie for stating a simple and perfectly obvious civility as he thanked the President for helping with Sandy. Would Ronald Regan have critizied this statement? I think not.

We failed to make our case to the American people, let's man Up" and as Mark Alexander suggests, move on and prepare for the next battle. This war is too important to our countries future to waste time in meaningless blame games. Perhaps Christie will carry the banner next time and articulate the case better than Romney. If so we will win. Our case is strong even if we have permited the schools to fail to teach it to many of our children

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 4:19 PM

d.w.hudson in Michigan said:

Ernest, Christie is just another RINO. The fact that he calls idiots "idiots" doesn't change the facts. He's a loud-mouthed McCain. Nothing more.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Howard Last in Wyoming replied:

Like many since Tuesday evening I am physically ill. The God Owful Party never learns, when they run a liberal they lose. When they run a Conservative they win. Need proof. Reagan ran twice as a Conservative and won overwhelmingly. Bush the Elder ran as a Conservative and won. He then showed his true colors (Broke his No New Taxes pledge and the New World Order speech) and lost. Dole and Ford running as moderates lost big time. Bush the younger ran as a Conservative and won. But like his father his true liberal colors came out and the Republicans lost the House and Senate and we got Barry. So what do the Republican Leaders (still an oxymoron do), the House passes a continuing budget resolution instead of shutting the government down. We can't do that we will lose, you lost anyway. Refuse to press for the real birth certificate. We can't do that we will lose, you lost anyway. Refuse to introduce Articles of Impeachment. We can't do that we will lose, you lost anyway. Don't call Barry what he is, "a communist". We can't do that we will lose, you lost anyway. What the Republicans have to do is replace the current leadership of Boehner and McConnell and company and replace it with actual Conservatives with steel backbones. They will then have to refuse to fund the alphabet soup of government agencies, the first being the TSA, Homeland Security, EPA, OSHA, Dept of Education, Dept of Energy, etc. Without funding they will go out of business (can you call what they do business?).
The states can also do something, consider secession. I still can't find that section of the Constitution that says a Sovereign State can not secede. But I have the James Madison version and not the Democrap and RINO version.
Just heard that Boehner “Sees mandate for common ground.” How do you say ‘a##hole”?
Don’t be surprised when Barry declares himself “Chancellor for Life.”

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 7:36 PM

demsarerats in Oregon replied:

d.w.hudson in Michigan, yes, that is my view now also. If he insists upon kissing Obonga’s A a simple thanks would have been plenty, the lavish praise was pure bs.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 9:35 PM

demsarerats in Oregon said:

Michael, You tried to warn Repubs about Romney, so did I and many others. When you run a slightly more polished version of McCain you get a slightly better outcome but still lose. There may be a slight chance for us in four years but after that demographics will guarantee a Drat president until the collapse. You did what you could and did your Dad proud.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Doktor Riktor Von Zhades in Western KY said:

We have all seen the map Red vs Blue of the election and how it went by districts/counties. The country is all red, with the exception of major metropolitan areas, and a few states, that are coincidentally going bankrupt, and are "mini me" previews of what will soon be the USSA. I now believe this is not a question of ideology, as much as it is a mindset. Look at all the urban areas, or "city dwellers" as we call them here in the wilds of W.KY. They are used to having government provide many goods and services for them to utilize. Even the utilities, (not withstanding LIPA's poor performance on LI NY, and the politicking of Governor Q, to yank their license, as if that would help, they'd only be replaced by another inept utility), but I digress.

These folks can no longer think, do, or help themselves, and have convinced themselves or have been convinced, by the lure of big brother, that an all powerful, yet, benevolent, government is the answer to all of life's problems. To borrow a couple of terms from Atlas Shrugged, the moochers and looters now outnumber the producers. Those who live in these urban areas, will demand more and more from their government to provide for their lives.

I do not advocate the secession of states from the union, but it would be interesting to see all those liberal enclaves wither on the vine, as most of the producers live in conservative areas.....

Friday, November 9, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Mark Hansen in Long Beach, CA said:

This has been a difficult week. I've read a lot of conservative commentary and analysis over the last few days, trying to understand the how and why of this week's electoral catastrophe for the cause of liberty. Please take my humble observations for what they're worth.

Obama's own turnout was anemic. Not surprising, as the man has more negative than positive in his record, at least from a conservative's viewpoint. Regardless, and against the expectations of many conservative prognosticators, his campaign was somehow able to suppress the vote of his opposition to an extent almost unprecedented. This was apparently accomplished by means of a relentless blizzard of negative ads in the swing states. Note: I don't live in a swing state, so I didn't see any of this firsthand.

It would seem that a competently run Romney campaign should have been able to counter Obama's blitz of negative ads, perhaps blunt its effect with their own aggressive ads. And they wouldn't even have needed to make stuff up as the Obama folks did against Romney. As Jim in Alabama points out in his cogent comment above, Romney's camp was willing to take a meat ax to Gingrich in the primaries, but went soft on Obama, much like the loser McCain did in 2008. Republican presidential campaign gurus do seem oddly unable to learn from past failures.

Months ago, John Hawkins, of, commented that winners of presidential elections tend to be those best able to excite their base. Obama excites his base (both in election season and out!) with a steady stream of handouts -- no doubt a difficult thing for a challenger to counter. But the sad truth for our side is that Romney never much excited the conservative base. Even so, I had assumed that Republicans, by and large, would be as horrified as I was by Obama's extremism and incompetence, and that that would be enough to draw a strong turnout on our side. Boy, was I wrong. In the end, it seems the Dems' barrage of negative ads (and much assistance the the mainstream media) turned off many independents and Republicans to Romney. So shocking, and so sad.

My friends, I have grave doubts as to whether our beloved republic can survive another four years under a President Obama. I hate to think it, but maybe we really have passed the proverbial tipping point.

Friday, November 9, 2012 at 9:57 PM