Romney was, and most Republicans are, amateurs when it came to explaining them:
Reagan was like a veteran quarterback who comes up to the line of scrimmage, takes a glance at how the other team is deployed against him, and knows automatically what he needs to do. There is not enough time to figure it out from scratch, while waiting for the ball to be snapped. You have to have figured out such things long before the game began, and now just need to execute.
Very few Republican candidates for any office today show any sign of such in-depth preparation on issues. Mitt Romney, for example, inadvertently showed his lack of preparation when he indicated that he was in favor of indexing the minimum-wage rate, so that it would rise automatically with inflation.
Yes, I face palmed when I heard that. Romney was no Reagan, because it was clear that he had spent too much time learning business, and far too little understanding policy and its effects (otherwise, he’d have never done RomneyCare). He had no core political philosophy, and it showed. He is smart, and a quick learner (he actually did start to speak conservatism like it wasn’t a second language in the waning days of the campaign), but he didn’t learn fast enough.
I wonder if he may try again? He’s a very determined man.
Then there’s this as well:
One of the secrets of Barack Obama’s success is his ability to say things that will sound both plausible and inspiring to uninformed people, even when they sound ridiculous to people who know the facts. Apparently he believes the former outnumber the latter, and the election results suggest that he may be right.
Since most of the media will never expose Obama’s fallacies and falsehoods, it is all the more important for Republicans to do so themselves. Nor is it necessary for every Republican candidate for every office to become an expert on every controversial issue.
Just as particular issues are farmed out to different committees in Congress, so Republicans can set up committees of outside experts to inform them on particular issues.
For example, a committee on income and poverty could be headed by an expert like Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation. This is a subject on which demonstrable falsehoods have become the norm, and one on which devastating refutations in plain English are readily available from a number of sources.
Another example would be space policy. I know someone who’d be happy to do it, if I could raise funds for it. But it’s not important enough, apparently.
[Update a while later]
More thoughts from Michael Walsh:
Principles, not programs, should be the battle cry. Romney’s foolish complaint that Obama won by giving away free stuff plays right back into the hands of the konsultant korps that lost him the election in the first place. If Mitt had a vision for America wider than the cramped, pinched and perpetually gray New England horizon, he sure didn’t show it. He didn’t show it because he was incapable of conceiving it, and there clearly was no one on his insular Boston team capable of supplying one. Instead, we got the Etch-a-Sketch metaphor, which in the end proved to be the candidate’s epitaph.
Yes. He was a principled man in his personal life, perhaps more so than most politicians, but he had no political principles.