Election 2012 Results: Why Mitt Romney Was a Step Backward For the GOP

I am frustrated by the recent slew of writing I’ve read from very conservative writers. Fueled by anger over the recent election results, they lament an America that is now gone: an America of freedom and self-reliance, an America that was not content being "dependent on the government." The less angry are more strategic, asking how a traditionally noninclusive party can adjust to an electorate in which whites are the minority. They seem to not ask whether the alarmist, defeatist rhetoric of their more extreme contingent precludes this goal of inclusion. Blacks and Hispanics are over-represented in low-income communities, and the Republican platform this election has been driven by indifference, or at times contempt, for the less privileged.

We live in an era of politics where those same ideas, expressed in Barack Obama’s speeches, mean out-of-touch idealism at best, and content dependency at worst. It could perhaps be the dire economic straits the United States finds itself in; we are indeed realizing we cannot afford spending on everything that upsets or troubles us. But has the Republican party taken this too far? As Bush said, Americans will never write the epitaph of idealism. The head-for-the-hills raving about the coming economic collapse cannot win an election. There are plenty of people who are not content to write off some members of society as a lost cause — whether through 47% comments or dismissing the health care problems that used to exist in America as unworthy of our attention.

I don’t even think Mitt Romney believes his 47% comments. I think Romney is a kind man, and someone who seems to be guided by the noblest principles of his faith. I believed my conservative friends when they told me Romney was only pandering to what the people at his fundraiser wanted to hear. And that, of course, is the problem. With a high unemployment rate, and 60% of people thinking we’re headed in the wrong direction, this election should have been a steal for Romney. Instead, he was propelled by a brand of ruthless free market economics and a party that makes a joke out of acknowledging social injustices. It is undoubtedly tough to find a balance between cutting spending and ensuring equality of opportunity and a viable safety net. But a Republican won’t be able to win an election until they acknowledge that we cannot neglect either.