In an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney offered some reflection, admitting that perhaps campaigning against minorities and offending the poor wasn't such a swell idea after all. On his infamous 47% comments:
"It was a very unfortunate statement,” Romney told Fox. “It's not what I meant. I didn't express myself as I wished I would have. You know, when you speak in private, uh, you don't spend as much time thinking about how something could be twisted and distorted."And it could come out wrong. … There's no question that hurt and did real damage to my campaign. He also acknowledges he and his campaign failed to reach out to minorities as well as the Obama campaign."We weren't effective in my message primarily to minority voters, to Hispanic-Americans, African-Americans, other minorities,” Romney said. “That was a real mistake.”
In the interview, which was taped Thursday and aired Sunday, Romney also his campaign also underestimated the appeal of Obama's new health care law to low-income voters.
In his typically awkwardly offensive manner, Mitt Romney explained that his team "underestimated the attractiveness" of Obamacare to the "lower incomes," also known as "you people."
The sad thing is, Mitt Romney honestly thought he had a winning message. The reason it took so long for him to concede the 2012 election was because of sheer shock; team Romney had been confident that they would win despite what the polls were saying about his chances. Romney himself admitted to Chris Wallace that, until it became apparent that Obama might win Florida, he thought he had 2012 in the bag.
Meanwhile, we in the progressive community were optimistic that we would win 2012 from the early stages of the GOP primaries. Why? Because the GOP field was a disaster, and the candidates had bought into the comfort of the conservative echo chamber. By sequestering themselves into a world where Tea Party rhetoric was the norm and all even modestly dissenting viewpoints were forced into ideological exile (see Jon Huntsman, Buddy Roemer, Gary Johnson), conservatives convinced themselves that theirs was the mainstream viewpoint.
In reality, it was simply a vocal fringe view amplified by its own isolated walls. But those walls convinced candidate Romney that opposing the very healthcare law that was once his signature and proudest achievement in Massachusetts was a good idea; that stigmatizing 47% of the population as dependent welfare queens was helpful; and that dismissing the existence of Hispanics and blacks in favor of culturally disgruntled and fearful whites was still a viable political strategy.
And it also allowed Romney to ignore the polls the rest of the world was seeing and to believe that he was really destined to be elected president last November.
Romney appears to have emerged from the conservative echo chambers, even if a little too late to etch-a-sketch his mistakes away. But the rest of the Republican Party has not emerged alongside their failed nominee, having actually dug their heels into their ideological isolation since the election, more determined than ever to reject a reality that has already rejected them.