When it comes to serious chutzpah, you’d be hard pressed to find a better example than this column by Jennifer Rubin criticizing chief Romney strategist Stuart Stevens for writing that Washington Post op-ed defending Romney’s performance and saying he won on the ideas and won all the really important people (white men, of course).
Stevens should have written himself a letter, but instead he penned an op-ed for The Post. Granted, it is loyal to his candidate. Unlike the sleazy McCain presidential campaign (whose aides didn’t even wait for the voting to start before dumping on their ticket), Stevens has nothing but good things to say about his candidate, doling out (warranted) praise for Romney’s debate performance and recognizing he did speak up for the free market. And he does a service to Romney in pointing out that the much-maligned candidate won every income group except those making less than $50,000 and also won younger, white voters. (It is a bit galling, however, for the consultant who was allergic to an idea-driven campaign to praise Romney’s boldness on entitlement reform and effort in “making the moral case” for capitalism.)
But Stevens fails in precisely the way in which the campaign failed: a refusal to acknowledge real and material incompetence by himself and others on the campaign. The piece stubbornly refuses to express regrets or apologies for a campaign that, as evidence has come forth, makes “The Perils of Pauline” look like the Rockettes.
The closest Stevens comes to admitting any responsibility for a campaign with grossly defective polling, weirdly ineffective ad buying and a get-out-the-vote operation that will forever give Orca whales a bad name is this: “In my world, the definition of the better campaign is the one that wins.”
So let’s add up the score. Stevens says Romney is an amazing guy and a wonderful candidate who won the battle of ideas but lost because so many of those pesky non-white people liked Obama better; Rubin says Romney is an amazing guy and a wonderful candidate who lost because Stevens sucked at his job. Remember, this is coming from someone who was so deep in the tank for Romney that she was practically sharing that rooftop car box with the family dog. Funny stuff.
Why hasn’t it occurred to any of these people that Romney was a terrible candidate? I mean terrible. Stiff, awkward, robotic and about as devoid of charm as a human being could possibly be.