I've been looking for someone who can describe the Obama campaign's recipe for success -- a recipe that demands that exact measurements are used in the mixture of flavors. It looks as though perfectionist David Axelrod and team managed to create a narrative that not only carried them through but to which the Republican themselves contributed. The Romney campaign+Rove & Co.+ the GOP pretty much fell into a trap. Greg Sargent seems to understand the recipe that was used. And yes, part of the strategy was to destroy Romney.
... Faced with terrible economic conditions and an implacable opposition, Obama’s brain trust knew Obama would only survive if he ran a scorched earth campaign designed to tear apart his opponent. But the Obama team also married this to an uplifting narrative about Obama that appropriated the very economic and political obstacles he faced.
The chosen storyline was dominant throughout. The Obama camp ran spots showing dramatic stills of him grappling early on with just how dire the economic crisis had become. It ran ads painting his willingness to battle GOP opposition as a sign of strength and character. It ran spots portraying his embrace of the unpopular auto-bailout to help struggling workers as an act of political heroism. The contrast with Romney “turning his back” on the auto industry was pure cinema. And so was one of the Obama camp’s most important closing spots, which featured Morgan Freeman cinematically intoning: “Every president inherits challenges. Few have faced so many.”
The Obama team long believed that Republicans themselves were contributing to this storyline. By putting up unprecedented roadblocks at a time of national crisis, they may have only reinforced voters’ sense that whatever their disappointment with the recovery, Obama is the one who can ultimately be trusted to fight relentlessly on behalf of their interests. Poll after poll found the GOP brand in tatters. And poll after poll — despite relentless attacks on Obama as out of touch with economic suffering — continued to find strong trust in him to fight for the middle class. ...Greg Sargent, PlumLineThat leaves the final numbers which are still trickling in, but as one commenter notes, the 2+% advantage for Obama in the popular vote when added to the very generous electoral college vote was not something most of us expected. (Though we might well have expected it, given the lousy work done by major pollsters.
Historian Garry Wills doesn't hold out much hope for Romney's future (or soul) --certainly compared to earlier losers.
... McGovern and Dole were war heroes. They asked what they could do for their country. Romney, who avoided military service as a missionary, said none of his sons of military age could serve because they were serving the nation by helping him, year after year, run for president. Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for your family.
Many losing candidates became elder statesmen of their parties. What lessons will Romney have to teach his party? The art of crawling uselessly? How to contemn 47 percent of Americans less privileged and beautiful than his family? How to repudiate the past while damaging the future? It is said that he will write a book. Really? Does he want to relive a five-year-long experience of degradation? What can be worse than to sell your soul and find it not valuable enough to get anything for it? His friends can only hope he is too morally obtuse to realize that crushing truth. Losing elections is one thing. But the greater loss, the real loss, is the loss of honor....Wills, NYRB