Democratic strategist Robert Weiner didn’t hold back in his analysis of the failed Romney presidential campaign.
“The Romney campaign ran the most despicable campaign in my lifetime in politics. In the past, untruths in ads and statements that were shown to be lies were pulled back,” he said.
Weiner cited Romney’s claim that President Obama wants to gut welfare’s work requirement and his last minute television ad implying that Chrysler’s Italian owners were planning on outsourcing the production of Jeeps to China as examples of the candidate’s untruths.
“The lies solidified Obama’s message about trust and believing in the consistent candidate,” he said.
Another key to victory were the two party’s diverging conventions, said Weiner, who directed the Daily Press Briefing Room at the last two Democratic conventions.
“The Republicans had the most unorganized conventions I had ever seen in terms of speakers who spoke for their own interests,” he said.
“It was uncharacteristic. We expected them to have a decent convention and get a bounce.”
In contrast to the convention, President Obama’s poor performance in the first debate is a sour memory for Democrats.
Weiner repeated his charge that Obama should not have picked John Kerry to be his practice debate partner.
“His (Sen. Kerry’s) sentences are renowned for being contorted and incomprehensible,” Weiner said. But Weiner also said that Kerry will make an excellent Secretary of State if chosen to replace Hillary Clinton for the position.
Based on regular conversations with top Obama campaign advisers, Weiner says the Democrats were better prepared to win over an increasingly diverse electorate.
“The Obama campaign used a sophisticated, unclassified document as the linchpin of its strategy – the census,” Weiner said.
Republicans say they would have won if the electorate more closely resembled 2008’s.
“It’s a changed country!” Weiner retorted.
Indeed, white voters constituted 72 percent of the electorate, down from 75 percent in 2008 (although the decline is mainly due to a decrease in turnout among whites, not a sharp increase in the number the Hispanic voters).
Weiner criticized Romney for calling for “self deportation,” a policy of making the lives of illegal immigrants so difficult that they leave the country voluntarily.
The term was coined by Daniel D. Portado, a fake, satirical figure created during California’s contentious referendum on Proposition 187 in 1994. Proposition 187 would have denied illegal immigrants many rights, such as the right to attend a public school.
“Romney took the joke – hook, line, and sinker – seriously, and it helped cost him the election because it was so offensive to Hispanics,” Weiner said.
Turning to the Congressional elections, Weiner said the House would have become majority Democratic were it not for the redrawing of Congressional districts following the 2010 census. In reality, Democrats will gain about seven seats, short of the amount needed for a majority.
But Democrats did gain two seats in the Senate in an year in which some thought they would lose the majority in the chamber. Weiner said the rise of the Tea Party has cost the Republicans 5 Senate seats: in Delaware, Colorado and Nevada in 2010 and in Indiana and Missouri in 2012, where both candidates tripped on comments regarding rape and abortion.