Not enough voters, including many who wrote to The Times this week, bought… (David Goldman / Associated…)
OK, Mitt Romney, you gave us your analysis of your failed presidential bid:
“The Obama campaign was following the old playbook of giving a lot of stuff to groups that they hoped they could get to vote for them and be motivated to go out to the polls, specifically the African American community, the Hispanic community and young people.... In each case they were very generous in what they gave to each of those groups.”
That summation earned you quite a few quips and one-liners from Times readers, who filled the letters to the editor inbox after the remarks to donors Wednesday.
But dozens of others earnestly want you to understand why they voted for the other guy.
David Willett of Goleta, for example, wanted specifics from you on the economy:
“I'm a middle-aged white male working in the defense industry and not part of the 47%. Romney's promised gifts to me (lower tax rate and increased defense spending) weren't enough to win my support. I wanted him to address the biggest economic crash of my lifetime. It was just four years ago.
“What would you have done if you were president? Persuade me your policies would have led to a much stronger recovery by now. Persuade me you understand what happened, and then explain it to me. Impress me with your grasp of this significant crisis.
“Romney ran his campaign on the theme that our current weak economy is a direct result of Obama's failed policies. Romney didn't directly address the crash, or even acknowledge its lasting impact. He barely conceded that the incumbent inherited a tough economy. The economy was supposed to be Romney's strong suit. But his decision to not directly address the 2008 economic collapse made his criticisms of Obama's policies, and advancement of his own policies, seem superficial and unfounded.”
In La Quinta, George Hanover thinks you may be forgetting some “gifts”:
“When banks make loans that are guaranteed by the SBA, Fannie and Freddie and formerly by the old student loan guarantee corporation, but are allowed to earn interest on the loans without risk, aren't those gifts? When oil companies making billions are given subsidies they tell Congress they don't need aren't those gifts?
“When the 2% get a trillion-dollar tax cut, isn't that a gift? Maybe not, since they spent hundreds of millions trying to elect Romney to get them extended.
“In Romney's world corporate welfare and goodies for the super rich aren't gifts. It's only a gift when it goes to poor and needy people.”
Greg Gearn of Altadena has a non-monetary personal definition:
“My gift from Obama was support for same-sex marriage; it didn't cost anything at all, but it will transform my life and the lives of those around me.
“Romney's gift to the rich would have cost a fortune (ours, not his or theirs) and benefited relatively few.
“Perhaps Obama won the election and Romney lost because the president is sensitive to what people need and want and what the actual costs and benefits of those gifts are.”
In Inyokern, Jim Foster offers his thoughts about where it went astray:
“I am an ex-Republican with an engineering background. The Republican Party that I have abandoned was hijacked by people who think that things like family values and abortion are high-priority political decisions.
“My opinion is that these have zero priority and do not belong on any federal agenda (ever). The Republican Party that I have shunned has been occupied by tea party politics, whose policy is to filibuster everything, avoid any compromise and destroy democracy as we know it.… The only thing President Obama had to do to get my vote was be there. That was the biggest 'gift' of all.”
Greg Ryan of Woodland Hills remembers how he’s been helped:
“Romney, who started his life on the 50-yard line of a 100-yard dash, doesn't seem to understand America.
“In the 1960s, I attended community college, and completed my education at a state university, while receiving monthly support through the GI Bill. Now retired, I receive monthly payments from Social Security, and my healthcare is provided though Medicare. I am forever committed to the stubborn belief that a community working together, in many circumstances, is preferable to individuals pursuing their own self-interest. It is my sincere hope that all Americans will have access to the same opportunities that I have had. And that none will ever be deterred due to disparagement by politicians as dependent on government.”
Others, including Linda Kranen of Carlsbad and Bud Weisbart of Fontana, want you to consider a wider definition of the word “gifts”:
From Kranen: “Life (healthcare, ending the wars), liberty (gay rights, women's rights) and the pursuit of happiness (access to higher education) are not 'gifts.' ”
“Romney is absolutely correct in his analysis that the president won because of the gifts he gave and continues to give, but he identifies them incorrectly: These gifts to all of us are genuine empathy and concern, deep commitments to our country and our citizens, and the intelligence to bring that all to fruition.”
Finally, Jim Bean of Los Angeles echoes the response of many:
“Our biggest gift from Obama, in my opinion, is sparing us a Romney presidency.”
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