From a friend among us who wishes to remain anonymous, we have this message to think about:
So. I tried to stay as quiet as possible during the campaign because it seemed highly likely to me that my pessimism over the Romney candidacy stemmed from personal sour grapes over the primary--and I certainly didn't want to dampen the efforts of those who really believed Obama could be beaten. But the fact is it was well placed pessimism. Romney's primary performance indicated a calculating opportunism and a sense of privileged entitlement that was never going to have a popular appeal. On top of that, the claimed high points of the campaign were further off-putting--notably the convention which reeked of noblesse oblige--seriously, Ann Romney's speech??--and the debate "triumph" which was little more than standing by while his opponent faltered, and which was quickly squandered in his two subsequent lack-luster performances.
It breaks my heart to see those in whom I believe--who believed in Romney--second guess themselves and the entire conservative movement we have worked so hard to further in the wake of his defeat. The truth is Romney is not a conservative and never has been. He is a business man, sure--but not one who ever took serious risks. He had the good sense to grab a well-funded plumb of an opportunity when it was handed to him. He "saved" the Olympics, yee haw. And he was a moderate, one-term governor of a small northeastern state in the course of which he, wittingly or not, laid the foundations for the most serious challenge to our constitution that we have seen in our lifetime.
On top of it all, now we learn that that same sense of smug superiority permeated his campaign, which apparently bet the farm on their "Project Orca" that wound up dashing the hopes and wasting the money of so many supporters. Disgraceful.
It is pointless now to argue over whether or not Daniels, Barbour or Perry could have beaten Obama, and it is also pointless to squabble over the nominee for 2016. I think the key to this moment is to realize that Romney, not conservatism, failed. If conservatives failed it was in accepting him in the first place. That is a painful but valuable lesson.