This failure began with the spectacle of the extended primary season, which was dominated by candidates with views far outside the political mainstream. Rick Santorum rejected the separation of church and state. Newt Gingrich challenged the notion of judicial supremacy. Michele Bachmann claimed the government had been infiltrated by radical Muslims. Donald Trump refused to recognize the validity of Obama’s birth certificate. Rick Perry wanted to take down more parts of the federal government than he could successfully name. In the debates, the country saw the GOP talking to itself and sounding like a bizarre fringe party, not a responsible governing one.So, which of these nuts was a better candidate that Romney? None of them. In fact, if any of the other Republican primary candidates had been the nominee, last night would've been decided a couple of months ago. Mitt Romney, for all his awkardness and missteps, was a very formidable candidate. I know plenty of liberals who didn't like him, but I know far fewer who thought he couldn't be a competent president.
Republicans are going to need to face up to the fact that Mitt Romney wasn't the problem, they are. They are going to have ensure that competent people run for office and can win in their primaries. And more importantly, they have to make sure that they don't hamstring their own candidates by making them act like baffoons before they ever enter battle with a Democrat.