Who's to blame for Mitt Romney? That seems to be the question of the day out there on the interwebs. Politico tells us that the answer conservatives give when you ask them is, Mitt Romney is to blame: "Slowly and reluctantly, Republicans who love and work for Romney are concluding that for all his gifts as a leader, businessman and role model, he's just not a good political candidate in this era." Steve Kornacki counters that the problem isn't so much Mitt himself, it's the Republican party, which "never actually bothered to create a comprehensive post-Bush blueprint." Jonathan Chait notes that although some conservatives are now claiming Romney was foisted upon them by the establishment, nobody within the GOP really wanted Romney: "He won by default."
So who's right? They all are! Every factor has worked against a Republican victory this fall. Terribly unlikeable candidate? Check. Paucity of plausible primary alternatives? Check. Absurdly unpopular party dominated by crazy people? Check. Unappealing agenda? Check. Changing demographics decreasing your base's share of the population? Check. And they all came together symbiotically to produce the candidacy we see today. The only thing they had going for them was a crappy economy, and it has gotten just good enough to take that away from them, too.
There's more than enough blame to go around. On the other hand, here's Mitt being a charming romantic guy, 44 years ago. Think what he could have done with Instagram.