as the republicans tear themselves apart for ten minutes, i do want to say that i think basically what went wrong for romney was romney. they would have done better with a principled conservative (within limits); they would also have done better with an explicit moderate. it was possible to lose sight of this after that first debate performance, but no one - absolutely no one - was enthusiastic for romney qua romney. i also think that the republican party has demographic challenges, as now every person who has ever appeared in a newspaper or on television has pointed out as though they were making it up themselves on the spot, but i also i think the republicans got their ass kicked by the best ground operation in the history of american politics. while we're ragging on rove, i believe he must basically be credited for the axelrod model: go precinct by precinct, voter by voter through ohio. but the obamoids do it even better and add more dimensions. this is the other side of that messianic 2008 thing; while we were all doing that, that organization was pulling the last voter out of last old-folk's home in alexandria, va. quietly they mobilized the black vote in a way that made, for example, pa impossible for romney. the first thing an actual operative will tell you as an actual strategy is that in 2014 or 2016 they better get every actual voter they already have out; that starts out with having decent candidates. putting it mildly, karl rove is going to be better in that role than in fabricating diabolical yet unbelievably cretinous attack ads. truly it's only because you think you know better that you don't actually know that the people who make those ads are rank defectives. you figure they must actually be super-smart manipulators. no no take them at their word: they are the people that made that ad: regard it as the deepest most sincere revelation of their inner moral selves and measure of their intelligence. you have no real evidence otherwise, and when you start gathering the evidence, you will see that what i say is true.