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US Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s first interview since his defeat in the presidential race will be noted for two things: first, his candour, the courage to speak his mind without sugar-coating it, and second, his failure to accept the reality one hundred seventeen days on.
In a wide-ranging interview on Fox News Sunday, which was reported worldwide because it was his first since his defeat, Romney appeared surprised that he wasn’t elected, that the voters didn’t see things his way. That’s the equivalent of pushing one’s head into the sands, not wanting to see the realities around. Romney should have done a postmortem and understood the mistakes, instead of blaming voters. In a democratic election, voters are always right.
The Republican candidate expressed his deep disappointment and anguish at not being elected. “I look at what’s happening right now, I wish I were there,” he said. “It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House doing what needs to be done.” The frustration was two-fold – the individual frustration of defeat, and the frustration at not being able to serve the country, to save the country from the inanities of the current president. Romney had taken so long to speak to the nation because he was struggling to cope with the magnitude of the defeat. Now he is getting on with his life, though it will pain him for ever that he would never be president, having missed the bus. Fox channel showed him pushing some grandkids on a swing set and cradling his youngest in his arms.
In the interview, Romney should have spoken about his own failings as a candidate. He attributed Obama’s victory to winning over so many blacks and Hispanics by enacting universal healthcare. His wife blamed the media for her husband’s defeat, for unfairly caricaturing him.
The defeat was so shattering because until the last moment they thought they would win. Romney’s wife seemed more heartbroken and said she has cried. Romney and his wife are going through what John McCain, John Kerry and their spouses had gone through. Americans know that, and the world knows it.
However, it’s not Romney’s defeat alone. The voters had vociferously rejected Republicans and their bizarre policies. It’s the same policies which they are following.
Romney began easing back onto the public stage with Sunday’s interview. He is scheduled to give his first speech since the election at the Conservative Political Action Conference next week. He can continue to excoriate Obama and his policies, but the president can breathe more easily because he doesn’t have to face the electorate a third time•