From “Don’t Blame Mitt for the GOP’s Problems,” Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast:
Yes, Mitt Romney had a week I wouldn’t wish on … well, Mitt Romney. Yes, his campaign is incompetent, as Peggy Noonan wrote Friday. Yes, there is something really off about the guy personally. But as conservatives like Noonan start in on Romney vilification, I feel the need to stand up and reiterate: Romney’s problems aren’t all Romney’s fault. They’re not even half his fault. They’re chiefly the fault of a movement and political party that has gone off the deep end. Almost every idiotic thing Romney has done, after all, can be traced to the need he feels to placate groups of people who are way out there in their own ideological solar system, with no purchase at all on how normal Americans feel and think about things. This is much the harder question for Noonan and others to confront, and they really ought to ponder it.
Since he started running, Romney has had to cater to four factions in the GOP, each of which contributes in its way to the party’s self-destructiveness: the rich and their apologists, who think Barack Obama has made life in America well-nigh impossible for those earning $1 million a year; the Tea Party populists, the middle-aged and older white people who feel intense resentment against Obama and his America; the foreign-policy neocons, who invented this fable about Obama apologizing for America and so on; and the rabble-rousers—Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, etc., whose megaphones announce all these anxieties and others.
These four groups have each been holding guns to Romney’s temple. He’s a weak man, yes. But in a way—in only this one particular way—I feel a little sorry for him. These groups permit no room to maneuver whatsoever. None. Not an inch. So when something happens that is in their wheelhouse, the expectation immediately arises that Romney will utter every syllable precisely as they want to hear it.