TAGG ROMNEY’S revelation that his father, Mitt Romney, wanted the presidency less than other members of his family wanted it for him was perhaps the most stunning thing in Michael Kranish’s article (“The candidate who never really left voters in,” Page A1, Dec. 23). That served to reinforce for me the impression that the real reason Romney lost is that he tried to fit a round peg into a square hole. I believe it was not Romney the man, but Romney the snake-oil salesman he was commanded to be by the Republican base, who lost the election. Romney had to cast aside groups he courted in Massachusetts — women, pro-choice voters, and gays.
The Republican base cost Romney the election by demanding that he be someone he was not. The nation is centrist in nature — sometimes a little right, and sometimes a little left — but what it is not is extreme. No matter how good the Republican bench is, that will remain true. Their candidates may have to lie to appeal to the Republican base, but those positions will not be lost on the general electorate, which will reject them. If the Republicans do not carve out a better brand — which they don’t seem inclined to do — they will lose every time.