Mitt Romney ran about as impressive a campaign as he could have under the circumstances. Romney turned out to be a terrific debater, a champion fundraiser and a man of impressive self-restraint. Toward the end, when it became clear he could win but was still in fact losing, he resisted the natural temptation to go vicious and low. He ought to get credit for that. Plus he gave a dignified concession speech.
But it was a flawed candidacy from the start. Romney’s caution and ever-shifting policy positions made him seem fearful, which is to say weak. His biography hurt him. During a cycle when voters remained angry at Wall Street, Romney bore the weight of a finance background. And because of his own history in Massachusetts, he could never effectively go after President Obama on Obamacare, the president’s biggest political weakness.
None of this was ever a secret, but the Republicans nominated Romney anyway.