Maureen Dowd in The New York Times:
IT makes sense that Mitt Romney and his advisers are still gobsmacked by the fact that they’re not commandeering the West Wing. (Though, as “The Daily Show” correspondent John Oliver jested, the White House might have been one of the smaller houses Romney ever lived in.) Team Romney has every reason to be shellshocked. Its candidate, after all, resoundingly won the election of the country he was wooing. Mitt Romney is the president of white male America. Maybe the group can retreat to a man cave in a Whiter House, with mahogany paneling, brown leather Chesterfields, a moose head over the fireplace, an elevator for the presidential limo, and one of those men’s club signs on the phone that reads: “Telephone Tips: ‘Just Left,’ 25 cents; ‘On His Way,’ 50 cents; ‘Not here,’ $1; ‘Who?’ $5.” In its delusional death spiral, the white male patriarchy was so hard core, so redolent of country clubs and Cadillacs, it made little effort not to alienate women. The election had the largest gender gap in the history of the Gallup poll, with Obama winning the vote of single women by 36 percentage points.
As W.’s former aide Karen Hughes put it in Politico on Friday, “If another Republican man says anything about rape other than it is a horrific, violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue.” Some Republicans conceded they were “a ‘Mad Men’ party in a ‘Modern Family’ world” (although “Mad Men” seems too louche for a candidate who doesn’t drink or smoke and who apparently dated only one woman). They also acknowledged that Romney’s strategists ran a 20th-century campaign against David Plouffe’s 21st-century one. But the truth is, Romney was an unpalatable candidate. And shocking as it may seem, his strategists weren’t blowing smoke when they said they were going to win; they were just clueless.