Charlie Leonard is correct but not helpfully precise about the election. Mitt Romney lost because he failed to grasp Robert Bork's first requisite.
I have a homework assignment for the GOP brain trust: re-read the last chapter of Bork's 1996 "Slouching Toward Gomorrah" and then the Yuval Levin essay, "Beyond the Welfare State." Therein are the starting blocks for the 2014 races.
Consider Bork's closing lines of Slouching: "But for now what we can expect is an increasingly vulgar, violent, chaotic and politicized culture. The first requisite is knowing what is happening to us."
I wrote letters to pundits, editors, College Republicans, Hispanic groups and politicians touting Levin's 2011 essay because it offered a principled and persuasive explanation of "what" had happened to us over decades. I'm still convinced it's the clearest, well-constructed example of Bork's first requisite.
Romney did not fully meet Bork's requisite in primary debates, the convention nor in his three swings at bat against Team Obama. Paul Ryan, a friend of Levin's, was better prepared to do so.
Ryan never went into the hood, the barrio, the union hall or campuses to megaphone Levin's "what happened to us" and why. We might have discovered a conservative, "Bobbyesque" messenger in Ryan. Better to have gone down in flames with Levin's clarity than to expect millions of no shows to divine a conservative vision.
Team RR left its most powerful intellectual ammo in the American Enterprise Institute/National Affairs Armories. They brought a Reagan bayonet to Obama's microfocus razor fight and left the sharpest diagnoses on the shelf. Yes, it's hard being Republicans, Charlie, but to paraphrase the John Wayne poster, it's harder if we're stupid and mute.
St. Petersburg, Fla.