Even before the Republican Party???s convention had gaveled to order last August, The Washington Post was pronouncing Mitt Romney at best ???a transitional figure, rather than a transformative one??? within the GOP. That he has since lost the election, and in so doing ceded to President Obama virtually all the battleground states, will do nothing to disturb this assessment. But it would be wrong to see Romney???s failed candidacy as a total loss for Republicans, or for the country.
For all Romney???s limitations as a candidate ??? his interpersonal awkwardness and propensity for gaffes, his reported preference for data over people and his elasticity on key issues ??? the man did some things that the Republican Party establishment that embraced him, and the conservative core that never quite did, should both regard, in retrospect, as real gifts.