Romney Adviser: Our Campaign Was "Not Even In the Same Universe" as Obama's

Primary schedule and campaigning on social issues will doom party to failure, says former Navy secretary.

By: Shane Harris

Mitt Romney's ex-foreign policy and defense adviser has some sober reflections on the Republican presidential candidate's failed campaign. 

"We were beaten soundly," former Navy Secretary John Lehman says in a recent letter to campaign supporters (see below), obtained by Dead Drop. "They had a far better ground game, much more effective technology, data-mining, registration and volunteer organization," Lehman writes. "The young brightest geeks from Silicon Valley were helping the Democrats effort, and it showed." 

Lehman, who served as Navy Secretary under President Reagan and was a member of the 9/11 Commission, also argued that the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC "helped the Democrats far more than the Republicans." It allowed the Democrats to "mask how much money they were really taking in" and make the argument that wealthy Republicans were outspending their political rivals. "It seems that in fact there are really more very rich Democrats than Republicans," says Lehman, an investment banker and founder of a private equity firm. 

Lehman also says that despite the GOP's "large field of very attractive candidates" for the 2016 election, they have no chance of winning "if they are forced to run on a platform built on social issues like abortion, gay marriage and closing the borders. The Republican Party could go the way of the Whigs." 

Lehman's comments, while focused mostly on domestic matters, echo the sentiments of another GOP foreign policy luminary. In an interview with The Cable, former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft said the GOP establishment had moved away from foreign policy realists, such as Scowcroft and former Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama's nominee for Defense Secretary. 

Lehman's apparently hand-signed letter was written on January 9, two days after Obama nominated Hagel. 

I wrote to Lehman this evening asking for further comment. If I hear from him, I'll post an update.