Playbook 2012: Inside the Circus--Romney, Santorum and the GOP Race (Politico Inside Election 2012) - Mike     Allen, Evan Thomas This short Kindle Single really needs to be read in conjunction with their other Single, The End of the Line and perhaps an earlier one in their Playbook 2012 series. I avoid TV pundits and daily reportage like the plague, preferring to wait until the dust settles and writers gain a little distance to figure out exactly what happened.

I remember avidly reading all the Teddy White "Making of the President" and I've recently started Richard Ben Cramer's "What it Takes", an excellent analysis of the 1988 election. The authors of these two short works don't approach his high standard but they are quite interesting, nevertheless for their revelations and analysis.

Romney, we recently learned from one of his sons, never really wanted to be president, anyway, that he was pushed into the race by his family, although that sounds suspiciously like sour grapes. Ironically it was his business experience that may have hurt him the most, always micromanaging rather than delegating to staffers who were probably more competent at assorted tasks.

It didn't help that he had to go through the trials of the Republican primary, otherwise known as the circular firing squad. The primary system, which biases toward the extremes of each party forced him into adopting ridiculous positions which he came to rue later even as his staff, off message as usual, portrayed him as moving back to the center after he won the nomination, especially with the Etch-a-Sketch comment which just confirmed to both left and right that Romney had no core values. The authors treat us to lots of fun inside information about the other dysfunctional candidates like Perry and Gingrich and Bachmann, each of whom had their moment in the sun before going down ingloriously in flames. Romney's ultimate selection was perhaps inevitable, but what a bizarre trip.

One insider said, "Romney goes into each state, he’s not building a movement. Instead, he goes in, and it’s a machine. They know how to execute really well and take down another candidate and win. But what they don’t know how to do is lift up their own candidate and sell a vision, sell a movement, and get people excited about him. I think it’s troubling that the turnout is lower than in 2008. This should be the year where Republican primary voters are incredibly excited about getting rid of President Obama. Instead, it’s not been that way at all.”

As Nate Silver showed with his data analysis, Romney probably never had a chance given the demographics and Electoral College numbers.

These books are fun to read for their "real-time" reporting, but probably won't hold up particularly well as historical records.