The truth is, Romney was better than the GOP deserved. Party nitwits undermined him, and the self-righteous tried to bring him down. The nitwits are well-enough known at this point — those farthest-right social conservatives who couldn’t find it in their hearts to keep their traps shut. No abortion for rape or incest? Sit down. Legitimate rape? Put on your clown suit and go play in the street.

Equally damaging were the primary leeches who embarrassed the party and wouldn’t leave the stage. Nine-nine-nine, we’re talking about you, Herman Cain. And Gov. Oops? You, too. And then there were Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann, who never had a real shot at the nomination and certainly could never win a national election, yet they refused to surrender to the certain nominee.

Did they have a right to persist in their own fantasies? Sure. But not if they were serious about getting a Republican in the White House. Thus, for months and months, Romney had to spend his energy and, as important, his money to prevail in the primaries against opponents who had no chance and who ultimately hurt him. During that same precious time, Obama’s campaign was busy pinpointing specific voters, practically learning the names of their dogs, and buying ads in niche markets.