Robert Knight

“It’s the economy, stupid.”

Maybe not. Mired in the worst recovery since the Great Depression, with unemployment near 8 percent, companies laying off workers over Obamacare, a $16 trillion debt and gasoline at double the 2008 price, America still re-elected Barack Obama.

Mitt Romney ran a single-issue campaign: the economy, stupid.

The missed opportunities were endless. After CNN’s Candy Crowley silenced him in the second debate on the Benghazi attack, Mr. Romney declined to expose Mr. Obama’s shocking lies and transparent cover-up. He also declined to educate Americans about the administration’s brazen lawlessness, especially that of the Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Labor Relations Board.

What about Supreme Court appointments? The XL Keystone Pipeline? The numerous “czars” appointed without Senate approval? Obamacare? Obama’s flip-flop on marriage?

Meanwhile, 42 percent of voters in the Fox News exit poll said Mr. Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy was an important factor. Of those, more than 65% voted for Mr. Obama. Even if these voters were unduly impressed by the photo ops and Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s fulsome praise, it means that character still matters. Obama passed the last-minute leadership test, assisted by a media blackout of FEMA’s inadequate response and the scandalous non-coverage of the Benghazi coverup.

Many policy areas in which outright lies have been the coin of the realm could have been exposed if GOP consultants had not insisted on playing only Monopoly. Mr. Romney broke through the media fog in the first debate, showing the public a decent, more rounded candidate. He wasn’t the soulless, cancer-patient-killing corporate raider in the $100 million worth of smear ads that had run for months. But it wasn’t enough.

So, what do we have, aside from a nightmare scenario involving the pending makeup of the Supreme Court, half of the American people’s de facto embrace of socialism, the survival of Obamacare and the Harry Reid-led U.S. Senate, and the Republicans’ continued control of 30 governorships and the U.S. House?

Well, we have some important lessons.

* It’s not just “the economy, stupid.” If it were, Romney would have won in a walk.

* A moderate Republican from the Northeast who presided over the creation of “gay marriage” and pioneered Obamacare in his own state is not the best candidate to counter the Left’s relentless promotion of moral and fiscal insanity.

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.