After the battle, the wake: inquest and a drink for reeling Romneyites

Critics are suggesting Romney's campaign foundered at the hands of amateurs

Chicago

If the top aides to the crashed campaign of Mitt Romney have vanished from view since Tuesday you might excuse them.

For 18 months they did nothing but tangle with reporters and that is enough for anyone. But it is also because in the wake of the debacle they are being blamed.

Moreover, it will take some time to digest the depths of the catastrophe that befell them.

The top strategists Stuart Stevens and Eric Fehrnstrom watched in stunned amazement as their man gave his concession speech in Boston. From there, they repaired to the bar in the Westin Hotel for a first impromptu wake. One day one among them may give an honest account of what really happened to their campaign.

Did they, for instance, actually believe their predictions of victory in the run-up to polling day or was it all an act to give the impression of a train running forward when they knew it had already jumped the tracks?

"Our momentum is undeniable, if you just look at the numbers," the Romney pollster Neil Newhouse told supporters just before the vote.

Or maybe they were duped by their own voter-intention models that just turned out to be wrong. If so, how was that allowed to happen? Already voices in the wider machine that was meant to send Mr Romney to the White House are suggesting anonymously that his campaign ship had been in the hands of an amateur crew.

"Everybody feels like they were a bunch of well-meaning folks who were, to use a phrase that Governor Romney coined to describe his opponent, way in over their heads," one member of the campaign's national finance committee told The Washington Post yesterday.

The speed with which the Romney apparatus is being disassembled is almost cruel. After meeting for an hour with his top benefactors in Boston on Wednesday, Mr Romney himself left in the back seat of one of his son's cars – the limousines and the Secret Service details had both been stripped away. Staff members at the Romney transition headquarters in Washington who have been the laying the ground for his putative presidency for months have been told to have everything cleared out and their laptops and phones returned by today at the latest.

As for the campaign strategists, they are likely to retreat out of the line of fire for as long as they can. But their professional lives in the long run are unlikely to be shattered. Nor are they likely to be hurting financially: during the campaign there were periodic reports of Mr Romney giving them large cash bonuses.

Mr Stevens will console himself by casting any eye over to Steve Schmidt, the top John McCain strategist and architect of Sarah Palin's vice presidential bid. After having spent some months in the wilderness, Mr Schmidt is now vice chairman for public affairs of one of the world's biggest public relations firms, Edelman, and a television pundit. Better still, Woody Harrelson portrayed him in the film about the 2008 campaign, Game Change.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower