THE CIRCULAR FIRING SQUAD CAN DISBAND: 407,000 Votes in Four States Away from the Presidency. Romney got out-hustled in a base-turnout election. Bigthink concerns about demographics, messaging, etc. may or may not have merit, but aren’t why he lost. (Bumped).

UPDATE: Paul Hsieh writes:

I share your observation that voter turnout was critical. But I don’t think you should too quickly discount the bigger concerns about messaging.

Like many others, I also thought that the enthusiastic turnouts at the October GOP rallies in CO and OH, as well as voters stating they’d “crawl on their hands and knees through broken glass” to pull the lever for Romney indicated a hidden enthusiasm edge not reflected in the polls.

But in retrospect, the vote totals showed that Romney’s support may have been deeper than McCain’s in 2008, but not significantly broader.

So in that respect, those GOP rallies indicated something akin to the small-but-intense fan base for Apple computers in the mid-1990s. Of course, one of Steve Jobs’ key accomplishments in the 2000s was to turn that into an LARGE-and-intense fan base for Apple products.

I won’t rehash the “bigthink” arguments about the best next direction for the GOP. I just want to propose that *if* they can improve their message and inspire genuine enthusiasm for a positive pro-freedom agenda, then rallying (and growing) the base won’t be a problem. Although I have a mixed opinion of Ronald Reagan policies, he was an acknowledged master at communicating an inspiring, upbeat message to the voters. If the GOP finds a good message and a good messenger, then the turnout problem will take care of itself.

See Jededia Bila, below.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Michael Ubaldi writes:

If I had a nickel for every middle/upper-middle-class American with a job, a spouse, a house, and children — but a cultural upbringing in which John Stewart is Walter Kronkite, big government is small, and Democrats are indistinguishable from Republicans on taxes or defense, I’d easily have half a million nickels to distribute among Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Colorado.

This part of the electorate didn’t need a GOTV outreach. They’re responsible, active traditionalists whose normalcy is defined by liberals. Shaking them out of the delusion is going to have to be done gently but firmly. No red meat, but no Democrat-lite; and we need someone who can accomplish that.

And who would that be?

MORE: You can’t discount this explanation: “There is a rational explanation for the President’s reelection which doesn’t invoke a deep or complex meaning. The only way to explain the outcome is in the simplest and direct prose: the moochers prevailed.” “Obama’s winning tactic was to do what any respectable man does when he wishes to have something; he bought it. From cell phones and contraceptives to food stamps and unemployment benefits, the Obama administration kept the money flowing to ensure a steady turnout on Election Day. The coup de grâce was painting his opponent as a second coming of Dickens’ Scrooge that was ready to cut the voters from their trust funds. The campaign made no attempt to hide this tactic.”