LOL, Free Republic is schizophrenic on this issue. Much of its readership blames the loss on running RINOs like Romney. Others like you blame it on demographics. It cannot be both. If the demographics have shifted in favor of a "gimme, gimme" electorate, then a more conservative candidate would have done even worse than Romney.
it would not have been worse to energize the conservative base, which Romney would never do
Of course FR is schizophrenic on this. It’s schizo on everything. All it takes is an article mentioning Lincoln, for instance, to have us at eachother’s throats, each side comparing the other to the antichrist.
I don’t disagree. Among the GOP field running in 2012, Romney had the best chance.