Kathryn Lopez is great. CMR hearts Kathryn Lopez. On The Corner it seems she’s suggesting that a GOP that’s willing to negotiate a little more might just do the trick in future elections.

I’m on the NR Cruise, somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. We’ve had rough seas so couldn’t dock in port yesterday and won’t get off rough seas until tomorrow. Can’t help but think it’s a metaphor for something.

There were panels yesterday about that presidential election you may remember we just held. It does come up here. “Candidates matter,” is one phrase that has been repeated.

At the end of the day the candidate will take blame because it’s his campaign, but the problem runs so much deeper, even deeper than failed software. We have a confidence problem. And until we regain confidence, and go out to every audience with confidence, we’re not going to win big. That lack of confidence infects the candidate pool — leading people from a paranoid cautiousness and the obliteration of filters.

Call me crazy, this is just for the sake of discussion, but take a look at who did win: John Boehner actually does show some confidence, a consistency, and, yes, a willingness to negotiate, within parameters. And he tries to be smart about it — not picking fights simply because he’s there with the Speaker’s gavel, even if they can’t advance beyond his caucus. And his guys came back (broadly speaking). Is there something there?

Just encouraging discussion . . .

So in that spirit, let me suggest that the problem just may have been that the GOP didn’t savage Obama.

Republicans talked about jobs. Democrats talked about Mitt being a blue blood. Republicans talked about the debt. Democrats said Mitt wanted to take away your contraception.

You get the drift. They attacked Mitt. Now, it almost didn’t work because Mitt Romney is clearly a good and knowledgeable man. But it did.

Let’s look at the candidates that the GOP defeated in the past. Michael Dukakis. John Kerry. Walter Mondale. Jimmy Carter.

What is it the GOP did to them? They mocked them for being liberal weenies. They hit them hard. Over and over again. Until people just couldn’t pull the lever for them.

The GOP played this election with kid gloves on for the second time in a row. And they lost for the second time in a row.

America doesn’t seem to be a culture of grownups anymore. Pointing and laughing is may still be the best way to win people to your side on the schoolyard and in politics.

I’m not endorsing this, it’s just true. You have to make people scared to vote for the other guy.

Politics is a nasty business. This ain’t no think tank. It’s the playground for adults. It’s the prison yard. You can talk about how nasty and terrible it is but that doesn’t change what it is.