Maybe the GOP were too scared to put up a real candidate in 2008 .....AND 2012.
Thats the only thing I can think of...maybe they thought it would be better if a dem won in 08 so that the economic bad news blame could be shifted....and they would take a pounding in the hose & senate for a long time...
Well...I mean thats the only real simple intentional reason I could see.....
The GOP is in disarray. There are far too many candidates at the extreme end, who do not represent the majority of the people (like me). Mitt was moderate (way too moderate to make the extremists happy) and he had to shift too far to the right (making moderates unhappy)...so basically now no one is happy with him.
He wouldve had a much better chance to get elected had he stuck to his moderate vision, but he wouldnt have gotten any cash from the wealthy extreme donors...so he wouldve lost anyway.
Oh and not to mention that the GOP is divided within by religious extremists as well.....basically the party is doomed unless they can unite under more moderate and less religious leadership.