Charles Dharapak, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Standing with their families, Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney stands with his wife Ann, and Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., second right, stands with his wife Janna after Romney's concession speech at his election night rally in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012.

Is the immediate second-guessing and criticism of the losing political campaigns really appropriate, however well-intentioned? Maybe the time for analysis is farther down the road when wounds have been given a chance to heal.

Losing a campaign is hard enough without the armchair quarterbacks telling you what you did wrong. I thank all those courageous candidates who ran and lost for making that effort.

Mitt Romney gave his heart and soul to run an honorable campaign, and it must be heartbreaking to lose such a close contest. He ran out of love for his country and a desire to improve it. I salute him and the many brave others who ran while subjecting themselves to the brutal scrutiny and constant criticism that these campaigns inflict.

Most of us are not willing to do this, but our democratic republic needs it to survive.

Paula Bergeson