Well, that didn’t go well.
I’ll admit it, I didn’t see it coming down to this. I saw this as an incredibly tight race that we’d still be waiting on results for. I did figure it would be Ohio that we were waiting for, but to see those results so soon was a death knell for the Romney campaign.
I put no stock in exit polls, and quite frankly I’m too numb to even break them down. What’s most telling about this election, however, it how wrong all the polls were. Real Clear Politics (RCP) showed the president leading Romney 48.8 to 48.1 going into the election. So many people said that those polls were skewed too heavily in favor of the president, because they over-sampled Democrats, when historically, there would be heavy Republican turnout. But it appears that that RCP average was right-on when it came to support for Romney, but underestimated support for the president by 1.6 points. That’s big in a national election. State by state, it’s a different story. States are hard to gauge. Just look at the last election. Some states were off by nearly eight points, so crunching that data was kind of a nightmare. But to see it break the way it did was jaw-dropping. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that Romney would carry Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, Obama was likely to carry Michigan and Nevada. Questions still lingered about New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Colorado; and Ohio was anybody’s guess. Plus, seeing Romney make a Hail Mary campaign swing through Pennsylvania had many pundits guessing too. But there was just a sense of pessimism that permeated the mood when Pennsylvania went blue. When Wisconsin followed suit, it got really glum. But what was most surprising was seeing the break for the president in Virginia and Florida. Sure, the microscope was on Ohio, but to see both of those states with Obama in the lead had many (even me) puzzled. Then things just went from bad to worse. New Hampshire went blue, as did Colorado and Iowa. And then the networks called it (and probably had to take horse tranquilizers to contain their glee).
I never had Romney winning this thing. It would have been nice, but I just didn’t see that happening. In fact, I didn’t see a Republican beating him, period. However, what I truly didn’t see is the ease at which he did it. I saw this thing coming down to Ohio or Wisconsin. I even thought it was possible for Romney to pull a Gore and win the popular vote. In the end, however, I was wrong – mostly. Did I or did I not call New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Nevada for Obama? Yes, I got Colorado, Iowa, Virginia, and Florida wrong, but what polls indicated smooth sailing for them going into Tuesday? What really irritates me is what I attribute to false optimism on the part of so many Republican operatives. Karl Rove, George Will, and the Colorado University political science professor that has predicted every election in the last twenty years, Ken Bickers, were all wrong – and in a big way. I loathe the idea that one of these thinkers was outdone by the likes of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, but it’s true. Nearly every poll showed Romney taking Florida, she said Florida would go to Obama. It did – by 0.6 points. Vexing, to say the least. It’s not that I think Democrats were understating their optimism. I really don’t think they had a clue it would break this way, I think they were just hedging their bets. After all, Romney had only prepared a victory speech. Obama had prepared two speeches.
I don’t want to drone on and on about what did what to who and when, so I’ll treat this like a frequently asked questions (FAQ) list. Then I’ll have a follow-up analysis. (Full disclosure: I wrote this throughout the day, and it became lengthy, so just bear with me.):
Why did President Obama win reelection?
- $1 billion.
- As Rush Limbaugh brilliantly put it, people would rather vote for Santa Claus than vote to be their own Santa Claus. That’s really what it boils down to. When people weren’t voting along party/partisan/racial lines, they pulled the lever for the guy they thought would give them the most free [stuff].
- He focused small, went negative, and compromised his alleged principles to utilize political action committees. Bain, binders, and bailouts.
- Power of the incumbency – though, his is probably the weakest case for that argument in history. He did have a bully pulpit, however.
- A media embargo on the Benghazi story. If this had happened under a Republican administration, this would still be running circles on all the media outlets. But since this was an epic foreign policy failure and a huge cover-up that made the administration look bad at a vulnerable point, the proverbial wagons were circled, and the story buried.
- The death of Osama bin Laden. Even though it can’t be attributed directly to him, he received most of the credit for getting the infamous terror leader. That one killing closed a chapter in American history, and Obama seemingly just happened to be in the room to photo-bomb the occasion.
- Bill Clinton. Somehow Obama gleaned some mojo from the former president.
- I’ll just say it: he’s black. Black Americans traditionally vote Democrat, but the last two election cycles, they’ve had someone who just happens to share their shade of melanin to vote for – and apparently that boosts turnout.
- He didn’t expose his leftist agenda for the next four years.
Why did Mitt Romney lose?
- $1 billion.
- A hostile media. Sure, you could argue that they were more fair to him and Paul Ryan than they were to John McCain and Sarah Palin, but the fact of the matter is, when they were dissecting Mitt Romney’s tax returns and his resume with Bain Capital, they should have been covering Benghazi, Fast and Furious, and Solyndra. Palin, among others, have called out the media in protecting Obama and attacking Romney early on, likening Romney’s uphill battle to trying to un-ring a bell.
- Trying to be too many things to too many people. He may have had a sterling resume and be empathetic to boot, but apparently the electorate likes to focus on small things. He’s rich. He took big risks in business that didn’t always pay off. He put the family dog on the roof of their car in the ‘80s.
- He’s a Mormon. I guarantee you more people voted for Obama because Romney is a Mormon, than voted for Romney because Obama is black.
Did the Republicans nominate the wrong guy?
- Charles Krauthammer pointed out that we had a weak field from the get-go. Of them, however, Mitt Romney appeared the most presidential.
- This is how I would have called the other potential nominees against Obama:
- Rick Santorum v. Obama: 42/57
- Newt Gingrich v. Obama: 41/58
- Ron Paul v. Obama: 38/61
- Sarah Palin v. Obama: 41/58
- Donald Trump v. Obama: 31/68
- Rick Perry v. Obama: 42/57
- Tim Pawlenty v. Obama: 44/55
- Michele Bachmann v. Obama: 41/58
- John Huntsman v. Obama: 40/59
- Herman Cain v. Obama: 41/58
- If we had nominated someone other than Paul Ryan for vice president, this is the way I see it having gone:
- Romney/Rubio v. Obama/Biden: 49/50
- Romney/Rice v. Obama/Biden: 44/55
- Romney/Pawlenty v. Obama/Biden: 47/51
- Romney/Portman v. Obama/Biden: 49/50
- Romney/Jindal v. Obama/Biden: 47/52
- Romney/Ayotte v. Obama/Biden: 46/53
- Romney/McDonnell v. Obama/Biden: 48/51
- Romney is not a typical Republican, and nominating someone from the Northeast is always a bit shaky, but he moved right, and that was a smart move.
- Repeatedly, in the primaries, Romney was hammered on being the godfather, if you will, of ObamaCare. But repeatedly, he refuted that claim and pointed out that his was a state-level mandate, not a federal government takeover of the healthcare system. He wasn’t the perfect guy to run against Obama on that issue, but he was able to run effectively enough.
- All of that said, was there someone else who could have run a better campaign than Romney?
What is going to happen over the next four years?
- Continued unrest in the economy and a feeble at best stock market.
- A moral compass adrift.
- A deadlocked, partisan Congress with a president unwilling to compromise.
- An EPA run rampant with out-of-control regulations against coal and other fossil fuels.
- Soaring energy prices.
- Continued unrest in the Middle East, and a destabilized Iraq and Afghanistan.
- A complete transformation of our healthcare system – for the worse. And higher premiums.
- Executive orders to boot. Congress is still deadlocked. Expect liberal policies to flow freely in this form.
- Who knows, really? If Putin, Chavez, and Castro wanted Obama to win reelection, that doesn’t bode well for the rest of the world.
Where do Republicans go from here?
- Don’t give up.
- Don’t let the Democrats make the rules, and don’t let them define us on their terms. This notion that we’re not an inclusive party is [malarkey]. Ours is the party of Condoleezza Rice, Nicki Haley, Bobby Jindal, Susana Martinez, Marco Rubio, Mia Love, Allen West, J.C. Watts, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Kelly Ayote, Tim Scott, and Ted Cruz. If you don’t know who all those people are, it’s because the media doesn’t want you to realize that the Republican Party welcomes people from all walks of life. Oh, and this notion that if you’re gay, you can’t vote Republican; also [malarkey]. Ever hear of the Log Cabin Republicans? Just because you’re gay doesn’t mean that you’re also attracted to big government, over-regulation, higher taxes, and a weak military. Sure, the Republican Party is traditional, and their stance on marriage reflects that. But they also back the notion of letting states decide. I personally see homosexuality as a sin, but that doesn’t mean I’ll keep them from joining my party. (I’ll admit it, this bullet point was more of a rant/bunny trail.)
- Take back the Senate in two years. I said it this year, and I’ll keep the mantra going forward in 2014. The Senate is about as corrupt as political organizations come. It is stacked with crusty politicians who have reached the pinnacle of their careers and all they desire now is to hold onto what power they have for as long as possible. (And yes, this includes both sides of the aisle.) Ditching Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader is paramount and should be the number one agenda of the RNC going into the 2014 midterms.
- Don’t compromise your principles. Compromise can be a respectable thing, but not at the expense of your principles. You saw this on the Democrat side during the ObamaCare debate. Allegedly pro-life Democrats compromised on abortion to get the bill passed. As a result, the party is all but devoid of principled elected officials now. It gets old seeing the Republicans block measures along party lines or pass bills in the House only to see them ignored or defeated in the Senate, but if the Party is passionate about something (like ending ObamaCare), they should vote their principles.
- Don’t forget your constituents. You came into the political sphere with their votes. You can exit just as easily.
- Don’t forget the Tea Party. Sure, it seems like they didn’t quite show up in 2012 like they did in 2010, but they’re still a force to be reckoned with. Ignoring them will do you no good.
- Reach out to the Ron Paul crowd. It’s true – the man is a kook. However, what his rabid followers stand for has more in common with the Republican Party than that of the Democrat Party. Yeah, they may spit in your face – have you ever had a conversation with a Paulite? – but the gesture will not go unnoticed.
It’s true. The results put me in a funk. But I was headed that way before November 6th. When President Obama was elected in 2008, I began to see a shift in the country. Yes, America wanted a change, and that’s just what they got. But the shift hasn’t been for the better. Instead, it’s been away from personal responsibility and the ideals that shape the American dream. It’s been in the other direction actually – where a culture of dependency has emerged, and people long for the easy way out. This is why you saw the emergence of the Occupy movement – not that they’re a force to be reckoned with like the Tea Party, but it’s just indicative of where we are as a society. We’re on a short road to becoming more like Greece after this election.
Mitt Romney put up a valiant effort, and while there may have been missteps along the way, his campaign was about as flawless as it could have been. If half the focus had been put into vetting President Obama as was put into vetting Romney, we may not be where we are today. However, dwelling on the treasonous acts of the media, the disastrous track record the president has on the economy, and the scary thoughts of the future; the fact still remains that he won – just like I said he would. It would be easy for me to go home and commit some serious carbicide (cheese fries would be my weapon of choice), but I will not do so. That would give fuel to the fire.
Disappointed, I am. Surprised, I am not. This is not over, though. The battle may be won by the other side, but the war is not lost. I will not surrender the American dream to the leftist ideologues who see America and capitalism as the problem. It may be an uphill battle for years to come, but it is one that I look forward to fighting. Eradicating liberalism is one of my life goals, and I intend on accomplishing that sooner rather than later.
I just spent several paragraphs dispelling the notion that a different outcome was possible and what to look forward to in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. It may get ugly, but I have a hope that transcends the petty nature of politics: my faith in Jesus Christ. God alone knows what will transpire, and He has a plan for why the election went the way it did. I may not see it now – like much of His will – but I am steadfast in the knowledge that it is all for His glory. It was very encouraging to see this sentiment reflected on Facebook and other social media today, after the anger/depression/anxiety/sugar highs wore off. If you’re still mad about the election, don’t be. Look to the One that controls eternity, not just the next four years.