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Exclusive - Inside Orca: How the Romney Campaign Suppressed Its Own Vote
Breitbart.com ^ | 11/8/12 | Joel B. Pollak

Posted on 11/08/2012 10:30:53 PM PST by stillonaroll

As Republicans try to explain their Election Day losses in terms of policy, tactics, and strategy, one factor is emerging as the essential difference between the Obama and Romney campaigns on November 6: the absolute failure of Romney’s get-out-the-vote effort, which underperformed even John McCain’s lackluster 2008 turnout. One culprit appears to be “Orca,” the Romney’s massive technology effort, which failed completely.

...

Likewise, Twitchy recorded widespread real-time complaints and criticisms on Twitter by Project Orca volunteers. At one point during Election Day, the system had malfunctioned so badly that desperate volunteers wondered if the program had been hacked.

...

Before the election, there was much fear-mongering on the Democratic side about the Republicans’ supposed plans to suppress turnout among Obama voters. After the election, GOP strategist Karl Rove accused the Obama campaign of “suppressing the vote” by running a negative campaign against Romney that kept voters at home.

The truth is much worse. There was, in fact, massive suppression of the Republican vote--by the Romney campaign, through the diversion of nearly 40,000 volunteers to a failing computer program.

There was no Plan B; there was only confusion, and silence.

(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: app; election; fail; it; orca; projectorca; romney
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This would explain a few things.
1 posted on 11/08/2012 10:31:01 PM PST by stillonaroll
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To: stillonaroll

Any Freepers have first hand experience with the app?


2 posted on 11/08/2012 10:35:08 PM PST by MrShoop
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To: stillonaroll

Holy Crap!! EPIC FAIL!!!!! So sad!!!!


3 posted on 11/08/2012 10:38:38 PM PST by Anti-Hillary (Soon everything in America will be "free", except it's people.)
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To: stillonaroll

GOP elites vs. tea party

Bitter internal fighting cost too much money, time and the election.


4 posted on 11/08/2012 10:40:58 PM PST by granada
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To: jeffo; BCR #226; Twotone; Dinah Lord; Brandonmark; jeeperz; No Socialist; 1010RD; 95Theses; ...
Y’all had posted on another thread about Orca. Any comments on this Breitbart article?
5 posted on 11/08/2012 10:43:46 PM PST by stillonaroll
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To: stillonaroll

Having experienced computer sabotage every time I have something critical I’m working on - and seeing the same thing with multiple others who have also worked on critical eligibility issues - I question where the problems came from. I know nothing about this particular situation but I can smell the same crap that I’ve experienced, from a mile away. If it acted like it had been hacked, a logical question is whether it HAD been hacked.

When thugs run the NSA, DHS, DOD, and all the czar-ships that control every aspect of life, nothing is impossible to them. Nothing. The sooner everybody realizes that, the better.


6 posted on 11/08/2012 10:45:27 PM PST by butterdezillion
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To: stillonaroll

I could definitely see a conspiracy theory here, where liberals get hired to work on the program, and intentionally bug it up.


7 posted on 11/08/2012 10:46:42 PM PST by JediJones (Newt Gingrich warned us that the "King of Bain" was unelectable. Did you listen?)
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To: stillonaroll

I’ll never forget in 2008, when the teleprompter at the Republican convention “failed” just as Sarah was starting to give her speech.

Winds up that the Republicans had hired a FLAMING LIBERAL to operate the device. Republican leaders seem to think that none of the “little people” have political thoughts and could sabotage their efforts. They just cannot comprehend that. Remember one of Bush’s top guys for debate prep, likewise, we working both sides...and Kerry’s (I think) people knew EVERYTHING that Bush had done to prepare.

When the Republicans hire people, their first question should be to ask them what party they support. The second question should be for them to PROVE it. Then hit them up with a few questions that only Republicans could understand, such as “What is an amortization schedule”?

There are ways to screen, but you MUST do that, when you give people that much power over your effort - you just don’t hand the keys to some bearded dope smoker with a Grateful Dead shirt and expect him to be on your side.

(by the way, Sarah did just fine without the teleprompter)


8 posted on 11/08/2012 10:48:47 PM PST by BobL (You can live each day only once. You can waste a few, but don't waste too many.)
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To: stillonaroll

Smells like sabotage. Or the GOP-e types in the campaign telling Tea Party volunteers “take a hike, we know better”.


9 posted on 11/08/2012 10:48:47 PM PST by rfp1234 (Arguing with a liberal is like playing chess with a pigeon.)
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To: stillonaroll

Here is a case where there needs to be some serious finger pointing. This election was no different than any other, you must identify your voters and get them out to vote. This is Politics 101, every successful campaign must have a GOTV program. This time ORCA was all hype and chance rather than proven and tested, so it was either incompetence or sabotage and ORCA was a major contributing factor in the failure of this election!


10 posted on 11/08/2012 10:53:26 PM PST by Brandonmark (OWCM is The new American Minority!)
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To: MrShoop; Anti-Hillary; granada; butterdezillion; JediJones; BobL; rfp1234
Here's a similar thread, with a number of comments by FReepers with firsthand experience with Orca-fail:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2957089/posts

11 posted on 11/08/2012 10:54:03 PM PST by stillonaroll
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To: stillonaroll

The program is all good and fine.

Did the Republicans have a back-up that used cell phones, with pencils and paper? Did it EVER occur to them that their was NO SECOND CHANCE if the program crashed, for ANY REASON.

Of course not- when has a computer program ever crashed? - THEY ARE IDIOTS!!!


12 posted on 11/08/2012 10:57:26 PM PST by BobL (You can live each day only once. You can waste a few, but don't waste too many.)
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To: Brandonmark
It’s been years since I’ve done GOTV. Back in the day, we got lists of registered R’s, went to one or more polling stations, crossed off the names of those who had voted, and called those who had not.

Technology has made that process much more efficient—for the Rats. The Republicans are decades behind the times.

13 posted on 11/08/2012 10:58:12 PM PST by stillonaroll
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To: butterdezillion
If it acted like it had been hacked, a logical question is whether it HAD been hacked.

I have ALOT of experience in the area of designing highly available and scalable IT systems across a variety of platforms (20+ years) across a variety of industries including banking, advertising, finance, legal and automotive industries.

When a system underperforms to the point of becoming UN-USABLE, there are a number of questions to ask, including:

1. Was it designed to perform at a defined, acceptable level under anticipated peak loads? If you know you're going to have a maximum of 40,000 people using a system at peak load, you design the system to be scalable so that if 40,000 or more users are using it, it has available capacity. That means either that capacity is online all the time, or can be brought to bear quickly during peak utilization periods, thus the next question.

2. Have all single points of failure been eliminated, and can additional capacity to bear quickly if needed to maintain performance? (And then, how will that capacity be brought online quickly?)

If questions 1 and 2 (and their related questions) above were not properly addressed, it can certainly appear that a system has been compromised because it largely has - by its own flawed design. It's really only after eliminating these two questions that one can reasonably ask "has the system been compromised/hacked?"

I wasn't a user of the system, my best guess with the information available is that it simply became un-usable due to peak demand and the Romney Campaign's IT Staff didn't have a plan to bring additional capacity online quickly enough to maintain a proper service level for the users of the system.

14 posted on 11/08/2012 11:03:15 PM PST by usconservative (When The Ballot Box No Longer Counts, The Ammunition Box Does. (What's In Your Ammo Box?))
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To: stillonaroll
It’s been years since I’ve done GOTV. Back in the day, we got lists of registered R’s, went to one or more polling stations, crossed off the names of those who had voted, and called those who had not.

Technology has made that process much more efficient—for the Rats. The Republicans are decades behind the times.

BINGO!

15 posted on 11/08/2012 11:03:53 PM PST by Brandonmark (OWCM is The new American Minority!)
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To: usconservative
I've no IT experience, but I say it was hacked.

As reporters sometimes say, "the story is too good to check."

16 posted on 11/08/2012 11:07:42 PM PST by stillonaroll
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To: stillonaroll

Thanks, very informative thread!


17 posted on 11/08/2012 11:09:21 PM PST by MrShoop
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To: BobL

Agreed. People hired by the GOP to oversee critical technology must be reliably conservative. It’s too important to allow some long-haired, maggot-infested, dope-smoking FM type to infiltrate the system.


18 posted on 11/08/2012 11:10:13 PM PST by stillonaroll
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To: JediJones

My thought as well. Told not to bring their credentials???

Also, the whole plan sounds wrong. I don’t think people are supposed to have access to the names of people who have not voted yet.


19 posted on 11/08/2012 11:16:20 PM PST by firebrand
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To: JediJones
Denial of service, or intentional bugs, are plausible.

As another poster pointed out, perhaps the system did not have adequate capacity for peak usage. That could have been intentional.

20 posted on 11/08/2012 11:18:10 PM PST by stillonaroll
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To: firebrand
Here in California (and likely most other states), the names of all registered voters in a precinct are posted at the polling station, usually near the entrance. Every hour or so, one of the workers will update the list by crossing off the names of those who have already voted.

It's public information, and the Rats know hot to use it effectively. We do not.

21 posted on 11/08/2012 11:21:49 PM PST by stillonaroll
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To: stillonaroll
From THE WALL STREET JOURNAL LIVE: 2012 Election Results

5:37 PM | Project ORCA, Romney's big Get Out The Vote initiative, has reportedly crashed. RealClearPolitics reporter Erin McPike tweets that Mitt Romney's Project Project ORCA app failed, so the GOP war room was unable to track the campaign's turnout operation.

Obama campaign aide Michael Czin tweets this, in response to the news:

22 posted on 11/08/2012 11:26:01 PM PST by Brandonmark (OWCM is The new American Minority!)
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To: stillonaroll

Anyone have a techno-FReeper ping list? I’d be curious as to their thoughts.


23 posted on 11/08/2012 11:26:21 PM PST by stillonaroll
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To: stillonaroll

I think it might be illegal in New York.


24 posted on 11/08/2012 11:26:39 PM PST by firebrand
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To: Brandonmark

Wow....just wow.


25 posted on 11/08/2012 11:29:36 PM PST by LongWayHome
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To: Brandonmark
“Orca has been renamed the Titanic.”
26 posted on 11/08/2012 11:30:07 PM PST by stillonaroll
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To: stillonaroll

I don’t think Romney would hire stupid people.


27 posted on 11/08/2012 11:32:21 PM PST by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: firebrand
Each state has their own rules, but however voter identification is done, the Rats do it better than us.

Here in CA, I gave up doing GOTV because things have turned deep-blue Rat. They now have a super majority in the state legislature. The Republicans are completely powerless to block Rat legislation. :(

28 posted on 11/08/2012 11:34:52 PM PST by stillonaroll
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To: stillonaroll
This explains nothing - it's a very weak attempt to try to “explain away” the fact that Romney wasn't really anyone's choice in the primaries, he was just the guy left standing after he eviscerated via attack ads anyone who was leading him. Does anyone really need software to help them to remind people to vote for them? I submit NO, they don't. If Conservatives want to vote for you, then you wouldn't be able to keep them away from their polling place. Further - Ronald Reagan never had “software” to remind us to go vote for him.

If THIS is what they're trying to pass off as the “reason” Romney lost then it really only explains what a lousy nominee he was in the first place.

29 posted on 11/08/2012 11:35:23 PM PST by antonico
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To: freekitty
I'm sure he did hire smart people. But it's possible (likely?) that some their employees/contractors were Rat sympathizers, who acted as Rat operatives, and had key roles in formulating Orca.
30 posted on 11/08/2012 11:38:10 PM PST by stillonaroll
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To: stillonaroll

This isn’t voter ID, though. It has to do with information gathering during the election.


31 posted on 11/08/2012 11:41:06 PM PST by firebrand
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To: antonico
You raise some good points. Romney was way, way down my list in the primaries. He did not start winning big until the other R’s had been peeled away.

However, the Rat GOTV efforts have proven to be exemplary. They have won the popular vote in five of six elections. Rat turnout has been excellent in 2008 and 2012, and part of the reason is getting people’s butts to the polls. The Rats do this a lot better than the R’s, and part of the reason is that they have made efficient use of modern technology. The R’s have not, and it reduces turnout, which is costly in a close election

By the way, Ronald Reagan never had a campaign website, but I think he would have one if he were campaigning these days.

32 posted on 11/08/2012 11:47:09 PM PST by stillonaroll
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To: stillonaroll

My immediate thought when I heard about Orca was that I hoped it didn’t go the way of their mobile app for announcing Romney’s VP pick. Remember that one> They had people download it and it turned out to have an embarrassing typo on it—then they never sent out the announcement of the VP pick on it at all.


33 posted on 11/08/2012 11:47:15 PM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: JediJones

Especially if they really did run it out of Boston.


34 posted on 11/08/2012 11:49:53 PM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: firebrand
By “voter identification,” I’m not referring here to a requirement that a voter prove who they are, by showing a photo ID or other means.

I’m referring to the process of a party or candidate finding people who are inclined to vote for them, making sure they are registered to vote, and making sure they actually vote. It is crucial in winning elections.

35 posted on 11/08/2012 11:50:04 PM PST by stillonaroll
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To: MrShoop

Yep, and I can confirm the story.
The system was a total flop and wasted much manpower that could have been used to get out the vote using more traditional methods.

I could not get the app running until 2 pm and then only intermittently. In both emails and in an online Q&A session I asked them if they were going to let users do a trial run and check the system and the data base out and there was no reply. You don’t assume tha a massive nationwide computer application and software is just going to work without any testing or useage.

The entire instruction set was a .pdf of three cell phone app screens. The app was not available until early in the morning on election day, so that was your first look at it. It would have been a failure even if the communications link worked because no one saw it until election day. I consider myself IT-savvy and I couldn’t get it to work - why did they think poll watchers, who are frequently tech-illiterate retirees, would get it running?

The problem is that the people who run these campaigns are political junkies with little experience in life other than playing politics. That’s all of them, from the campaign directors to those young twenty-somethings with their political science degrees who think that they will parlay their campaign work into an influential job in the winning candidate’s administration.

The sad part is that half of them do win and end up running the US government and we are stuck with it and them. Think Stephanie Cutter and David Axelrod and all those Deputy Assistant Secretaries at DHS and EPA who have never had a real job in their lives.


36 posted on 11/08/2012 11:50:45 PM PST by oldbill
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To: Brandonmark

Sounds like ‘Beached Orca’ would have been apt as well.

This explains why some Romney adviser was already ‘leaking’ to the press yesterday that the loss was the fault of the messaging team. (Pointing blame away from their own failed GOTV effort.)


37 posted on 11/08/2012 11:52:22 PM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: 9YearLurker
I had not heard of the botched VP announcement app. It's a further indication that the R's are not technically competent in modern campaigning.
38 posted on 11/08/2012 11:53:15 PM PST by stillonaroll
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To: stillonaroll

Add this together with the highly touted VP announcement app that failed as well and you’ve got to wonder if this was also tied to how the Romney consultants were enriching themselves instead of effectively using campaign resources. I mean, someone sold them on this and they gave, I’d bet, a juicy contract to someone. I bet some hired consultant got a cut for it.


39 posted on 11/08/2012 11:54:48 PM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: oldbill
I consider myself IT-savvy and I couldn’t get it to work - why did they think poll watchers, who are frequently tech-illiterate retirees, would get it running?

-------------------------------------------------

Excellent point! A lot of R volunteers have never even used an app.

40 posted on 11/08/2012 11:57:16 PM PST by stillonaroll
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To: stillonaroll
Here is another article on this subject:

Mitt Romney's 'Project ORCA' Was A Total Disaster, And It May Have Cost Him The Election

What is Project Orca? Well, this is what they told us:

Project ORCA is a massive undertaking – the Republican Party’s newest, unprecedented and most technologically advanced plan to win the 2012 presidential election.

Pretty much everything in that sentence is false. The "massive undertaking" is true, however. It would take a lot of planning, training and coordination to be done successfully (oh, we'll get to that in a second). This wasn't really the GOP's effort, it was Team Romney's. And perhaps "unprecedented" would fit if we're discussing failure.

The entire purpose of this project was to digitize the decades-old practice of strike lists. The old way was to sit with your paper and mark off people that have voted and every hour or so, someone from the campaign would come get your list and take it back to local headquarters. Then, they'd begin contacting people that hadn't voted yet and encourage them to head to the polls. It's worked for years.

From the very start there were warning signs. After signing up, you were invited to take part in nightly conference calls. The calls were more of the slick marketing speech type than helpful training sessions. There was a lot of "rah-rahs" and lofty talk about how this would change the ballgame.

Working primarily as a web developer, I had some serious questions. Things like "Has this been stress tested?", "Is there redundancy in place?" and "What steps have been taken to combat a coordinated DDOS attack or the like?", among others. These types of questions were brushed aside (truth be told, they never took one of my questions). They assured us that the system had been relentlessly tested and would be a tremendous success.

On one of the last conference calls (I believe it was on Saturday night), they told us that our packets would be arriving shortly. Now, there seemed to be a fair amount of confusion about what they meant by "packet". Some people on Twitter were wondering if that meant a packet in the mail or a pdf or what. Finally, my packet arrived at 4PM on Monday afternoon as an emailed 60 page pdf. Nothing came in the mail. Because I was out most of the day, I only got around to seeing it at around 10PM Monday night. So, I sat down and cursed as I would have to print out 60+ pages of instructions and voter rolls on my home printer. Naturally, for reasons I can't begin to comprehend, my printer would not print in black and white with an empty magenta cartridge (No HP, I will never buy another one of your products ever again). So, at this point I became panicked. I was expected to be at the polls at 6:45AM and nothing was open. I was thankfully able to find a Kinko's open until 11PM that was able to print it out and bind it for me, but this is not something I should have had to do. They expected 75-80 year old veteran volunteers to print out 60+ pages on their home computers? The night before election day? From what I hear, other people had similar experiences. In fact, many volunteers never received their packets at all.

At 6:30AM on Tuesday, I went to the polls. I was immediately turned away because I didn't have my poll watcher certificate. Many, many people had this problem. The impression I got was this was taken care of because they had "registered me". Others were as well. But apparently, I was supposed to go on my own to a Victory Center to pick it up, but that was never communicated properly. Outside of the technical problems, this was the single biggest failure of the operation. They simply didn't inform people that this was a requirement. In fact, check out my "checklist" from my ORCA packet:

Notice anything missing? My guess is the second "Chair (if allowed)" was supposed to be "poll watcher certificate" but they put chair twice. This was an instruction packet that went out to 30,000+ people. Did no one proof-read it?

So, I headed back home to see if I could get my certificate. I called their official help line. It went unanswered. I tried their legal line. Same thing. I emailed them. No response. I continued to do this for six straight hours and never got a response. I even tried to call three local victory centers. All went straight to voicemail.

While I was home, I took to Twitter and the web to try to find some answers. From what I saw, these problems were widespread. People had been kicked from poll watching for having no certificate. Others never received their pdf packets. Some were sent the wrong packets from a different area. Some received their packet, but their usernames and passwords didn't work.

Now a note about the technology itself. For starters, this was billed as an "app" when it was actually a mobile-optimized website (or "web app"). For days I saw people on Twitter saying they couldn't find the app on the Android Market or iTunes and couldn't download it. Well, that's because it didn't exist. It was a website. This created a ton of confusion. Not to mention that they didn't even "turn it on" until 6AM in the morning, so people couldn't properly familiarize themselves with how it worked on their personal phone beforehand.

Next, and this part I find mind-bogglingly absurd, the web address was located at "https://www.whateveritwas.com/orca". Notice the "s" after http. This denotes it's a secure connection, something that's used for e-commerce and web-based email. So far, so good. The problem is that they didn't auto-forward the regular "http" to "https" and as a result, many people got a blank page and thought the system was down. Setting up forwarding is the simplest thing in the world and only takes seconds, but they failed to do it. This is compounded by the fact that mobile browsers default to "http" when you just start with "www" (as 95% of the world does).

By 2PM, I had completely given up. I finally got ahold of someone at around 1PM and I never heard back. From what I understand, the entire system crashed at around 4PM. I'm not sure if that's true, but it wouldn't surprise me. I decided to wait for my wife to get home from work to vote, which meant going very late (around 6:15PM). Here's the kicker, I never got a call to go out and vote. So, who the hell knows if that end of it was working either.

So, the end result was that 30,000+ of the most active and fired-up volunteers were wandering around confused and frustrated when they could have been doing anything else to help. Like driving people to the polls, phone-banking, walking door-to-door, etc. We lost by fairly small margins in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado. If this had worked could it have closed the gap? I sure hope not for my sanity's sake.

The bitter irony of this entire endeavor was that a supposedly small government candidate gutted the local structure of GOTV efforts in favor of a centralized, faceless organization in a far off place (in this case, their Boston headquarters). Wrap your head around that.

41 posted on 11/08/2012 11:57:35 PM PST by Brandonmark (OWCM is The new American Minority!)
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To: stillonaroll

The RATs do have a great get out the vote scheme. Sometimes the voters are invisible on a massive scale. I think that is awesome and should be exploited by conservatives in the future.

The United States did not come into being due to Americans playing by the rules. Americans who dreamed up this country and fought for it made their own rules and forced the British and French and Indians and Mexicans etc. to bend.


42 posted on 11/08/2012 11:57:56 PM PST by petitfour
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To: freekitty

How about corrupt people who took him for a ride?

Breitbart’s started an expose series on how the Romney consultants made decisions that made them more money but cost the campaign.


43 posted on 11/09/2012 12:01:40 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: Brandonmark
Thanks for that comprehensive account!

GOP, are you reading this? The Orca disaster must not be repeated.

I've got complaints about the primaries: too long, too many candidates in the debates, too many Rats allowed to vote in R primaries. That's a discussion for another day. For now, Orca and the R's GOTV efforts must be studied so that they can be improved.

44 posted on 11/09/2012 12:05:10 AM PST by stillonaroll
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To: stillonaroll

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.”

- Marcus Tullius Cicero


45 posted on 11/09/2012 12:07:08 AM PST by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: stillonaroll

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.”

- Marcus Tullius Cicero


46 posted on 11/09/2012 12:07:08 AM PST by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: petitfour
Let's not forget that the Rats have a built in advantage in their GOTV efforts: their voters tend to live in concentrated population centers, which makes GOTV more effective by nature. R's live in rural/exurb areas, and are harder to round up on election day.

Still, the R's must get caught up technologically.

47 posted on 11/09/2012 12:09:27 AM PST by stillonaroll
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To: stillonaroll

Of course, there is also the great bitter irony of this from Mr. Harvard Business School, whose entire campaign, rather than promoting conservative principles, was “I know how to run companies, I know how to run things.”

Both PE and VC guys know how to run operationally petite investment companies, but to actually run the companies they invest in they bring in the operations executives who know how to run large organizations. The PE/VC guys aren’t really hands on at all. Yet, we repeatedly heard how hands-on Romney was, overseeing and making all kinds of campaign decisions himself.


48 posted on 11/09/2012 12:13:54 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: Talisker

“It is easy to dodge a spear in the daylight, but it is difficult to avoid an arrow in the dark.” — Unknown


49 posted on 11/09/2012 12:21:00 AM PST by stillonaroll
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To: Brandonmark

Infuriating story.

But I’m from MA and yes, Romney has always been a big government, technocrat kind of guy.


50 posted on 11/09/2012 12:26:50 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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