Skip to comments.Are Republicans Learning the Wrong Lessons?
Posted on 12/08/2012 1:42:01 PM PST by neverdem
As hard as it is to believe, its been only a little over three weeks since Election Day. But there are already plenty of signs that Republicans are learning many of the wrong lessons from that debacle. For starters, theres been a lot of excessive emphasis on racial demographics, which actually changed very little from 2008. According to exit polling, the portion of Hispanic voters went up just 1 percentage point, the portion of Asian voters went up just 1 point, and the portion of black voters stayed the same. Meanwhile, the portion of white voters fell 2 points largely because, as Sean Trende notes, Mitt Romney failed to turn out several million such voters.
Now Senator John McCain says that, when it comes to the life-or-death matter of abortion, Republicans should leave the issue alone. Well, it would be hard to have left the issue any more alone than Romney did, and what did it get him? On an issue on which Americans are typically split pretty much right down the middle, exit polling showed that voters favored the legality (59 percent), rather than illegality (36 percent), of abortion in most or all cases. This suggests that Romneys silence in the face of Obamas pro-abortion rhetoric caused some swing voters to shift their position leftward (as people are inclined to do when they hear only one side of an issue advanced) while millions of pro-life voters apparently sat this one out.
In truth, the Romney strategy on essentially every issue and especially on Obamacare could aptly be summarized as leave the issue alone. Even on the economy, the one issue on which the Romney camp generally seemed eager to engage, the campaign left alone the question of how we got into this mess in the first place. Relatedly, it left alone the crucially important claim that Bill Clinton made at the Democratic convention: Listen to me now. No president, no president not me, not any of my predecessors no one could have fully repaired all the damage that [Obama] found in just four years. This, of course, was ridiculous. FDR had inherited the Great Depression, and yet, in the year that he first sought reelection, real economic growth was over 13 percent more than six times what its been this year under Obama. But Romney characteristically left that one alone, and more than three years into the Obama recovery exit polling indicated that voters still blamed George W. Bush (53 percent), not Obama (38 percent), for the stagnant economy.
As a result of Romneys failure to make the case on essentially any issue either against Obamas abysmal record or on behalf of his own proposals we ended up with this very strange result: In an election pitting perhaps the most liberal president in American history against a moderate Republican who was never fully trusted by the conservative wing of his own party, likely voters polled by Pew Research less than two weeks before the election said that Obama (50 percent), not Romney (38 percent), takes the more moderate positions. And in an election pitting a Democratic president who rammed Obamacare through on a straight party-line vote and then spent the next two years demagoguing Republicans, versus the former Republican governor of heavily Democratic Massachusetts, likely voters in that same poll said that Obama (47 percent), not Romney (41 percent), was more willing to work with leaders from the other party.
As such polling suggests, Republicans didnt lose this election because of demographics, and they didnt lose it because of the positions they took on the issues. They lost it because they failed to make the case against Obama or on behalf of their own ideas and principles. As a result, they failed to rally independents to their side to the extent that they should have, and they failed to turn out their own base. Far from leaving key issues alone in the future, Republicans need to engage the American public on matters of importance and make their case in persuasive language.
More than anything, the debacle of 2012 should show the GOP that it cant run a Seinfeldian campaign a campaign about nothing. Chris Caldwell summed it up nicely in these pages: Where two candidates argue over values, the public may prefer one to the other. But where only one candidate has values, he wins, whatever those values happen to be.
They’re being obtuse on purpose.
What all of us who despise Osama Obama and his pals/worshipers must learn is this...in any given election,particularly Presidential elections,a member of one of two parties...Rat or Republican..will win.And that will be true for the rest of *our* lifetimes,at least,as it’s been true for the last 100 years or more.At the *very* worst the Republican will be the lesser of two evils and might even be a genuinely decent,responsible and respectable man/woman.The Rats learned from 2000 when Nader did,in fact,cost them the White House.They’ll never make that mistake again.The question is can *we* learn the same lesson...sometimes “principles” must give way to pragmatism...sad as that might be.
Principles “gave way to pragmatism” all along in the last election, and where did that get us?
Why vote for a fake, de-facto Dem when you can vote for a real one? That was obviously the voter response to Romney’s failure to discuss any principles (or even issues) and try to present himself as being so close to a Dem that nobody would know the difference.
They NEVER LEARN ANYTHING.
(sorry for shouting)
“More than anything, the debacle of 2012 should show the GOP that it cant run a Seinfeldian campaign a campaign about nothing. Chris Caldwell summed it up nicely in these pages: Where two candidates argue over values, the public may prefer one to the other. But where only one candidate has values, he wins, whatever those values happen to be.
No, their souls have been purchased. They are only playing the role.
"Evangelicals turned out in record numbers and voted as heavily for Mitt Romney yesterday as they did for George W. Bush in 2004," said Ralph Reed, chairman of Faith and Freedom Coalition. "That is an astonishing outcome that few would have predicted even a few months ago."
The numbers back Ralph Reed. No one will argue that Bush failed to turn out the base in 2004. Yet, Romney got several million more evangelical votes than Bush. That this happened in a declining demographic is remarkable.
This guy is correct, the public still doesn't know who or what a Mitt Romney is, and Ryan didn't help with the general public, he was in the same place, an invisible man.
In the end millions of people stayed home, and there was little movement or volatility among the voters, the people who vote as a consistent habit of participatory life mostly just did their grim, uninspired duty, and pulled the lever that they normally pull, an R or a D.
Has Mr. Anderson not yet figured out how far left the GOP is, and still thinks that it is a party of conservatives?
The never ending push to the left, a constant hacking and chopping at conservatism.
You sound very "concerned", we are 4 years away from the next presidential election, yet your "concern" is never ending, we just nominated one of the most hard left nominees of either party in history, and definitely of the GOP, yet you still want to let us know that we need to move farther left.
The republican party is partying while carrying around Boehner like “WeekEnd at Bernies”..
Boehner is quite dead you know..
With Cantor on one arm and McConnell on the other..
The masquerade is not even funny..
Another thing that must be changed is "open primaries". I live in such a state, here in Illinois, primary day, you walk in to the polling place and you are asked, "Democrat or Republican", you state your preference and receive that ballot, no registration by party whatsoever and you don't have to show any form of id for the primary or general election.
The way things stand, we are doomed to continue to have Romney clone candidates.
Thank you, Jeffrey, for making all the same points I was making two weeks ago.
Charlie Crist agrees would agree with you. Of course Charlie Crist is without principle, selfish, and only interested in obtaining political power -much like the Kenyan Marxist and all the other leftists, even the ones with an R next to their name.
Thanks but no thanks. Give me Liberty or give me death!
Let me tell ya lads, as sure'n as this here is the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and fifty four, I am here ta tell ya that for the nex' hundred years, a member o' one o' two parties, eithern the Democrats or the Whigs, is gonna win tha presideshual eeeelecshuns!
Every President since 1870 has either been a Rat or a Republican.Given that the Rat Party is *entirely* behind their Communist "manifesto" the prospect of the Republican Party splitting suggests that the next 50 years will feature nothing but *Rat* presidents.And Rat Congresses as well.All that for the sake of "purity".
Buckwheat won a second term because of VOTER FRAUD.
Republicans are simpletons. You could rob these morons in broad daylight, holding a gun, hatchet, bow and arrow and a claymore mine, and these 30 IQ republicans would blame the tea party.