Election Postmortem – The Point Everybody is Missing [Reader Post]

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By now everybody knows about the results of Tuesday’s elections and we’ve seen tons of analysis. The predominant themes have been that only in hindsight did Romney run a horrible campaign, that the Tea Party extremism had been rejected by the voters, that this is truly Obama’s mandate, all of the Republican forecasting models were horrifically wrong, and that the Republican party’s only hope is to make drastic changes to its principles if it hopes to survive. Did I miss anything? It’s natural to knee jerk or overreact when something unexpected happens, so I have advice for both sides: don’t read too much into this election and base your next moves only on what happened Tuesday.

First, for the Democrats, you weren’t given a mandate. You scored some impressive wins on Tuesday, and for that I congratulate you. You kept the presidency in a hard fought campaign. You managed to gain seats in the Senate, including one popular figure from your side in Elizabeth Warren retaking Ted Kennedy’s old seat in Massachusetts. You got a referendum passed in Colorado legalizing pot, you got gay marriage ballot initiatives through in three states, and in California several measures to raise taxes and restrict economic freedom also went through. Combine this with President Obama’s 333 electoral votes and it looks like you’ve got a clear mandate that the country is shifting leftward, right?

Not quite. When you look at the battleground states the president’s victory only came by roughly 350,000 votes. Yes, I now what the final margin in the overall popular vote was certainly more decisive, but keep in mind that the president also got nine million fewer votes than in 2008. The Republicans gained seats in the House, and now has it’s largest margin among Governorships that either party has had in 12 years. Your California measures only made an already hostile business climate even worse by raising taxes and assuring that the unions will still be able to force union members to pay for their political campaigning. Expect more businesses to leave your state and unemployment to rise even more. And be careful with the gay marriage wins – your side seems to be even more prone to overreach than the right is. I’m predicting you’ll jump the shark on this issue when someone decides to file a lawsuit against a church that refuses to perform a gay marriage. Sadly you’ll succeed in turning public opinion on this issue better than any conservative ever could.

Now for the conservatives. Yes, the Romney campaign was not perfect. I’m not even going to bother linking to any of the myriad of post game analysis articles on what went wrong. If you’re reading this post you’ve probably read more than your share already. The day wasn’t a complete disaster for the GOP, as seen by my earlier mention of the House and Governorships. Of course, the presidency was the big prize and the failure to defeat such an incompetent president is painful to say the least. While I’ve seen no shortage of reasons for Romney’s loss to Obama, nobody has seen the most obvious reason that Romney failed – there is simply no way he could have beaten Obama.

I wrote just before the election why I believed Obama would win. Put simply, the president has an amazing cult of personality that gives him legions of voters will support him unconditionally. Obama also is phenomenally gifted at winning elections. Yes, I know about all of the scummy things he had to do to win previous elections – I’ve written about that before as well. But the bottom line is he did win those elections – it’s what he’s great at doing. Regardless of who the Republicans ran I’m convinced that nobody could have beaten Obama.

Think about this as a sports analogy. Playing back in the 1980’s, Lawrence Taylor was probably the greatest linebacker in the history of the game. He was so incredibly dominant at his position that he actually changed the game in that opposing offenses had to completely adjust their style of play to account for him at all times (his being frequently coked up and tiring out his opposing offensive linemen by sending hookers to their hotel rooms the night before didn’t hurt either). You could be one of the best offensive lineman responsible for stopping him – you could be in the greatest physical shape of your life. You could have studied hours of game film of Taylor’s previous games and know all of his habits and tendencies. You are ready and thanks to your preparation you are completely confident in your ability to defend against Taylor when the play starts. In other words, you could be as physically, mentally, and psychologically prepared as is humanly possible. You are ready to stop Lawrence Taylor cold and protect your quarterback. Then the play starts and the result is Taylor blowing past you like you’re a matador and planting your quarterback into the turf. You did everything right that you possibly could, but at the end of the day nothing can change the fact that your opponent is simply better than you.

Obama was simply better at getting people behind him for the election, and his coat tails bought in the votes for many other Democrats sharing the ticket with him. The Republicans would love to have someone similar that they could use to rally their base, although without the creepy cult worship factor. The lefties in the media are dancing in the streets at the death of the Republican party, just like they did back in 2008. And how did that work out? The left also is never going to have Obama on a ticket again, and all of the advantages that he brings with it.

Do the Republicans have lessons they need to learn from this election? Oh, yes. And once the smoke clears I’ll probably have my own two cents to throw in. Do the Democrats have reason to celebrate? They certainly do. But to assume that this once in a lifetime candidate who will never be able to run again marks a complete shift in how voters view the issues would be a mistake for both sides.

Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog

Blogging by the credo of "Making the world a more offensive place, one blog post at a time", Brother Bob started writing posts around the beginning of the Obama presidency over at Brother Bob's Blog. A born-again Existentialist and self-professed libertarian with conservative tendencies, he has ironically chosen to live in the Washington, DC area - deep behind enemy lines. He has always loved history, and spent eight years volunteering as a tour guide on weekends, giving over 200 tours to roughly 2,500 mostly foreign guests. His tours were highlighted by stories generally not found in the history books or most other tours, such as the importance of the Battle if Antietam, the origins or Arlington Cemetery, and dispelling the myths of FDR's New Deal. Although his favorite subject to blog about is Economics, as seen in his Economics for Politicians series, his posts try to address angles that other conservative writers and the mainstream media (naturally!) miss. "There's no point in putting up a post on a subject that someone smarter than me has already written". He believes in the "Happy Warrior" approach, and tries to inject humor in his posts, sometimes successfully. Two such examples are his posts comparing the modern left to the horrible Star Wars prequels, and analyzing the laments of a DC woman in search of a feminist boyfriend. Brother Bob lives with his very patient wife known as Sister Babe, and their fantastic son. Little Bob. Little Bob is also the reason that being a tour guide came to an end, as spending Saturdays raising a son takes priority over giving lectures to foreign visitors on the folly of Keynesian economics. BB is also grateful for the opportunity to take his place among the outstanding writers at Flopping Aces, appreciates every person who takes the time to read his posts, and especially those who join him in the conversation in the comments.

49 Responses to “Election Postmortem – The Point Everybody is Missing [Reader Post]”

  1. 26

    Nostradamus

    Herman Cain (With woman issue in tow) would easily have beaten Obama.

    Liberals would have to reveal their true racist colors in any attempt to fight against his character or success, and there’s no way that 98% of the A-A vote would have gone to Obama with Cain the opponent.
    And any liberal that tried to attack Cain about infidelity would get a quick reminder about Monica Lewinsky and THE PRESIDENT’S MAGIC CIGAR.

    The truest of all “True Facts” is that Obama won with the inner-city vote. (Romney won the vast majority of counties as well as landmass).

    One look at Philly says it all.

    (And we would have a TRUE CONSERVATIVE in The White House).

  2. 27

    Brother Bob

    author

    @Russel: Please go back to my previous comment on #10 and read the link – I offer plenty of evidence to support my assertion way beyond gun ownership.

    @GaffaUK: I never stated that other second termers were also unbeatable. Can you show me another incumbent with as dismal a record as Obama’s who won such a decisive victory? We have too many people who will unconditionally support Obama no matter how badly he performs, hence a 2nd term for a president whose performance is somewhere down in Andrew Johnson territory.

  3. 28

    Brother Bob

    author

    @Nostradomus: Cain had zero chance of winning – and I was (and still am) a huge Cain fan. First, 9-9-9 isn’t an answer to foreign policy questions. The press would have skinned him alive if he became a contender. Also the affair allegations would have made every leftist in the press forget that presidents cheating on their wives is a good thing.

    Personally, I would have LOVED to have seen Cain as the Secretary of the Treasury in a Romney administration.

  4. 29

    Nostradamus

    I thought this article was very interesting, although I’m not 100% sold on the Popular Vote versus Electoral College part. (Great for discussion though).

    Perhaps FA should consider this article for top shelf space?

    http://txfx.net/2012/11/11/improving-american-presidential-elections/

    However, I would offer my own “solution” to the Conservatives biggest “Presidential Election Problem”:

    Do one of two things.
    1) Move the date of Election Day to April 15th or…
    2)Make “Income Tax Day” the first Tuesday in November.

    (And think of the convenience for all those who vote at their Town Hall! Write Check for $5000 in Property Tax—Then VOTE for LOCAL ASSESSOR! )

    Ta-Da!

  5. 30

    retire05

    @Russell:

    Do you live in a cave? Have you not heard proponents of same sex marriage claim that it is an “equal” rights issue? If not, you are poorly informed.

    Now, answer my question, or continue to dodge which is a typical liberal tactic that I have long been aware of.

  6. 31

    retire05

    @Nostradamus:

    I would be the first to agree that all primaries should be held on the same day. Yeah, that makes the dog and pony show that are campaigns difficult, but why does Iowa get to go first? Who made Iowa so special? Why does South Caroline hold primaries before most of the nation even knows what the candidates are all about? Let’s hold all primaries on April 15th, when a lot of people have to experience the pain of giving the Devil (the IRS) it’s due.

  7. 33

    Russell

    retire05, I’ve heard all sorts of arguments, sound and specious, serious and silly, nuanced and blindered, on every side of every political issue. What does that matter? Do you think everyone who takes a stance on something has to support every argument made for it? Is there some other reason I should care about someone else’s argument?

  8. 35

    Sageinmn

    Romney played the “good guy” candidate and expected the high information voters to support him. Obama set up a huge database of low information voters that he managed to get out to vote (even the unreliable youth).
    Romney was closing in on the victory until he was hit by Sandy and Chris Cristie’s stab in the back. This wouldn’t normally turn an election except that it happened the last week of the campaign. Many GOP voters that had reservations about the GOP inner circle instantly saw Charlie Crist and his RINO actions. These people were turned off enough to stay away from the polls. Then to add insult to injury women thought it was just terrific for Obama to get such bipartisan support they moved back to him.
    Romney had no backup play to execute so late and was left hoping his ground game would get the vote out.
    End of story.

  9. 36

    ilovebeeswarzone

    all the CONSERVATIVES could beat OBAMA with only your brain matter
    the thing is he might wear a kind of body scent that attract
    the young and older WOMAN
    who knows maybe so,
    there is some with animals in their own testosterone,
    he might have some too that attract WOMAN, some young more probably,
    who are not engaging in sex or other who are once in a while ,
    this guy is exiting them and they are acting so obviously,
    I bet their husband or boyfriend have notice but keep it to themselves
    until she make a slip one day and pronounce OBAMA right in the middle of their encounter,
    then they are in trouble, but they have OBAMA to look at and dream.

  10. 37

    retire05

    @Russell:

    All you are doing is trying to throw up smoke and mirrors. My question was simple, and simple enough for even the simple minded. I am not asking you to subscribe to anyone else’s opinion, I asked a simple question that you have spend bandwidth trying to avoid. Until you answer my question with the same clarity as it was asked, this conversation is moot.

  11. 38

    ilovebeeswarzone

    HELL, he might wear one for the guys too,
    call it a dual testosterone scent,
    well the guys seem to be attract too,
    the gay and the straight,
    call it fatal attraction,
    his magic potion for both,

  12. 39

    John Galt

    @Russell:
    You are correct.
    I have no problem with a woman paying for her own abortion or birth control. After all, each person owns their own body. The state does not own your body, yet.
    I have no problem with people being able to go down to the local drug store and buy penicillin, weed, crack cocaine or anything else they want to put into their body. They own their own body let them self prescribe or take a doctors suggestion.
    This is a question about freedom and I stand for freedom.
    “Freedom, in a political context, means freedom from government coercion. It does not mean freedom from the landlord, or freedom from the employer, or freedom from the laws of nature which do not provide men with automatic prosperity. It means freedom from the coercive power of the state—and nothing else.”
    Ayn Rand

  13. 40

    Tom

    @Russell:

    retire05, for the point I’m making, the issues of same-sex marriage and mixed-race marriage are the same in three important regards: 1) There are both issues of personal liberty. 2) They were both opposed by the right. 3) More, they were opposed on the same grounds using the same arguments. You can take what conservatives said about mixed-race marriage, make simple text substitutions, and get the arguments today made against same-sex marriage.

    Great analysis.

    @ Retire,

    Still using that stale “gay people can marry…… people of the opposite sex!” argument? I know you think it’s clever, but it’s actually intellectually insulting to anyone who is attempting to have a serious debate about a serious topic, and patently asinine, at least in how it reflects upon its author.

  14. 41

    retire05

    @Tom:

    The only thing here that is “patently asinine” is you. But like all liberals, you also will not answer the question. Why is that tactic so favored by “patently asinine” people like you?

  15. 43

    Tom

    @Brother Bob:

    Thanks very much for the tip to check out your link. If you go back and look at the FA version of the post you linked to, you’ll see that I detailed my thoughts on the subject there in detail. It was a very interesting debate.

  16. 44

    Jason

    The lefties in the media are dancing in the streets at the death of the Republican party, just like they did back in 2008.

    What hopefully has died is the delusion that republicans can win more elections by moving further to the right.

  17. 47

    FedUp

    Not only do we have to groom a new candidate for 2016 to combat: Hillary, BiteMe, Michele O or whomever else the Dems want to showcase, but we also need to focus on regaining the Senate. One of the biggest hurdles is the entrenched politocrats who have dug themselves in regardless of any misconduct or wrongdoing on their part. We need to have terms limits on ALL our elected officials – 2 terms for Senator and 4 terms for the House. Since these would be short-term jobs, when they leave office, they would have NO pension and NO benefits and they would be forced to live under the laws they have so diligently crafted for the rest of us. We need to begin now to get our States in line!
    The one drawback is that we would lose some really great people, but the upside is we would get rid of people like Harry Reid, Nanna Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Chuck Schumer and a whole host of other morons!

    PS Boehner has to go!

  18. 48

    ilovebeeswarzone

    49’1 ROMNEY to 50 OBAMA
    that call for a full investigation
    especially, the machine switching the name ROMNEY TO OBAMA,
    and other unscrupulous actions,
    the whole WORLD smell the rat

  19. 49

    johngalt

    Russell said;

    I keep hearing this myth that there are folks on the right who believe in personal freedom. So why do liberty issues seem to end up on the left side of the column?

    Of course, the real difference is in the types of freedom and liberty each side protects. Further on, Russell suggests that marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage, being two big issues voted on by voters in some states, are clearly demonstrative of his assertion.

    On this point, it is important to discuss the ideas of liberty, or freedom, within the terminology of positive and negative.
    -Positive liberty, or freedom, is the freedom one acquires via positive action of a state. Such as a law written and passed allowing gay marriage. This is the favored liberty type of the left.
    -Negative liberty, or freedom, is the freedom one acquires via just being, without dependence of outside action or influence on your choice. These are characterized by natural liberties one acquires upon birth. Freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of choice are all within this framework of liberty, or freedom. This is the type of liberty favored by those on the right.

    So, when talking about issues such as gay marriage, the proponents of it are suggesting they be granted a liberty by the state, to marry someone of the same sex as they are. This is a positive liberty.

    Positive liberties are not in and of themselves bad simply because they are positive. The problem lies not within the individual liberties detailed under this type, but of the nature of how such liberties are gained, or lost, depending upon the issue. When a state is required to grant a liberty, that is not truly a liberty, but rather, a privilege extended to people. Positive liberty requires, by definition, a government with much more control over people than in the case of negative liberty. This control over people is, in essence, what is truly being fought against by those on the right.

    Positive liberties, however, can be a good thing, if control over the people by the government is strong. That “good thing”, though, is likely to be short-lived, relatively, and dependent upon the political makeup of the government. The marijuana issues voted on by electorates in several states are like this, if you believe marijuana possession and use is good for people. But what about when the government control switches to that of people who are against such a thing? What the government can give, the government can taketh away, so to speak. And this is why arguing for positive liberties leads to nothing but increased control over the people, by the government.

    In contrast, look at freedom of expression, in particular freedom of political expression. Our founders didn’t “grant” this freedom to us. They identified it as one of those natural freedoms all men(species, not gender) possess simply by being. This freedom requires nothing but the absence of control by the government over the people. Government control is lessened.

    But what about gay marriage, you ask, shouldn’t that be an issue of negative liberty? It might, except that societal disposition has a bearing on what is, and isn’t considered a liberty, or freedom. As such, a society comprised of religious people in the majority who disavow gay marriage state clearly that gay marriage is not a freedom or liberty of homosexuals. In that atmosphere, the only way for homosexuals to gain that liberty is through positive liberty. Granting the state the power to declare gay marriage as a liberty. But, and again, when you grant the state that power, you also grant them the power to take it away, so it doesn’t become a true liberty, like freedom of expression, or religion.

    Personally, I don’t much care about what individual states do regarding gay marriage. I say this because although I’m a Christian who believes it is wrong, I still have the choice in whether or not to live within a certain state that grants such a privilege I consider wrong. If it were suggested that a federal law, either way on the issue, be written and passed, I’d be completely against it, though. And the biggest reason is that it grants power to the federal government, not just on gay marriage, but on marriage itself, to the federal government.

    Which brings me to my closing point. That is, that positive liberties grant power to the state. They grant control over our lives to whichever government entity we are talking about. And in doing so, they grant governments the power to not only give us “liberties” and “freedoms”, but also the power to take them away. Avoid that, whenever possible.

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