November 8, 2012

Sifting through the watery ashes of a Republican meltdown in the 2012 elections:

…What does it say when both Barack Obama and his Republican challenger get less votes in 2012 then they did four years ago? That’s something that geeks and interested observers will be looking at over the next weeks and months? My thinking is the same as Kevin DuJuan over at Hillbuzz blog – I think Congressman Ron Paul’s supporters (as well as like-minded Libertarians) remembered quite clearly how badly they were treated by the Romney team after the primaries and during the Republican convention, and basically stayed home. I thought it was a bad mistake by the Romney team then and am guessing it panned out. While Congressman Paul’s isolationist ideas were a little much to most, it wouldn’t have hurt Romney to add some of Paul’s domestic policy ideas into his platform and speeches. It also wouldn’t surprise me to see evangelical Christians stay home because of Romney’s Mormonism.

…I thought Mitt Romney ran a good, but not great campaign. What could he have done differently? I would have made Paul Ryan and his ideas more of a partner than just a VP running mate. While Romney’s business nackground most surely fired his economic plans and his plan to repeal Obamacare was right, he never really communicated to folks what exactly that would mean to them, their families and their pocketbooks. That’s an area where Ryan could have had more of an impact. Romney also made a mistake not saying what he would replace Obamacare with. He needed more specifics and more substance – if you’re going up against an incumbent you have to tell people what they can expect; after all, with Obama they already knew full well what they were getting.

…The Romney team also erred in not pushing back hard when he was getting pummeled by negative Obama ads and Harry Reid attacks during July and August. For some reason, his campaign seemed unwilling to advertise Romney the compassionate man. I know Mormons by their very nature don’t like to brag about their good deeds and faith in action, but doing so not only would have blunted the Obama attacks but got voters more interested in who Romney was. WAiting until the Republican convention was a big mistake.

…the Romney team also erred in not making education a bigger topic during the campaign. Virtually nothing about vouchers, charter schools, trade schools vs. university educations, student debt, etc. Just saying you’ll put education decisons in the hands of families “instead of the teachers unions” was lame; there’s ahuge gap out there in experienced tradesmen good with their hands; it was a huge opportunity wasted.

…Is America no longer a “center-right” nation as many have believed over the years? Has it now gone “center left”? I’m not ready to jump to that conclusion – let’s see what America thinks of the Obama presidency in the next two years. Let’s see what happens with the economy and what Obama’s next moves are. As much as he would like to continue to transform America with larger and more intrusive government, he knows he can’t keep running up debt like he has, and he’s going to find out (I think the hard way) that you can only tax the rich and big business so much. He has to know he can’t simply tax and regulate himself out of $16 trillion in debt without doing great damage to the economy. Or maybe he does and just doesn’t care. Either way, I’m guessing Barack Obama will find out much like other presidents have that second terms are often not pretty. Let’s see what voters think of Republicans in two years when the midterms come around.

…That doesn’t mean Republicans can just sit idly by and wait or hope for the President to fail. We simply have to do a better job on offense of communicating why conservatism is better for everyone and not allow Democrats and liberals to define us with scare tactics. Outreach to the rapidly growing Asian communities (strong believers in work ethic, personal wealth, and excellence) and Hispanics (through churches and civic organizations) can help. In regards to Hispanics, I don’t believe caving on illegal immigration is the answer here. Rather, we have great Hispanic Republicans in Washington (Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz) and in states (New Mexico’s Susana Martinez is one) who can help lead the thinking in that regard.

…Republicans simply have to do a better job of recruiting younger and better candidates at the Senate level. 2010 with Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell and 2012 with Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock. Yuck. The fact the last two guys couldn’t come up with a more cohesive (and compassionate) answer to the rape/incest/abortion questions that sank their campaigns tells you all you need to know. And running establishment retreads like Connie Mack, George Allen, and Tommy Thompson was, frankly, embarrassing. The GOP needs an infusion of new blood, diverse blood, and, most importantly, younger blood that will excite younger voters and draw them into the party. I think we’ve done a pretty good job in the House with the “young guns” project; we now need to do the same in candidates we recruit for Senate runs.

Bottom line: I think the biggest mistake would be for Republicans and conservatives to rush to judgment and circle the wagons and start shooting. We have a holiday season rapidly falling upon us. We have time, and we still have the House. The best thing to do is enjoy the holidays, chill out with parties and family and social gatherings, and clear the collective mindset. Then, come the New Year, take a look back with perspective and the info gained and be ready to start brainstorming some new approaches. This election season was a hard two-year slog; everyone not directly related to Washington politics would surely benefit by getting away from it all. I know that’s what I plan on doing!

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 07:54 | Comments (3)
  1. In Presidential politics, Republicans will be fine. Their message of fiscal responsibility is a winner. There are no exciting 2016 Presidential candidates on either side. Both sides could use some younger faces and I’d like to see both sides tamp down their fear-mongering. Yeah, I’m a dreamer.

    Comment by Rob — November 8, 2012 @ 9:01 am

  2. Thanks, Rob – what’s the inside scoop on Bobby Jindal? Successful? A potential candidate? He’ll be winding down his second term by 2016, right?

    Comment by The Great White Shank — November 8, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

  3. I don’t think so. He’s not the rising star everyone outside of Louisiana thinks he is. For one thing, I don’t think he can handle a grueling 2yr Presidential campaign. For another, he’ll have zero crossover. Democrats despise him. He’s very bright but he comes off as intellectual, aloof, and uncaring to a lot of people. I don’t think rank & file Republicans would get behind him.

    Comment by Rob — November 8, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

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