Wednesday, November 7, 2012
"Republicans Get Schooled: But What Did We Learn?"
By: J. Hunter
I’m beyond dry heaving at this point—just retching, gasping for air and washing my face with a cold washcloth.
I thought we had it all—the right medicine for what ails us: a turnaround artist as a candidate at a time when the country desperately needs a turnaround.
We had the incumbent on the ropes, talking more about “Romnesia,” “Binders,” and “Big Bird” than his own dismal record.
We had momentum. Democrats appeared depressed and angry with their candidate while Independents and Republicans were breaking for Governor Mitt Romney.
Or was it all an illusion? Or “DE-lusion?”
I talked many conservatives off the ledge, looking at polling internals, quoting Michael Medved’s book “The Odds Against Obama,” and telling anecdotes. Even though I read the New York Times, listen to NPR and follow Ezra Klein on Twitter, I wouldn’t have been surprised by a Romney landslide or a slim Romney victory. What they predicted, what actually happened, shocked me.
As the confused emotions subside, I hope to find a lesson in a moment of clarity. This is some of what I think we should have learned:
Wednesday Morning Quarterbacking the election events brings me to some of the conversation after the debates when Democrats came out feisty and Republicans appeared “gentlemanly.” Obama got away with Benghazi, Sequestration, and general condescension while Joe Biden mocked his way through his debates. Our guys took the high road. The electorate just left us at the ice cream parlor for a leather jacketed motorcycle hunk named Slick.
We can be forceful without being jerks. Let’s throw a few more elbows next time around.
The raw numbers showed an Obama victory. People who trusted the polls were vindicated by the results. Those of us who looked into the internals and came to a different conclusion (myself included) connected dots that turned out not to be there.
Pollsters are getting better at predicting. We must recognize that and react accordingly.
On that note, can we finally dismiss Dick Morris?
I may be the only person in America, besides Ann, who gets a warm fuzzy feeling with Mitt Romney. The Democrats successfully painted him as a cold, detached businessman who can’t empathize with regular people (Not that the 47% comment helped).
By contrast, Barack Obama came across as…not Mitt Romney.
Republicans have lost the popular vote in the last 5 presidential elections. After the hard loss in 2008, Republicans turned inward, a good instinct that I expect us to do this year too. However, we still have difficult internal issues to work out: What does Republican foreign policy look like post Iraq and Afghanistan? What is our strategy to make headway in minority communities? Are the critics right when they say that the Republican Party has purged itself into isolation?
I hate to lose—especially to a weak opponent. The election results are painful, but as an optimist, I like to think of pain as "weakness leaving the body."
Let’s be strengthened by this experience, and continue standing athwart History yelling “Stop!”
Photo Source: "Hungover" from http://onwardstate.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/A-man-with-a-hangover-001.jpg; "President Obama" from http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-snj2SNeStq8/UArmcghZ62I/AAAAAAAABLk/Z_zj8SgxqtU/s1600/Obama-partye-time.jpeg