Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"Republicans Get Schooled: But What Did We Learn?"

"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.

What the hell just happened?

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:

Politics is Bloodsport: Nice Guys Finish Dead

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.

Polls and Punditry

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?

Messenger Matters

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.

More Navel Gazing Needed

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; "President Obama" from


yukio ngaby said...

Hard to say what happened. It's so close, I just can't get rid of a nagging feeling that there's more to this. I can't find what that "more" was, what that little push was.

Maybe we'll know more tomorrow. And remember to look at the popular vote count. That's a good indication on what the next two years are going to be like. And I don't think it's going to be pretty.

Sheldon said...

It has been a long time, and for that, I apologize. However, I knew that after Tuesday night's results I would find the needed salve here with your blog. It is often hard to know exactly what the electorate as a whole wants especially when we are left with a situation as gridlocked as the one with which we are now stuck. I know that the so-called moderates that tend to be the prize of the day for either party tend to be less ideological than people with principled disagreements on either side, so I would like to hope that especially after four more years of lackluster leadership and economic performance, 2016 (and perhaps the midterms in 2014) will be a time ripe for the taking...That being said however, with the ever-increasing percentage of people reliant on the government to solve their ills, I do worry about what will happen when that number eclipses 50%. I fear that it is possible that there may be no going back to the days of self-reliance. Alas, we will have to see, but it is always nice to know that there are those like yourself who share my beliefs. Thanks for letting me vent as well as for your wonderful blog!

J. Thomas Hunter said...