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Three big questions Republicans should be asking

In the wake of Mitt Romney’s narrow popular vote loss in the presidential election yesterday, Republicans need to do some soul-searching if f they want to regain the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016.  And right away, there are three big questions they need to ask:

  1. Why did Mitt Romney fail to get as many votes as did John McCain in 2008?
  2. How can the party better reach out to Hispanic and Asian Americans and other minorities?
  3. How does the GOP recruit, as per my last post, the type of “genuine” conservative candidate “with political skills, policy smarts and impressive resumes in order to get elected”?

Two men elected to the U.S. Senate in the last two cycles, Florida’s Marco Rubio and Texas’s Ted Cruz could help Republicans explore both the second and the third questions.

Interesting that some of the leading lights of the GOP, these two men, along with Susana Martinez, the Governor of New Mexico, are Hispanic.

The kind of genuine conservative candidate Republicans need

As careful readers of this blog know, I had wanted former Florida Governor Jeb Bush to enter the 2012 contest for the White House.  Perhaps the Democrats would have run against him as the scion of the Bush dynasty.

He had been, however, a successful reform-minded governor of a major state, has withstood a fierce partisan challenge in 2002 and successfully reached out to Hispanic voters.  Perhaps, Jeb had (at least politically) a lousy last name, but I feared, as Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel put it, in their election post-mortem, that Mitt Romney’s

. . . biography hurt him. During a cycle when voters remained angry at Wall Street, Romney bore the weight of a finance background. And because of his own history in Massachusetts, he could never effectively go after President Obama on Obamacare, the president’s biggest political weakness.

None of this was ever a secret, but the Republicans nominated Romney anyway. They had no choice. The alternatives were unacceptable.

Exactly.  The remaining alternatives all carried more baggage that Mitt did.  Democrats were able to define him as a out-of-touch plutocrat rather than a real reformer.  (And I do wonder if some Republicans stayed home because they didn’t think the man who signed Romneycare into law was committed to repealing Obamacare.)

Anyway, Carlson and Patel wrote a great piece–one that I highly recommend.  They help define what kind of candidates Republicans need to nominate if they are to win elections.

We need, as they put it, “genuine conservatives . . . with political skills, policy smarts and impressive resumes in order to get elected.”  Fortunately, it seems, the two freshman Republican Senators are cut from that cloth.

May we see more of their like in 2014.

Don’t despair; GOP is better off than Democrats were in 2004

Yes, yesterday was a bitter blow, particularly given how many of us expected Mitt Romney to win.  And perhaps it was the difference between that expectation and the actual result that has caused so much despair in conservative ranks.

We should, however, not despair.   We have the better arguments and we have the deeper bench.  Our leaders have ideas for reform.  The president’s party may present themselves as the party of the future, but its leaders lack many new ideas, trotting out little more than retrofitted versions of the failed ideas of the past.

Eight years ago, Democrats too were glum.  Their nominee from the Bay State lost a narrow race to an incumbent from the opposing party.  Our party gained seats in the U.S. Senate, increasings its majority to 55, just as the Democrats did last night.

But, they didn’t then win the House, as we did last night.  And they didn’t any new ideas, as we do.  But, they still managed to come roaring back two years later, as we will.

We may be down today, but we’re far better off than the Democrats were when they lost in 2004.

Perhaps it was just a superior Get Out the Vote Operation that swung the election?

When an incumbent president wins his reelection with a smaller percentage of the vote — and fewer actual votes — than he did in his first bid for national office, you know that his victory does not represent a realignment, particularly when the opposing party holds one House of Congress.

Many conservatives are gnashing their teeth about the opportunities lost in the election our man lost.  And many make some solid points.  We could have won this thing.  At RealClearPolitics, more dispassionate observers, Tom Bevan and Carl M. Cannon offer a list of 21 reasons why we didn’t.  I don’t agree with them all; they do leave out media bias, but they’re right on a number of issues, particularly Romney’s problem with Hispanic voters.

Maybe all these points are moot.  Maybe the real reason Romney lost, simply put, is that team Obama put together a better Get Out the Vote operation — having fine-tuned it while the Massachusetts Republican was preparing to battle his partisan rivals for his party’s nomination.

Perhaps had the GOP put together as sophisticated an operation as had the one Michael Scherer details in this article, we would have seen a different result last night.  (Via HotAir headlines.)

So many little things contributed to Obama’s victory, but it seems that the biggest among them was his ability to get his supporters to the polls, even those far less enthusiastic about their man as they were four years ago.

Even with that sophisticated operation, Obama won 9 million fewer votes than he did in 2008.  Had Republicans had a similar operation, Mitt Romney might have won at least as many votes as George W. Bush did in 2004 and so ousted the failed incumbent.

UPDATE: Yup, the unions helped gin up their turnout.

Don’t despair; GOP has a deep bench committed to American ideals

We’re all a little sad today, particularly those of us who thought victory was within reach. Some readers have e-mailed me or messaged me, sharing their despair.

I may be down, but I am not despondent. Some say that we’re now on the same path as Europe, toward inevitable decline, but we have something different from Europe, we have the American ideal and individuals able to articulate it. When you look at those elected officials putting forward ideas to reform our failing institutions, you’ll see that they almost exclusively in the Republican Party.

Yes, the media tried to make Todd Akin the face of the GOP, but he is not. Paul Ryan is. As the dust from the election settles. He now becomes the new face of the GOP. And that’s a very good thing. He’s young, good-looking, articulate. Even in a year with strong Democratic turnout, Republicans held their House majority, despite, as Grover Norquist put it this morning,

touching but fondling the “third rail of American politics.” It is clear that if you are specific about your reforms they cannot as easily be misrepresented to voters. The Republicans in the House all voted for Ryan. They lashed themselves to the mast and thrived. Romney hinted he was sort of in that general vicinity. One party has a plan that has been tested successfully in the fires of an election. The other party cannot even write a budget that wins a single Democrat vote.

Paul Ryan will not alas replace Joe Biden as Vice President, but he remains Chairman of the House Budget Committee. And he’s not the only Republican waiting in the wings. Charles Krauthammer is optimistic because our party has a deep bench.

And Ryan is not alone.  There are others on our side with records of reform.  Bear in mind that Scott Walker survived a recall in a state that Obama won.

There are Americans out who still believe in the American ideal, leading still willing to champion that great vision.

Yes, Todd Akin hurt us

Conservative friend on Facebook said she heard a lot of radio ads tying the GOP to Todd Akin’s crazy comments on rape. Even though Akin apologized, that seemed to resonate. It created an image of a party indifferent to rape. That was just part of the Democrats’ effort to make the GOP an unacceptable alternative.

Perhaps, that caused voters disenchanted with Obama to stay home yesterday.

And this reminds us yet again that the Democrats won, not so much by selling their ideas, but by demonizing our party.

We need do a better job of defense. And pick candidates more ready to fight back against their smears.

Obama won fewer votes in 2012 than W did in 2004

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:46 pm - November 7, 2012.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Random Thoughts

Remember back in 2004, how all of the then-president’s critics were discounting his victory because it was the narrowest reelection victory of any president ever?

Wonder what those folks are saying today.

Obama’s current total of the popular vote is 60,382,105. In 2004, W 62,040,610 votes.

Something really turned people off to politics this year.

The task for Republicans now is to find something that people can vote for.

Slow Blogging/Many thoughts

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:31 pm - November 7, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Random Thoughts

I kind of feel like Quin Hillyer at the National Review that we need time to reassess.

I have been scribbling notes (as is my wont) almost constantly since I returned from my election party last night, but want to take a little time to flesh my thoughts out. Maybe later this afternoon. Or maybe not until tomorrow.

Watcher of Weasels Nominations — 11/07/12 Edition

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:29 pm - November 7, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Conservative Ideas

Had submitted my choices before the election was decided. Did not realize how appropriate my choice was in light of last night’s results.

Council Submissions

The dismal state of the United States Senate

Under the leadership of Harry Reid, the United States Senate was the real graveyard for reform.  The Republican House passed numerous bills to facilitate job growth which the Senate failed to take up.  And the Democratic-controlled chamber hasn’t passed a budget in 3 1/2 years.

And Americans vote to reward them by sending two more Democrats to the United States Senate.  And it looks like ol’ Harry will keep his job.

GOP Turnout down in 2012?

Many, many, many thing baffle me about last night’s results.  And I will try to address them in the coming days.

But, perhaps the most baffling is the turnout.  It is generally conceded that John McCain’s campaign did not inspire voters in 2008–a year when Republicans were generally dispirited.  So, we contended, GOP turnout was depressed.

This year, however, Republicans were fired up.  Mitt Romney’s campaign had a great Get-Out-the-Vote operation.  And yet right now, it looks like he won’t win as many votes as the 59,934,814 votes McCain did in ’08.

The latest tally has Romney just over 57 million.  Obama is at 59.6 million, with votes still to be counted.

Colorado Leads the Way on Individual Liberty

Posted by ColoradoPatriot at 6:23 am - November 7, 2012.
Filed under: A New Independence Movement

Well, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way,

Congratulations to my home state of Colorado which took a great step toward protecting Individual Liberty yesterday by overwhelmingly passing Amendment 64 and leading the nation legalizing marijuana possession and use. We’ve made history in the Centennial State, and this expansion of individual liberty will hopefully only expand as we move forward.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HHQ)

One last spasm of politics:

I recognize that yesterday I expressed my desire to forge a new approach to the passion I have for policy and politics. I still stand by that endeavor.

But please allow me this one (hopefully) last address of current political winds:

Message from America, 6 November, 2012:

You can be a complete and abject failure when it comes to the job you’ve been hired to do. By nearly any objective measurement, your performance can be failing. You can even be deemed by us and our own explicit assessment of you to have fallen far short of the requirements for the position you hold. Then, when a potential replacement comes along with not only the proven experience but also the precise formula for correcting your failings and righting our path, you’ll still be rewarded with a continuation of your contract.

How, pray tell me my friends, does this not—at least in some small way—represent yet another step toward our decline as a great Nation?

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HHQ)

The status quo election of 2012

Americans aren’t happy with the status quo in Washington and yet what we saw yesterday was America returning to the status quo.  President Obama has been reelected, albeit with fewer votes — and a lower percentage of the popular vote — than he won in 2008.  Democrats appeared to have strengthened their majority in the Senate.  Republicans hold the House.

He owes his more decisive electoral vote majority to his razor-thin victory in Colorado, Ohio, Virginia and (as appears likely at press time) Virginia.  The margin in Ohio is even narrower than it was in 2004 when George W. Bush won the state on his road to reelection.

The incumbent’s biggest legislative accomplishment, Obamacare, remains unpopular.  The debt has increased more in his first term than it had in his predecessor’s two terms.  He ran an aggressively negative campaign and didn’t really focus on any issues.  He does not have the same mandate he had four years ago.

I have to say I’m surprised.  Just watching the president and his opponent these past few days, one seemed energized and confident, the other angry and downbeat.  You would think the more confident man would win.  Mitt Romney drew larger crowds.  The base seemed more energized.

Perhaps, it was as Charles Krauthammer put it last night on FoxNews that Mitt Romney wasn’t the best candidate to articulate the conservative message.  Perhaps, it was that he did not do a good job of outreach to the Hispanic community.  Perhaps, those hundreds of millions of dollars in negative ads really did do the trick.  Or maybe Hurricane Sandy caused wavering Obama supporters to return to their man.  Up until the storm hit, Mitt had the momentum.  And it stopped.

Or perhaps, the legacy media, in failing to cover Obama’s various failures and scandals, won the election for him. (more…)


Posted by Bruce Carroll at 12:37 am - November 7, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

So since the drama is pretty much over, I’m declaring the Election Coverage at an end.  New posts may commence.

I appreciate everyone’s participation tonight here and on Twitter.  I know Dan, Nick and I will have a lot to say over the next few days as well.

Before I forget, we have had the best two months ever since GayPatriot was formed in 2004.  We are eternally grateful for your support.

I’m trying to remain positive this evening and just get a good night’s sleep.  Plenty of time for 20-20 hindsight.

Stay strong, America.

-Bruce (@GayPatriot)