Given the “economic headwinds the president faced,” Jay Cost writes today in the Weekly Standard, his campaign team . . .
. . .played to its base with a level of intensity rarely seen in the modern era. “The war on women” was a prime case in point. The idea was to maximize turnout for the president’s core groups by focusing on identity politics, encouraging them to come out and vote against a fictitious GOP bogeyman who would suppress their rights to vote, deport their friends and neighbors, deny them Medicare, ship their jobs overseas, raid their pensions, and eliminate their access to contraception. And it worked.
Emphasis added. Indeed, as Guy Benson put it, Mitt Romney
. . . was defeated by a small, petty, and overwhelmingly negative opponent whose turnout machine swamped all else. The unserious and unseemly drumbeat of birth control, Big Bird, binders, and Blame Bush worked. The “Kill Romney” strategy laid the groundwork for this successful approach. The president offered no meaningful or sweeping vision for a second term, but it didn’t matter. What an awful precedent.
And the end of the campaign, when Mitt Romney seemed so confident and Obama so angry, I myself became increasingly confident that he would win. He just looked like a winner. I had thought Obama’s nastiness would backfire. People don’t want a president who engages in such kind of petty attacks.
It looks like I was wrong.
That’s one of the things which makes our defeat this week so troubling. The challenger had the more upbeat message and lost. The incumbent instead misrepresented his opponent’s record and attacked his background.
He won by demonizing. And that is just not a pleasant thought.