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A candidate’s visual image may not matter as much in the age of the iPhone

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:18 pm - November 9, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,New Media

When I listend to the audio version of Ronald C. White’s biography of Abraham Lincoln, I saw that learned that his successors in the 1930s and the 1980s, the first Republican president understood the impact of new media. He was aware of the growing influence of newspapers and did what he could to earn favorable coverage.

In the 1930s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt used radio to get his message across. And erstwhile actor Ronald Reagan understood the importance of TV.

Now, a less capable executive than those three men has once again found electoral success using the new media of his day.

When on Monday, while doing cardio, I saw both presidential candidates on television, it was easy to tell which one was more presidential. Mitt Romney look confident and commanding, Obama insecure and angry.  Yet, the one who looked like a winner lost and the one who came across as a loser won.

Only as I read about how team Obama brilliantly used the internet and social networking to “micro-target” their supporters did I realize how much less significant were those televised.

Something else struck me as well; if it were not for the insane amount of cardio I do at the gym, I would get almost no news from television. Other people at gym are reading books on their Kindles or watching movies and surfing the web on their iPads. Perhaps, some are Facebook.  And perhaps like them, I get most of my news now from the Internet.

Seeing how Romney and Obama looked and acted, a good number of us thought that the Republican was headed to victory and the Democrat to defeat.  But, we underestimated that the impact of new media.  But, the Obama campaign did not; Democrats this year were far better at exploiting it to get their voters to the polls.

Unable to run on big issues, the Democrats, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina acknowledged they “had had to win this on the micro stuff“. (more…)

No, Americans did not vote for Socialism on Tuesday

Given the big government policies of the Obama administration, a number of conservatives are now concerned that we’ve passed a point of no return, that not only are well well along the road to serfdom, but most Americans, that is, the slight majority who voted for Obama, now favor socialism.

While I do agree that Obama’s policies push us further down the road about which Friedrich Hayek warned, I don’t believe Americans want to realize socialism in this land. Some people voted for Obama not because they liked his policies, but because they liked the idea of Obama.

Or because they bought into the Democratic notion of a Republican War on Women. They may not like Obama’s economic policies, but they didn’t want those evil Republican taking away their birth control.

Obama largely avoided campaigning on his big government policies because he knew they didn’t sell with the American people.  Even Obama is aware that the American people don’t really want big government.

They’re not, at least, a majority of Americans are just not yet willing to defy those politicians who want to lead us down this road to serfdom.  Only when they realize how far along we are, when they face the impact, say, of Obamacare, will they realize that they have been complicit in loss of our liberty.

Even in Democratic year, Republicans demonstrate strength in Congressional Elections & at State Level

Today, in his statement on the fiscal cliff and tax rates, President Obama said that “on Tuesday night we found out that the the majority of Americans agree” with his plan for people “making over $250,000” to pay more in his taxes.  Now, to be sure, that was one of the few concrete proposals he did make in the campaign.

If the American people really did agree with him, how come the majority of Americans voted for legislators opposed to this approach?[*]  ”Republicans“, reports Michael Barone in the Wall Street Journal

. . . won or are leading in 236 of the 435 House seats, down just six from the 2010 midterm. And they achieved this despite losing five seats because of partisan redistricting in Illinois and another five in California thanks to a supposedly nonpartisan redistricting commission that the Democrats successfully gamed.

And it’s not just the federal legislature where Republicans made a strong showing.  In state legislative races, Republicans also held their own, meaning that Democrats are, as I noted earlier today, are “even further behind” their post-2008 standing at the state level.Right after President Obama’s election, in twelve swing (or near-swing) states, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, Democrats had complete control (Governor, both houses of the legislature) in five, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin, Republicans in just one Florida.

Today, Democrats only have complete control in two, Colorado and Minnesota, and hold both houses of the legislature in Nevada while a Republican sits in the governor’s chair.  Republicans have complete control in six, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, almost complete control in Virginia, holding the governor’s chair, the state House and with a split state Senate.

Since 2009, in those twelve swing (or near-swing) states, Republicans have lost only the governor’s chair in Minnesota.   (more…)

BULLETIN: CIA DIRECTOR DAVID PETREAUS RESIGNS

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 4:28 pm - November 9, 2012.
Filed under: Benghazi / Libya crisis

His resignation to the President cited an extramarital affair as the reason.

David Petraeus, the retired four-star general who led the U.S. military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, has resigned as director of the CIA after admitting he had an extramarital affair.

The resignation shocked Washington’s intelligence and political communities, representing a sudden end to the public career of the best-known general of the post 9/11 wars.

I’m sure Petraeus’ scheduled appearance at the closed door Senate Intelligence Committee hearings on Benghazi next week are a complete coincidence to today’s announcement.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

2012 Elections show that 2008 was not an Inflection Point

Jim Geraghty began his post-election Morning Jolt with a tone of considerable despair, calling the Republicans’ 2012 defeat “a much, much, much tougher loss than 2008.”  He could more readily understand McCain’s loss given the near perfect storm environment four years ago, the Democratic victory made more sense.

And while I too was initially glum at the time Geraghty offered that assessment, the more I pore through election results and exit polls, the more I realize that, in terms of prospects for the GOP and conservative ideas, there are much more grounds for hope now than there was four years.

When, the course of the 2008 election, it became pretty evident that Barack Obama was going to win a strong majority, Michael Barone wonder if we were seeing another inflection point in American history, with Americans rejecting the smaller government consensus building from the 1970s through the 1990s:

The protracted and painful experiences of those decades changed basic public attitudes on the balance between government and markets, between regulation and enterprise, between government-aid programs and self-reliance The breadlines and depression of the 1930s moved Americans in one direction; the gas lines and stagflation of the 1970s moved them in the other.

Which raises the question of whether the financial ructions of 2007-08 (09?) will move them back again. One reason to believe this is possible is the passage of time. Americans in the 1980s and 1990s were ready to accept deregulation and tax cuts and welfare reform because so few of them had personal memories of the 1930s.

Indeed, exit polls in 2008 showed that over half of Americans surveyed “wanted government to do more to intervene while 43 percent said it was doing too many things better left to businesses.

This year, however, “those numbers have flipped.”  Four years ago, it could be said that the American people favored bigger government, but today, even in an electorate more Democratic than that in 2010, there is clearly a consensus for smaller government. (more…)

Conservatives, from despair to resolution in three days

Like many conservatives in the wake of the reelection of a failed liberal president, I have experienced my share of sadness in the past few days, passing through several stages of grief, from depression when we learned the results to bitterness to anger, but then, starting sometime yesterday, not even forty-eight hours after the loss, I passed into a new stage resolve.

And it seems I’m not the only one.

Perhaps, the most striking contrast between liberals and conservatives I have observed in my Facebook feed has been the greater amount of bile coming from the left, even after their victory.  The seemed to react to the 2012 victory in a manner similar to their response to their 2004 defeat, lashing out at conservatives.

Now, to be sure, some conservatives have not been on their most, well, adult behavior in responding to the results, but, on the whole, they’re facing them with grim determination or considered resignation.  But, they’re also (and this in the third day after) coming up with solutions on how to rebuild the party.

What struck me about the Charles Krauthammer piece I excerpted here was how forward-looking it was.  Similarly, Jennifer Rubin has offered Ten fix-it projects for the GOP. On the same day, she also offered suggestions for building a bigger GOP.

Bookworm offered several Practical suggestions for bypassing the media and getting the conservative message out.  Michael Walsh also impressed upon the GOP the need to develop “alternative media” which could serve as “both as a sword and shield against the decaying, corrupt journalistic establishment.”  (Walsh via Reynolds.)

In short, many conservatives have stopped licking our wounds and are now, learning from our mistakes this year and focusing on rebuilding for the future.  Reagan conservatives have always been a forward-looking folk.

Krauthammer to GOP: “No reinvention when none is needed”

Amidst the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments in the wake of Mitt Romney’s narrow loss earlier this week to Barack Obama, a few cool-head conservative strategists and pundits have reminded us that all is not lost, that the party suffered a minor setback not a fatal blow.

Today, Charles Krauthammer, as could be expected, offers perhaps the most sage insight into the way forward for the GOP:

They lose and immediately the chorus begins. Republicans must change or die. A rump party of white America, it must adapt to evolving demographics or forever be the minority.

The only part of this that is even partially true regards Hispanics. They should be a natural Republican constituency: striving immigrant community, religious, Catholic, family-oriented and socially conservative (on abortion, for example).

He outlines a way forward on immigration reform, then reminds us that on core fiscal issues, the GOP should not moderate:

Tuesday’s exit polls showed that by an eight-point margin (51-43), Americans believe that government does too much. And Republicans are the party of smaller government. Moreover, onrushing economic exigencies — crushing debt,unsustainable entitlements — will make the argument for smaller government increasingly unassailable.

Bear in mind, given that GOP turnout was down from 2008, that eight-point margin might actually be considerably larger.  It wasn’t conservative ideas which did Republicans in, but the standard bearer’s imperfect articulation of them: (more…)

History suggests 2016 will be a bad year for Democrats

With the help of David Leip’s Atlas of Presidential Elections, I have compiled the popular vote and percentage of the total vote the presidential candidate of the party which would govern for each of nine electoral “cycles” going from 1912 through 2008.  (Available below the jump.)

By electoral cycle, I mean a series of the three elections starting with the one which caused a shift in partisan control of the White House, i.e., in 1912, the partisan control shifted from Republican (William Howard Taft) to Democratic (Woodrow Wilson).  Sometimes, in the third election in the cycle, partisan control would switch back as it did in 1920, 1960, 1968, 2000 & 2008.  Other times, the incumbent party would retain the White House as happened in 1928, 1940 and 1988.

In each case, a distinct pattern emerges.  The party which comes to power in the first election will gain votes and increase its percentage of the vote in the second, then see a decline, sometimes substantial, in the third.

There are, however, only two exceptions.

In the second election in the 1920s cycle, 1924, Calvin Coolidge won fewer votes (and a smaller percentage of the vote) than he did his erstwhile running mate Warren G. Harding four years previously.  Four years later, Herbert Hoover would get more votes than either of his two partisan predecessors, but a lower percentage than did Harding.  That said, the pattern holds if we begin the cycle in 1924 and end it in 1932.  Increase from 1924 to 1928, decline in 1932.

In the 1990s cycle, Al Gore got more votes in 2000 than Bill Clinton had in 1992 or 1996, but, in the first two elections in that cycle, there had been a major third party candidate, Ross Perot.  The pattern does hold when you calculate the dominant party’s percentage of the two-party vote.

One minor exception:  In 1920 (third election of the 1910s cycle), Democrat James Cox got more votes than did Woodrow Wilson in 1912 and 1916, but that’s because 1920 was the first election when women were allowed to vote.

So, why I am sharing all this with you?  To show that there is historical pattern here which suggests that  Republicans stand in good stead for 2016.  No president, until this week, has ever won reelection with fewer votes than he had in his initial election.  And save for 1928*, his party has always seen a drop-off (usually quite significant) from the second to third election in the cycle.

Obama didn’t get that popular vote bump that Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson (running as Kennedy’s successor), Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush got.  His party is likely to see a further decline in 2016, though the example of Herbert Hoover in 1928 does provide some hope that they might break the pattern. (more…)

Watcher of Weasels — 11.09.12 Winners

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:17 am - November 9, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Conservative Ideas

Council Winners