A blog posts and a Wall Street Journal op-ed remind us that last week’s election was as much a battle of personalities as it was one of ideas. Bookworm links (and builds upon) Abe Greenwald’s insight into “how conservatives misread the election outcome”:
Obama got reelected because he enjoys a degree of personal popularity disconnected from his record. No modern president has ever been returned to office with employment figures and right-track-wrong-track numbers as poor as those Obama has achieved. . . .
The president’s reelection is not evidence of a new liberal America, but rather of the illogical and confused experience that is infatuation. For multiple reasons, Americans continue to have a crush on Barack Obama even after his universally panned first term. No longer quite head over heels, they’re at the “I know he’s no good for me, but I can change him” phase.
Read both whole things. Like Greenwald, Andrew Kohut also thinks we are misreading the election returns:
. . . most observers are overstating the gravity of the GOP’s problem. In particular, they are paying too little attention to how weak a candidate Mitt Romney was, and how much that hurt Republican prospects.
Here is what the exit poll found. Mr. Romney’s personal image took a hard hit during the primary campaign and remained weak on election day. Just 47% of exit-poll respondents viewed him favorably, compared with 53% for Mr. Obama. [Read more…]