We lost by 2%. And in every swing state we lost within the margin of error. Mitt Romney was a charlatan of the ground game, and we lost the election. But what good came from last Tuesday?
We swept the south. With the addition of Arkansas, we now control every statehouse in the south with the exception of Kentucky’s House. Really we are in fine shape in the region of the country that is seeing the most economic growth, not because of Obama and the Democrats, but because Republican pro-business and therefore pro-job policies are making a positive difference in people’s lives. That just goes to show the narrowness and depth of Democratic support in a few areas. Yes, the Democrats win big in the inner-city and inner-suburbs, but where else do they win? They have been wiped out in rural areas and the outer suburbs came home.
We won the Wisconsin Senate back. After the various recalls, the Democrats could run up the score in Milwaukee and Madison, but could not broaden their appeal to get either house of the Wisconsin legislature, which will bode well for Scott Walker’s reform agenda.
Most of the Tea Party Freshmen in the U.S. House won last Tuesday. We will miss Allen West, Chip Cravaack, Nan Hayworth and Joe Walsh, but they had serious up hill climbs. I mean, the liberals spent the farm to beat them in largely Democratic districts. But many other Tea Party Caucus members will be around to keep up the fight. They will also be able to inject a bit of spine into wobbly John Boehner. And, really, what can the Democratic party do? Whine while they have the White House and the Senate? Really, conservatives did okay in House elections. And imagine another two years of Obama’s war on coal? What will that do to the few Democrats remaining from mining intensive states? I think we are fine in the House of Representatives. We lost Guinta and Bass in a massive Democratic turnout in New Hampshire, but why should we be surprised by that? And what loss is Bass really? I think we can win again in New Hampshire.
Also, in Michigan, most of the labor backed referendums were defeated. In Michigan! Home of the UAW. This goes to show that our education efforts on behalf of right to work and freedom to choose unions or not can work in our favor. Conservatives held their own in the Michigan Legislature as well. Again, while the Democrats can run up the score in Detroit and Flint, they cannot win over the breadth of the entire state. That bodes well for us.
What did we learn? That our candidate preparation needs to get better. WE can do that essentially by just thinking in common sense ways about the modern media. In what instance does it make sense for the Republican Candidate in any election to speak to the liberal media? Why not use our own media outlets: Red State, Free Republic, Drudgereport, Fox News to bring our message to the people we care about. Understand this, that the New York Times is not your friend no matter what. They will twist and spin everything you say. Make certain that you understand the context of what they are saying and stay on message. Is there any doubt but that Richard Mourdock would be a U.S. Senator-elect today had he not opined on rape? While I agree with him on his position, the media made hay out of a white man making a comment on rape, and they spinned it in such a way that made him look like an ogre. And once the toothpaste is out of the tube, you can’t put it back. When answering an Abortion question by unfriendly media, we need our candidates to turn it around on them. Ask rhetorically, why don’t you ask partial birth abortion questions of the Democrat? Stay on message. Point out the Democrats as the enemy of job creation. Let the Democrats own their own extreme position.
While have Obama as President is bad, we can make it into a positive. What the liberals want is for us to cave in. They want us to recognize that the Democratic Party position is the new normal. That we should pitch in the tent and become more liberal. While that is their hope, we have some cards to play as well. Did John Tester run as a liberal in 2012? Did Heidi Heitkamp run as a liberal? Didn’t Joe Donelly run as a pro-lifer in Indiana? Aren’t a number of Democrat Senators up in 2014 who do not want to be running as liberals during that cycle? (Mark Pryor, Max Baucus, Kay Hagan, and Tim Johnson come to mind.) I think we can fork them much more than they can fork us on issues. Especially taxes and spending. Especially people like Hagan and Johnson who will want to restore defense spending if we decide to go off the fiscal cliff. Imagine running for re-election in South Dakota if Ellsworth Air Force Base is on the chopping block? The Democrats in their caucus will raise more hell than we will have to to make their inability to govern readily apparent.
I also think we need to give Boehner a chance here on his strategy. Over the past year plus, Obama has neglected to speak to leaders of his own party on issues that matter. I think Boehner stating that he is waiting for the President to offer a proposal will bode well for us. I think Boehner is potentially giving the Democrats enough rope to hang themselves. We need to sit tight and wait patiently and then pounce in the summer of 2013, just like we did in 2009. We can make 2014 another 2010, but we need to keep a clear head, and not fall for all the liberal talking points.