They Allowed Democrats To Pick Their Nominee For Them. A succession of potential Republican nominees -– Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich –- were bright, attractive, and have compelling narratives. Instead, Republican voters (or, at least, enough of them) bought into this Democratic mantra that only a liberal stand-for-nothing Republican can win a presidential election.
Having Nominated A Stand-For-Nothing, He Proceeded To Run To The Left. That never works! In modern times (i.e.after the Lyndon Johnson era), five GOP nominees who have been PERCEIVED (rightly or wrongly) as “conservatives” all won the presidency. Four who were perceived, rightly, as being moderate (Ford, Bush ’92, Dole, and McCain) all lost. The only possible outlier was Bush ’88, who, frankly, was running for Reagan’s “third term.”
The House GOP Should Have Used The September Continuing Resolution To Frame The Election. The House Republicans, without help from anyone, could have refused to pass a continuing resolution for October 1 through March 31, unless it barred funds from being used to hire IRS agents to investigate, prosecute, and incarcerate people who filed to pay their ObamaCare premiums/fines. Had that been the case, all of October would have been spent debating Obama’s threat to shut down the government for the sole purpose of preserving the mandate.
Instead, Paul Ryan Came Off The Campaign To Return To Washington For The Explicit Purpose Of Voting To Fund ObamaCare (And Other Obama Priorities). This is similar to when John McCain suspended his campaign to come back to Washington and pass TARP.
And, In Fact, The House GOP Has Dutifully Voted To Implement ObamaCare On One CR After Another, And Finally Fought The Debt Limit Increase, Kicking And Screaming, Only Because They Were Literally Forced To Do So. (Not surprisingly, when they were forced to fight the debt limit, Obama’s positives went down 10 points, notwithstanding withering liberal media assertions that the GOP was bringing America to the precipice.
And, Incidentally, Given That They Have Continued To Fund ObamaCare, It Didn’t Do Any Good For The House to Pass A Succession Of ObamaCare Repeals Where Boehner, Cantor, Or, And Ryan Immediately Went On TV To Explain That They Knew They Were Just Useless Exercises Which Weren’t Going Anywhere. What was the point? That, if the GOP leadership didn’t denounce the prospects for their own initiatives, Chris Matthews would accuse them of being naïve? Well, who’s laughing now
And, Yes, With ObamaCare The Most Potent Weapon In The Republicans’ Quiver, It Was A Mistake To Nominate The Guy Who Invented It.
Harry Reid Understood The Importance Of Guns To The Election While Mitch McConnell Did Not. A year and a half ago, when Senator Rand Paul literally forced the Senate to consider an amendment to exempt gun records (4473’s) from post-9/11 legislation to allow the government to demand the production of “business records,” McConnell whipped the Republican caucus to take an “anti-gun” position. That was the last time Republicans forced a gun vote. By contrast, the last major vote before the Senate went out for election was a Harry Reid motion to try to get Jon Tester reelected on the basis of Tester’s “pro-gun” bill.
Even After They Were Warned, Republicans Still Persisted In The Notion That The Answer to 99%/1% Attacks Was To Argue That The Wealthy Were The “Job-Creators.” This may be true economically, but it is horrible political messaging.
By Contrast, The GOP Failed To Emphasize Obama’s Massive (ObamaCare) Taxes On The Middle Class. The Real message should have been: “Obama just imposed the largest tax increase in history on the middle class. He lies when he says the election is about taxing the wealthy. The election is about taxing YOU. Obama loves big government, and, hence, he loves taxes — on everyone.”
Republicans Relied On “Focus Group” “Technology” Which Had Huge, Obvious, Inherent Flaws. Show a person a deeply negative ad and he recoils. But, let him hear the same message a hundred times, as he’s walking back and forth through the living room, and the message sticks. It is no surprise that the primary exemplar of focus group technology cautioned Senate Republicans, in May, 2009, not to oppose ObamaCare.
It Follows That Republicans, Too Often, Combat “Vicious” With “Callow.” MSNBC & co. engaged in a ruthless, withering campaign to destroy potential candidates like Bachmann and Palin, who could have cut into Obama’s demographic base. The GOP has not done the same to, e.g., gaff-prone Joe Biden.
To the Contrary, Romney Jumped To Condemn Candidates Like Todd Akin And Richard Mourdock, Because The Media Ordered Him To Do So. He presumably thought that by denouncing Republican Senate candidates and throwing away the Senate, he could save himself. But, to the contrary, the Dems just proceeded to use the tiny, but universally condemned slips to label the Republican Party in general.
The Romney Campaign’s Absolute Ignorance Of The Politics Of The Abortion Issues Turned It Into A Huge Liability For Them. They should have been fighting over nine-month-old babies being burned to death in China with Obama-backed UNFPA funds –- or over the ability of women to sue abortionists for physical, mental, and psychological harm done to them. Instead, they allowed themselves to be pushed into the “rape cul de sac.”
As A Result, Romney All-But-Announced That He Wasn’t Going To Sign Legislation On Abortion — At The Very Time When He Should Have Been Solidifying His “Ground Game” By Energizing His Most Active Soldiers.
In So Doing, He Bought Into The Media Narrative That Romney’s Path To Victory Was Winning Pro-Abortion, Liberal Women. In fact, just the opposite was true: Pennsylvania could have been placed on the table by appealing to conservative pro-life Democrats.
The Same Is True For McConnell and Senate GOP Campaign Chief Cornyn. They literally worked to insure that they didn’t take over the Senate at a time when they could have taken Missouri out of play for the Democrats. As it turned out, Missouri would have been a slam-dunk (even after the “legitimate rape” comment), had McConnell and Cornyn not cut Akin off for over a month. Did they think this would cause the GOP faithful to crawl over glass to make McConnell majority leader?
Karl Rove’s Wall Street Journal Narrative That Obama Could Not Win Re-Election If Unemployment Was Over 7.2% Turned Out To Be Deeply Flawed. What makes this particularly unfortunate is that it turned into the GOP mantra for the campaign right up until September, 2012, when Republicans discovered, to their chagrin, that it was bogus. This, despite the fact that people like me were telling them, from the beginning, of the danger of this way of thinking.
As A Result, The Huge Amount Of Money Spent On Crossroads Ads Was Much Less Effective Than It Should Have Been. People don’t need to be reminded that they don’t have jobs. What they need to be reminded of is the fact that they don’t have jobs because Obama spent two years “making history,” rather than fixing the economy.
The Single-Minded “I’m A Businessman; I Can Fix Things” Narrative Turned Out, Predictably, To Be Insufficient. In fact, a lot of us who had observed Romney in Massachusetts and New Hampshire knew of his arrogance, and his campaign theme played right into that perception. Ultimately, the guy whom we knew thought he was better than anyone else was going to make statements revealing that attitude.
Meanwhile, In The Senate, McConnell Made No Real Effort To Force A Succession Of Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, And Family Values Votes. We finally prodded him into whipping Republicans to oppose cloture on motions to proceed to Reid’s agenda. At least, this prevented bad things from happening. But it didn’t do anything to push a conservative agenda.
At The Same Time, Boehner Allowed Perfunctory Votes On Conservative Issues And Then Made It Clear He Had No Intention Of Forcing The Issues In Show-Downs On Continuing Resolutions.
In Particular, The Second Amendment Community Became More And More Livid At Boehner’s Reluctance To Force A Show-Down On “Fast And Furious” Until After The Election.
At A Time When Millions Risk Fines and Prison For Failing To Purchase Gold-Plated, Abortion — And Contraceptive Providing $25,000 (By 2019) Mandated Insurance, You Heard Virtually Nothing Of That On The Campaign Trail.
To The Contrary, When The Slimy, Feckless John Roberts Was Intimidated Into Holding That There Are No Limits To What The Government Can Do Under The taxing Power, “Conservatives” Like George Will and Charles Krauthammer Fell All Over Themselves To Observe What A “Genius” Roberts Was. As a result, expect the court to be increasingly “Blackmunized.”
FYI, When Obama Talks About The “Popular” Aspects Of ObamaCare, The Simple Answer is: “The Benefits Are Meaningless (1) If You Can’t Afford The Premiums (Because, Inter Alia Your Premiums Have To Cover The Ironically-Named Ms. Fluke’s IUD’s) Or (2) If You Lose Your Insurance From Your Employer Because It’s Cheaper For Him To Pay The Penalty Or (d) If You Can Only Get A Part-Time Job Because Your Food-Service Employer Doesn’t Want To Hire The 50 Full-Time Workers Which Would Make Him Subject To ObamaCare. The relatively small provision on keeping kids on your policy until they’re 26 added $150-450, on average, to every insurance premium in America.
Instead Of Giving That Simple Answer, Romney Once Again Flip-Flopped On ObamaCare, Thereby Doing A “Full 360.” Hence, the most potent issue of the campaign was taken off the table.
Thus, Rather Than Making Things Happen, Conservatives Became A “Peanut Gallery” Cheering Section, Hoping Events Like The First Debate Would Carry Romney Over The Top. When your “grass roots” become observers, that’s never a prescription to victory.
In The End, Fox’s Obsession With Libya As An Election Issue Was Probably Misplaced. Predictably, the issue didn’t have the volatility that Fox thought it had.
Finally, People, At The Presidential Level, More Often Than Not, Vote For “The Nice Guy.” By conceding, falsely, that the arrogant jerk Obama was “a nice guy,” simply because that’s what the biased polling was saying, the Republicans may have all-but-conceded the election. By presenting Obama as the [expletive deleted] that he was, at least the GOP could have moved the numbers –- in the same way that Democrats moved numbers through their personal attacks on Romney.
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