Posts Tagged ‘Romney’
“What was that?” My car had just made a very loud thump and I looked in the rearview mirror to see what it was. “It” was 2013 and it was lying motionless in the road behind me, the life drained out forever.
Ok, that was a little graphic, but what’s behind us, is behind us. And we move on.
However, we know that we are supposed to learn from the past so that we don’t repeat our mistakes, so it’s probably worth thinking about what we can learn from 2013.
So, what’s the big lesson learned from 2013?
It’s time for conservatives to assert ourselves and push back on the complete tripe that the Left sputters on a daily basis.
Yes, we took a beating in 2012 – with Romney losing to Obama and losing seats in the U.S. Senate. We were rocked back on our heels and needed to lick our wounds and regroup.
The conservative movement largely sat out of the biggest race of the year in 2013 – the Virginia Governor’s race – and as a result, the king of cronyism and corrupt business dealings, Terry McAuliffe, is now the Governor of Virginia.
So it’s time that we grab our bootstraps and pull ourselves up and make the arguments – from the head and from the heart – that less government involvement in our lives is a good thing.
And I know that we can win the argument. We just need to help people see what is right in front of them.
Think about it. The “Hunger Games” trilogy has been wildly successful and created two blockbuster films. The story is a manifesto against bigger government.
Same goes for “Divergent” which will be released as a major motion picture this year. We (conservatives) lament how the popular culture is working against us, but when something in popular culture makes our point, we need to celebrate it, promote it, expand on it.
The lesson of 2013? Two young girls, each in their own way, asserted themselves to shine the light of truth in a dark world. We need to follow their example.
Here’s to Katniss and Tris – true freedom fighters.
So begins President Obama’s second term.
There is something historic about our first Black president begin sworn in for a second term on Martin Luther King Day. King had a dream, Obama seems to be living that dream, but imagine the nightmare of anger and outrage had it been Romney being sworn in on MLK Day.
Instead, Obama will start his second term in the peaceful way that every President has done so since Washington. That is part of what makes the United States a blessed and unique nation, we transfer political power without killing people and forcing our will.
Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t some pretty strong feelings along the political spectrum. Obama has and will certainly continue to instigate strong feelings through his policies – just look at his inaugural speech. It was a clear sign that the era of big government is coming back with a vengeance.
And while he used a lot of language that gave the impression of bringing the country together, he just couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a backhanded swipe at his most recent opponent, Mitt Romney’s 47 percent remark:
We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss or a sudden illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative.
They strengthen us.
They do not make us a nation of takers. They free us to take the risks that make this country great.
Obama’s vision of America is one in which the government is the solution to every problem. If that ideology advances, more and more people will be reliant on an ever-growing government and making it harder to break the cycle of dependency.
What do most Americans worry about when it comes to the federal government? By strong majorities, it is that the government spends too much and has too much debt. And yet, our President didn’t even mention the word spending once in his entire speech.
That, more than anything, tells you how he is going to approach the next four years.
Following the 1960 Presidential Election between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon there were widespread allegations of voter fraud, particularly in Illinois and Texas.
Likewise, today there have been widespread allegations of voter fraud in Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland and Miami.
What’s the difference? In 1960, it is actually possible that voter fraud may have made changed the outcome in Illinois and Texas. The raw vote difference in Texas was only 46,000 votes and in Illinois, a mere 9,000 votes.
This year’s election is much different. Obama won Florida by more than 74,000 votes, Ohio by 166,000 votes, Pennsylvania by 310,000 votes and Michigan by 449,000 votes.
Here is the point. There is no way that Obama stole the election. Is it possible to steal 74,000 votes in Florida? I suppose it’s possible – but even if Florida went to Romney, he still would have lost. It is not rational thinking, with the number of people watching the way elections are conducted, that the Democrats could have stolen enough votes to give Obama wins in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan or even Colorado which Obama won by 138,000 votes.
You just don’t steal landslides.
Yes, I believe that voter fraud exists, and that it could affect outcomes in legislative races and maybe even an occasional Congressional race. But there weren’t any Senate races for states for the President that voter fraud changed the outcome.
Republicans were plenty capable of losing all on their own.
There is no single reason why Republicans, and in particular, Mitt Romney, lost in 2012. It was a perfect storm of a lackluster presidential campaign, an iconic incumbent, slightly improving economic indicators, and a super storm.
In my previous post, I pointed out Romney’s image problems, his problem with minority women, the unprecedented way that late deciders broke for the incumbent president, and faulty data by Republican pollsters.
Dick Morris points out that part of the reason Obama increased his share of votes among Hispanics and Asians is that white voters were a smaller percentage of the overall electorate – and that they stayed home.
Here are a few other important points in that vein:
- Minority voting increased as a share of the electorate. Even as turnout fell, Hispanic/Latino and Asian vote shares grew relative to the non-Hispanic white turnout. Latinos were 10% of voters in 2012 compared with 9% in 2008. Asians also increased to 3% from 2%. African-Americans maintained at 13% of turnout. Non-Hispanic white voters fell from 74% to 72% of turnout.
- Obama won larger majorities of Latino and Asian voters than in 2012. He won slightly fewer African-Americans. Obama increased his lead by 8 points among Latinos (71-27 in 2012 vs. 67-31 in 2008) and by 20 points among Asians (73-26 in 2012 vs. 62-35 in 2008). Romney won 6% of African-Americans, while McCain won 4% in 2008. Romney won non-Hispanic whites by 9 points more than McCain (59-39 in 2012 vs. 55-43 in 2008).
- Younger voters showed up at the polls again and in bigger numbers. Voters aged 18-29 made up a larger share of the electorate in 2012 (19%) than in 2008 (18%). Obama won 60% of this group in 2012 (up from 56% in 2008).
One stunning statistic: people making less than $50,000 made up 41% of the electorate (+3 from 2008) and voted 60% for Obama and 38% for Romney.
Those making $50,000-$100,000 shrunk as a percentage of the electorate from 36% in 2008 to 31% this year. They narrowly supported Romney.
Three percent slipped into the lower income bracket and two percent went to the $100,000+ bracket (which supported Romney 54% over 44% for Obama). So as a result of Obama’s failed economic policies that have driven incomes down, he grew his voter pool. Talk about the perverse incentives of Obama’s agenda.
In the next installment, we’ll discuss consumer confidence as an indicator and whether voter fraud had an impact on this election.
There are many theories, excuses, and explanations about what went wrong for Republicans on Election Day. Some are fairly accurate, others wildly off-base, and most are premature. I think some fact-based analysis is in order, and I’ll include my opinion as well at the end. Much of the data comes from either exit polls or post election polls I’ve read.
Of ballots currently counted (33 states have certified the result), Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney 65,362,092 to 60,715,413 – a lead of 4.6 million votes or 3.6% (50.94% to 47.32%).
In 2008, Obama defeated John McCain by roughly 9.5 million votes or 7.3% – 69,456,897 to 59,934,814. Romney exceeded McCain’s vote total, but Obama is about 4 million votes shy of his 2008 total. 2012 turnout was less than that of 2008, both on a raw vote basis and when measured as a percentage of the eligible electorate.
With that said, turnout was closer to 2008 levels in the key battleground states than in non-competitive states. In the 12 most competitive states, the current cumulative raw vote is more than the total from 2008, whereas the balance of the country is down about 5.7% from 2008.
A few key takeaways:
- Support for Obama was weaker in 2012 than 2008.
Obama is the first President since FDR to win reelection with fewer votes than his initial election. His share of the vote fell in every one of the 12 most competitive states, including as much as 3.7% in Wisconsin.
- Romney was unable to convert millions of voters who abandoned Obama.
If we were to look at this simplistically, we could argue that Obama didn’t win the election. Rather, Romney lost the election by failing to motivate the millions of voters who couldn’t vote for Obama to vote for him instead. Tellingly, a clear majority (52%) of voters said the country was on the wrong track, but Romney only won 84% of these voters. Obama won 93% of those who said the country was going in the right direction.
- Romney won independents by 5 points on Election Day – a 13-point shift from 2008 when Obama won independents by 8 points, and Romney still lost.
WHY REPUBLICANS DIDN’T SEE IT COMING
Republican pollsters, pundits, strategists and campaigns got it wrong, seriously wrong. I was one of them. Going into Election Day I completely believed Romney was going to win.
We relied on data that turned out to be inaccurate. We were convinced, based on polling results and historical comparisons that Romney was going to win. That we were shocked at the outcome demonstrates that we relied on serious miscalculations.
There has been significant discussion about how badly Republican and center-right polling got it wrong. That is true. The polling that Romney relied on, the party committees relied on, and that Senate candidates relied on was all faulty because it had a common problem – a severe underestimation of Democrat turnout.
Early indications are that this error was driven by use of overly restrictive likely voter screens and an expectation that youth and minority voters would plateau at 2008 levels, rather than continue to grow. It wasn’t the methodology per se – that is, the error wasn’t necessarily because some pollsters used random digit dialing and others used specific lists of registered voters. Ultimately, it appears a combination of factors resulted in “weight” being added to Republican and independent voters.
Republican and conservative pollsters tended to use a likely voter model that split the difference between 2004 and 2008, a model that leaned Democrat narrowly and made winning independents the critical piece of a winning coalition for Romney and other Republican candidates.
By contrast, Democratic and news organization polling estimated a turnout model more like 2008, but with continued growth in minority voting as a share of the electorate. This model was closer to reality, and therefore their polling was closer to the mark.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
Just as there was never a silver bullet for defeating Obama, there is no single cause for this loss. It was a culmination of a number of weaknesses and missed opportunities that, in combination, proved fatal. Below are several of these factors in a list that is by no means exhaustive:
- Romney’s decision to not rebut the attacks by Obama on Bain, tax returns, and offshore accounts in the summer proved fatal. Romney’s delay in defining himself was a major strategic error. Given the amount of money that was spent attacking Obama by the outside, any money spent attacking Obama by Romney was wasted. He should have been promoting himself. In the exit polls, voters split somewhat evenly into four camps when asked what was the most important quality in a Presidential candidate: “Shares my values” (27%), “Strong leader” (18%), “Cares about people like me” (21%), and “Vision for the future” (29%). Romney won all but “Cares about people like me” by strong majorities – between 54% and 61% of voters in each group. However, he lost by 63 points(!) on “Cares about people like me,” which Obama won 81% to 18%.
- In a post-election poll, swing voters were asked to describe both Romney and Obama in a word or phrase. For Romney, the most prevalent word was “liar” and for Obama it was “ineffective.” Since elections are a matter of whom do you trust, even “ineffective” trumps “liar.” Tellingly, this was among swing voters.
- The much-discussed “gender gap” is better understood as a “minority gender gap.” Women made up 53% of voters. Overall, Obama won women by 11 (55-44) and Romney won men by 7 (52-45). However, Romney actually won white women (38% of voters) by 14 points (56-42). The problem is that he lost African American women (8% of voters) 96-3, and Hispanic women (6% of voters) 76-23. By comparison, Romney “only” lost Hispanic men (5% of voters) 65-33 – 21 points closer (net) than Hispanic women. Put another way, if the Hispanic gender gap had been the same as the white gender gap, Obama’s lead would be cut by nearly 20%. In 2004, the gender gap was nearly identical for all races and ethnicities.
- Late-breaking undecided voters defied history and broke to the incumbent President. Obama won those who decided on Election Day or the few days prior 50-44. Past elections, including 2004 when Kerry won this group 53-44, found the opposite to be true. Conventional wisdom has long held that challenger candidates benefit from late deciders, who, by not already having joined the incumbent’s column, have in some sense already decided to consider an alternative. This “incumbent rule” is clearly no longer a rule – at least in presidential elections. As Election Day neared and the campaign saw Romney and Obama tied or Obama narrowly ahead but at 47% or below in key states (albeit using admittedly problematic turnout models), they expected Romney to carry a strong majority of the remaining voters. Most campaign strategists and pollsters expected this effect to help turn the tide in a number of states that, in reality, Romney ended up losing by 5-6 points (e.g., Iowa, Wisconsin, Colorado, etc.) and to firm up what should have been his victories in Florida and Virginia.
- Urban turnout was higher than expected. Employing a long-term ground game and using constituencies of identity politics proved to be effective for Obama in these communities. For example, in Wisconsin, Obama won by nearly identical margins in 2008 and 2012 in Milwaukee and Madison combined – roughly 300,000 votes. In the balance of the state, Obama won by 111,000 votes in 2008, but lost by 96,000 votes in 2012.
- Superstorm Sandy slowed Romney’s momentum and allowed Obama to look Presidential in the days leading up to the election. Perhaps this is an explanation for the late-deciders breaking to Obama, but it also changed the narrative and preempted Romney’s message that Obama was campaigning on “small ball” issues rather than an overarching vision.
WHAT DO REPUBLICANS NEED TO DO DIFFERENTLY?
- Republicans need to get real about grassroots campaigning – and engage in their own style of “community organizing.” This should be an ongoing effort that does not require rebuilding from scratch each cycle.
- Candidates matter, and Republicans need to engage in a robust candidate recruitment and training effort. They need to avoid situations where massive investments in TV ads, grassroots efforts and mail are squandered because of a candidate who says something stupid. While “47 percent” and “legitimate rape” were certainly not the only causes of the 2012 Republican collapse, they did play a role and had effects beyond the outcomes in the Presidential and Missouri Senate races.
- Republicans need to get serious about data – collecting it, understanding it, and using it. Obama’s campaign had a group they called “the scientists” to plow through the huge amount of data they collected from polling, the field, public sources, the voter file, fundraising, and many other sources.
- Finally, Republicans need to recognize that the demographics are changing and they need to do something about it – most notably with the growing Latino community. I’m not arguing for amnesty (although, I would point out that Reagan campaigned on a platform of amnesty against the union-backed Walter Mondale in 1984), but we need to do something that reaches out to Hispanics in a credible and sincere way.
This editorial by the Las Vegas Review Journal is devastatingly spot on describing the failure of President Obama to adequately respond to the attack of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. It is a must read in its totality:
Benghazi blunder: Obama unworthy commander-in-chief
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in a well-planned military assault on their diplomatic mission in Benghazi seven weeks ago, the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. So why are details surfacing, piecemeal, only now?
The Obama administration sat by doing nothing for seven hours that night, ignoring calls to dispatch help from our bases in Italy, less than two hours away. It has spent the past seven weeks stretching the story out, engaging in misdirection and deception involving supposed indigenous outrage over an obscure anti-Muslim video, confident that with the aid of a docile press corps this infamous climax to four years of misguided foreign policy can be swept under the rug, at least until after Tuesday’s election.
Charles Woods, father of former Navy SEAL and Henderson resident Tyrone Woods, 41, says his son died slumped over his machine gun after he and fellow ex-SEAL Glen Doherty – not the two locals who were the only bodyguards Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration would authorize – held off the enemy for seven hours.
The Obama administration was warned. They received an embassy cable June 25 expressing concern over rising Islamic extremism in Benghazi, noting the black flag of al-Qaida “has been spotted several times flying over government buildings and training facilities.” The Obama administration removed a well-armed, 16-member security detail from Libya in August, The Wall Street Journal reported last month, replacing it with a couple of locals. Mr. Stevens sent a cable Aug. 2 requesting 11 additional body guards, noting “Host nation security support is lacking and cannot be depended on,” reports Peter Ferrara at Forbes.com. But these requests were denied, officials testified before the House Oversight Committee earlier this month.
Based on documents released by the committee, on the day of the attack the Pentagon dispatched a drone with a video camera so everyone in Washington could see what was happening in real time. The drone documented no crowds protesting any video. But around 4 p.m. Washington received an email from the Benghazi mission saying it was under a military-style attack. The White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA were able to watch the live video feed. An email sent later that day reported “Ansar al-Sharia claims responsibility for Benghazi attack.”
Not only did the White House do nothing, there are now reports that a counterterrorism team ready to launch a rescue mission was ordered to stand down.
The official explanation for the inadequate security? This administration didn’t want to “offend the sensibilities” of the new radical Islamic regime which American and British arms had so recently helped install in Libya.
The official explanation for why Obama administration officials watched the attack unfold for seven hours, refusing repeated requests to send the air support and relief forces that sat less than two hours away in Italy? Silence.
An open discussion of these issues, of course, would lead to difficult questions about the wisdom of underwriting and celebrating the so-called Arab Spring revolts in the first place. While the removal of tyrants can be laudable, the results show a disturbing pattern of merely installing new tyrannies – theocracies of medieval mullahs who immediately start savaging the rights of women (including the basic right to education) and who are openly hostile to American interests.
When Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney promptly criticized the security failures in Benghazi, the White House and its lapdog media jumped all over him for another “gaffe,” for speaking out too promptly and too strongly. Prompt and strong action from the White House on Sept. 11 might have saved American lives, as well as America’s reputation as a nation not to be messed with. Weakness and dithering and flying to Las Vegas the next day for celebrity fund-raising parties are somehow better?
This administration is an embarrassment on foreign policy and incompetent at best on the economy – though a more careful analysis shows what can only be a perverse and willful attempt to destroy our prosperity. Back in January 2008, Barack Obama told the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle that under his cap-and-trade plan, “If somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them.” He added, “Under my plan … electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” It was also in 2008 that Mr. Obama’s future Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, famously said it would be necessary to “figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe” – $9 a gallon.
Yet the president now claims he’s in favor of oil development and pipelines, taking credit for increased oil production on private lands where he’s powerless to block it, after he halted the Keystone XL Pipeline and oversaw a 50 percent reduction in oil leases on public lands.
These behaviors go far beyond “spin.” They amount to a pack of lies. To return to office a narcissistic amateur who seeks to ride this nation’s economy and international esteem to oblivion, like Slim Pickens riding the nuclear bomb to its target at the end of the movie “Dr. Strangelove,” would be disastrous.
Candidate Obama said if he couldn’t fix the economy in four years, his would be a one-term presidency.
Mitt Romney is moral, capable and responsible man. Just this once, it’s time to hold Barack Obama to his word. Maybe we can all do something about that, come Tuesday.
Nine days to go and there seems to be a palpable sense that Mitt Romney has the momentum to win the Presidential election.
That would be remarkable.
Just consider a few facts:
The Des Moines Register endorsed Mitt Romney, the first Republican endorsement they have given since 1972.
Speaking of 1972, that is the last time a Republican won the state of Minnesota, and yet Obama’s campaign just made a big TV purchase there as polls show Romney within the margin of error in the home state of Walter Mondale.
Polls in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia show Romney’s lead expanding, making Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada pretty darn important for Obama to win. Recent polling in Michigan and Pennsylvania show the race tightening where Obama won each by double digits in 2008.
Gallup’s daily Presidential track has Romney +5 for a second day in a row, and shows that Obama has lost 7 points in approval in the last three days.
Now, there is still plenty of time for Mitt Romney and the Republicans to screw it up and lose. But my instinct tells me that if the landscape isn’t any worse next Sunday as it is today for Romney, he’s likely to win.
The most important vote you can cast this year is your vote for President.
Here are my other endorsements/recommendations:
U.S. Senate – Jeff Flake
U.S. House of Representatives – David Schweikert
District 15 State Senator – Nancy Barto
District 15 State Rep – John Allen, Heather Carter
Corporation Commission – Bob Burns/Bob Stump/Susan Bitter Smith
County Board of Supervisors – Andy Kunasek
County Assessor – Keith Russell
County Attorney – Bill Montgomery
County Recorder – Helen Purcell
County School Superintendent – Don Covey
Sheriff – Arpaio
County Treasurer – Charles “Hos” Hoskins
Central AZ Water Conservation District (up to 5):
Deer Valley School Board:
Prop 114 – Yes
Prop 115 – Yes
Prop 116 – Yes
Prop 117 – Yes
Prop 118 – Yes
Prop 119 – No
Prop 120 – Yes
Prop 121 – No
Prop 204 – No
The first Presidential debate of the 2012 campaign was critically important to the tone and trajectory of the campaign. Mitt Romney was the clear winner, and given the viewership of the debate, it couldn’t have been more important. As Politico reports:
An estimated 67.2 million people watched the presidential debate last night, according to Nielsen.
The total viewership, which includes 12 networks, was a 28 percent increase over the first presidential debate in 2008 between then-Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain, which drew 52.4 million viewers. 63.2 million watched Obama and McCain’s second debate; 56.5 million watched their third.
The rating includes total viewers for ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Univision, PBS, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, CurrentTV and CNBC between 9 p.m and 10:30 p.m. ET, and for Telemundo’s airing on tape-delay. It does not include online viewership.
The highest-rated presidential debate in U.S. history was a 1980 debate between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, which had 80.6 million viewers.
This puts significant pressure on Joe Biden to salvage the Obama campaign and the President’s weak performance last night.
If Romney was in need of something that changed the dynamic of the race, he delivered in spades last night.
For anyone who doubted whether Romney had the juice to change the course of the campaign, they would be convinced after Romney’s solid performance in the first Presidential Debate.
As one person on twitter said, “Mitt Romney: worth the wait.”
I had argued that Romney didn’t need to hit a home run – he just needed to not screw up.
Well, he hit a home run.
I tweeted near the end of the debate that Mitt’s performance will lead to a slight bump in the polls, he’ll raise a new pile of money over the next few days, and there will be a renewed energy among the volunteer base.
This was a good, good night for Romney.
And it was a pretty crappy way for Obama to spend his anniversary.