Sunday, November 11, 2012
My Sunday Feeling
Quite frankly, I thought Mitt Romney had a shot. Best case scenario I had in my head was that President Obama would win in the Electoral College but not by the popular vote. Which would have caused no end of chaos from the set of Fox News to the Federal Courts. But I was wrong and it turns out the New York Times' Nate Silver was right. As I recall, a couple of days before the election Silver's analysis of the polls led him to conclude a 91% chance of Obama getting re-elected in a cakewalk.
Which is pretty much what happened.
The outcome is said to have stunned the Romney campaign which was so certain of victory that Mr. Romney had not prepared a concession speech. Indeed, the campaign had purchased a $25,000 fireworks display which they had set to erupt after he was declared the winner.
Better save it for the 4th of July, Mitt.
Seriously, campaigns at this level are not run by idiots. No doubt but that this was a winnable race for Mitt Romney. The economy is still struggling despite the stimulus program that failed to deliver the big bang and increased the deficit. Obamacare is despised, irrationally so, in some quarters. This is despite the fact that you hear very little criticism of it from the Insurance and Hospital lobbies, traditionally Republican in orientation, who stand to make millions from it.
And you have Mr. Obama himself, who seems indifferent toward politics. This indifference allowed him to be painted as a Kenyan-Muslim communist and incompetent. This despite a legacy of legislative and battlefield accomplishments that would have been the envy of many Presidents.
So how did Mitt screw this thing up so badly?
The post-mortems that I have read yield many theories. First of all, the Romney campaign was underfunded. This is astonishing when you consider the money that the Republicans typically have to bring to bear in elections and the vast personal wealth of Mr. Romney himself. But the Romney campaign was short of money after the bruising primary which he had to endure. So the campaign was in full fundraising mode throughout the general election when the candidate should have been shaking hands and kissing babies. And Mr. Romney didn't contribute to his own campaign. Which I find astonishing. And telling.
Part of the problem was Mr. Romney himself who had flaws as a candidate as well. As Governor of Massachusetts he instituted mandatory health insurance for its citizens. As candidate for President he opposed it. As Governor, he supported women's rights to choose. As candidate for President he opposed it. He proposed doing away with FEMA and making disaster relief a concern for the states. After Hurricane Sandy, he changed his mind on that too. And wrongly enough, he was reviled by some for his religion, a faith which clearly sustains the man.
But in order to get the nomination, he had to take extreme right wing positions in order to appease the nutbar faction that hijacked the GOP in 2010. And to win the general election he had to moderate these stands. Further, its hard to relate to a guy who is building a house in Florida with elevators for the family's Cadillacs. Hell, turns out all Barack Obama had to do was be Barack Obama.
Secondly, it seems to me that the GOP assumed that it had the white vote sewed up and that this would carry the day. While they might have carried middle aged white males in suburbs and in rural areas, the Dems cleaned house with women, gays, Asians, and Hispanics to go along with their edge with black voters. How could they not have seen trouble on the horizon? Especially after the Hurricane and after the completely idiotic remarks regarding rape and pregnancy uttered by a couple of their candidates for Senate.
But no. All accounts have the Rs being shocked on Tuesday night. No concession speech prepared. What hubris.
So what now?
The Republicans doubled down on crazy and on appeals to the worst instincts if its base. And it clearly didn't work. Their traditional base is outnumbered. Math is math no matter what the bloviators on Fox say.
It will be interesting. The President's hand looks pretty good right now. And there's no telling what cards he's got up his sleeve. If the GOP fails to compromise and the country goes over the Simpson-Bowles cliff, the electorate will know who to blame. But that is for tomorrow.
The question for today remains.
Wonder what the hell they did with the fireworks?