Voter fraud is not new. Media bias is not new. There were times in history when they were arguably worse
What Went Wrong I
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The GOP neglected its base and frantically tried to show that they were more responsible Democrats, but with a deep love of free enterprise. The Democrats focused on turning out every single rotten member of their 2008 coalition and getting them to the polls.
The GOP chased the voters it didn’t have. The Democrats chased the voters they did have and made sure as many of them as possible showed up to vote.
The GOP softened its message. The Democrats hardened theirs. The GOP tried to be moderate. The Democrats tried to be extremist.
Guess which plan worked?
In a low turnout election with the media running against you, you don’t aim for the center, you act like a general, fire up your base and command your armies.
WHAT WENT WRONG II
Elections come down to turnout. Everything else is window dressing. And the voters did not come out in sufficient number.
The election did not really come down to Obama vs. Romney. It came down to Romney vs. Obama.
Or to put it another way, most Romney voters were really voting against Obama. And most Obama voters were really voting against Romney.
In a competitive economic environment, the government class and the productive class were both trying to protect their economic lifelines. Whether it was the ability to earn a living or to get stuff from the government.
Obama’s entire strategy was to assemble constituencies with compelling group reasons for voting against Romney. And the whole RACISM WAR ON WOMEN DREAM ACT GAY MARRIAGE approach worked. It was a narrow election, but there was enough turnout and some voter fraud to carry the day.
Romney looked like he had the turnout based on early momentum. Before Sandy. Sandy was the November surprise that tilted the dials and changed everything.
But Romney’s momentum increased after his first debate performance. He barely broke even on the second debate and completely blew the third debate. The numbers then didn’t seem to show that it hurt him, but it likely did not help shore up his path forward.
Republicans were still acting as if the momentum were there when it had dissolved away. They were busy predicting a landslide that was not going to come. They committed themselves and kept going and then ran out of road.
That is what went wrong.
WHAT WENT WRONG III
Most Republicans went into this assuming that 2012 would be an extension of 2010. Instead it was an extension of 2008. Why?
2010 pivoted on ObamaCare and turned Republicans into an effective counter to Obama through a Republican Congress. And what exactly did we see from that?
I’m not going to start screaming about Boehner now, but the voters gave Congress to the Republicans and they expected to see something for the trouble. They did not.
After the 2010 elections I listed seven things for the Republican Congress to keep in mind and closed with, “2010 was important, but 2012 will be much more important. 2010 is a chance to checkmate Obama’s agenda and prepare the ground for the real war. That means the context for everything we do has to be on how to win the next election. Winning 2010, while losing 2012, won’t look like much of a victory. And if you don’t think it can happen now, look back at the nineties. It can happen. And unless we work hard, it will.”
And it did happen. Few people thought the Republican Congress added value to their lives. There was no coherent agenda. The public was alienated. Many did not bother showing up.
The Anti-Obama vote was not enough. There was no sense that elected Republicans were doing anything useful. And so they weren’t elected.
Let’s begin by recapping some of the more common responses to the 2012 disaster. (Maybe the Mayan calendar was right after all.)
- The system is rigged
- The national demographics have shifted We lost the culture warWe’re led by idiotsEveryone just wants free stuffAll five of these are true, to a limited extent. But the takeaway that we’re doomed and there’s no point in trying is wrong.1. Yes the system is rigged. It was always rigged. The Democrats stole the election for JFK and Nixon failed to challenge the Chicago op. Then Nixon gave us Democratic social policy and a disastrous wrap-up of the Vietnam War, while allowing himself to be made the most hated figure in America.And you think we have it bad?After Nixon came Ford. And after Ford came Carter. Economic malaise. And the death of America. Can anyone remind me what happened after that?A guy named Reagan that no one took seriously got credit for the economic recovery and ending the Cold War.Voter fraud is not new. Media bias is not new. There were times in history when they were arguably worse.The system is rigged, but it’s not unbeatable.2. The demographics are shifting, but it’s not just the shift, it’s the lack of white voter turnout. We do need to keep an eye on the immigration ball. In the long run the southern border will kill us. But we could have won even with these demographics if not for low voter turnout.3. We always lost the culture war. When were Republicans ever cool? I know, back during Lincoln’s day and when Mark Twain was overflowing with joy at the glorification of General Grant. And of course Teddy Roosevelt. The last cool Republican.Some blog was complaining that we know we’ve lost the culture war when Anthony Bourdain is ranting on a cooking show about Republicans.A. Who really gives a rodent’s posterior about Anthony Bourdain andB. Celebrities and media personalities have been bashing Republicans for 80 years.If a cooking guru ranting about Republicans means anything, it means that we’re still relevant as rage fodder for loser liberals.We are not going to be one with the youth vote. Your average college student who just finished pretending to read Proust is not going to go Republican. He’ll do that twenty years later. And that’s not so bad unless the death panels begin lowering the demographics of the elderly.4. Umm yeah. Obviously. That’s not really new. But most political operatives are idiots. Ours aren’t just dumb, they’re also timid and slow to embrace new methods. They’re also incompetent. But any field that runs on connections rather than merit, and past reputation even when it’s 30 years out of date, will suffer this.The one thing that the Dem operation did right was bring in fresh blood.5. Umm yes they always did. People have always wanted free stuff.Lobbyist is not a recently invented profession. Neither was the parade of people holding out their hands to DC.You know whose election proved that people want free stuff? FDR. And he won by a much margin than Barry Hussein.Let me run another name by you. Huey Long. Or let’s go back to 18th Century Rhode Island and the Country Party which in a time of economic crisis ran on a platform of debt relief by printing money. Their slogan was “To Relieve the Distressed”. And they won big.Here is how the actions of the ruling Country Party in paying off debt with worthless paper money was described. “the most extraordinary that ever disgraced the annals of democratical tyranny… the depravity of human nature” that could “sanctify such palpable fraud and dishonesty, by a solemn act of legislation.”Sound familiar? Let’s get even creepier.
At its June 1786 session, the legislature passed a penalty act. Anyone refusing to accept the currency at face value was subject to a £100 fine for the first offense, half going to the state and half to “the Person who shall inform.” Conviction of a second offense carried the same fine and disenfranchisement. The act provided that all paper-money cases were to be tried in special courts without juries and without the right to appeal. On 13 September 1786, delegates from Providence County towns met in convention at Smithfield to consider the merchants’ continued opposition. The delegates attacked the subversive tendencies “of the mercantile Interest” and proposed that the legislature consider several plans, one of which called for a state-trade system that would have effectively eliminated the merchant class. As envisioned by a writer in the Providence Gazette, the state would own all stores, ships, wharves, shipyards, and the like. A state commission would send ships on fishing and mercantile ventures while severely limiting the importation of luxuries. The legislature would “take the lead in this business, and will border it carried on in such manner, and under such regulations, as they in their wisdom shall think most convenient for the welfare, advantage, and well-being of the State.” Country party leaders introduced a bill that would require everyone in Rhode Island to take an oath supporting paper money. The Providence Gazette of 6 January 1787 reported that a bill introduced in the December session would abolish all debts and distribute all property equally among heads of families and repeat the process every thirteen years.And after all this… the Country Party won in a landslide. There’s your totalitarian Socialism in America… in 1786.We were not once upon a time an absolutely moral country where people always worked hard and did not just vote themselves free stuff and elect a bunch of Socialist charlatans mad with power to do it for them.We did it in 1786. We did it in 2012.America has bad and good ‘mood’ swings. We do not always answer to our better angels. And there is no reason to start giving up and abandoning ship because the country will now be forever in the grip of a mythical 47 percent of looters.This is not new. It’s not the end. We have been here before. We are not doomed and giving up on the rest of the country is premature and defeatist.
The Majority of the administration is composed of a licentious number of men, destitute of education, and many of them, void of principle. From anarchy and confusion they derive their temporary consequence, and this they endeavour to prolong by debauching the minds of the common peopleAgain, sound familiar? We’ve been here before. And we got through it....but just one more item from Rhode Island’s radical history.
By paying the public debt in depreciated currency, the Country party had redistributed the state’s wealth. During its first session in October, the legislature admitted that paper money had depreciated “from various and unforeseen Causes” and that continuing paper money as “a Tender will be productive of the highest Injustice.”Now try doing that to China.