Thursday, November 8, 2012

It is Going to Be a Long Four Years

I am still bummed out from Tuesday night's election results. So much so that my coworkers nicknamed me "suicide watch" on Wednesday at work. Ouch, what a beating. So, what happened to the election?

You can read a lot of election post-mortems on the web. Pick a version: conservative sour grapes or liberal gloating. I personally like Paul Kengor's take on the strategies and Nick Nolte's mea culpa on the polling data.

Please indulge me my simple musings on what happened on this quadrennial first Tuesday in November wrestling match.

First, about the results:

I was wrong, and my frient J. David Van Dyke was completely and utterly right. There, I said it. Dave and I have had a bet on this election for at least a year, with the payoff being admission of rightness of the other plus some version of humiliation at EbertFest 2013. I have paid off half, and hope to pay off the rest in April in Champaign-Urbana. Dave made the case daily that it was a simple case of "the math" of the electoral college votes (EV). He predicted the states that Obama would win, which add to more than 270 and a win, and that's that. The popular vote is interesting, but not determinative - which is of course right.

The kicker here is that "the math" is variable depending on the turnout model used. Democrats (and Dem/media polls) were all in that the turnout would mirror the 2008 election and be D +6 or better. Republicans (and conservative media) were all in that 2008 was a historic anomaly, and that turnout would revert to the 2004 model of D +3 or less, which would yield a Romney win. I believed the latter, and believed that Democrats would not turn out in the same numbers that they did in 2008 - which I think is right - because their Hope candidate now had a record to defend. I also believed that Republican intensity - our shared disgust for the President's agenda - would be high, higher than in 2008, and that the D +3 or less was right. This was wrong. The GOP intensity turnout did not materialize. The result was that the ratio stayed the same as the 2008 model and the D +6 model was right. Exactly as Team Obama and the Mainstream Media (MSM) polls called it. Not at all as Team Romney and the conservative media polls called it. Dang. Dave was completely right.

Note: Looking back, I had to disregard a lot of fundamentals to stick with my prediction. Fundamentals, like the history that says incumbents almost always win. (I was swayed by Michael Medved's case that it wasn't so this time.) Indicators, like the jarring fact that 5 out of 7 of my management-type coworkers were voting for Obama when I thought they would be natural GOP voters. ("Nothing will change, so why make a change?" Wow.) I noted those things, but stayed with my pick and my confidence that the polls were oversampling Dems. At the very end, Michael Barone's call kept me in my position. I was wrong. The polls that I thought were the worst (PPP) were in fact the best. The polls that I thought were the best (Rasmussen) were in fact the worst. Dang. Lesson learned.

As of today, with the votes not all completely counted, the popular vote came out around 50% to 48%, in Obama's favor. A 2% win, much lower than his percentage win over McCain in 2008. Isn't 2% within the margin of error for polling? And Democrats - before you gloat much - shouldn't an incumbent who you regard as the best president ever with a great record win by a bigger margin than 2%? Just asking.

But if you win by 2% or better in 8 out of 9 battleground states, as Team Obama did, you get the landslide 303 EV win that was Tuesday night's result. Decisive, and inarguable. A big win. Congratulations to my Democrat friends. You were right. (Have I said that enough yet? :) )

Second, on a Dozen Factors leading to the result, in my humble opinion, in no particular order:

1. The Gift from John Roberts: I thought back in June that the election was over when Chief Justice John Roberts changed his vote and upheld ObamaCare with his tortured logic that it was a tax, not a mandate. What? Backstabber. This went a long way to take away the GOP argument that it needed to be repealed.

2. GOTV: Team Obama was much more effective in spending their war chest to Get Out the Vote than was Team Romney. They delivered the 2008 model. Kudos to David Axelrod, the evil genius.

3. Culture Change: Andrew Breitbart was right - politics is downstream from culture. We (the right) have lost the culture, and the election as the natural consequence. We've had the culture war, and the 1960's won. Dennis Miller said it for me, resigned to the results on O'Reilly: "This is where America is at. It's not the America I grew up in from 12 to 58, nor will it ever be again." Culture was the number one word that I saw on conservative Twitter on Wednesday. I am now an anomaly in my own country. I accept that.

4. Demographics: In the end, it wasn't about Ohio as everyone said. It was about a demographic shift that was not just an anomaly in 2008. It's the future. Pat Buchanan has been warning about that for a long time, and one day the wolf comes. This election was about the Latino and Asian votes, both of which went 71% or so for Obama. Much will be said now about GOP outreach - or lack thereof - to those two influential voting blocs.

5. Low information voters: I know that the gloating meme is that conservatives are the low information voters trapped in the conservative media bubble. It's not true. I read both. Folks on the left never read Drudge, Breitbart, TownHall etc. I was frustrated daily by Obama voters who watched not one minute of either convention or one second of any debate yet were quite certain that they knew how they went - and that "binders full of women" must be something really awful - because Yahoo News told them so. One friend is "proudly uninformed" and told me "There are more of me than there are informed voters like you." Sadly, true.

6. A bruising primary: Romney raised and spent more money, but had to spend a lot of it in a bruising primary defeating one conservative challenger after another. Obama was able to spend his smaller warchest immediately on the general election. That matters.

7. What conservative?: GOP primaries predictably produce the wrong candidate through a process where the group of conservatives SPLIT THE VOTE! and the one liberal emerges as the nominee. McCain in 2008. Romney - a NorthEast liberal who did ObamaCare before Obama - in 2012. Don't blame me. I voted Santorum in the primary.

Ann Coulter used to say that if you offer a choice between a liberal-lite and a real liberal America will choose the real liberal every time. She was right then. But she went all in for Romney in the primaries this time. Go figure.

8. Media Partners: More so than any election that I've participated in since 1980, the MSM went over the line in activism this time. They didn't just call the race, they shaped the race. They did so by tanking stories unfavorable to Obama (ex: Benghazi) and by overplaying stories unfavorable to Romney (ex: dog on the car roof, statement 9/11). Blatant bias. Influential bias.

9. the Nice Guys: Team Romney made the same crucial mistake that McCain made - at the instruction of their "expert consultants". That would be a decision not to go after Obama personally. They foolishly believed that the bad economy was enough for voters to make a change. They played it safe. They sat on their lead from the first debate. They stuck to a civil / positive message of "Obama is a nice guy, but we're more competent". Maddeningly foolish.

Team Obama - staffed by long-term players in the corrupt hardball Chicago Machine - had no such compunctions about civility. They spent their $400M ad buy savaging Romney in a nasty divisive personal attacks. He's a liar. He's a tax cheat and a felon. He'll put you back in chains and take away your birth control. He killed a guy's wife with cancer. It's all crap, but all cumulatively devastating and effective.

10. Santa Claus: People do not want austerity and cuts. They want stuff from their government. Obama had the checkbook to give it to them. Obamaphones. Auto bailouts. Amnesty and work permits. On and on and on, debt be damned. Rush is right: you can't beat Santa Claus.

11. "Osama bin Laden is dead, and GM is alive." This was brilliant. The most memorable slogan from the campaign. It's true as far as it goes, but misleading. bin Laden is dead, but al-Qaida is alive and well and dangerous in the Arab Winter. Obama didn't save GM, he saved the UAW pension fund. GM will go bankrupt again at a huge taxpayer loss. But, man, that slogan is brilliant.

12. The Courageous choice of Paul Ryan as VP. Marco Rubio would have been the wise crassly-political choice to court the Florida vote and the Hispanic vote. That might have made the difference. Romney made a non-political grown-up choice instead, knowing that the economy was the crucial issue if he was to govern and that Ryan was the capable man on the economy. Rubio is not ready. He will be in 2016 though, so there's that.

Last, on the future of elections: I deserve no predictions on this. I was so wrong this time.

But, if I was to predict the future of elections I would say this: this loss was pivotal and total. The GOP is done. The Tea Party is done. We are now in the zone similar to my state of Illinois. Sure there are some GOP officeholders around. But, they are irrelevant. We are effectively a one-party Democrat state. (Related: the 2nd brokest state in the union.)

Why? Because of ObamaCare. It is the singular achievement - the fundamental transformation - that locks in a permanent Democrat majority going forward. It is now unstoppable - the law of the land. It will make government dependents of many more people, perhaps all of us, and the Party of Government will be the beneficiaries for the foreseeable future. Irreversibly. The American Experiment in liberty is over, and we are Europe. Chosen by the slimmest of majorities in a bitterly divided America, but chosen nonetheless and locked in. It's ever-expanding government from here until the collapse. Depressing, but cold hard reality.

That's my take, anyway. Leave a comment with yours.


  1. If you would have voted for that hateful, twisted theocrat Santorum to be President of the United States, then the culture of North America moved away from you in about 1963.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Rick Santorum is a fine and decent man, as is Mitt Romney.

      The fact that so many of my fellow citizens adore both Barack Obama and the perjurious rogue Bill Clinton and abhor Santorum and Romney is a source of endless puzzlment, and makes me sad.

  2. You might not know us, but we are out here in big numbers. We are very fiscally responsible and conservative. We dont want anything from our government, except gay rights, women's rights and immigrant rights. Give us that and stop flying drones over the US and the republicans win in a land-slide.

    1. Agreed. Stop letting the crazies hijack your party and understand that, especially for young people, social issues are extremely influential. I will never vote for a candidate who doesn't support my friends' right to marry who they choose or my right to make decisions about my own body. I know that not all Republicans are stuck in the middle ages when it comes to social issues but unfortunately for you those voices are louder. If Romney wanted my vote.. well he shouldn't have said half of the things he said - because the way he came across, to me, was hateful, sexist, and OUT OF TOUCH.

      Also just a note when the author claims Romney never released any negative ads.. I don't know what channels he was watching, but I saw more than my fair share. Maybe it wasn't Romney's "official people," but please don't act like attack ads are one sided. They unfortunately come from both sides (and are equally as repulsive to me as a voter, whether anti-Dem or anti-Rep).

    2. Well said, Anonymous, it's true. If the GOP would amputate the Christian right and become the party of Ford and Goldwater you'd be amazed at the support. It's candidates like Santorum that have done you in.

      I really enjoyed reading your post. Pretty much spot-on.

    3. I also agree. Republicans are the farthest thing from fiscal conservatives (except for the Democrats). But then the Republicans want to legislate for everyone's bedroom, and legislate their family planning, and legislate for them and their doctors and then co-opt God to their side. And then the Republicans want to claim that the parts of the capitalist society that have proven to be failures in that society (healthcare, prime example) should be allowed to stumble along providing worse care at more and more expense. Well, the call becomes easier when they forsake their one saving grace, fiscally responsible. It will take forever for this generation to forget the Bushes.

    4. Agree! We voted based on the social issues.

  3. Replies
    1. But it would really great if it was Nick Nolte...

  4. Have you thought about the implications of the gif at the top? You see no racism there?

    1. I honestly don't see that. He's a friend of Ebert, so unlikely to be racist. I disagree with things he (Randy Masters) says, but let's not make it racist.

    2. Greg, the GIF at the top has nothing to do with race. Nothing at all.

      It was sent to me by a friend on Wednesday morning - an Obama supporter from overseas. I assume you can read the "Get Over It" text at the end of the GIF, which was his message. The GIF is about gloating, which there has been plenty of.

      But, the left sees everything in terms of race - apparently including this GIF. Race obsessed. Many on the left think nothing any more of making assertions of racism at the drop of a hat. All day long. Racism, racism, racism. Yada, yada, yada. It's completely outrageous. But, that's where we are in America today. It makes me sad.

  5. Point 7 is off by a mile. Vote-splitting has no impact in the primaries, because the primaries are a winnowing process, not a one-shot vote. Even if the conservative wing was splitting its votes, you still ended up with a choice between Santorum and Romney. With that choice, and no vote-splitting, the primary voters picked Romney, not Santorum.

    If you want to know why none of the other conservatives were chosen as the nominee, a good place to start would be by re-watching the primary debates.

  6. Another mea culpa that ignores the impact of women voters. Women make up 55% of the vote, and 55% of them voted for Obama. Leave your rape kit at home next time.

    1. Romney won handily with men, and with married women. Obama crushed with single women. The reasons are obvious, and politically incorrect to comment on.

  7. "And Democrats - before you gloat much - shouldn't an incumbent who you regard as the best president ever with a great record win by a bigger margin than 2%? Just asking."

    But sir, Clinton won by 8.5% in 1996.

  8. Have you been to Europe? It's not so bad. And we're still pretty right of them. Thoughtful post. So I hope everyone takes as close a look at the results as you did and realizes that real math (not pundit guesses/bluster) is the way to follow these things. But I also think that we're not going down this road to Sweden or anything. Obama is center-left. Rommney, while maybe being left to the Tea Party is center-right. I think the close results of recent major elections show not necessarily a divided America but a more similar and centrist America. The far right and far left hate Obama and Rommney equally. Rommney was the best the Republicans had in that sense and he came as close as he could. The next Republican nominee will be similarly center-right. The next democratic nominee will be basically center-left (no matter what Fox News says about her). The election will be just as close then, but the winner will be pretty obvious in the months leading up to November 2016 to those who follow the same statisticians that called this one.

    Thanks for an interesting read.

  9. I pretty much disagree with every thing you had to say. And there are plenty of progressives who actually disagree with with Obama.

    As for liberals not reading Breitbart, Drudge etc. I think I would rather listen to a Hollywood actor then them or people like Michelle Malkin or Ann Coutler. I bet most conservatives don't read Daily Kos, Glenn Greenwald, Paul Krugman, or some lesser know bloggers who are not in the mainstream eye. I think you would be really hard pressed to find any one on the left who has the exposure that people like Coulter, Malkin, Limbaugh and Hannity have. And how can any one with an ounce of intelligence take seriously anything Glen Beck says.

  10. I'm not a lock for the left, despite my liberal leanings. I might have voted for Romney if he'd offered a compelling alternative. He didn't. You can't pander to the far right in the primary and then expect the general electorate to believe you're a centrist. Also, on demographics, I don't think Latinos and Asians are a lock for the left. I think many will be willing to support conservative candidates if conservatives can offer sane alternatives to liberalism. It's up to the GOP to bring its nutjobs under control to make that happen.

    1. Romney offered competence as a leader. Economic competence.

      Barack Obama played 115 rounds of golf in his first term, but couldn't find time to meet with his Jobs Council since March. Or to meet with Congressional leaders since July. Or to attend his Daily Intelligence Briefings in the week before 9/11. But hey, he offers "Hope", so there's that.

  11. Re "low information voters": of couse you're going to pick on the Left. But as a Centrist I see it not only on the Left but even more so on the Right-- especially here in Texas. There's a big conservative backlash against education (especially science) going on, and it's killing you guys. Conservatives have GOT to quit attacking reality, and that includes education. It's disingenuous to strongly support society-repelling practices like home schooling and then fail to grasp the significance of the result: which, in this case, was Conservative voters living in self-imposed bubbles of denial.

  12. Buck up my friend. I agree with a couple of the points above. If Santorum was your choice, then you've been out of step for a while and you'll be looking in the rear-view forever. Also, you'd be surprised the number of votes Republicans could score if they'd let the social issues go and go for good. I'm a fiscally conservative gay man, who admires and respects the republican party and much of its agenda. But I will never be able to vote for a party that seeks to deny my full social AND economic status. That's what conservatives don't get about these social issues. They're not just about morality. They are about economics as well. Get out of people's bedrooms and bodies. Get back to numbers and balancing budgets. Make an honest attempt to compromise on policy issues important to minority populations. Lose all the scary language directed at these groups, and republicans could easily win in 2016.

    1. This. I'm a fiscally conservative straight woman. The Republican party needs to let go of social issues. You have the old white guy vote locked. You have the extreme right-wing Evangelical vote locked up.

      And those two together will never get you into the white house again, ever. Stop pandering to the people you've already locked up for the next election. Start thinking long and hard about why you didn't win this one.

      You are unattractive to the electorate. Your radio show hosts and Ann Coulter are not attractive to the electorate. Your "which one is the old white man who effed up on rape guy?" candidates are not attractive.

      It's not your father's electorate. For which I am grateful.

    2. Pondering why we lost is always good advice.

      Having better candidates is always good advice.

      Surrendering principles to just make the election about who moves the ever-expanding levers of big government better is not the right answer.

  13. Why spend all that time pretending to have a sense of measured reasonability only to end the post with the frantic and senseless hand-wringing at the end? "The American Experiment in liberty is over"? Bizarre.

    1. The "American Experiment" thought was influenced by Charles Krauthammer's op-ed "The Choice" last week, where he said:

      "An Obama second term means that the movement toward European-style social democracy continues, in part by legislation, in part by executive decree. The American experiment — the more individualistic, energetic, innovative, risk-taking model of democratic governance — continues to recede, yielding to the supervised life of the entitlement state.

      Dead on.

      It's similar to Dennis Prager's writings this year regarding American Values (liberty, In God We Trust, E Pluribus Unum) being replaced by leftist values (equality of outcomes, hostility to religion, multiculturalism), with unfavorable results.

      The Choice:

  14. You're not becoming Europe – you're becoming Scandinavia. And frankly – it's about time. Everyone thinks Europe is falling apart collectively... apparently Denmark and Norway haven't heard the news. Of course, they were smart and kept their own currency. As a Danish Canadian your concerns about Obamacare are laughable. It's like skim milk. A facsimile of the real thing. But it's a start... now if you can do something about your insane gun culture you might start being perceived as a somewhat civilized nation. Having said all that I have to say I love the US. In a western country where two states have legalized pot there's definitely hope! Good on ya...

    1. I'm more concerned about the far-right culture of subjugation of all non-white, non-male, non-Protestant people than I am of gun culture. you can learn how to wield a firearm responsibly. There's no responsible wielding of hatred and bigotry.

    2. You can say that again. Franco-German Europe and Scandinavia in particular, won the economic argument over the US about 20 years ago. It's Anglo Europe that has dithered and stagnated after a disastrous dalliance with crackpot economics - Thatcherism first and then the Reaganism lite of Blair aka Bliarism. Germany, the world's first welfare state has run a solvent welfare system for >100 years, it has strong unions, five strong automobile brands, three appliance manufacturers, several chemical and materials science companies, world class science, the arts and humanities, a peaceful land, all this despite absorbing East Germany. France despite its mistaken foray into Sarkozite austerity is recovering after a temporary blip and righting keel. Spain, Greece, Iceland and others who fell in love with Wall St slicks' financial skulduggery and sqaundered surplus budgets are crawling back into solvency gradually. Outside Europe, nations like Taiwan, Japan, Israel are at once capitalistic with a strong welfare infrastructure (Hint: The Jewish vote for Obama(care) maybe because many JAs are familiar with Israel's welfare state) The other Anglosphere, Canada, Oz and NZ are all strong welfare states. OZ has higher minimum wages than the US and a lower unemployment rate! The extreme right GOP talking points are mocked and ridiculed in NZ!
      So actually when I hear GOPers whine that we are headed the European way, I am delighted. That was the progressive dream of Ted, the pre-New Deal labor movement (Mother Jones, Eugene Debs, Phillip Randolph) and the New Deal of FDR that was the unbroken consensus till the time of Nixon. It's time to resume the march and junk the crackpottery of mountebanks like Milton Friedman and the malarkey of Reaganism!

    3. Can I say how irritated I am when Germany - which I have visited twice - is raised as a successful alternative to the USA as an economic model? They benefit greatly from having been rebuilt by America, and by having their defense needs against the Soviet Union covered at America's expense - mostly to tamp down Germany's inclination to invade her neighbors every 50 years or so to her ruination.

  15. I think that the real problem is that conservatism is a philosophy that doesn't appeal to most people right now, and that Republicans are really far to focused on a single demographic. It may be time for the Republican party to move a little closer to the middle.

  16. dear sir: here is some information that may help you understand the other side of the aisle a little better.

    We do NOT think Obama is the "best president ever," as you think we do. We just think he's the best president for right now.

    In four years when the nation still stands and we're doing this all over again with different candidates, I hope you'll look back on that "liberty is over" thing kind of like an old Facebook post from high school and laugh at yourself for having so little faith in your country's resiliency. We're built to adapt.

    1. We are built to adapt.

      However, I am recognizing that ObamaCare is a singular achievement that "fundamentally transforms" our citizen relationship with our government - as Democrats believe and hope that it will be. It locks in the ever-expanding government in a way that will be irreversible from here on out.

  17. I love this Santa Clause Theory that has begun to float around which has totally hooked my 70 year old Fox News loving mother. Who by the way gets by in large part thanks to Government assistance.

    I'm asking you because I don't know the answer. How many millions of registered citizens did not bother to vote? I suspect this is where most of your free loaders reside. I sure as hell didn't see any standing in line for hours in the cold here in Virginia.

    And take it easy my friend. There is a system of checks and balances which you may have heard of. I believe the Republicans made a hard turn to the right in an effort to drag the left into the center. They were successful in some respects. Now there is a correction and in the end we will all end up somewhere in the middle.

  18. Mr. Masters, you have some very intelligent people reading and commenting on your blog. You should be very proud.

  19. I commend you on taking the beating rather admirably, but in you list of reasons why Romney ,lost you have more than a couple played out fallacies the now dead Tea Party kept saying were truths. For example, you say that "Low Information" voters and people didn't read Brietbart and Drudge, well that's because those two are (were) two of the most heinous liars on the face of the planet. That's the problem with the tea party's mentality, they think that if you keep perpetuating a lie it magically becomes a truth.

    You do make a very good point in saying that the culture of America has changed. For one thing, Americans are becoming more educated and refuse to blindly follow what news media and idealogues spew as fact. That's exactly what happened to the Tea Party. The tea party is now viewed as a petulant group of white people who use the guise of getting back to the christian constitution, as a smokescreen for the fact that hate the idea that the man is the white house is a black man.
    The tea party hijacked the Republican party, and if the Republican party doesn't purge these narrow minded, and in most cases bigots, they won't have a chance at the white house ever again. The real test will come in 2014 in all the key senate and house races that the then powerful tea party won in 08. I'm guessing that those people will be swept out of office like the first batch was on Tuesday.

  20. Hey, Randy... came here on Ebert's recommendation. I thank you for this thoughtful mea culpa and explanation of your views. But a few responses...

    I'm one liberal who does read a lot of conservative media, including those you name, as well as NRO, Weekly Standard, etc. So I can say we're not all "low information."

    But you need to consider the quality of your information. For example, you say the MSM is biased because it didn't cover Benghazi. Of course it did: the attack and its aftermath were covered extensively on TV news, in the NYTimes, WaPost, and other mainstream papers. What the MSM didn't do was support the right wing narrative: that there was some kind of conspiracy or malfeasance on the part of the White House to either encourage the attack or prevent a response.

    And the MSM didn't do that because there is no evidence for it. In general, there's not a lot of evidence in the real world for a lot of things you assert.

    Most especially: the idea that if only Romney had been MORE conservative, had more aggressively represented right wing views, or attacked Obama more, he would have won. Don't you think the Highly Paid Professionals who worked for Romney thought of that? I'd be willing to bet that they produced and tested much more harsher attack ads on the President, tried out arguments with focus groups... and found, as most polls showed, that the President was personally popular, that many GOP policies aren't as popular as Dem versions, etc. After all, Romney's polling improved as he moved to the center at the first debate. Do you really think he would have won, say, if he had publicly doubled down on the 47% takers argument in the last weekend, for example?

    The GOP got beat, in my view, because they convinced themselves that everything they told themselves in their meetings and rallies and on their own media (FNC, Limbaugh, Drudge, Townhall etc.) was true. They believed that everyone hated Obama as much as they did, that everybody considered higher tax rates on the wealthy to be socialism, etc. But they -- we -- don't. At this point, the GOP can adjust to that reality, or they can continue to lose.

    Again, thank you for your thoughtful comments and your honesty.

    1. I was about to say the same things, much less eloquently.

    2. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

      I think, in short, that the "Highly Paid Professionals" who ran Romney's campaign are guilty of political malpractice, as they were in 2008. They should all be fired, with prejudice, and never hired again.

      I also think that President Obama ran a relentlessy negative campaign that savaged our candidate relentlessly, and that wasn't responded to correctly. To keep saying "He's a nice guy..." as he is cutting your throat and telling people that you killed a guy's wife with cancer is a losing strategy.

  21. Funny, the fact that GOP took the lions share of MARRIED women, and the single women overwhelmingly voted left tells me this was a brazen revelation of national character...or lack thereof. The uninformed (not stupid, just ignorant) voters have misunderstood the benefit of personal/social boundaries. Those voters believe that they/we will be cared for and nourished by a loving, forgiving, parental type government, and that we can all roam free and behave as we please in utopia. Our differences are not unlike free range cattle, and pastured cattle. They seem to think that with the re-election of President Obama, they have destroyed the fence that thwarted their freedom, when in fact, they made the fence considerably smaller, and far stronger. Those of us who believe in personal accountability, and monitoring ourselves have also misjudged. We've assumed that most people would like to manage their own successes, choices and failures. We are truly a minority now. The real trouble is, by the time the voters discover that the Nanny State they voted for is unfulfilling and hollow, they will be standing with us in the feedlot at the meat processors.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Too bad that fact didn't tell you the uninformed (not stupid, just ignorant) voter might just be you.

      Your premise is that single women are slutty cows who don't work and expect to be pampered by the government. Seriously??

      As the entire basis of your argument, forget it, you just may be stupid as well as ignorant.

    3. I find it revealing that you would add such damning, hateful meaning that doesn't apply to any of my words~certainly not the way I said them. There ARE reaped benefits to personal restraint, rather than forced restraint by government. I didn't imply virtue on either married, or single women. You did. My pointing this out was meant to be a small sampling of what our society is becoming without personal management. Mr. Masters has written a thoroughly eloquent, articulate blog post, I was merely commenting, not re-writing his piece. The mention of married vs. single women voters was just what came to my mind offhand, certainly not the totality of my opinion. Common sense tells me if I can figure out how to manage my womb, any idiot can do it themselves, as well. I will stay out of their womb, if they'll stay out of my bank account. I can only guess that you consider the GOP to be evil, racist, bigoted, and angry~and so you assume that of me also. I'm sorry if that's the case. If I've mis characterized you, I genuinely am sorry.

    4. Single women have not changed. Republicans have changed.

      Pro Tip: Your party may want to stop obsessing over the definition of rape. It's frightening people. Women specifically.

    5. GOP candidates certainly stumbled on the topic of rape.

      Although it wasn't rape per se. It was about abortion. They mishandled the question about exceptions for abortion in the case of rape. A difficult issue.

      Can we not just say that we're for the exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother? Is that so hard to get right.

      That accounts, by stats I've seen, for 3% of abortions annually. The debate, which splits this country, is about the other 97% of cases.

      I would have still voted for Akin and Murdock. Decent men.

      The fact that half the country admires Obama and the rogue Bill Clinton and has total disdain for a fine decent man like Mitt Romney saddens me.

    6. Janet, I appreciate your comment, and took it in the spirit offered.

      We have passed a tipping point on government dependency. Simple as that.

  22. Perspective from a European. I grew up in continental Europe, went for work reasons to Australia, South Africa and am now in Canada. When I read stuff like Janet's, I do think there's some kind of paranoid hysteria of some sort going on among you conservatives in the USA. While being a reasonably high earning professional, I have depended all my life on states that tax high and offer services like public health care. I have never been 'in the feedlot at the meat processor'. I have no qualms about welfarism. And no, welfarism doesn't bankrupt societies either (just look at Germany, for instance). You need to get a grip on reality outside faux news and weisbart/drudge's lalaland.

  23. One of the great challenges of this country is to find its way beyond the finger-pointing and name calling on both sides.

    The sweeping generalizations you make about who you think voters are and what you think Democrats want is simply a continuation of this annoying, reductionist rhetoric.

    What killed Romney for me was his transformation from a moderate Republican with interesting ideas to a mouthpiece for far right-wing, socially-conservative agendas (which frankly flew in the face of everything I kinda liked about him). The same thing happened to McCain 4 years ago.

    I am no loyalist to either party, but the obstructionist tactics of the Republican party over the last 4 years left a really bad impression that was only made worse by Romney's repositioning.

    Finally, it's kind of hard to vote for a candidate running on a fiscally responsible platform when that very platform never seemed to add up. I know that there are hard truths that no politician wants to tell the public but without at least a few of those details, it felt like Romney was painting himself into a corner.

  24. Austerity doesn't work; The New Deal works.

  25. Jeez, you are KILLING me. You make some really valid points, but we failed this election by running the same talking points into the ground.

    Low-Information voters: Really? You're going to accuse the left of being low-info voters? Their willingness to keep up is what always splits their vote. And you KNOW this. We saw Nader - that magnificent bastard - help tank them in 2000. Frankly, the fact that they're not low-info is what keeps them from winning more elections. They have the willingness to find and vote for ~=jutht the right candidate!=~ for their beliefs. Thank God we don't do that, or at least that we haven't since that monkey Ross Perot...

    Santa Claus: This is pure hypocrisy, and they are calling us on it. Their candidates occasionally advocate the poor, ours unanimously and generously advocate the rich. Everybody can see this, and when you spread this lie, you look like an idiot at best, and downright nefarious at worst.

    Media partners: Again, this line is so easily disproven that to continue to spout it makes us look either stupid or evil. The media gave Obama a pass on Benghazi? Really? All it takes is a little googling of the major sources to see that this isn't true. You're totally right about the dog-on-the-car shenanigans, but we tend to harp on Benghazi or NDAA, which makes us look like the wolf caught in the henhouse.

    As a group, we need to stop parroting the accepted talking points. There are so many good, valid arguments, why retread the dead and disproven ones?

    1. On "Low information voters": none of you who come here to comment fit that.

      I was thinking of friends I know personally. One in particular studiously avoids politics. Didn't watch any primary debate, any moment of a convention, any of the four general election debates. Gets her information at lunchtime from Yahoo News, and picked up and parroted all of the left-memes. Wednesday said "I knew Obama would win". Of course she did.

  26. So that's it? You think the GOP has nothing to offer to Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, women and young people? Why is that?

    1. I think that liberty has something to offer all of those groups, and that the ever-expanding debt-ridden government works to the long-term detriment of all of those groups. How many of them can our government help after it collapses under our debt? None.

      Half of one party is the party of liberty.

      All of the other party is the party of government.

      It seemed a clear choice to me.

  27. I respectfully disagree with some of your points, but the Santa Claus fantasy is so ludicrous I had to reply. Obamaphones... did you actually repeat that bald face lie or are you just that uninformed?

    Quote directly from

    "The Lifeline program originated in 1984, during the administration of Ronald Reagan; it was expanded in 1996, during the administration of Bill Clinton; and its first cellular provider service (SafeLink Wireless) was launched by TracFone in 2008, during the administration of George W. Bush. All of these milestones were passed prior to the advent of the Obama administration.

    The Lifeline program is not directly subsidized by taxpayer monies. It is paid for out of the federal Universal Service Fund (USF) through a fee assessed against telecommunications service providers, who may or may not pass those costs along to their customers."

    Jim Nissen said some brilliant things above my post.

    Don’t get me wrong, I want there to be a Republican Party. We need the Republican Party, but as long as Fox “News” continues to manipulate their low information viewers with garbage like “Obamaphones and 50% of Americans want the government to give them things” more Americans will be voting for the Democrats.

    1. I retract the "Obamaphones" comment. I meant it as a metaphor for the ever-expanding government services. It was careless.

      Having recently met and helped a homeless gentleman, I saw how important having a cell phone was to his chances of re-engaging in productive life. Absolutely.

      But, you have to admit that these programs have grown out of bounds, and that we've moved beyond a safety net to a large degree, and that it's ultimately unsustainable. No?

  28. Great column. I got here through Ebert's link, and it just shows - once again - how weird Liberals are. No, not Roger. I mean, all these liberals commentators who just have all these *opinions* on why the Republicans lost. Yeah, we know Liberals, you'd vote Republican if only the Republicans were as liberal as the Democrats. Thanks.

    IMO, the problem with the Republicans is they're are stupid and greedy. They love immigration 'cause it means cheap labor, but the exploited immigrants vote Democrat. So, they convince themselves that only they endorse Amnesty or say how much they love immigrants (they're so hardworking!) some poor immigrant making the minimum wage will vote for Romney and cutting the capital gains tax.

    1. I find it fascinating how often you use the word "they" while telling us all about "their" inner psychology.

  29. And of course, immigration had nothing to do with their loss of the Upper Midwest or New England or even the Pacific Coast States. Mitt lost California almost 60-40. It wasn't because of the Hispanics, it was because immigrants of every stripe, minorities, and the white poor, working class, and liberals hate him.

  30. I can't believe I clicked on "Nick Nolte", excitedly hoping it would actually be Nick Nolte! :)

    Republicans can be the true winners of this election if they simply use it as a teaching point moving forward. Most importantly, keep religion and hate out of politics. If they did that, they'd win every time...

    1. Bryan, I can't believe that I typed "Nick Nolte" after I intentionally Googled "John Nolte mea culpa" to find the link to his excellent article again.

      Careless. Not the only mistake I've made lately.

  31. The question you European Americans who call yourselves "white" need to be asking is why Obama only got 39% of your vote. Obama immediately lent dignity and material support to create confidence in global financial institutions-- a point both material and visceral-- something you both felt and from which you benefitted. Most of you are working, or enjoying secure benefits. Stock market had a good four years; dividends have been embarrassingly high. Interest is low. Inflation is almost non-existent. Most of you have hugely paid down your credit cards in the last four years. Gas is cheaper than when Bush was President. U.S. energy production is up. Remember in 2008 even the big corporations were crying to get health care costs off their ledger and on to the national one, and instead of doing this correctly you got your ridiculous mandated private insurance plan with its idiot marketplace devices. Obama has respected every day your military-empire discourse. Obama has made no challenge to conservative monetarism, has validated deficit cutting talk, and, while the work is incomplete, has made only minor changes in financial regulation. If you travel abroad, you personally have enjoyed a renewed trust in the U.S. and a lifting of a sense of the Bush gloom.

    You are living the conservative dream.

    Your own candidate didn't seem to have a single real idea, spoke in vague conclusions, produced a gaffe about once every 48 hours, and couldn't explain much about how he had conducted his life in business or politics.

    So, why didn't Obama get-- absolute minimum-- 5o% of the European American vote?

    BECAUSE YOU ARE RACISTS. This is the real 2012 election postmortem your political coroners should be conducting.

    1. Mr. or Ms. Anonymous is on to something here, but I would add: you are SEXISTS. It is pretty interesting that the one real surge in favor of Romney came after the first debate when he behaved like the alpha male of the American pack. What is it about people that needs that reassurance of putting it all in hierarchical order? Romney was papa, imperator, patria, patriarchy-- shut up and do as dad says. It is really fascinating you supposedly tough guy, fierce, liberty loving conservative males don't seem to have a crap detector for this. But, that aside, this is a terrifying moment in our cultural history when Romney surges on posture. Your "political coroners" need to autopsy that and decide if you really want to go forward from that supposedly glorious moment-- or if there is a whole different female inflected path to a better future for your sons and daughters.

    2. Ah, we're both racists and sexists.

      Yada yada yada.

      It's tired.

    3. I'm "Anonymous," and I'm serious. This isn't "yada, yada," the hopeless squeak of the bored and lazy. I gather YOU really aren't conservative, you are reactionary. But if the average Euro-American is conservative-- you know, invested in the logic of the status quo, understood as the long accumulation of institutions, practices, and beliefs-- then 39% is inexplicable. Because I could probably in an hour list HUNDREDS of things, in a day THOUSANDS of things, that Obama did do or did voice or did not undermine in the status quo-- from Guantanamo to WTO to the educational testing blitz-- and as many markers of unchanged or enhanced American social stability and even (gag, gag) superiority-- crime is down, we "won" the Olympics, etc.

      Hell, the best line in Obama's inaugural address, worthy of being repeated as much as anything in Kennedy's was: "To be a great nation, we need to be a great people." Something even a tea party guy can tell his ten year old.

      So, seriously, really deeply seriously, what is 39% except an animal's conditioned reaction to epidermis?

      As for sexism, the other anonymous makes a good point.

  32. Wow! I was not expecting any comments on this, as I hardly ever get any. 49 comments!

    Catching up...

  33. Mike Doran aka Lowbrow CrankNovember 16, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Hi-ho Randy!

    Enjoying the shade of the Alibi Tree, I see.

    All those excuses of why Romney lost the election.

    But curiously, nothing about how he almost won.
    By that I mean how Romney managed to shrink a sizable lead Obama had in most polls, turning the Pop vote into a near-dead heat.

    In the immortal words of Adrian Monk, "Here's what happened":

    Starting with the first debate, Romney started slowly pulling away from the farRight, back to the centrist he'd always been before.
    No one noticed, because Obama's passive performance was easier to talk/write about.
    The comedians noticed; they were all over Romney's suddenly remembering that he had always been a moderate. The contradictions between primary-Romney and general-Romney were too good to pass up.
    Especially since the farRight couldn't complain, they had to stand there, hats in hands, while the candidate they were stuck with moved back to where he'd always been.

    And make no mistake: the farRight was stuck with Romney.
    You made that clear any number of times at the Ebert blog: Romney was sort of OK, you'd rather have a Real Conservative at the top of the ticket, at least he's not Obama, etc.

    The primary split argument is partially correct, but you don't quite seem to grasp that the various farRight candidates were every bit as divided between each other on specifics as they were from the GOP power structure - you know, the ones who wanted Romney all along, because he wasn't IDed as an extremist, as all the others were.

    In a way, if Romney hadn't been there, the GOP would have turned into a replay of the 1972 Democrats, who fought and defeated the established power structure and forced their party leftward, thereby insuring defeat at the hands of a demonstrably unpopular President with a full=out scandal breaking all about him.

    An identifiable farRight candidate, even an establihment one like Newt Gingrich, would have lost by far more than Romney did; he might even have lost a few of those "battleground states".

    And that's another thing:
    The "battlegrounds" (remember when they were just called "swing states"?) were still close enough to make a cliffhanger. Check the numbers: in Republican states, Romney's margin was huge - at least high 50% to over 70% in a few cases. Obama barely cleared 50% in many of his states.
    Romney moved to the middle, and that's what made the horse race.

    What ideolgues like you never seem to get is what I've been saying for years at Roger's place:
    The vast majority of American voters are NOT ideologically driven. They are neither of the Left nor the Right.
    If they avoid the strident screeds of both sides, it's because they've heard it all before, and they're - OK, I'M - tired of it.
    Name-calling instead of ideas.
    Obstruction instead of alternatives.
    Shouting instead of listening.
    "My way or the highway" instead of "Let's work something out".

    That's what REALLY happened on Election Day.
    And that's what the commenters here - both Left and Right - will probably never get.
    Because they'e either gloating or groaning.

  34. Hi Randy,
    This was an interesting take. What do you think the outcome would have been had Santorum received the nomination?
    Dave Van Dyke