In the Light of the Morning After …

A few comments and questions on the morning after …

A: The “fight for the soul of the Republican party” requires that sober-minded pragmatists within the party have the guts to stand up to their radical, alienating insurgent wing. With two more Tea Party-driven losses in the Senate, (in Indiana and Missouri), common sense would suggest that the far … far … right should instantly and wholly lose credibility among the party’s “more moderate” leadership and major donors. But … unless the party somehow reworks its primary system and simultaneously de-legitimizes the influence of that wing’s primary thought-shapers — rich-as-Croesus evangelical ministries, talk radio and FoxNews — what few moderates there are will continue to live in fear of torpedoing their own careers if they don’t continue to pander to their party’s least-productive elements. Hell, even Mitch McConnell is worrying about a primary challenge from someone far to the right of him. Even this morning I’m getting e-mail from Tea Party groups arguing — predictably — that Romney, like Bob Dole and John McCain lost because “only real conservatives get elected”.

B: This fundamental strategic problem is umbilically-linked to the party’s lack of appeal among women and minorities, especially “illegals” as so many of them like to describe Hispanics, a group closing in on 20% of the population. What “soul-saver” among viable Republicans dares run with a message of protecting a woman’s individual rights AND compassionate immigration reform? Maybe Marco Rubio on the latter. (A favorite factoid from the last days of the campaign: Had Romney drawn George W. Bush’s numbers among Latinos, he’d have won several swing states.)

C: Barack Obama’s support among white women was the mirror image of his (lack of) support among white men. To which I ask, “How has the experience of white women been so much different/better with Obama — or black men — than that of white males?” My wife argues it’s because women, despite being 52% of the electorate still regard themselves as a minority, certainly in terms of holding political power. I suspect women are far less threatened by a black leader than white men.

D: The Catholic church did itself serious moral damage with its medieval-zealot push on the gay marriage amendment here and around the country. Coupled with the taint of evangelical “craziness” throughout the GOP primaries — and that irrationality’s effect on Romney’s credibility — the drift away from organized religion in this country will probably accelerate.

E:  In terms of 11th hour factors, Romney’s flagrant lies about Chrysler moving Jeep production to China had far more impact on “freezing his momentum” than superstorm Sandy. Moreover, had he wanted to counter the President’s leaderly posture overseeing disaster relief he could have written a personal check of several million dollars to the Red Cross, or coordinated with Karl Rove and other allies to do the same, rather than burning off excess cash on advertising in states where he had no chance in hell — like Minnesota. If you are as rich as Romney, the average guy/gal assumes you’ll step up when things get really bad. I doubt it even crossed his mind.

F: We have entered a new era in political polling, or at least the aggregation/collated end of polling. It is eery how accurate the “Nate Silver model” was last night. And this will only improve.

G: Post-victory and across the pundit spectrum this morning the sage counsel is that “the President must reach across the aisle”. As though he and he alone must “seek compromise”. Recognition of the 1000-pound gorilla presence of the GOP’s far-right insurgency is still not considered “balanced” among the vast majority of mainstream commentators. Good luck accurately reporting the story of the next two months if that’s your default ethic.

H: Finally — for now — the public appetite for a female presidential candidate in 2016 is palpable. I somehow doubt the GOP’s highest profile women — Michele Bachmann — have anything remotely approaching the broad-based appeal of Hillary Clinton (whose popularity has never been as high, but who may decide her time has passed) or freshly-elected Elizabeth Warren.

That said, I’m one happy guy today. And my prediction of a 1.5% popular/ “just under 300” electoral vote win for Obama was a pretty good B+ as calls go.

47 thoughts on “In the Light of the Morning After …

  1. Rob Levine says:

    Does this election have a “hinge of fate” feeling to you? Besides the tsunami in Minnesota Dems in California now have supermajorities in both houses; marijuana legalized in Colorado and Washington, etc.

    Regarding the Archbishop: I don’t know why this loss would be worse than the pedophile stuff – just another drop in moral standing and credibility. I read that atheists are the largest growing religion demographic by far – something approaching 20 percent I believe.

    1. PM says:

      to your second point: i think the importance of this loss is that it shows that the Emperor has no clothes. Catholics largely ignored the Archbishop’s calls on the election–just as they ignore the churches teachings on contraception, etc. I think that catholics are taking what they want/like/need from the church, and ignoring the parts they disagree with. A very mature attitude.

      The question is when will the catholic hierarchy stop trying to lead their “flock”, and start actually listening to it? Clearly this flock isn’t going to be lead where it doesn’t want to go. And, equally clearly, the hierarchy is out of touch.

  2. Right on with E.

    I was continuously amazed at just how bad Romney’s campaign was with “optics” which is essentially marketing Mitt to folks other than Fox “News” (always use quotes when describing a propoganda outlet) hosts and viewers in the conservative bubble. “Gaffes” are on thing, but your actions, strategy, and relatability is another.

    Ultimately, with the exception of his concession speech, Mitt proved the axiom about money and class.

  3. bertram jr. says:

    “I suspect women are far less threatened by a black leader than white men”.

    Um, why is that, Bri?

    Betram Jr. is looking for a nice woodsy cabin in Idaho this morning. And stocking up on ammo. The One will certainly be activating his anti-2nd amendment jollies in term 2.

    And, a belated thank you to the “NO” activists who have caused my just turned 2nd grader to tune in on your “issues(s)”.

    “That’s not right” was his instant response.

    And a child shall lead us.

    1. Brian Lambert says:

      Bertram, my man. You sound down. Allow a rabid “fringe” kook — me — to console you over a beverage. I will ask you to pass through a metal detector first, you understand.

  4. PM says:

    Also, Brian–your thoughts on the limits of the power of big $$$?

    Seems to me that Rove’s superpacs had somewhat limited utility–only so much ad time to buy up, and people started to tune out the overwhelming quantity of advertising. Diminishing marginal returns, even for Sheldon Adelson.

    But I don’t think that big $$ is gone–I imagine that Rove, etc., will try to find different ways to spend it–maybe on full time organizing/ground game operations? The guys who are collecting this cash (Rove, etc.) are making too much off of it to give this up. Again, it really is a cash cow are milking the fears of the big donors, and inducing them to pony up. I doubt that dynamic is going to stop!

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      PM, good point about SuperPACs wasting money trying to dump it all into the last three months. I don’t know why they didn’t run anti-Obama ads in battlegrounds all last winter, when they would actually have been noticed. Could have framed him up better then than last week when ears were closed.

    2. Brian Lambert says:

      I wouldn’t want to be Karl Rove … ever … but especially today. I don’t know what they spent on Ted Cruz in Texas, but that $700 million he coordinated got his big money guys … squat. I assume he’ll argue that they should have done more earlier, demonizing Obama through the summer. But, come on, they began demonizing Obama in January ’09 via their 800-1000 station radio armada. How much further could they expect to push their message? Repealing Citizens United is a long slog, but where it was tested yesterday the idea played quite well. I hope the ineffectiveness of all that PAC cash — 70% of which went to Republicans — doesn’t slow what momentum there is for that crusade.

  5. Jeremy Powers says:

    If you think the Tea Party is backing down, forget it. They’re blaming this on the Wall Street and country club Republicans. Got this note in one of my alter egos this morning. Please, oh, please, oh, please keep up the hard, but useless work of the Tea Party. After the initial Tea Party rally in 2010, they are at least as responsible as any other element out there for Obama’s win – white, angry, ignorant, intolerant hillbillies (or cornbillies here in MInnesota.) I always love the “founding fathers” business – like a single one of them knows ANYTHING about history. What made this country great initially was a collection of religious free thinkers. People don’t understand the Pilgrims. They were not right-wing yahoos. The Pilgrim faith later split into Congregationalists and Unitarians – hardly the core of the Republican Party. They proudly started public schools – a novel idea at the time – and colleges for learning. Not exactly a high priority for this rabble.

    Message begins:


    Fellow Patriots,

    With the catastrophic loss of the Republican elite’s hand-picked candidate –Tea Party Patriots like you are the last best hope America has to restore America’s founding principles.

    For those of us who believe that America, as founded, is the greatest country in the history of the world – a ‘Shining city upon a hill’ – we wanted someone who would fight for us. We wanted a fighter like Ronald Reagan who boldly championed America’s founding principles, who inspired millions of independents and ‘Reagan Democrats’ to join us, and who fought his leftist opponents on the idea that America, as founded, was a ‘Shining city upon a hill.’

    What we got was a weak moderate candidate, hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country-club establishment wing of the Republican Party. The Presidential loss is unequivocally on them.

    While it might take longer with President Obama back in office, we are not going away and will continue to educate Americans on our core principles, and why they are essential for America’s future greatness. It took over 40 years to take America to the place we are tonight. We have known since we began protesting at our first round of tea parties in February, 2009, it would take longer than 3 ½ years to correct the problems facing our country.

    The re-election of President Obama may be daunting tonight. Remember in 2008, the people who did not give up after the elections, the ones who started Top Conservatives on Twitter, Smart Girl Politics, and DontGo, paved the way for us to have a conference call with just 22 people on the call after Rick Santelli had a rant in 3 months later. We went from 22 people to over 40 million voters who said they identify with the “tea party” and would vote with the tea party in less than 4 years. That happened because of each of you.

    We cannot change what the Republican establishment handed us tonight. We can stop Barack Obama from fundamentally changing the future and character of this nation. We can stop the mushy-middle, non-fighters in the GOP from rolling over and getting rolled, yet again by the Left.

    Here is what we are going to do.

    We are going to fight for America’s founding principles.

    Our core principles of free markets, fiscal responsibility, and constitutionally limited government resonate with the American people.

    When we fight for our principles, we win.

    When the GOP elbows aside the American people, because they think they know what`s best for us – they lose. Like they just did.

    We are not going away.

    We respect the Constitution and we know that, for America to succeed, we need to continue educating Americans on our core principles, and why are they essential for America’s future greatness.
    Now we turn our attention back to Congress, to fight the battles that lie ahead.

    As in 2010, state by state and county by county, we will fight for the freedom other Americans have fought for. We will also turn our attention back to Congress, to fight the battles that lie ahead.

    Here is what We, the People, will fight for:
    • ŸA balanced budget in 5 years – without raising taxes
    • Repealing Obamacare
    • Cutting the debt
    • Not letting them smash through the debt ceiling – again
    • The sequestration cuts deadline

    There are some things worth fighting for.

    America is worth fighting for.

    The fight has just begun.

    Join the fight, at

    -Jenny Beth Martin and the National Support Team

    1. Brian Lambert says:

      The two I got — from OTHER Tea Party groups — said essentially the same thing. I’m sure Rush is on the air right now reaffirming that thinking. Which, to be clear, is fine with me. More of that will guarantee a good long run for (more) liberal legislation through the rest of the decade.

      1. Jeremy Powers says:

        As a Democrat, I see some of the same thing from activists who, after a defeat, will say something to the effect of “if we had run a REAL liberal people would have voted for him/her” when virtually all the polling said the opposite. But one of their lazy drinking buddies used it as an excuse for not voting.

  6. I’m so touched by Mitch McConnell and John Boehner’s grace and dedication to working with people who disagree with them for the good of the country. McConnell is the grumpiest of old farts, insisting the world is flat. “The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the president’s first term,” he said last night. Boehner had a little more grace last night, but today says there’s no need for a tax increase. You lost, you guys. You lost seats in both houses of congress and the presidency. Maybe you should face reality.

    1. Brian Lambert says:

      Bruce: Reality of course is a primary challenge if they stray from the Grover Norquist/gays, guns and God base.

    2. Jeremy Powers says:

      I am amazed at how some of these Republicans are actually impressed by the attitude of McConnell and Boehner and their ilk – that incivility, anger, name calling and stubbornness are some things to be proud of.

    1. Brian Lambert says:

      I have a previous engagement for this Friday. Besides I always assume you’ll be called to a Ted Nugent NRA Bund Rally on Friday nights. Next week. Perhaps even a lunch with our favorite Jewish American Princess.

  7. Jeremy Powers says:

    By the way, win or no win, I want to start a Super PAC to allow the Confederate states to secede 151 years retroactively. And they can take Oklahoma with them. I think jazz, the blues and barbecue is too much to pay for being weighted down by the continual effort to undermine this country with stupidity.

  8. A good summary. I give myself a “B” but with a note from the grader “with a little more effort, this could have been an A.”

    In truth, though, I could have been more accurate by simply copying everything Nate Silver said. For his sake, I hope he owns the rights to his forecasting model as its value is hard to overestimate.

    I’ve been breaking down election central here today – putting away the TVs, coiling the cables, cleaning the chili pot – and watching all the time Fox.

    It’s no wonder it’s so hard to bridge the gap between the Tea Party: the stock market is cratering because of Obama, CBS buried the truth about Bengazi so that Obama would win, Romney was not a true conservative, Sandy was Katrina except that the media protected Obama, there was voter fraud across the country. Most disturbingly, the tone – and comments – of many of the guests – AND HOSTS – conveys messages that this election signals a fundamental shift in America, we are no longer the America of our founders, we’re a nation of people who want stuff from the government, we’re no longer “traditional America.” All code for: the Visigoths have won, Rome is lost. Save yourself.”

    The only thing I haven’t heard yet is any reporting on Trump’s calls to march on DC and start the revolution. All I can say is that the day is still young and I’ve rarely been positively surprised by what Fox is willing to put on its airwaves.

    One of the guys I play poker with – the only outspoken conservative in the group – refused to come to the last game because he was so worked up about the election. Today, in response to a kumbaya “we’re all Americans and we’ll pull together” e-mail from one of the other guys, he wrote:

    “No, actually we are [fucked]. Unemployment will increase with O’Care and sequestration. And it won’t improve with anemic economic “growth”. All energy costs will go up and up and up—but that will not be included in our redefined “inflation”. They can kill the dollar with QE 4,5,6……. Great ideas like the medical device tax have already caused layoffs here and sent jobs to Brazil and Costa Rica. This consumer’s confidence is down the crapper. Hopefully the House will show some balls and stop some of the bleeding.

    “So I’ll see you in 4 years—- maybe. I hope Israel survives.

    “I’m not in on the…”

    The Republican party is well on its way to splintering; I’m mildly worried the violence of that cleaving might affect our civil union as well.

    – Austin

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      You guys did much better than a lot of the better paid pundits:

      Newt Gingrich:

      “I believe the minimum result will be 53-47 Romney, over 300 electoral votes.” – Oct. 25, on Fox News.

      Karl Rove:

      Romney 285, Obama 253. “If crowds at his recent stops in these states [NV, WI and PA] are any indication of his supporters’ enthusiasm, Mr. Romney will likely be able to claim victory in these states as well.” — Nov. 5, on his website.

      Fox News contributor Dick Morris:

      Romney 325, Obama 213. “It will be the biggest surprise in recent American political history. It will rekindle the whole question as to why the media played this race as a nailbiter where in fact I think Romney’s going to win by quite a bit.” — Nov. 4, on Fox News.

      Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham:

      “I think he’s going to win New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and a few other surprises. I think this thing is going to be close.” — Oct. 31, on the Laura Ingraham Show.

      The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol:

      “I’m cautiously optimistic that Romney’s going to win.” — Oct. 31, on the Laura Ingraham Show.

      Conservative columnist George Will:

      Romney 321, Obama 217. “The wild card in what I’ve projected is I’m projecting Minnesota to go for Romney.” — Nov. 4, on ABC’s “This Week.”

      UnskewedPolls’ Dean Chambers:

      Romney 311, Obama 227. “Despite the pattern of skewed polls, most of them commissioned by the mainstream media, the overall electoral landscape is looking more and more favorable for Romney.” — Nov. 1, on

      The Washington Examiner’s Michael Barone:

      “Bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223. That sounds high for Romney. But he could drop Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and still win the election. Fundamentals.” — Nov. 2, writing in The Washington Examiner.

      House Speaker John Boehner:

      “I think Ohioans vote with their wallets. That’s why I think Romney’s going to win on Tuesday.” — Nov. 4, on CNN.

      Sarah Palin:

      “I do believe that enough Americans have awakened and understand it’s time for a shift.” — Nov. 2, on Fox News.
      Fox News’s Sean Hannity:

      “I got this, Romney three points.” — Nov. 2, on Fox News.

      CNBC’s Larry Kudlow:

      ”I am now predicting a 330 vote electoral vote landslide. Yes, that’s right — 330 electoral votes.” — Oct. 25, on CNBC.

      Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer:

      “Romney, very close. But he’ll win the popular by I think about half a point, electoral college probably a very narrow margin.” — Nov. 2, on Fox News.

      Rush Limbaugh:

      “All of my thinking says Romney big. All of my feeling is where my concern is. But my thoughts, my intellectual analysis of this — factoring everything I see plus the polling data — it’s not even close. Three hundred-plus electoral votes for Romney.” — Nov. 5, on his radio show.

      The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan:

      “I think it’s Romney. … While everyone is looking at the polls and the storm, Romney’s slipping into the presidency. ”— Nov. 5, on her Wall Street Journal blog.

      Former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer:

      “My prediction: Romn 50.1%-49.5%. Romn w minimum 271 EVs (FL, VA, CO, WI, NH). 309 EVs if he takes OH&PA. Pres-elect Romney.” — Nov. 4, via Twitter.

      1. Jeremy Powers says:

        I NEVER believe a single thing those people say. They’re not political pundits; they’re corporate whores. Overpaid and not very good ones either.

      2. Joe Loveland says:

        The important things are that each of them a) predicts to the right and b) predicts with an air of unambiguous certitude. As long as they keep doing those two things, they’ll remain well paid.

    2. Brian Lambert says:

      Oh Great and Wonderful. You’re too hard on yourself. Teacher is an easy touch. B+ for everyone … who paid enough attention to reality.

      1. Jeremy Powers says:

        George W. Bush killed irony when he landed on the deck of that aircraft carrier with the banner reading “Mission Accomplished.” It hasn’t been seen in public policy discussions since.

  9. bertram jr. says:

    “Remember Benghazi!”

    “Cindy Pugh 2016!”

    A run on ammo is coming – just watch. The Frontiersman parking lot has been jammed all day.

    1. Jeremy Powers says:

      This is the gun-nut knee jerk reaction to losing an election every four years. This shouldn’t even be news any more. It’s the right-wing equal to liberals saying they’re going to move to Canada.

      And for the record, people have greater gun rights today than they have since before Kennedy was assassinated. The only gun law change on Obama’s watch was to ALLOW conceal carry in national parks if the state allows it, too.

  10. Jeremy Powers says:

    One last side note/question: can anyone think of a single Republican in this state who could win a statewide election?

    Pawlenty’s tarnished after people realized the mess he left us with his “creative financing” and now – how appropriate – he’s a big-time lobbyist for big banking, which essentially invented creative financing. Coleman has a big L on his forehead (one for four?). Paulsen, maybe, if he had the personality of an acorn; I’ve owned shoes with more personality than Paulsen and they were black oxfords. Bachmann and Kline would get hammered in Hennepin, Ramsey and Saint Louis counties. It would look like the marriage amendment numbers there. They could barely hold on to their own slanted districts last night.

    None of the so-called house or senate leadership has any name recognition – or any positives for that matter. Most of the western suburb Republicans are callous and shady. Kiffmeyer, as a former constitutional officer, should have some name recognition. But her whole public life’s work went down the toilet last night.

    After Franken won such a squeaker in 2008, I thought he might be a one termer. The more I look at his work and who the Republicans have, he is certainly sitting pretty. Maybe they’ll beg Kurt Bills to run again. He already has the bus and should be out of the shop by 2014.

    1. Brian Lambert says:

      Jeremy: Short answer. No. The local GOP is a god awful mess — financially, ideologically, organizationally. As I’m sure you know they have taken the attitude that Franken will be a much easier “get” than Klobuchar … without offering a plausible candidate. I mean … Marty Siefert? Dan Severson? Mary Kiffmeyer? Of anyone floating in the realm of possibility I’d say David Hann.

    2. PM says:

      Maybe Sviggum?

      Part of the problem the Mn GOP has (and it is a general GOP problem) is that there are few, smart party activists who are willing to put in the time and effort (not to mention reduced earnings) to serve in the State Senate and House. And a lot have also been appointed to the bench– a good, well paying job with more security and prestige. Otherwise, they are trying to get people like Bill Guidera to leave a cushy corporate job–and who wants to do that?

      When you belittle government and government jobs as the GOP does, it isn’t surprising that the best and brightest go elsewhere–they all want to be Karl Rove!

      1. Newt says:

        Oh, I’ve reflected. No deep insights needed when you have prima facia evidence like this. The takers now outnumber the makers. You “win.”

      2. PM says:

        Yeah, wasn’t it the 47% takers that lost the election for Romney? I also loved the Bill O’Reilly monologue on this same theme. Suggests to me that this is a deeply held belief….

        Can a party driven by resentment towards “half” of the voting population ever win? Not without massive deception.

    1. Jeremy Powers says:

      I always go to someone who has a juvenile fascination with genitalia and bodily functions when I’m looking for depth and understanding of the human psyche.

      I wonder what Carrot Top is thinking about all this?

  11. Newt says:

    Me like’em heap big squaw Elizabeth Warren. Pale face with high cheek bones. Trade beads for Harvard Law apppointment. White man lose election. Ugh.

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