By Rich Lowry
The Hendricks County Flyer
Tue Nov 20, 2012, 02:39 PM EST
No sooner had the electoral thundercloud arrived on Election Day than some Republicans began searching it for a silver lining. It is an understandable impulse after a defeat to want to minimize its magnitude and rationalize away its causes. But there are no comforting augurs for Republicans in President Barack Obama's victory. It was crushing and ominous, and it's pointless to try to deny it. Republicans are comforting themselves with a few arguments, none of which is too persuasive.
It was a close election. Yes, but that doesn't quite capture it. A better way to think of it is as a narrow landslide. The president won by more than two points nationally, a big margin by contemporary standards. The Electoral College magnified it into a 332-206 stomping. While just 400,000 more votes in four key states would have won the election for Mitt Romney, two can play that game. John Kerry lost by about 120,000 votes in decisive Ohio in 2004, and Al Gore by 500 votes in decisive Florida in 2000 (while he won the national popular vote). These, by the way, are the only two presidential elections Democrats have lost in the past six.
This year, Republicans only managed to take back Indiana and North Carolina from 2008. And Obama had coattails. Democrats picked up two Senate seats in a year when Republicans dreamed of taking back the majority because so many Democratic seats were up. They picked up about seven House seats despite re-districting that tilted the playing field in the GOP's direction. Republicans had better hope they don't suffer defeats in many more such close elections.
Mitt Romney was a weak candidate. Sure, Romney was flawed. He was never a natural politician, and his private-equity background amplified negative perceptions of Republicans. But Romney was clearly the strongest of the candidates in the primary field in the run-up to a winnable general election. What does that say about the party? The Washington Post points out that in almost every important Senate race, the Republican candidate actually underperformed Romney.
Romney was too moderate. No doubt, Romney is ultimately a pragmatic problem-solver. But he ran on arguably the most conservative platform since Barry Goldwater. He won conservatives handily, 82 percent to 17 percent. But conservatives are only 35 percent of the electorate. He lost moderates, who were 41 percent of the electorate, by 56-41. Presumably, they weren't voting against him because they thought he wasn't conservative enough.
The GOP has a strong bench. True enough. The party has talented up-and-coming politicians, but no one can know if any of them will make a compelling presidential candidate. Or know that Democrats won't have a compelling new candidate of their own.
Obama didn't run on anything. To be sure, the president's second-term agenda was amorphous at best, except for rolling back the Bush tax cuts on the rich. Still, the direction was clear. He chose not to take an obvious opening to moderate after the 2010 elections. Instead, he moved left. He ran on an unabashed social liberalism seeking to impose an unprecedented contraception mandate on employers - including religious employers - and successfully sold it as a natural extension of the rights of women. He ran on a scorching economic populism that worked in the Midwest. He made his overall vision of government aggrandizement clear enough, and still prevailed.
The president doesn't have a mandate. No, he doesn't, but who cares? He doesn't need a mandate to consolidate Obamacare, get some kind of amnesty for illegal immigrants, appoint a few more Supreme Court justices, and unleash his regulators.
Republicans will benefit from a period of soul-searching. Well, they might. On the other hand, it could just as easily be a period of divisiveness, folly and self-delusion.
Denial is a natural stage of grief. It's a psychological mechanism that is of no use to a political party, though. Republican clarity must begin with a frank assessment of the Debacle of 2012.
(c) 2012 by King Features Syndicate
Will the current V.A. backlog on veterans’ compensation claims be the next scandal to hit the administration?
Currently, the backlog is at 865,000 plus compensation claims with a wait time of greater than 125 days.
June 18, 2013
Apparently, it is not enough to tolerate, accept, or even endorse the gay agenda. Now, unless you tolerate and accept criminal behavior committed by gays, you are a hater.
Believe it — that is the very public argument being made in behalf of Florida high school cheerleader Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, who faces criminal charges for having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
Word on the street and in the media is that it will be a really bad summer for mosquitoes. Or should I say, it will be a really bad summer for humans, because it will be a great year for thirsty mosquitoes.
June 14, 2013
As a Christian, I feel compelled to respond to a recent letter to the editor.
When Barack Obama announced his presidential campaign back in February 2007, he did it in front of the old Springfield, Ill., Statehouse in a speech full of references to Abraham Lincoln.
Ordinarily I don’t take requests, but a bunch of people have written to ask how I’m doing with my weight-loss surgery and I thought this might be the most efficient way to answer.
June 11, 2013
I am a grandmother who went to the Brownsburg graduation ceremony on June 7 and due to very poor planning on Brownsburg School’s part, I could not sit and watch my twin grandsons graduate in person. I was directed to an overflow room where I had to watch it on a TV screen and could not even take pictures.
What you are now hearing across the land is a collective whine. Blue-state Democrats are upset that Texas Gov. Rick Perry dares come and play in their sandboxes, and worse, threatens to “poach” jobs from their states.
The website Politico reports that Perry’s attempts to lure jobs to Texas are “infuriating to prominent Democrats around the country.”
I am the first to admit I am behind the times when it comes to technology. I remember way back in the olden days of the 1990s when I was actually ahead of the game. Now there are second-graders that are more tech savvy than me. I just decided to stop my forward technological progression a few years back.
June 7, 2013
College graduates facing a crushing debt – some more than $100,000 – is a very big and a very real problem.
But U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s recent proposal to deal with it won’t solve the problem. It is a cheap ploy to divert attention from the real problem.
An NPR broadcast examines the question of how communities can better prepare for tornadoes like the one that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday. The broadcast features commentary from Michael Fitzgerald, who reported a five-part disaster series for the CNHI News Service.
May 22, 2013
Part I: Are We Prepared? | Part II: Disaster Dollars Part III: Lessons Learned | Part IV: Warning Signs Part V: The Big One
There's a wall on the third floor of Lewiston-Porter High School dedicated to celebrating perfect scores on state mathematics exams. A new name joined the growing list Tuesday, which brought a smile to the face of everyone involved.
June 18, 2013
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