Saturday, November 10, 2012

Post election: Survey of conservative reaction

Just before the election, I promised to check on four aspects of the election, of them being the partisan spin. Since the GOP expected victory but suffered a clear loss, they have much more spinning to do. Here's my survey:

Anger, War, and Assorted Violence
In this small conservative site I started following just before the election (they tracked Nate Silver's prediction until they were proved too accurate), their first reaction was anger:
Keep in mind, though, that every year these assholes [moderates and libertarians] buy season ticket seats in the peanut gallery and no matter how much you try to appease them they will continue to fling turds at you until you completely concede every single one of your ideological positions. -- Starless, Conservative Commune
It's going to be so much fun seeing all those "unexpectedly" stories continue for the next four years.  Medicare patients "unexpectedly" seeing their actual healthcare access go away. Full-time employees "unexpectedly" getting turned into part-timers. -- Meep, Conservative Commune
When I was a child, we were still proud of our political forefathers... A majority of Americans still believed in things like Honor, Love of Country, Service, Charity, God, Providence… No longer is this so... Half of the people I pass on the street are takers. Half of them are in it for themselves. Entirely. Half of them really do believe the Government is their savior. -- Enoch Root, Conservative Commune
I am sick to death that the class warfare worked for the rat-eared wonder. When he was giving his concession speech last night he was talking about “we did it” but those comments were not addressed to all Americans ...
 ... goin' Galt -- HotAir comments declared war:
The defeat of Barack Obama would have launched the beginning of America coming together. But apparently, liberal America prefers to battle for the soul of the country... The war begins now. -- Ben Shapiro
From Breitbart comments:
I was torn before the election and am still conflicted about whether a country of ignorant, obese narcissists was worth saving.  It seems unfair that the other fifty percent of us have to go down with them...
Well... we could always pull a "reverse Christopher Columbus."  Invite all the dumbies here and then go elsewhere.
 Its not worth saving.   Let it burn.

The Usual Suspect - The Media
Naturally, there were the usual complaint about the media:
Most of us who follow politics understand the reasons and have a pretty good idea of why [Romney's] going home and the Obama's are staying in the White House.  Short version: They let the left define the election issues....It was a masterful job of distraction aided and abetted by  a complicit media (hey, "60 Minutes", you have NO credibility anymore). ... The winning issues: Jobs.  Economy.  Debt. Deficit.  ObamaCare.  Benghazi. Fast and Furious. -- Bruce McQuain, Conservative Commune
My response: No one gets to own what the issues are, what topics get more continuous coverage, and what people think is important. The issue of Romney's tax returns withered. So did Benghazi. Both died because of the general population judged them as less important. Quit whining that you didn't get to choose the issues--it's a general decision, not yours, not one campaign's.
Damn Them All
The Wall Street Journal lashed out at a lot of targets, including Ben Bernanke, John Roberts, and Hurricane Sandy. The editorial is chock full of instant talking points and over-the-top rhetoric.
  • Boehner has as much of mandate as the president does. 
  • Obamacare "will spread like termites" as Obama consolidates "this liberal entitlement dream." 
  • "However implausibly" voters believed Bush was more to blame for the state of the economy than Obama. [Yes, that's totally implausible.]
  • John Roberts' sin was providing "a salve of legitimacy" to Obama. It also helped him "unify his party around something to protect..." [Roberts really should have considered the electoral effect of his ruling, even though he's part of an independent, third branch of government.]
  • Obama's victory was "the definition of winning ugly." Well then, how should we label this editorial--maybe "partisan gynmastics."
That king among the haters, Rush Limbaugh, had this to say:
We are outnumbered.  We're losing ground... Why does putting Condoleezza Rice front and center at the convention not work?  Why does putting Marco Rubio front and center at the convention not work? ...We have done the reach-out. We have done everything they, quote, unquote, say we should do to show that we're not just the white guys party... Why doesn't it work? Is it seen as not genuine?  Is it seen as tokenism?
My response: Rush, in the real world, no,, it is not seen as genuine, and yes, it is seen as tokenism. Just look at how you started this discussion--"we are outnumbered."But according to you, it's the media's fault for ridiculing these tokens in the GOP.
Here's the most concise answer to the whiny Republicans:
What is funny is that there are a LOT of us white folks out there who voted for Obama as well. The Republicans are simply on the wrong side of history. They still think they have a God given right to dictate how everyone should live and until that stops, they will lose. -- Atlantic comment

 The Good News
The National Review had a more practical take on the election results, which serves as a blessed counterweight to the WSJ's caterwauling:
Blame for this debacle is widely shared... Until conservatives devise a domestic agenda... that links small-government principles to attractive results, they are going to have a hard time improving their standing with women, Latinos, white men, or young people.
The surprising number of commenters on HotAir (who are better than those of FreeRepublic but not as generally intelligent as commenters on Atlantic or Washington Post) offered insights:
We are doomed. We can’t “appeal to Latinos” — Ted Cruz lost every Latino border county by 35 points to a fat white good ole democrat in Texas. HISPANICS WILL NOT VOTE GOP... Look, I don’t see the GOP winning the presidency again in my lifetime. We have lost 5 of the last 6 popular votes...THERE IS NO PATH TO 270. Once Texas flips to Latino, CA+FL+PA+MI+NY+IL gives a 200ev route from day one... I think the GOP should say gay marriage and drugs are state issues and basically absorb the libertarians. I hate to say it but suck up the Ron Paul wing. -- picklesgap
I actually think that Romney was probably the strongest candidate we had this year. And that’s a pretty pathetic statement on the quality of the GOP field... Fewer GOP senate candidates who feel compelled to share with the world their Very Special Personal Insights on rape and pregnancy would probably help. -- Hayabusa
I’ll tell ya, in my neck of the woods, most of the younger voters are more libertarian or conservative than they realize but are turned off by the hold religious types have on the Republican Party. Anecdotal but still.  -- oddjob1138
We also need to be aware of the fact that this high turnout among young voters might not be an anomaly... [Kids] who used to be completely indifferent to politics (out of sight, out of mind mentality) are now bombarded by friends on FB/Twitter who share their political musings 24/7. -- Good Solid B-Plus
...When you ask if Obamacare should be repealed and we go back to the days of insurance companies deciding your fate, the majority says no, keep Obamacare... If you watched the Dems you saw a rainbow of colors. This isn’t a white country anymore. Reps better change or go the way of the Whigs... This country needs 2 strong parties to fight it out over ideas. It’s terrible when one goes off the deep end and allows a radical fringe to dominate. -- independentvoice
The Republican Party needs to be more inclusive and welcoming. You can not have issues with minorities, gays and single parents and expect them to vote for you and win elections. As a single mother never having been married I did vote a straight R ticket yesterday in PA, but I need the GOP to change path to stay an active Republican. I can’t defend comments about rape and abortion being illegal even when it risks the life of the mother... I don’t expect the party to adopt my beliefs, but I want to feel welcome within the party. -- LawnGnomeFanFirst
I think we seriously need to look at two things: one, our candidate quality, and two, making small compromises to win bigger... Everything the pollsters were saying about turnout models was right, and everything we said about them was wrong. -- KingGold

Extras: The blame (and 20 minutes of cursing) lays with the libertarians and all those people too scared to post negative stories about Obama on their Facebook pages.

No, it was fruition of a Soviet plan: "Raise the young to be takers and after a few generations when the old conservatives die off, the country is ripe for the taking."

Romney's campaign was convinced by its own spin and were "shellshocked" by the loss.

Still more interesting HotAir comments.

Update 4/27/14. Here's a good post from the National Review. It points out that Romney did better than many GOP senate candidates, so it wasn't Romney that dragged down the ticket.


CSH said...

Interesting post, MP. I think a big part of the problem on the right starts with the fact that any success we achieve is an admixture of 1) good luck and 2) effort. We all, but Republicans in particular, see how our destiny is shaped by effort, but we tend not to notice how we've been aided by circumstance.

Throw in xenophobia from the angry white guy, and you get the inevitable "I worked really hard to make something of myself, but those others (read: minorities) are shiftless and lazy". Beneficial circumstance as a force in shaping lives is thus completely absent, either in evaluating ourselves or others.

Which is dreadful, because for great swaths of America beneficial circumstance has also all but disappeared "out there" in the community too. This is a massive menace the very existence of which the Republicans categorically deny.

I don't know that the Dems are all that much better, promising what looks like band-aids to regions that are hemorrhaging vitality. In any event, there's a gigantic moose on the table (death of opportunity across great parts of the country), the existence of which one party, at least, categorically denies.

ModeratePoli said...

I agree with you that conservatives ignore a lot of the context in the world (the situations in which actions occur). Liberal academics specialize in studies of context. However, this has been true for a while, so why did it make more difference in this election?

I've been very concerned with loss of jobs and whole industries, as I wrote here. Knowing how to stop or prevent it is beyond me, however, and I haven't read any good explanations of what we could have done or should do now.

CSH said...

@MP: what was different here? Two things: first, the xenophobia factor from the re-election of the black President, and second (and more important), the rapid evaporation of beneficial circumstance across much of the country.

Its okay to ignore the importance of luck in making a life if there is more or less a consistent amount of good luck to be had out there....