Why We Lost And What It Will Take To Win
November 9, 2012 by Chip Wood
Well, so much for the seers, sages, pundits and prognosticators who predicted an easy victory for Republicans on Election Day. It turned out to be anything but.
For a lot of us, our worst fears are coming true: four more years of Barack Obama in the White House and at least two more years with Harry Reid and the Democrats controlling the Senate.
The one bright spot is that Republicans retained control of the House of Representatives. Since the Constitution requires that all spending bills originate in the House, that provides hope there will be at least some slight restraint as Big Government marches forward.
But then I remembered that Obamacare, one of the biggest spending bills in history, didn’t originate in the House — and that this was perfectly OK with the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts said this incredible usurpation of Federal power was legal because the mandate was a tax. His redefinition of the facts made it all hunky-dory, or so we were told.
The chance that Obamacare will be overturned or even substantially revised is now pretty close to zero. We won a few important victories in the Senate (I’m thinking particularly of Ted Cruz in Texas, Debbie Fisher in Nebraska, and Jeff Flake in Arizona). But Republicans lost all of the other races where victories were essential to give them control of the Senate.
Yes, I’m afraid we’ll be saddled with Harry Reid as Majority Leader for at least two more years. That means even if a decent bill is passed in the House, its chances of getting through the Senate are virtually nil. Not to mention what would happen if such a bill — to cut spending significantly, let’s say, or reform the tax code, or audit the Fed — did by some miracle make it to Obama’s desk. How many milliseconds would it take, do you think, before a veto sent it flying back to Capitol Hill?
So the chances of seeing some decent legislation get through the new Congress are about nil, I’m sad to say. About the best we can hope for is to delay some of the worst legislation and work and pray for more victories in 2014.
In the meantime, I shudder to think what sort of nominations Obama will make for our courts, since he needs approval only in the Senate, not the House. Or what sort of treaties he may submit for the Senate’s approval. How much of our sovereignty (and our money) will the internationalists in this Administration want to turn over to the United Nations? I don’t want to think about it.
We’re going to hear a lot of criticism of the sort of campaign that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan conducted. They didn’t “take it to the President” hard enough, tough enough or often enough, some will say. I think there’s a lot of truth to such accusations.
Romney scored a dramatic victory in the first Presidential debate. Finally, millions of Americans got to see that he was not the mean-spirited vulture capitalist that the Obama campaign had portrayed him as. Hey, he was actually human — and pretty impressive.
But the gains from that night weren’t enough. For some strange reason, both Romney and Ryan began to run a very cautious campaign. Oh, they made some decent speeches. But they spoke only in broad generalities; neither ever got the electorate inspired with the specifics of what they would do for this country.
I would have liked to see them tackle head-on some of the big issues that were being used against them. Where was the Romney-Ryan appeal to Latinos, who will work so hard to earn a piece of the American pie? Where was their outreach to women, who surely have bigger concerns than getting Uncle Sam to pay for their birth-control pills? We waited in vain to hear anything along these lines.
And while there’s no question but that the economy and other domestic issues were far more important to voters than foreign policy, I’ve got to wonder how much of a difference it might have made if Republicans had really hammered the White House over what happened in Benghazi, Libya.
We can debate these questions forever — or at least until the next election. But in the meantime, there are three other issues that I’m afraid will spell the doom of this Constitutional republic, if we can’t find some way to overcome them.
The first is the incredible bias of the mainstream media. I could fill a dozen columns with examples of how the media raked Romney or Ryan over the coals for the most trivial of misstatements, while giving Obama and Joe Biden a free pass on some of the most outrageous comments ever uttered during a political campaign.
You and I may wish that Romney had phrased his concerns a little different, when he spoke about “the 47 percent who don’t pay taxes” at a private fundraiser. But they paled in comparison to Obama’s statement that “you didn’t build that” or his dismissive remark that “the private sector is doing fine,” when everyone and his brother knew it wasn’t.
The mainstream media tried to turn Romney’s remarks into a national scandal. “Good Morning America” said it was a “bombshell rocking the Mitt Romney campaign.” Diane Sawyer called it “a political earthquake.” There was no such phony outrage over anything the President or his Vice President said during the campaign.
And don’t get me started on many of the so-called “fact checkers” on TV and in the press. Time after time, they allowed Obama and Biden to get away with some whoppers that would have had Pinocchio’s nose growing out the door, while they pounded the Republican candidates for every minor misstatement they could find or distort.
My second concern is how Republicans can counter the hundreds of millions of dollars the Democrats spent on an incredible barrage of attack ads. They were among the most dishonest and despicable commercials ever put on the air. They were targeted to very specific audiences: union workers in Cleveland, young women in metropolitan areas, blacks and Latinos wherever they were a large enough minority.
Sadly, the ads worked. Those of us on the right have to recognize that our opponents on the left did an incredibly effective job of targeting their message to very narrow and specific segments of their audience. They got a majority of the viewers to believe their propaganda. And then they got them to the polls.
How can the next Republican candidate for President overcome such a well-financed, brilliantly planned, expertly produced smear campaign? I confess I don’t know. I hope someone will come up with a solution. If you’ve got one, let me hear about it.
That brings me to my final and largest concern. In State after State and district after district, Democrats won by promising that government would do something for the people hearing their message. Subsidize their healthcare, pay for their prescriptions, finance their schooling, guarantee their retirement… the list goes on and on. It’s the 21st century version of promising a chicken in every pot.
And, folks, let’s face it. It worked. What happens when a majority of voters are told they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury, if they’ll only put the “right people” in charge?
We saw the answer Tuesday. They’ll stand in line for hours to vote to keep the goodies coming.
It’s going to be awfully hard to outwork, outspend and outvote them. The silent majority is being replaced by a “gimme” society. What’s going to prevent them from dragging this country over a fiscal cliff — and us along with them?
I don’t know. Do you?
Sorry to sound so pessimistic, but I’m stunned and saddened over the results of Tuesday’s elections. I thought it was one of the clearest choices between two different directions for this country I’ve ever seen. And I’m scared to death of the decision a majority of voters just made.
Ah, well, there is one positive thing I can say about the outcome. It will give this humble scribe — and the other writers here at Personal Liberty Digest™ — plenty to talk about for the next few years.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.