November 16, 2012

J.P. FREIRE:

Part of why I’ve been holding back from the conversation about What The Republican Party Can Do Better Next Time is limited data. I mean, sure, we now have all the exit poll information, the voter data, and most of the results, but that can only be so helpful. I guess if Republicans want to beat Barack Obama again in 2012, they have all the information they need. But we don’t have a time machine, so we can’t change history. #Forward, or whatever. . . .

Someone should tell that to Mitt Romney, whose comments on a donor call are at odds with the facts of the election. There are a lot of reasons the GOP lost big this cycle, but no, one of them is not the scale of Democratic handouts. But let’s take care of one thing before I go on.

The media is jumping all over Romney’s comment for the wrong reason: Not because it’s simply wrong and the data show that it’s wrong, but because it has that tinge of classic Republican racism and the war on the middle class. That’s a real shame, because it demonstrates how journalists can be a bunch of polyannas about the reality of patronage politics in our government. Why did Andy Stern, former head of the SEIU, visit the White House so frequently leading up to the passage of Obamacare? Why are we talking about returning to earmarks in Congress? Because interest groups exist. If you think Democrats pushed free contraception into a presidential race that was clearly about the economy because It Was The Right Thing To Do, maybe you’ll be interested in some cattle futures I’m selling. So long as journalists fail to recognize how Democrats (and Republicans) dole out goodies when in power, they will fail to properly restrain government excess.

Did women turn out for Obama because of free contraceptives? Of course not. Did they turn out because of Romney’s refusal to do more outreach with women than simply deploying his wife? Yeah.

In nearly every instance in which Democrats were out there, trying to make inroads of voters, the Romney campaign was intent on this really clever strategy that involved ignoring those voters.

Well, everyone said to focus on the economy. But it turns out he should have been focusing on voters’ personal economies. Perhaps he should have focused more on rising prices.