Archive for the ‘2012 elections’ Category

GOP’s reform report arrives at a debate already well under way

The Republican National Committee has released its “autopsy” on the 2012 election and outline of how to win future federal elections, and it appears to pull no punches. But I have a bone to pick with the way it is being reported, for instance by the Associated Press story linked by my AJC colleague Jim Galloway:

In calling for the GOP to develop “a more welcoming conservatism,” the report rebukes those who remain in denial about the seriousness of the problem and those who are unwilling to broaden the party’s appeal.

A just-concluded gathering of conservatives in Washington cheered speaker after speaker who urged the GOP to stick to its guns and, instead, largely blamed the 2012 defeat on Romney or the way he ran his campaign.

I don’t know whether the AP reporter was at CPAC, the “just-concluded gathering” to which the story referred, and which I attended. But that second paragraph, in my view, completely misrepresents the take-away from the conference.

To say the attendees …

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CPAC 2013: Who deserves the blame for the 2012 debacle?

The central question facing those attending or speaking at the American Conservative Union’s CPAC conference this week is why they failed to produce a GOP challenger who could beat a relatively weak incumbent in President Obama last November. For some, it’s about policies, for others it’s about message, for still others it’s about the candidate himself, and for those who don’t fall into one of the first three groups it’s about the nuts and bolts of campaigning — technology, infrastructure and everything that falls into the category known as the “ground game.”

Each of these debates matters, because the GOP had significant failures in each respect in 2012. Anyone who wants to see conservative politicians elected to implement conservative policies needs to pay attention.

While there are differing opinions among the folks here concerning each of those items, the most passionate disagreements I saw Thursday, by far, were those pertaining to the consultants who run many a campaign. …

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Paul Ryan tackles one of GOP’s biggest post-election problems

For the second time in two elections, an older Republican presidential nominee selected a younger running mate with the intent of injecting some energy into his campaign. Then, shortly afterward, his campaign staff began working to muzzle that younger running mate.

That’s about as close as you’ll get to putting Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin in the same sentence — although, like Palin, Ryan seems intent on using his boost in national profile to grab a big role in the national debate moving forward, likely to position himself for a future run at the top of the ticket.

I give Ryan better odds at staying in that conversation all the way until the next election than Palin did after 2008 (although she certainly remained relevant through the 2010 midterms and was a central figure in the tea party’s rise to prominence). If he does, it will be because he seems to have a keen understanding of one of the GOP’s key problems moving forward from the election he helped fight. I’m talking about …

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Dear people signing secessionist petitions . . .

Stop. Just stop.

If you haven’t heard, a number of pro-secession petitions have cropped up on the White House website’s page for public petitions. When I checked earlier today, there were petitions for “peaceful withdrawal” from the U.S. by 20 states. Not all of them went for Mitt Romney last week, or are in the South: There were also petitions for such states as Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Oregon.

It should go without saying that these petitions a) aren’t going to lead to any kind of action and b) aren’t supported by the vast majority of people who voted against President Obama. If you could cross-check the two groups, I suspect there would be a lot of overlap between the petition signers and birthers.

To those who are signing these petitions out of a sense of anger or exasperation or desperation, let me say this:

Maybe you believe all hope is lost now that we’re getting four more years of Obama. There are a lot of possibilities for his second term that I’m not happy …

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Charter schools amendment points the way for Georgia GOP

Republicans are doing some soul-searching after losing the presidential election and some winnable U.S. Senate contests. The Georgia GOP should be similarly self-reflective after delivering the second-smallest margin among states won by Mitt Romney.

The same demographic trends Romney failed to overcome are increasingly apparent in Georgia. Republicans here must learn to win over voters they typically haven’t attracted. Fortunately for them, Tuesday also offered a template for doing so: the successful charter schools amendment.

The referendum to affirm a state role in creating these public schools was passed in a Republican-dominated Legislature with crucial, but limited, Democratic support; was endorsed by our Republican governor; was opposed by the state Democratic Party; drew much-scrutinized financial support from wealthy Republicans outside Georgia; and was slammed in a radio ad by a civil-rights icon, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, as a precursor to resegregation.

Yet in …

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How the GOP needs to change, and how it doesn’t

Tuesday was a brutal night for Republicans.

Incumbent presidents are tough to beat, but Barack Obama was about as vulnerable as they come. The economy is stagnant; his signature legislative achievement is unpopular; his party weathered sharp losses in the midterm elections by now, you know the litany by heart. Yet Mitt Romney appears to have flipped only two states Obama won in 2008 (pending the final result in Florida).

When political parties lose brutally, a lot of new conventional wisdom crops up. Some of it’s right, some of it’s wrong. Here’s an early take on which is which:

1. Republicans have to move toward the left.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. There are two major political parties in this country in large part because they represent two sets of durable, mainstream beliefs. Sometimes one or the other does a better job of representing its beliefs, but neither ideology will be permanently defeated. Which leads me to …

2. The GOP has to ditch the tea party.

Wrong. Just two …

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Post-election video chat: Where does GOP go from here, and does Obama have a mandate?

Here’s the third installment of the Google+ Hangouts that Jay Bookman, Aaron Gould Sheinin and I have been doing. Spoiler alert: You’ll see more disagreement between Jay and me than in the first two…

Please feel free to keep talking on the thread downstairs as well.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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Initial post-election thoughts

A few quick thoughts before I go record another Google+ Hangout with Aaron and Jay:

  • The Dow dropped about 200 points at today’s opening after a decent rally yesterday. Looks like I wasn’t the only one with a gut feeling about Mitt Romney winning the election.
  • Can we all just agree on no more nominees from Massachusetts? Romney, John Kerry, Michael Dukakis … the last person to reside in Massachusetts at the time he won the presidency was John F. Kennedy. (On second thought, maybe I should be encouraging the Democrats to nominate Elizabeth Warren in 2016 …)
  • With almost all the votes counted, Romney is a little less than 3 million votes off John McCain’s 2008 total — while President Obama is nearly 10 million votes off his own total from four years ago. Those numbers will shrink somewhat, but it’s safe to say that turnout was down and most of those who stayed home were previously Obama voters. These most likely were the folks who still told pollsters they were undecided right up …

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Decision Time! Live blog of results for president, Senate, Georgia races

UPDATE at 11:25 p.m.: And that’s it. Ohio has been called for Obama, and it looks likely that Florida will follow suit. A couple of near-billion-dollar campaigns, and it looks like two states (Indiana and North Carolina) will have flipped, maybe three if Romney ekes out a win in Virginia.

We’ll have plenty of time in the weeks to come to talk about what comes next for the GOP nationally. Tonight is for Obama and his supporters.

The silver lining here in Georgia, for me: The charter schools amendment passed, giving students and parents more choices in the near future.

UPDATE at 9:56 p.m.: With Michigan and Pennsylvania being called for Obama, Romney is right where most people thought he would be: needing to sweep Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Ohio, plus one more smaller state, to win. None of those four has been called yet, and all are within reach. But the hour is getting late, and his margin for error is gone.

Incidentally, and just for the record: Some news outlets …

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Election Day Video: Jay Bookman and I discuss who wins and what’s next

With the election results almost upon us, Jay Bookman, Aaron Gould Sheinin and I decided it was time for another chat using Google+ Hangout. Check it out:

Depending on how quickly the results come in tonight, we’ll do another of these either tonight or tomorrow morning.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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