by Chuck Norton
For some reason the establishment GOP will not learn the lesson of George Bush 41, Bob Dole, the 2006 mid terms, John McCain, and now Mitt Romney. How many times will they push the same failed strategy and tell people that it is the only way to win? How many times will we be told that Dole, McCain and Romney must be chosen because they are the only “electable ones” only to watch them lose?
UPDATE – Zo: We ran a dull example of conservatism vs the shining star of leftism (video) – LINK
Editor’s Note – Romney lost the “cultural charisma” and the “popularity contest” voters – We put up a guy who is a dullard against the shining star of leftism. Think about this for as moment:
Nixon had more charisma than McGovern
Carter had more charisma than Ford
Reagan had more charisma than anybody
Clinton had more charisma than Bush41
Clinton had more charisma than Dole
No one has less charisma than Gore – Bush wins
Kerry and Bush have about equal charisma but Kerry was a stuffed shirt flip flopping (sound familiar) joke and everyone knew it.
McCain vs Obama – are you kidding me (but wow look at those Sarah Palin crowds)?
Romney vs Obama on likability Romney loses to the low knowledge voter.
One of the greatest Mass media theorists of all time Marshall McLuhan said “The medium is the message” and that is what so many Republicans are missing.
Doubt me??? – Marco Rubio vs Joe Biden. Allen West vs Joe Biden. Mike Pence vs Joe Biden.
Bottom line on the cultural charisma factor: who would make a better president, Captain Kangaroo or rapper JZ? The answer is obvious, but who would low knowledge voters pull the lever for?
Bush got over 62 million votes in 2004 when people were not all that excited about him. Mitt Romney got just under 57 million.
Mitt Romney got fewer votes than John McCain and everyone acknowledged that many conservatives stayed at home because they did not trust McCain’s inconsistent leadership and his bad habit of trashing conservatives on the Sunday morning talk shows. Conservatives also stayed home in 2006.
Stop right there and let those numbers sink in. We are a nation where the people self identify as conservatives more than liberals almost two to one. Yet look at the exit polling of those who actually voted: 35% identified as conservative, 25% as liberal and 41% as moderate.
The math does not lie. More conservative men stayed home, evangelicals turned out but in lesser numbers than in previous elections. Even in bastions of conservatism such as Elkhart County Indiana, and counties in North Florida had more conservative voters stay home.
My establishment Republican friends are not going to like this, but the math is what the math is. In 2010 Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Marco Rubio and Allen West were the top of the political narrative. Women, who are to be swing voters, voted in heavier numbers for GOP/TEA Party candidates in nine of the top ten swing states than in any election since the 1984 Reagan landslide. This time women broke for the Democrats.
Just to give an example of what went wrong, look at the moral clarity of the messaging in 2010 vs 2012.
This was the prevailing political message in 2010:
Watch as Allen West sets the record straight on the war on terror where the other politicians are afraid to just tell it like it is:
By contrast Mitt Romney was pro-abortion before he was pro-life, against the Second Amendment before he was for it, was for Obama’s stimulus before he was against it, changed his stand on global warming alarmism depending on who was in front of him, was against the wildly successful Contract for America, and while campaigning went along with the Democrats in their disrespectful words against Ronald Reagan. Quite a difference.
So before we explain what went wrong it is very important to explain what the problem is not.
The problem is not that Republicans need to abandon conservatism and behave more like liberals as evidenced by the exit polling where almost every policy question favored Republicans:
Is the country moving in the right direction? – No
Should the government cut spending? – Yes
Should the government raise taxes? – No
Should Obamacare be repealed? – Yes
Should America use more of it’s own energy resources? – Yes
This demonstrates that on policy, those who voted, even engaged moderates, support conservative policy.
The problem is not that conservatism alienates independent voters, in fact every indication is that exactly the opposite is true. America’s Republican Governors are arch conservatives on policy, from taking on the government unions to school choice and fiscal responsibility. Independent voters vote for these governors and this election day such governors are in 30 states.
The elite media and some in the GOP establishment are blaming the TEA Party, but what they aren’t telling you is that establishment GOP “moderates” took a real beating this election including states such as Hawaii, North and South Dakota, Connecticut, and Virginia. Senator Scott Brown also lost his seat. The elite media may focus on Todd Akin in Missouri and Dick Mourdock in Indiana each losing their Senate races when they should have been an easy win. They self destructed because they engaged in some very undisciplined communication and turned enough voters off to cause some to split their ticket. Their loss had nothing to do with being conservative or traditional. Mike Pence won the Indiana Governor’s seat and he is as conservative as it gets.
Moderates also voted for Michelle Bachmann in Minnesota and for Jackie Walorski in Indiana’s Second District who again are both as conservative as they come and TEA Party favorites. Both won in swing districts.
About messaging: Jackie Walorski went after her Democrat opponent as the liberal fraud that he is, as he is nothing like he presented himself. She took off the gloves AND WON in spite of the fact that there was a 10% drop in turnout in Elkhart, the “conservative county” in her five county district. Walorski was willing to blast her opponent hard with the truth and was unafraid. If she had done so in 2010 she would have beaten Joe Donnelly back then. Michelle Bachmann did the same thing.
The problem is not solely because America is turning more brown. New Hampshire is as white as it gets and the same problems appeared there as in the rest of the country.
The problem is not that Republicans are willing to talk about about “social issues”. In fact quite the opposite. Why? It is Democrats who went nuts on social issues to paint Republicans as people who want to ban birth control. So we have no choice but to engage and fight back and our reluctance to do so in a smart, disciplined manner cost us lots of women’s votes. We surrendered on this issue because we didn’t fight back at the Democrats dishonesty hard enough.
To run on only economics is to expect that people really understand economics. Excuse me Mr. Voter could you please explain to me what the debt to GDP ratio is and why it is a threat to your standard of living?
The problem is not because of the power of incumbency…you know because beating the incumbent in the White House is so rare…unless of course we remember that Carter beat Ford, Reagan Beat Carter, and Clinton Beat Bush, and Obama, who was a sitting duck and ripe for defeat, only squeaked by.
UPDATE II – Ronald Reagan dealt with liberals in the Republican Party who said the exact same things –
The “GOP establishment” has to come to terms with some uncomfortable facts
The evidence shows that we had the wrong man at the top of the ticket whose campaign made some major mistakes.
Mitt Romney had high negatives in several swing states including Ohio and Florida after the primary. Why? This is what happens when you have, as Newt Gingrich said, “A Massachusetts moderate who passed Romneycare” who runs a dishonest scorched earth primary and has adjusted his views every election year. The GOP establishment crammed him down our throat with massive amounts of corporate and PAC money.
Remember this guy?
In Florida, where Romney played those brutal ads against Newt it seems many stayed home on November 6th. Romney also ran dishonest ads against Rick Santorum so more evangelicals stayed home. This explains why we did good in polling and poor on election day. The disillusioned participated in the polls, got pegged as likely voters and stayed home on election day. How can you trash conservatives again and again and then expect them to show up for you? And to ad insult to injury say that “we should not be too strident in our criticisms” of Obama’s failures.
Weekly polling for two years tells us 61% of the people want Obamacare repealed, but too many voters simply didn’t believe that Romney was serious. Newt Gingrich warned that this very thing would happen. This very writer knows plenty of people who are conservatively minded who have said, “there is no difference between the two parties” and they essentially believe they are all big government big spenders. More and more blue collar Republicans no longer feel like they have a political party to call home.
Speaker of the House John Boehner’s lack of effectiveness in cutting any spending at all also served to undermine 2010 Republican freshman who tried to cut at least some spending were unable to largely because of Speaker Beohner. Libertarians in Indiana got 6% of the vote in some races, which is another indicator of this reasoning.
Another indicator is that traditionally the GOP has received about 80% of it’s donations from individuals in amounts of less than $200.00. This was not the case with Mitt Romney, although in the last weeks small contributors did donate more heavily, but none the less this indicates a problem with the base.
Below is a video of a disillusioned white male voter who I am told is a former Army Officer who worked in psychological operations (psych-ops). Granted the man in the video is a bit on the paranoid tip, but his sentiment that it no longer matters who you vote for is not uncommon among the millions of conservatives who stayed home, especially when one considers how many times the GOP “establishment” has failed to deliver it’s “limited government” campaign rhetoric:
[There is a way to tap into this sentiment and turn it into energy for votes without alienating moderates, but someone will have to hire me to get that information. Gotta make a living – Editor]
The Republican primary was so long because the people were on a search for the “Not-Romney” candidate. In fact, you probably once favored voting one of the other candidates precisely because of the problems mentioned above. Odds are you who sit here reading this very page was against the idea of Mitt Romney being your nominee so how could it be a surprise that so many Americans never warmed to him?
One reason why people are so upset, and either not voting or protest voting for Libertarians is because they are sick and tired of politicians promising the world and delivering more suffering.
We have never witnessed polls like this, Americans are showing a clear contempt for both political parties and after seeing this it becomes clear why Tea Party is polling ahead of both Democrats and Republicans. Also note the massive disconnect between the political class the the governed.
Speaking as a political scientist, these numbers show that the government is losing its legitimacy (please be sure you know what that word means in poli-sci terms before you comment). This can only mean big changes are ahead.
There is also an indicator that independents may be more conservative than Republicans now, if this trend continues it changes everything.
The founding document of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, states that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Today, however, just 21% of voters nationwide believe that the federal government enjoys the consent of the governed.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 61% disagree and say the government does not have the necessary consent. Eighteen percent (18%) of voters are not sure.
However, 63% of the Political Class think the government has the consent of the governed, but only six percent (6%) of those with Mainstream views agree.
Seventy-one percent (71%) of all voters now view the federal government as a special interest group, and 70% believe that the government and big business typically work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors.
That helps explain why 75% of voters are angry at the policies of the federal government, and 63% say it would be better for the country if most members of Congress are defeated this November. Just 27% believe their own representative in Congress is the best person for the job.
The bottom line is that much of the blue collar in this country used to be solidly in the Republican Corner, but they feel like they have been lied to and taken for granted. Since the 2003 Bush tax cuts there have been ZERO domestic policy victories for this group of voters. That is why they are disillusioned and believe that no matter who they vote for government will just gets bigger and the economy will just get smaller. They feel squeezed and while they know that the Democrats are bad, they no longer have confidence in the Republican party. That is why these voters are staying home.
Messaging and policy must be bold, simple and provide a stark contrast
This time it just wasn’t.
Red State explained this problem rather well.
The question that many of these politicos have not answered is this: how could we possibly be more moderate than we already are? We ran with Dole in 1996, and we lost; we ran with McCain in 2008, and we lost; we ran with Romney, and we lost. Romney took the issue of Obamacare off the table and barely attacked Obama directly for much of anything. There was no potent conservative philosophy that was offered to provide voters with a sharp distinction between the parties. The Republican convention was a pathetic Oprah show and the entire campaign was basically an advocacy of Obama’s policies, albeit with less enthusiasm. And let’s not blame the loss on Paul Ryan and Medicare reform; he outperformed Bush and McCain with seniors.
For all the talk of the need to moderate in order to win, Obama ran the most divisive, radical, and negative campaign, while Romney ran a relentlessly positive campaign with incessant promises to work with the other side. People are attracted to a show of strength, not a promise of bipartisanship, which smacks of insecurity in one’s own virtues and ideas.
For those of you who may not remember, this is how to set a bold contrast with vision – LINK. When one does not run on big ideas they run on small things and that is what both Obama and Romney did.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz gets it as well and comments on why so many blue collar Republicans stayed home again:
All of the money in the world won’t help if you keep using the same failed strategy
Obama was a sitting duck, ripe for defeat and after all of the money spent they still couldn’t win in this ripe of an environment.
The Republican strategist who created the model for the outside money groups that raised and spent more than $1 billion on the Nov. 6 elections saw almost no return for their money.
Rove, through his two political groups, American Crossroads and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, backed unsuccessful Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney with $127 million on more than 82,000 television spots, according to Kantar Media’s CMAG, an ad tracker based in New York. Ten of the 12 Senate candidates and four of the nine House candidates they supported also lost their races.
The results have angered some Republicans who blame Rove for “sidelining conservatives” and diverting money from them.
“Right now there is stunned disbelief that Republicans fared so poorly after all the money they invested,” said Brent Bozell, president of For America, an Alexandria-based nonprofit that advocates for Christian values in politics. “If I had 1/100th of Karl Rove’s money, I would have been more productive than he was.”
The Rove group also spent $622,400 on ads attacking Nelson in Florida, $513,000 on McCaskill in Missouri, $486,000 on Kaine in Virginia, and $466,000 on Jon Tester in Montana. Those Democrats all won.
American’s for Prosperity (AFP), a group that used a more traditional bold, conservative, contrast communications strategy, and is willing to back some TEA Party candidates, made $754,000 in ad buys in Nebraska and Nevada and saw its preferred Republican candidates win those races.
The GOP must get media savvy and learn & understand that when the other side gives you an opportunity to land a hay-maker, take it
Seize the day. In the third debate Mitt didn’t capitalize on the disaster of Benghazi, and instead spent too much time trying to appear unoffensive in some type of attempt to appeal to female voters. We saw what that got us.
In 2004 women voted for President Bush because he made them feel safe and when you feel safe why make a change? Remember those “security moms”? Time after time Obama left himself open for a hay-maker punch where he was vulnerable and Romney wouldn’t seize the day. If Romney would have went after Obama on Benghazi the elite media would have been forced to talk about it, but instead the elite media has clammed up and has been trying to keep this huge scandal under the rug until after the election.
How can they pay all of these “communications strategists” and not a one of them understands that a president or a presidential candidate can set the media agenda. He can essentially make them talk about what he is talking about and get his message out even against an unwilling press.
In the debate, Obama hit Mitt Romney on equal pay for women, but Obama has paid women less in both his campaign staff and his White House staff. Romney should have delivered a knock out punch with that kind of opening, and followed it up with the fact that the Obama Administration is once again targeting women’s health care screenings for rationing while fully acknowledging that the result will be more dead women.
Even though the government response to Hurricane Sandy has been slower than Katrina and essentially a disaster, President Obama went and used Governor Christie as a campaign prop and it worked. While Obama was seizing the day, Mitt Romney was suspending his campaign and running a small food drive. Here is an idea, how about Mitt Romney returns to his home of Massachusetts to offer his services to Governor Patrick or to work as a government liaison with the Red Cross to help flood victims. That just may have helped Scott Brown win his Senate Race.
Speaking of the elite media…
The GOP must learn that the elite media is out to destroy you and is in the tank for the Democrats to a level that is truly astonishing. CBS News had in their possession classified emails that showed that the order to stand down and essentially let our people get slaughtered in Benghazi while Obama watched in the situation room came from the White House. CBS sat on those emails and only released the story on their web site when Glenn Beck threatened to out the network and those involved for covering it up.
The time for trying to make the media like you is over, dealing with dishonest reporters individually and embarrassing them into doing their job is the best you can hope for. The approval rating of the elite media is right up there with syphilis so embarrassing them Newt Gingrich style is a win.
Elite Media bias counts for up to five points in the election, which is more than enough to to swing most races towards a Republican win, we cannot afford to simply surrender those five points any longer.
Newt Gingrich vs CBS’ Scott Pelly:
Newt Gingrich Blasts the Elite Media for Bias and Anti-Christian Bigotry:
Newt takes NBC’s David Gregory to school:
Newt vs. NPR’s Juan Williams on the “race card”
Newt vs Piers Morgan on Class Warfare
You will notice that every time Newt took on the elite media who did the people believe? Did they Believe Scott Pelly and George Stuffingenvelopes or did they believe Newt Gingrich. The answer is obvious as demonstrated by the North Carolina Exit Poll where Newt dominated the numbers including independents, evangelicals, and women. As Ron Paul has demonstrated, the young graduate to those with a big vision and big ideas.
When one is not afraid of the elite media in the slightest and simply refuses to take any of their crap you can engage them and use them to get your message out, just as Newt Gingrich did in his lengthy interview on foreign policy on CNN.
If the nominee had dealt with the elite media as effectively as Newt Gingrich much of that five points from media bias would have been averted and that alone would have reversed this election.
The GOP must not let the elite media pick their nominee, or millions in the base will not show up. Remember in 2008 when the elite media sung the praises of John McCain until the day after he secured the nomination and then went after him scurrilously. The elite media did the same with Mitt Romney. They trashed everyone but Mitt, until he secured the nomination. Which brings us to the next lesson.
Define yourself early and WIN the battle of the narratives
Remember those ads that accused Mitt Romney of causing the death of the wife of a steel worker, when in fact it was an Obama fund raiser who was in charge of Bain Capital at the time because Romney had already left to run the Olympics?
Obama started running those ads in swing states such as Ohio and Florida before Romney even secured the nomination. The elite media knew it was a lie but the reporting of it was essentially to say how brilliant the lie was and what a brilliant campaign Obama was running. Mitt Romney did not engage the media or run ads to fight back. Romney’s negatives were already high because of the scorched earth primary he and his allies had run and the “dead wife”adds from Obama drove those negatives up even further.
Romney didn’t start campaigning in Ohio in earnest until just about the time of the debates. Too late, many people had already made up their minds.
This was why the first debate was such a shock to the country, as Romney showed that he was not the evil, bloodthirsty, knuckle-dragging bastard that the Obama Campaign portrayed him as, but by then it was too little too late.
There were so many narratives to hit Obama on. One example is an EPA that has become truly imperious and tyrannical. One EPA official even said that they like to crucify companies like the Romans did to people, just to set an example. Take the countless horror stories and jobless from his outrageous eco-extremism and take that suffering and pin it on Obama as he so well deserved. Obama’s policies are truly cold and heartless and his corruption in the green sector to enrich his friends is well documented. The fast and furious scandal, which resulted in the brutal murders of hundreds of Mexicans and at least one American federal agent should have been used to turn Hispanics away from Obama. A scandal is a gimme to the opposition but yet once again, Romney would not seize the day.
The biggest narrative of all that was not even challenged, is that the economic collapse was Bush’s fault. Well facts matter and someone needs to stand for the truth.
1 – The Bush Administration lobbied congress almost 20 times for mortgage reform since 2001
3 – Obama took huge money from the mortgage industry to help preserve the status quo.
4 – When Obama was a lawyer for ACORN he participated in one of those bogus CRA lawsuits to force banks to give bad loans. The people he represented of course could not afford the payments and most lost their homes.
5 – Clinton Administration officials such as Janet Reno and Andrew Cuomo said on video that they wanted to use (read abuse) the CRA law to act as an affirmative action program for home loans, whether they qualified for the loan or not wasn’t important.
Voters have a limited attention span
Why would Mia Love and other fantastic candidates lose? The answer is coat tails. The top of the ticket sets the narrative and unless something unusual happens such as the Todd Akin or Dick Mourdock situation that gets huge press that catches the voter’s attention. If we are milquetoast at the top even the best of candidates pay the price down the ticket and we saw this happen in spades in this election. For most voters their time and attention only allow them to pay some attention to one or two races on the ticket. The rest are at the mercy of those at the top.
Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk
Remember that ridiculous job killing light bulb ban that Republicans blamed Democrats for? Well the bill was co-authored by “conservative republican” and self proclaimed guardian of small business Fred Upton. Upton was primaried and as a result he is now behaving himself. Upton sponsored the bill to reverse the ban, but it should never have been an issue to begin with. It is NOT the job of Congress to micromanage the lives of the people.
There were so many problems with ballot counts that favored Democrats that I could fill the page with the links. Other blogs are doing that so I suggest that lawmakers read up and citizens make them listen. We control most of the countries governorships and state legislatures so the time to put teeth in our election laws and procedures is now.
We also need to put some teeth in the law and punish officials who election after election just seem to “OOPS” forget to send those military ballots out on time. In fact Obama sued the state of Ohio to try and prevent military ballots from being fully counted.
George Soros is using his empire to rig state vote counting the other way so for the integrity of the vote we need to push back hard.
Florida and Ohio were so close that if vote fraud could have been nailed down and military ballots counted we would have a President Elect Romney today.
[Editor’s Note – I was pretty tough on Karl Rove in this piece. For the record I like Karl and we have chatted a little, but Karl, for your own good you should listen to this piece.]