After any Presidential election, there is a danger for both the winning and losing sides. The loser sorely disappointed, will be tempted to despair and overreaction. The winners may forget that there are no permanent victories and politics and gloss over their own weaknesses coming into the next war.
What should conservatives take from Tuesday's results?
they should not make into more than what it is. Incumbent Presidents
are hard to dislodge. In two man races since 1900, the incumbent has won
15 of 17. Depending on the final total, Romney came the closest of any
of the 15 unsuccessful challenges. Obama's re-election performance was historically weak.
is hard, moreover, to see the election as a mandate for any particular
set of polices. The President did not run that kind of campaign. He
could have said that he supports a larger welfare state and is willing
to advocate for the taxes necessary to pay for it. Had he done so, he
would have almost certainly lost.
Instead, he ran on a fuzzy
platform of incremental state "investments" that could be financed
solely by asking the rich to pay a "bit more." This is, of course,
fantastical. You can't even make much of a dent in the deficit by
allowing the Bush tax cuts expire for those earning more than $ 250,000.
The Buffett rule - as even Buffett admits - would raise very little
But it is, significantly, the most he would say. His
major focus was to trash Romney as a Big Rich Meanie. He did it
masterfully, driving down the GOP vote in swing states. There are three
telling facts from this election. First, turn out was down. Second,
Obama's drop off in voter percentage was markedly less in swing states
than in the nation generally. Third, Romney garnered less votes than
John McCain. If he could have found a way to counter Obama's negative ad
blitz in the swing states over the summer and turned out the McCain
voters who stayed home, the outcome might have been different.
given the attack on him a plutocrat supported by other plutocrats, he
didn't have the money - having spent it on a lengthy primary fight.
Obama's victory is significant for what it was not. It was not a mandate
for the welfare state that he did not call for and will not pay for. It
is also significant for what it was. A very close win in which brilliant
tactics and execution played a large role.
So conservatives can get a grip. Still there are some things that must be faced. More to come.
Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin