Despair has led many Republicans to question their earlier confidence that America is a “center-right country.” It is certainly a country that has strong conservative impulses: skepticism of government, respect for religion, concern for the family. What the country does not have is a center-right party that explains how to act on these impulses to improve the national condition. Until it does, it won’t have a center-right political majority either.Ross Douthat explains how incumbency helped the president win reelection.
Such advantages have long existed in our politics, which is why so few incumbent presidents taste defeat. But with the pace of digital change so swift, and the get-out-the-vote toolkits so complex and cutting edge, the advantages of incumbency may be steadily increasing. Especially in campaigns that come down to turnout in a few key states, having four full years to hire, recruit, innovate and organize – and, of course, to carpet the swing states with field offices – can make all the difference in world.Examining how Barack Obama won reelection should really give those who purport to care about how politics is conducted in this country. Obama ran a campaign of relentless propaganda to demonize his opponent. As Daniel Henninger writes today,
There won’t be an incumbent on the ballot in 2016. But Obama does have a debt to the Clintons to pay off, and bequeathing Hillary his campaign operation might settle it. That possibility alone should inspire any Republican who hopes to improve on Romney’s showing to internalize the lessons of this campaign as early as possible, leaving plenty of time to get ready for whatever surprises await.
Going forward, the personal takedown of one's opponent is the new baseline for a national campaign. It is widely said that Mitt Romney failed to answer the Obama campaign's $100 million barrage of reputation-destroying ads. Answer with what? When Mr. Obama's "outsourcer-in-chief" ads were exposed in the media as false, the Obama campaign said, So what? The campaign's no-apologies propaganda rolled over the media's "fact checkers" and likely any other response. Only a fool will fail to dump at least $100 million of mud on his opponent.And since whatever works for one party is then adopted by the other, this will now be the model going forward for any president. And now he's continuing the permanent campaign. It's all very discouraging.
Some Republicans are consumed with how to make more people like them. Interesting but complicated. The Obama Democrats used the most sophisticated information techniques to drive an uncomplicated strategy with two words: antipathy and fear. What minimal positive content existed in the Obama campaign was frosting on the stones.
Mitt Romney made his share of campaign blunders, but Barack Obama finally made the permanent campaign a reality across a whole presidential term. Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt told ABC in September: "One thing that's different here is that this is the first president in history who kept his supporters and his grass-roots organization in place during the course of the presidency." I'd like to understand the implications of that better before re-engineering the GOP (immigration policy excepted).
The question is whether any alternative candidate or Republican message could have overcome the Obama army of persuasion. The answer isn't obvious.
The President is really using faulty math when he says that there is not enough revenue to be gotten for a budget deal from closing tax loopholes but there would be enough if we raise rates on those making over $250,000 a year. Once again, as the WSJ demonstrates, the President is simply lying.
Regarding deductions, we refer readers to an October 17 study, in which even the liberal economists at the Tax Policy Center report that capping all itemized deductions at $50,000 a year for each tax filer under current policy would yield $749 billion in extra revenue from 2013-2022.And, of course, such changes would fall almost entirely on the top 20% of earners since they're the ones taking those deductions. As for raising tax rates on those earning over $200,000 would raise merely $823 billion over a decade. Given this basic math, the WSJ posits that the reason why Obama insists on his plan is because he really does want to go over the tax cliff.
Reducing the annual deduction cap to $25,000 would raise an additional $1.286 trillion over 10 years. Lower the cap still further to $17,000, as Mitt Romney once suggested during the campaign, and the revenue increase soars to $1.747 trillion by 2022....
By taking an absolutist line, he's basically gambling that Republicans will be more reasonable than he is and will blink. But if they don't blink and we go over the cliff, from his point of view so what? Mr. Obama then has an excuse to blame Republicans if there's another recession. Meanwhile, he pockets the higher tax rates that take effect on January 1 anyway, and he can then negotiate a budget deal next year without having to make any tax concessions.
He pleases his left wing for which higher tax rates are a secular religion, while pinning one more defeat on Republicans.
Young voters aged 18-29 have different memories of taxes and government benefits than voters in that cohort in earlier elections. It's something to ponder.
How it's going to be a long four years.
It's not helpful for Mitt Romney to return to the basic message of his 47% comments. Bobby Jindal schools Mitt in how to craft a message that is much more appealing to voters.
Why Democrats should like the Electoral College.