Republicans: Where now?

Republicans did it again: they took useful issues and opportunities and squandered them, as they tried to appeal to Democratic voters.

WASHINGTON, November 7, 2012 - Mitt Romney is no John McCain or Bob Dole. He is articulate, photogenic, and not-yet geriatric. He ran against a largely-failed incumbent on a platform that polled positive…and he lost. What’s up with that?

First, look at the things President Obama did right. Not as President, but as a campaigner. He was not Lincoln; he was Grant. Lincoln set a direction, but Grant did the dirty work: a long siege at Vicksburg was boring and costly, but it was the right tactic for that place. It wasn’t a “battle;” it was a waiting game. At other times, Grant, having routed the enemy, didn’t rest his troops. He followed the enemy, harassing, overtaking, stealing whatever artillery and equipment he could, constantly weakening his enemies, never declaring victory until the surrender was final and unconditional — at Appomattox Court House.

The President was also years ahead in technology, which fed his tactics. Instead of merely holding a rally, Obama held a rally with busses ready to take thousands to early voting. Obama’s campaign was texting and tweeting incessantly; Romney’s used email. Obama’s followers were told that they would lose something to which they were entitled; Romney’s message was that he wouldn’t take more – but he never explained how he’d match the President’s spending on social welfare without getting more money from… somewhere.

Governor Romney couldn’t credibly attack Obamacare, after pioneering Romneycare. Paul Ryan could, but he was muzzled shortly after it was apparent that he had ideas that would hurt Romney’s perceived base.

But what was Romney’s base? It wasn’t the super-rich: Warren Buffet and the Wall Street cabal were Obama’s pals. It wasn’t the middle class: Obama had already promised them secure retirement (though on what level, he never said). It wasn’t the young: though they don’t have jobs, Obama made it look like that wouldn’t matter – they deserved a future, and somehow they would have one. What would be in that future, was never explained (nor could it be). It clearly wasn’t the “47%,” as those people were already in the bread and cheese lines, living in Section 8 housing and living off EBT cards.  It wasn’t the hard-core Constitutionalists – they saw Romney as a pragmatic compromiser, a man who would “reach across the aisle” to pass legislation; Constitutionalists think there’s already way too much legislation (most of it illegal), and that we don’t need more.

So who was Romney’s core constituency? There just weren’t enough hard-working entrepreneurs (who believed him), to put Romney over the top.

Republican strategy seemed to want to play on Obama’s dismal performance, while not alienating his (Obama’s) core constituencies – the takers and regulators and do-gooders. Republicans were afraid of being “too extreme,” while failing to point out the extremism that is the foundation of socialism and totalitarianism, the basis of Democtatic economic terrorism. Republicans wanted to “play nicely,” while allowing Obama to promise secret future deals with Vladimir Putin, or while allowing the Benghazi massacre to fade to nothingness. Republicans hugged Obama when he promised to help Sandy victims in New Jersey. (What was the president going to do – withhold aid if he didn’t get loved by Chris Christie?)

Republicans, as they so often do, pretended to stand for “something else,” and hope that dissatisfaction with a growing federal behemoth would put them in power, while offering no alternative to the growth of that behemoth. Romney decried over-regulation, but “me-tooed” his way through the second and third debates, pledging to keep the socialist “safeguards” and fascist regulations in place.

Obama is an unabashed socialist, and a closet communist. No one doubts this. Romney is… what? Are you sure?

The Republicans could stand for something and lose, or they can continue to stand for nothing and continue losing. Or they could stand for something, and win. They just can’t stand for the same big-government programming as the Democrats, and win. Democrats are the masters of big government. Apprentices won’t win.


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Tim Kern

Tim Kern taught economics for fifteen years, and discovered that understanding life is easy; it’s recognizing reality that takes practice. He holds a music degree, and later earned an MBA in finance from Northwestern University. He has lived across the US, and now makes his home in Anderson, Indiana.

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