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The Conservativesí Obama Delusion
Commentary Magazine ^ | 11.07.2012 | Jonathan S. Tobin

Posted on 11/07/2012 10:00:33 PM PST by Kevmo

The Conservatives’ Obama Delusion

Jonathan S. Tobin | @tobincommentary 11.07.2012 - 1:05 AM For most of the last two years, if not the last four, many conservatives and Republicans assumed that Barack Obama could not be re-elected. A poor economy, an unpopular liberal agenda shoved down the throat of the country, and a largely uninspiring presidential leadership style combined to create a widespread belief on the right that the 2012 election would be a layup for them. We now know what some of us suspected for a long time: Republicans drastically underestimated the president’s appeal as a historic figure.

The postmortem on the Republican failure to defeat the president will go on until 2016, but the finger pointing within the party will largely miss the point. Their big problem was not Romney’s moderation (likely to be the right wing’s favorite theory); the influence of the Tea Party (the standard liberal interpretation); the failure to do outreach to Hispanics (though they need to address this problem); Romney’s inability to run against ObamaCare; the GOP standard bearer’s decision not to talk more about himself and letting the Democrats define him; the decision not to hammer Obama more over the Benghazi fiasco or even Hurricane Sandy.

The main obstacle to a Republican victory was that they were seeking to defeat the first African-American president aided by a supportive mainstream media, buttressed by the power of incumbency and what turned out to be a tremendously efficient campaign organization. Contrary to the delusion that Obama was a loser waiting to be knocked off, beating him was always going to be a long shot. Though the GOP will spend much of the coming weeks, months and years beating each other up as they assign blame for the defeat, the fact is, Romney did well to come as close as he did. Rather than wonder about what Republicans could have done better, conservative analysts would do better to look at the president’s strengths.

Most conservatives were prepared to acknowledge that the majority of Americans were still pleased with the idea of righting some historic wrongs by electing an African-American in 2008. But they failed to understand that even though Obama’s administration was not widely viewed as a great success, at least half of the country was not prepared to toss him out of office after only one term.

As an incumbent, Obama was able to claim credit for things for which he did not deserve many plaudits, like the killing of Osama bin Laden or even the response to the hurricane in the last days before the election. He also could count on the unfailing support of much of the media even when he was embarrassed by events, such as in Libya.

These were strengths that many Republicans continually discounted or disregarded entirely.

The close nature of the loss at a time when the national economy is still stagnant will naturally cause many on the right to speculate on what Romney and his campaign could have done differently. They will be right when they point out he should have fought back immediately against the slurs against his character that were the focus of much of the Obama campaign’s early efforts. Maybe a perfect GOP effort could have gotten that extra one percent of the vote that would have turned a few close states and elected Romney. That’s something that will torment conservatives as ObamaCare is implemented and Obama continues to govern from the left.

But even his sternest critics must admit Romney ran quite a creditable campaign and was able to use the debates to make the race closer and even take a lead in some polls in the last month. They must also acknowledge that the conservative assumption that the electorate in 2012 would be very different than it was in 2008 was wrong.

The good news for the GOP is that contrary to those who will predict that there is a permanent Democratic majority, the circumstances of 2012 won’t be repeated in four years. Obama will be gone in 2016 and anyone who thinks that Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo or even Hillary Clinton will have an easy time against the deep Republican bench that is ready to run next time misunderstands the nature of American politics.

The bottom line is that Barack Obama won the 2012 election far more than the Republicans lost it. Obama may be a remarkably unsuccessful president (he’s the first to win re-election by a smaller margin) but he was never the patsy most conservatives imagined. Conservatives spent the last two years since their 2010 midterm victory operating under a serious delusion about the president’s political strengths. That’s a terrible indictment of their political acumen, but it won’t affect their chances in four years when Obama is no longer on the ballot.


TOPICS: Politics
KEYWORDS: vote2012
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1 posted on 11/07/2012 10:00:34 PM PST by Kevmo
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To: Kevmo

Historic figure?

He won by lies, media on his side and give aways


2 posted on 11/07/2012 10:03:06 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: GeronL

2016? I can’t help but feel gloomy given what the American electorate has become. We’re doomed!


3 posted on 11/07/2012 10:07:53 PM PST by Unam Sanctam
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To: Kevmo

The problem was none of that. The prez didn’t have an “efficient campaign organization”. His turnout was 9 MILLION lower than in 2008. The problem is that somehow, despite the disaster his incumbency has been, the “Republican” voter base didn’t turn out in enough numbers to kick him out. Somewhere along the line, several million Republican voters disappeared too.


4 posted on 11/07/2012 10:08:17 PM PST by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: Kevmo

I honestly thought that after pickups like McDonnell and Brown, 2010 election and the Walker recall victory that Americans changed back to center right.

Thought they just gave Obama a fair chance because he was young and appealing, historic and in the middle of a crazy crisis. I didn’t think they really wanted a real leftist.


5 posted on 11/07/2012 10:10:56 PM PST by ari-freedom (Election Day should be after Thanksgiving, not right after Halloween)
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To: ari-freedom
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville
6 posted on 11/07/2012 10:11:35 PM PST by scooby321 (AMS)
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To: Kevmo

I’ve got to read this in more detail but it looks right on. Obama managed to get 2% more non-white voters to the polls in an election when “we” thought they’d sit it out. Dumb us. And we thought Republicans would flock to the polls to get rid of him, and Romney ended up getting fewer votes than McCain.

Pissing and moaning and talking crap is permitted for a while, but in the end we will have to learn from this election and move forward in a way that will produce better results.

Any questions - watch this 17 second video and realize there is no room for self-pity. Now it’s our turn to take the hit and keep on fighting even harder.


7 posted on 11/07/2012 10:13:34 PM PST by bigbob
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To: Kevmo
The main obstacle to a Republican victory was that they were seeking to defeat the first African-American president aided by a supportive mainstream media, buttressed by the power of incumbency and what turned out to be a tremendously efficient campaign organization. Contrary to the delusion that Obama was a loser waiting to be knocked off, beating him was always going to be a long shot. Though the GOP will spend much of the coming weeks, months and years beating each other up as they assign blame for the defeat, the fact is, Romney did well to come as close as he did.

This man speaks the truth.

8 posted on 11/07/2012 10:15:05 PM PST by Jeff Winston
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To: scooby321

But Walker won WI by 6% points and that’s a birthplace of the progressive movement. The unions went crazy over that campaign. Before that, Prosser. So I had good reason to expect to extrapolate that to the rest of the country.


9 posted on 11/07/2012 10:18:05 PM PST by ari-freedom (Election Day should be after Thanksgiving, not right after Halloween)
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To: ari-freedom

Same here. Romney was right about the 47%, and now the scales might be tipped.


10 posted on 11/07/2012 10:26:42 PM PST by Kevmo ("A person's a person, no matter how small" ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: Kevmo

Not a bad commentary. But we’d better not have 15 greedy grabby Republicans in the primary season, all thinking they have a chance because there’s no incumbent. This time they all jumped in because they thought that with Obama’s abysmal lack of respect for America, one of them would surely win.

Let the lesser candidates debate on Al Jazeera and Russian TV but let’s not have them all killing one another like we did this year, especially with one multi-billionaire blowing all the others to smithereens.


11 posted on 11/07/2012 10:29:35 PM PST by firebrand
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To: Kevmo

If we don’t crawl out of this echo chamber (and based on some of the comments it seems we may not) this is going to happen to us again, and again, and again, and again ...


12 posted on 11/07/2012 10:32:32 PM PST by RIghtwardHo
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To: Jeff Winston

Josef Goebbels would envy our mainstream media.


13 posted on 11/07/2012 10:33:56 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: GeronL
He won by lies, media on his side and give aways

And massive voter fraud.

14 posted on 11/07/2012 10:35:57 PM PST by BerryDingle (I know how to deal with communists, I still wear their scars on my back from Hollywood-Ronald Reagan)
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To: Jeff Winston

Yep. Best commentary I’ve read all day. That along with some vote fraud put him right back in the WH. Durring this whole campaign, I would watch Obamas’ cocky self assurance and think, he acts like he is going to actually win! I was so sure he was going to be beat like a rented mule.


15 posted on 11/07/2012 10:37:03 PM PST by beckysueb
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To: RIghtwardHo

Yup....Ras & Gallup screwed around with their polls while Nate Silver was dead-on. Check out Freeper Jackmercer who NAILED this election last week out here using science & data. And this guy makes some good points. People were not ready to throw out the first black president.


16 posted on 11/07/2012 10:42:33 PM PST by LongWayHome
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To: Kevmo

Those who create reality master it.

The media was, is and will be our problem. The so called “entertainment arm” bombards our society with the constant message that conservatives are un-caring racist, homophobic, red neck imbiciles. They do so in almost every movie Hollywood produces and in almost TV show. The so caled “news arm” of the media is no more than a ministry of propaganda a this point. It covers for and buries everything that could be harmful to those who they ideologically agree with.

The media has such a hold over the public that it was able to convince them that, regardless of the worst economy in memory, the republicans were the root of all evil. It was Bush’s fault, it was Big Bird, it was contraception and some war on women (republicans hate women don’t ya know).

Until and unless we get serious about destroying the media by ANY MEANS NECESSARY we are losers. We need to attack the media with a ferocity never before seen. We need to expose them, follow them, find their secrets, get into their personal lives, do whatever it takes to put them to the same scrutiny that they put our candidates and our voters.


17 posted on 11/07/2012 10:48:12 PM PST by FlipWilson
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To: FlipWilson

The media was, is and will be our problem.
***I agree. You need a candidate who is telegenic and creates their own free press. For instance, the media constantly harangued about Reagan and gave him free press, basically with middle americans asking, “what’s the problem with that?” when they watched the media go into leg-tingling frenzies. The only politician like that today is Palin. She drives the media into a frenzy, generating her own free press and accessing middle americans who see her as one of themselves, so “what’s the problem”?


18 posted on 11/07/2012 10:59:54 PM PST by Kevmo ("A person's a person, no matter how small" ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: Kevmo

One of their blunders was abandoning the highly effective term “socialized medicine” in favor of “Obamacare”. The other was failing to label him as a “liberal”. With a dumbed-down electorate, simple words have a greater impact than wonky speeches on the debt or deficit.


19 posted on 11/07/2012 11:05:22 PM PST by rfp1234
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To: Kevmo

No, you misunderstand my point entirely. The media of today is different than any other we have seen. They have reached the final destination. It is no longer “bias” that is their problem. Now it is far more. It is activism, it is influence. They are ruling the country de facto.

Trying to find a candidate or person who fits their paradigm is impossible. There is NO Republican who can survive within their world. They must be destroyed, killed, pulverized by any and all means necessary. They have betrayed this country. I am really considering forming a PAC that does nothing but advertise against the MSM and is in permanent campaign mode. Kill the media and the democrats lose 5% of the vote, easily.


20 posted on 11/07/2012 11:15:16 PM PST by FlipWilson
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