web analytics
August 31, 2016 / 27 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘campaign’

The Conservatives’ Obama Delusion

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

For most of the past two years, if not the past four, many conservatives and Republicans assumed that Barack Obama could not be reelected. 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 lay-up 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. The 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 Republicans 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 the party was seeking to defeat the first African-American president – one aided by a supportive mainstream media and 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. 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 the country was not prepared to toss him out of office after only one term.

As an incumbent, Obama was able to claim credit concerning 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 the Benghazi attack.

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 on 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 that Romney ran 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 claim 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 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.

Jonathan S. Tobin

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

The most charitable way of explaining the election results of 2012 is that Americans voted for the status quo – for the incumbent President and for a divided Congress. They must enjoy gridlock, partisanship, incompetence, economic stagnation and avoidance of responsibility. And fewer people voted. At the time of this writing (election day), with almost all the votes counted, President Obama has won fewer votes than John McCain won in 2008, and more than ten million off his own 2008 total.

But as we awake from the nightmare, it is important to eschew the facile explanations for the Romney defeat that will prevail among the chattering classes. Romney did not lose because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy that devastated this area, nor did he lose because he ran a poor campaign, nor did he lose because the Republicans could have chosen better candidates, nor did he lose because Obama benefited from a slight uptick in the economy due to the business cycle.

Romney lost because he didn’t get enough votes to win.

That might seem obvious, but not for the obvious reasons. Romney lost because the conservative virtues – the traditional American virtues – of liberty, hard work, free enterprise, private initiative and aspirations to moral greatness – no longer inspire or animate a majority of the electorate. The notion of the “Reagan Democrat” is one cliché that should be permanently retired.

Ronald Reagan himself could not win an election in today’s America.

The simplest reason why Romney lost was because it is impossible to compete against free stuff. Every businessman knows this; that is why the “loss leader” or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool. Obama’s America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who – courtesy of Obama – receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentivizes looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote; so too those who anticipate “free” health care, who expect the government to pay their mortgages, who look for the government to give them jobs. The lure of free stuff is irresistible.

Imagine two restaurants side by side. One sells its customers fine cuisine at a reasonable price, and the other offers a free buffet, all-you-can-eat as long as supplies last. Few – including me – could resist the attraction of the free food. Now imagine that the second restaurant stays in business because the first restaurant is forced to provide it with the food for the free buffet, and we have the current economy, until, at least, the first restaurant decides to go out of business. (Then, the government takes over the provision of free food to its patrons.)

The defining moment of the whole campaign was the revelation (by the amoral Obama team) of the secretly-recorded video in which Romney acknowledged the difficulty of winning an election in which “47% of the people” start off against him because they pay no taxes and just receive money – “free stuff” – from the government. Almost half of the population has no skin in the game – they don’t care about high taxes, promoting business, or creating jobs, nor do they care that the money for their free stuff is being borrowed from their children and from the Chinese. They just want the free stuff that comes their way at someone else’s expense. In the end, that 47% leaves very little margin for error for any Republican, and does not bode well for the future.

It is impossible to imagine a conservative candidate winning against such overwhelming odds. People do vote their pocketbooks. In essence, the people vote for a Congress who will not raise their taxes, and for a President who will give them free stuff, never mind who has to pay for it.

That suggests the second reason why Romney lost: the inescapable conclusion that, as Winston Churchill stated so tartly, “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Voters – a clear majority – are easily swayed by emotion and raw populism. Said another way, too many people vote with their hearts and not their heads. That is why Obama did not have to produce a second term agenda, or even defend his first-term record. He needed only to portray Mitt Romney as a rapacious capitalist who throws elderly women over a cliff, when he is not just snatching away their cancer medication, while starving the poor and cutting taxes for the rich. Obama could get away with saying that “Romney wants the rich to play by a different set of rules” – without ever defining what those different rules were; with saying that the “rich should pay their fair share” – without ever defining what a “fair share” is; with saying that Romney wants the poor, elderly and sick to “fend for themselves” – without even acknowledging that all these government programs are going bankrupt, their current insolvency only papered over by deficit spending. How could Obama get away with such rants to squealing sign-wavers? See Churchill, above.

Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

Pres. Hollande: Netanyahu Came to Toulouse to Campaign for Re-election

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

“We know, Netanyahu came to France as part of his elections campaign,” French President François Hollande has quipped last week, according to a report published on Tuesday in the French satirical weekly Le Canard Enchainé.

Holland referred to the participation last week of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a ceremony commemorating the victims of the attack on Jewish school children and their rabbi in Toulouse.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Rep. West (R.) Demanding Hand Recount in Florida 18th

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy has already declared victory over Tea Party star Rep. Allen West, R-Fla. West trails Murphy by 2,500 votes in the official count.

But West for Congress campaign manager Tim Edson on Wednesday announced: “This race is far from decided and there is no rush to declare an outcome. Ensuring a fair and accurate counting of all ballots is of the utmost importance. There are still tens of thousands of absentee ballots to be counted in Palm Beach County and potential provisional ballots across the district.”

According to the West campaign, late last night Congressman West maintained a district-wide lead of nearly 2000 votes until the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections “recounted” thousands of early ballots. Following that “recount” Congressman West trailed by 2,400 votes.

The campaign also complained of numerous irregularities at polls across St. Lucie County. The doors to polling places were locked when the polls closed, in violation of Florida law, preventing the public from witnessing the tallying.

“The St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections office clearly ignored proper rules and procedures, and the scene at the Supervisor’s office last night could only be described as complete chaos,” said a campaign press release. “Given the hostility and demonstrated incompetence of the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, we believe it is critical that a full hand recount of the ballots take place in St. Lucie County. We will continue to fight to ensure every vote is counted properly and fairly, and accordingly will pursue all legal means necessary.”

Yori Yanover

The Mourning After Obama’s Re-Election

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Wednesday morning political quarterbacks are like the Monday sports variety, only you hear from the former two days later. Similar to literary critics, the “I told you so” crowd usually stays above the fray and then comes down only to shoot the wounded.  With such caveats in mind, we assess the Romney loss and the prospects of an Obama second term.

To begin, a few words might be said about precedent or history. In our lifetime, Bill Clinton was elected twice and now Mrs. Clinton is in the cat bird’s seat for 2016. Such omens say as much about the character of the American electorate as they do about the vector of modern American political history.

But history and political memes did not beat Mitt Romney. The challenger and the Republican Party establishment lost this election. There were many mistakes, few of which could be acknowledged before and many of which will probably be rationalized now.  Nonetheless, there seem to have been four flaws in the campaign to unseat a mediocre man who should, by any measure of performance, have been beaten easily. Those flaws include, but, are not limited to; a shallow primary pool, defensive campaigning, race, and apathy.

Romney may not have been a good choice to begin with, but, he did win a primary fight if not hearts. Alas, a significant constituency on the Right still had reservations. Prior to the primaries, Mitt Romney was known as a successful father, husband, businessman, and governor. He was also pegged as a moderate.

And it was moderation, the need to be seen as a nice guy that may explain a defensive campaign where the incumbent managed to define the challenger. Obama made the menace of Romney the grand issue of 2012 – and it worked.

Obama successfully defined Romney as a selfish, avaricious Capitalist. True or not, the mud stuck. The Romney response to insult was defense and the answer on issues, especially foreign policy, was often “me too.” Unless you play like Notre Dame has this year, defense does not win the big games.

Take the economic malaise as an example. Barack cast Mitt as a job eliminator at home and a job exporter abroad. Romney was, in short, the Grinch who would throw American workers to the wolves; in contrast, Obama ran as the hero who saved 200,000 American jobs. The Republican response was lame and incoherent blather about the Chinese, “fairness,” or playing by the rules. A fact attack would have been more helpful.

The GM chairman has been touting China since the automotive bailout; bragging about what Detroit has done for China, the Chinese worker, and Chinese jobs. Indeed, since the bailout, GM has created five to ten times more jobs in China than may have been saved in the US.  None of this factual ammunition was used by Romney, nor were the available video clips of Dan Akerson celebrating the move of GM operations, including advanced research, from America to China.

At the eleventh hour Mister Romney’s domestic message was undone also by weather and, again, passivity. Katrina was famously politicized by Democrats and Media allies and used to beat George Bush to a pulp. Now comes hurricane Sandy and an erstwhile “ally,” Republican Governor Christy, embraces, literally hugs Obama as looters roam neighborhoods still without power or heat on a frosty  voting day. Mr. Christy’s timing and rapture were more than unfortunate. With friends such as those in New Jersey, Romney didn’t need many enemies. Politics is a game of flinches.

Race has always been the invisible elephant of Obama politics. Starting with his first campaign for president, Barack has played the race card like a violin. In front of white audiences, he’s the proud grandson of a white WWII veteran. Yet his demeanor with blacks is something else.

For twenty years or more, he sat in church and listened to the demagoguery of Jeremiah Wright, colleague to Louis Farrakhan, a virulent black racist. If Wright was right for so long, why is he persona non grata at the White house?

Obama has chosen to define himself as a black man, yet has done little to address, no less bridge, the racial divide that he personifies. Black voting statistics reinforce the hold that race has on the black community and other minorities. For Romney, race was an opportunity missed; an opportunity to expose the hypocrisy of American racial attitudes and exhibit courage on a sensitive issue. If Obama chose to define himself as white, given his record to date, he would be “one and done” today.

The reticence of politicians to be candid, about sensitive issues like race, speaks to the most powerful force in American politics; apathy. The challenger’s moderation may be a subtle variant of apathy. In private moments, Romney often exhibits moral courage. His commentary on growing American dependency is an example. Truth, as Harry Truman insisted, is often the best public argument too.

When politicians walk back a fact, however; voters get queasy. “Business as usual” is a message that Romney reinforced by not separating himself clearly from statist folly and the entitlements movement.

In sum, Mitt Romney may not be mean enough for the big leagues. American politics is a contact sport. In many ways, Obama and Romney are similar; each look the part, congenial family men; yet, both are in over their heads. One has a job beyond his abilities and the other is unable to get the job he wants.

There’s not much left to say except congratulations to Barack Obama for pulling another rabbit out of one of his many hats. Alas, the American political horizon is still obscured by smoke. The burn rather than turn crowd gets another four years; and America, like Europe, will continue to dance between inertia and fiscal Armageddon.

And good luck to Mister Romney in his next endeavor. He may want amend that Roman adage: “Moderation in all things.” Mitt might now say; moderation in all things – especially moderation.

Originally published at the American Thinker.

G. Murphy Donovan

How in Losing a Congressional Race I Found More of Myself

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

A few hours ago I lost my bid to unseat Congressman Bill Pascrell in New Jersey’s Ninth District. But thank G-d, I’m in a good place and miraculously in a good frame of mind. I’m writing this late at night to capture my thoughts and feelings after investing approximately seven months of my life in this endeavor.

Firstly, believe it or not, I don’t feel sadness but contentment (although I can’t predict how I’ll feel in the coming days). Why contentment and relief? I set out to accomplish certain goals, and though I wish I had been more successful at advancing them, I feel we met many of those goals and I’m grateful to G-d for having made it through the campaign with a positive message.

First, I wanted to be a voice for universal Jewish values in politics. For years I had felt America was becoming obsessed with talking about gay marriage rather than heterosexual divorce. Abortion rather than men respecting women and replacing the recreational nature of sex with something of its sacredness. Contraception rather than the joy of children. I wanted to bring something of the joy of Jewish values to supplant some of the austerity of the Christian social sexual values which have come to dominate our social discourse and divide our nation.

I also wanted to run an ideas-based campaign that focused less on fundraising and more on novel policies that could address the values rot in American culture. I didn’t want to talk only about economics, deficits, and national debt, but the value of human dignity that accrues through self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and economic independence.

Most of all, I wanted to demonstrate that religious Jews, running campaigns based on Jewish wisdom and values and founded on a platform of a proud Jewish identity, can compete as viable candidates in politics and in every other sphere of American life. From the constant, positive, national attention our campaign has thank God garnered, we have shown that being an orthodox, committed Jew is not in any way a hindrance or limiting factor.

I knew from the beginning that running in a race where Democrats outnumbered Republicans four to one was like climbing a political Mt. Everest. But it was the journey that mattered.

And here is what I have learned. Running for public office has a profound maturing effect on one’s character. You have to wake up every morning and figure out how will you maneuver to deliver your message through all the noise and clutter of the media and the friction of politics. It toughens you up and sharpens your instincts. It humbles you and makes you utterly dependent on all the people around you. People you might, in your arrogance, have otherwise overlooked are now your masters. Every single one matters. And whether they embrace you or reject you, it is always they who are important with you being subordinate.

Abraham Lincoln, on a day that happens to be my birthday (November 19), gave the Gettysburg Address where he spoke of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. For once, I wanted to experience what it was like to be ‘of the people.’

Never once in my campaign did anyone make me feel that being a Rabbi meant I could not be their candidate. True, many of the Arab-Americans in our district challenged my position on Israel. But they always did so with respect and hospitality. (Please read my column on all the people I met in the race).

The Republican party, which suffered a huge defeat on so many levels tonight, needs to make some serious changes. They cannot highlight the social sexual issues which distract us from fixing so many of America’s real social problems, like increasing narcissism on the part of our youth, a catastrophic divorce rate, the portrayal of women in much of the media as a man’s plaything, the absence of a year of national service, the increasing loss of intellectual curiosity on the part of much of the electorate as shallow reality TV shows make us think less, and our addiction to material objects to bring us happiness. We also have to deal with immigration in a compassionate and sensitive manner. True, people who come here illegally are breaking the law and being unfair to all those who wait to enter by legal means. But before we throw the full book at them – and let me be clear that they should not be breaking the law – let’s at least understand that so many of them do so to feed their babies or to send money back to very poor families. They are breaking the law, but that does mean that they are criminals in the usual sense of the word. Their humanity has to be preserved at all times and we have to find a way to deal with 12 million undocumented workers, many of whom have made America their home for many years. Not to address this problem is not only to risk further electoral defeat, but it is to compromise our values of compassion, even as we rightly insist on the vital framework of law.

Finishing my campaign with a positive energy and dignity, even as I keep the door open to the possibility of further political involvement, also allows me to put some of the unavoidable awkwardness of partisanship – much as I have tried to avoid it – behind me. Two hours after my defeat my dear friend and brother Mayor Cory Booker of Newark came to my home to hang with me and cheer me up. We had a great time discussing all the things that connect us, like a deep love and spiritual friendship of twenty years, without politics being on the agenda.

Now is the time for America to come together and fix its problems. I fought hard against Bill Pascrell. But when I called him tonight I told him he will be my Congressman and I bow fully to the majesty of the magical democratic system under which we are all so privileged to live. Likewise, President Obama continues as my President. I don’t agree with both men on many things. But I will work with them to create an America that is unified and that is fully focused on being the light of liberty, prosperity, and freedom to every corner of the earth.

God bless all of you and God bless America.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Text of Romney Concession Speech

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

This text was taken from a report by The Washington Post:

ROMNEY: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, my friends. Thank you so very much.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory. His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations.

ROMNEY: His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations. I wish all of them well, but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters.

(APPLAUSE)

This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: I want to thank Paul Ryan for all that he has done for our campaign.

(APPLAUSE)

And for our country. Besides my wife, Ann, Paul is the best choice I’ve ever made.

(APPLAUSE)

And I trust that his intellect and his hard work and his commitment to principle will continue to contribute to the good of our nation.

(APPLAUSE)

I also want to thank Ann, the love of my life.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: She would have been a wonderful first lady. She’s — she has been that and more to me and to our family and to the many people that she has touched with her compassion and her care.

I thank my sons for their tireless work on behalf of the campaign, and thank their wives and children for taking up the slack as their husbands and dads have spent so many weeks away from home.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank Matt Rhoades and the dedicated campaign team he led.

(APPLAUSE)

They have made an extraordinary effort not just for me, but also for the country that we love.

And to you here tonight, and to the team across the country — the volunteers, the fundraisers, the donors, the surrogates — I don’t believe that there’s ever been an effort in our party that can compare with what you have done over these past years. Thank you so very much.

Thanks for all the hours of work, for the calls, for the speeches and appearances, for the resources and for the prayers. You gave deeply from yourselves and performed magnificently. And you inspired us and you humbled us. You’ve been the very best we could have imagined.

ROMNEY: The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work.

And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion. We look to our teachers and professors, we count on you not just to teach, but to inspire our children with a passion for learning and discovery.

We look to our pastors and priests and rabbis and counselors of all kinds to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built: honesty, charity, integrity and family.

We look to our parents, for in the final analysis everything depends on the success of our homes.

ROMNEY: We look to job creators of all kinds. We’re counting on you to invest, to hire, to step forward.

And we look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics.

I believe in America. I believe in the people of America.

(APPLAUSE)

And I ran for office because I’m concerned about America. This election is over, but our principles endure. I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to renewed greatness.

Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign.

(APPLAUSE)

I so wish — I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader. And so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.

Thank you, and God bless America. You guys are the best. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thanks, guys.

(APPLAUSE)

Malkah Fleisher

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/text-of-romney-concession-speech/2012/11/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: