“A-B-C”, and other secrets to Obama’s victory (plus what WE need to do going forward)

Been reading through all of the election post-mortems, just trying to learn as much about why President Free-Stuff won and what this portends for our country. What I’ve found is ….interesting.

One of the better pieces thus far was from Slate.com, of all places. Not one of my usual ‘go-to’ sites, but I can’t argue with much of John Dickerson’s assessment.

Just a sample:

Of the nine battleground states that were up for grabs, Obama won seven of them, losing only North Carolina (Florida remains to be called). But while Obama won those states, he didn’t crush it; he won instead, a string of precise narrow victories. He didn’t win because his leadership during Hurricane Sandy blew all those swing votes his way (though it may have helped). The president won because he ran a permanent campaign, keeping his offices open in the battleground states from his 2008 campaign, tending his coalition assiduously, and because he relentlessly defined his opponent. His was the better campaign. The Democratic candidate of “hope and change” beat the big business Republican in the trenches, in one state after another.   

To paraphrase Alec Baldwin from ‘Glengarry Glen Ross, President Obama’s strategy all along was A-B-C: “Always. Be. Campaigning“.

And it worked.


President Obama’s tactical victory is clear when you look at the election returns. He has no grand mandate that comes out of Tuesday’s numbers. He has been re-elected, but his policies did not win the day. Voters didn’t turn their faces up to the vision he painted the way they did in 2008. When voters were asked which candidate had a vision for the future, Romney won that question in exit polls, 55 percent to 43 percent. Asked about Obama’s signature achievement, health care, voters did not approve. Forty-nine percent said they wanted it repealed in part or whole.

Voters also said the federal government was too large.

All true. Not devastating news; just sobering.

One more quote from Dickerson:

Now the candidate of “hope and change” must bind up his wounds and prepare himself for another round.

Half of the country is going to be upset by this outcome, and the president, who once knew how to make the music of reconciliation, will have to whip up some kind of stirring message in the months to come. 

Which, I believe, will be vastly easier said than done. Obama’s victory speech to the contrary, President Populist has shown absolutely zero desire to reach across the aisle in the last four years. His version of compromise has been an insistence for everyone else to get with his program.


In addition to Dickerson’s observations above, I believe that we lost due to two major factors: social (and to me, rather stupid) issues, and education.

The social issues were the ones that I still can’t believe carried the day, yet they did. Binders full of women? Really? Big Bird? Birth control? Stupefying to political junkies, yet very real to the alarmingly uninformed ‘swing’ voters, or as I have called them in the past: the Oprah voters.

These folks couldn’t define GDP or articulate foreign policy for any candidate in the last 40 years if you gave them a multiple choice test with only two options.

Our friend Rick, over at Let’s Get Political blog, had an interesting post on this issue recently with which I wholeheartedly agree.

The other factor is education: our Public Schools immerse our children in a constant bath of misinformation, largely ignoring the great historical lessons of our nation’s past, replacing it with stories of perishing polar bears and greedy Republicans.

Most of these kids wouldn’t know the Federalist Papers if you slapped them with a Binder-clad collection of them. Thomas Paine? Never heard of him. Reagan? Hated the homeless and homosexuals, didn’t he?

And on, and on.

Progressive ideology is taught in schools at the earliest grades: in History, in English, heck, in Math. It’s tough to speak Objective Truth to someone who has been taught that ‘your’ truth is at best just a social construct or at worst, pure evil.

Our task going forward is difficult, but we have to face it. We need to continually address socially what we can no longer deal with strictly politically. Not enough people are invested in today’s politics, or possess even the basic knowledge of citizenship. It’s not “fun”, and the essential responsibility & necessity of political knowledge, of what is truly required of a free society’s citizenry, has never been properly explained to them.

Kinda’ hard to blame them completely for the crime of being denied a decent, thorough, Classical education.

Our nation has cultivated, for better or worse, an environment of ignorance, and we shouldn’t be surprised when we get ignorance in return.

12 responses to ““A-B-C”, and other secrets to Obama’s victory (plus what WE need to do going forward)

  1. I’m going to “limit” my comments to the first half of JTR’s post….

    First, 2008 President-elect Obama reminded all Republicans that they were welcome to come along for the ride, but needed to get to the back of the bus. I guess you can have that kind of ‘chutzpah’ when you control all three branches of government. NOW, he is deadlocked (at least legally & legislatively) for at least TWO YEARS, until the next round of elections in the House.

    Of course, the Republicans would have to lose in a landslide, à la the 2010 Tea Party takeover. So, he’s saddled with not being able to CRAM legislation down our throats, since he’ll have to work with the House Republicans. Hence the passionate, if not COMPLETELY disingenuous, acceptance speech. The only reason he reaches across the aisle is to slap a Republican in the face. Of course, and based on the history of the last 4 years, he has ZERO regard for legality and constitutionality with his czars, Executive Orders, and regulation.

    It should be interesting. There are no less than five critical needs that MUST be addressed, and addressed P-R-O-N-T-O…

    1. Taxmageddon.
    2. Sequestration.
    3. The Middle East
    4. Terrorism
    5. The FISCAL impact of Obamacare…

  2. He demonized Romney all the way through the campaign and it worked keeping enough people away from the polls. The lower turnout for Republicans hurt Romney in the battleground states. Obama got much fewer votes than he did in 2008 but Romney got less than McCain. How is that even possible?

    Are people really this stupid to believe all the negative ads? I guess the answer is yes. I know many conservatives stayed away because they never liked Romney being the nominee to begin with. The problem is who we are stuck with, certainly Romney is better than Obama on the economy. He’s not a small government guy but at least we could work with him on that, Obama will never go down that road.

    Anybody who thinks Obama is going to reach across the aisle and make a deal that doesn’t favor his side of the aisle is fooling themselves. Obama has always been a one trick pony, just like your sign above JTR, it’s his way or the highway.

  3. Is everyone going to tip-toe around the racial aspect? The black vote increased in 2008. That is typical. Whenever a FIRST runs for anything, people identifying with the FIRSTness of the candidate come out in higher numbers. Atypically, though, the turnout of black voters in 2012 was consistent with the 2008 model. Not only blacks, but all non-white/male/NOT young(I don’t know the cutoff) percentages went up. Meanwhile, the white vote has been declining steadily since 2000 and it was INCREDIBLY low this year. THAT is how Romney ended up with fewer votes than McCain.

    So, who are these white people? I would assert they are the TRULY disenfranchised, the people who have been convinced that they don’t matter. They are the people who look on the Internet and see the headache that Stacey Dash and Melissa Joan Hart got just for voicing an opinion and they say, “H*** no. S**** that.” They don’t believe Standing Up will make a difference and just doing so is dangerous, so they don’t vote, and they don’t pay attention.

    I agree w/ JTR about education, but we have to break the Teachers’ Unions’ holds first. That will aid in future Responsible Citizenship to make sure FRAUDS like Obama don’t win election. Is there a way, though, to engage the Uninvolved now?

    Lastly, though, and this is a regular theme of mine, we lose because we are just too d****d nice. All Republicans should take a crash course in Talking Smack from Gov John Sununu. When debating and a LIB spews Climate Change garbage, don’t legitimize it. Laugh in their faces. Tell them how stupid they sound. Mock their assertions with hyperbolic analogies. Ever notice how rude the LIBs are during discussions? They are rude because we let them get away with it.
    If I were on Fox and Juan Williams decided to start screaming at me when I said something he didn’t like, I would straight-up ask him, on air, in a loud voice, “What the h*** is wrong with you? Which is it? Are you too stupid to know you are interrupting, too undisciplined to keep your pie hole shut when what passes as a thought for you crosses your mind, or just too arrogant and rude to care?”
    It would only take Dana Perino doing that ONCE, I tell you. I would have picked on Beckel but we all know how to deal with him-PENNIES.

    D***…did you know it takes $.025 to make one penny??? You gotta love government!

  4. We should always learn from our failures.

    What I see with your post is that we ran a business man/politician against a community organizer. We’ve had a lot of fun knowing our president is first and foremost a community organizer. But it dawned on me that the ground game on main street is where we should be in an election, educating, providing concrete plans, showing how the conservative philosophy will get you cell phones! This prez knows his primary occupation and does it well. Maybe it’s time the conservative party (Republican?) learns how to do the scut work on main street.
    My Tea party in Washington County, Pa did. Washington County voted Republican for most of the main candidates. Our work paid off!

    • LivinRightinPGH

      HA! I should have KNOWN you were a southwest PA gal, tannngl! Not to minimize the “on the ground” actions of you and others, but I think that the Anti-Obama coal ads also did a LOT in our region. Look at WV….JTR, Hatfield, myself and a few other friends were emailing about that state the other day: Not ONE West Virginia county went for Obama. My comment: too bad EVERY state isn’t dependent on coal for MANY of their jobs….

  5. Such a witty sense of humor you have. I loved loved LOVED you calling Obama “President Free-Stuff” and “President Populist”. I’m going to have to start calling him President Free-Stuff. Maybe I can get a phone….?

    I also laughed hard at the “Oprah voters”. So sad, but oh-so true. Great post!

    • Awww, you’re makin’ me blush over here, Meagan!

      Our President has disgraced our nation numerous times, with Benghazi being perhaps the ultimate example.

      My hope is that the American people will see him for who he actually is before he leaves office.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. Let’s be real about Romney and his supporters: They didn’t connect with the base–conservatives. When you ignore 3 million voters who have given up because they’re not listened to, what should be expected?

    • Hey, Lynda,
      First of all, so glad you’re here!

      Now, that’s actually a really, REALLY good comment.
      Not because I agree with you (I understand, but I don’t agree) but because I’m sure several other folks might think the same thing.

      No one (LEAST of all me) is saying that Romney was the perfect candidate. He was, however, a vastly superior candidate to Obama.
      Also remember that Obama lost almost TEN million voters. Obama’s whole strategy (more folks than just me have written about it plenty of times) was to make the election so ugly, so distasteful, that only his true, core, Zombie base would turn out and a large swath of the leaners (on BOTH sides) would stay at home.
      Obama deliberately poisoned the ‘well’ to make EVERYone sick.

      And it worked.

      I’ve actually had this discussion a couple of times already, and certainly numerous times over the past 3 months: Romney didn’t ignore anyone; he merely kept to his plan. Some folks took that as being ignored; it wasn’t.

      Romney is a business guy, not a natural politician, and it shows. If Romney had the charisma of, say, Clinton …(much as I hated Bill, I’ll admit that much…), Romney would have been elected King.

      The truth is that regardless of if we’re talking about Santorum, Bachman, Gingrich, Paul, Cain, Johnson, Bauer, or whomever: IF they were the consensus pick, …THEY’D have been the candidate, and not Romney.
      Some folks wanted people who weren’t even running (Christie, Jindal and Daniels jump to mind). They all had their fans…and plenty of detractors.

      There is no perfect candidate, and there never will be.

      My point is this: just about everyone thought that the election in 2008 was an aberration. Based on Tuesday, it wasn’t.
      That’s the lesson to study: we likely have a slightly different electorate to deal with, and just plugging in candidate “B” with strategy “H” wouldn’t have given us a better result, IMHO at least.

      The game has changed, and we need to figure out the new rules.

      I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read AND comment, Lynda.
      Don’t be a stranger, please.

  7. Pingback: More election analysis: Yep, we’re DIVIDED, but NOT in the way you might think | Two Heads are Better Than One

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