Who won, who lost and why? That’s consumed news and commentaries since election returns came in more fully.
In the presidential election, here’s some analysis by Dr. Paul Kengor that says a lot in brief.
For four years, I angered conservatives by insisting Barack Obama would get reelected. I figured that an electorate willing to elect a man with ideas and a record that far to the left in 2008 would do so again. I began changing my view, however, after the first presidential debate. Over the last three or four weeks, I became confident that Mitt Romney would defeat Obama.
Fortunately for Obama, two forces intervened to rescue him. One was the mainstream media, which ensured that Benghazi, Hurricane Sandy, and the increase in the unemployment rate wouldn’t be used to undermine Obama. As for Hurricane Sandy, Obama flew in for a photo-op and then immediately returned to campaigning. If George W. Bush were president, a relentless media would have ensured that Bush didn’t return to the campaign trail.
The second force was David Axelrod and the campaign machine. I stand in awe at what they pulled off. They managed to push considerably more Democrats than Republicans to the polls (38-32 percent margin), closer to the 2008 turnout that favored Obama than the 2010 mid-term turnout that favored Republicans.
Really, this was an underestimated force, to be reckoned with. Which is why some of othe top, most highly respected political analysts got it wrong.
We were certain that pollsters were oversampling Democrats. The pro-Republican, pro-Romney, and anti-Obama enthusiasm we were seeing was extremely intense. It was inconceivable to us that it could be overcome by a higher Democrat turnout. Somehow, however, it was, obliterating Romney’s five-point victory among independents. It erased Romney’s 50-49 percent edge in the final polls by Gallup and Rasmussen.
I stand in stunned disbelief. David Axelrod, you are a miracle worker.
How much of a miracle worker? Consider:
The American people reelected a man who presided over one of the worst four-year economic records in American history. By every objective measurement, the economy is far worse than four years ago…
For historical perspective, consider this: No president since FDR in 1940 won reelection with an unemployment rate above 7.1 percent. And for FDR, that number was a huge improvement from four years earlier.
How did Obama and his team overcome this? The answer: they successfully blamed it on George W. Bush, with Bill Clinton aiding and abetting the process. There were no limits to how much they blamed Bush, and how much it worked. The Democratic base swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.
And that base was key to Obama’s re-election. He didn’t drift to center to win, the way Clinton had for his second term. Obama swung far left to his most extreme base. And as Dr. Kengor admits, it worked.
Sadly, other things worked as well, and none are good for this country. The framing of Republicans as conducting a “war on women” because they don’t favor forced taxpayer funding of abortion, Planned Parenthood, and contraception worked. The insistence that government-provided contraception is a new “entitlement” worked. The demonization of the Tea Party—a movement spontaneously created by Obama’s wild spending—worked.
For that matter, Obama got away with the extraordinarily wasteful $800 billon “stimulus” package that didn’t stimulate and buried us fiscally. He even got away with the HHS mandate that constitutes the greatest threat to religious liberty (particularly against the Catholic Church) in at least a century.
In terms of social policy, the electorate has given the green light to a president who is redefining marriage and promoting forced funding of abortion and contraception and embryo destruction—at the expense of religious liberty.
Moreover, the president’s unceasing class-warfare rhetoric was rewarded by the electorate, as were his attacks on profits, the private sector, the wealthy, banking and investment, and the oil and natural gas industry. The Obama energy policy is advanced. Mitt Romney would have unleashed a boom for America’s domestic energy industry. That is now gone. That is a tragedy, the levels of which we will not be able to appreciate.
And what about Romney? I had my reservations, but America rejected a genuinely decent man who had the best business background of anyone who would have ever assumed the Oval Office. He was the perfect person for the perfect time.
It was not to be. ‘What might have been’ is a waste of time now, and one more lesson from all this is to make the best use of time.
The organizations dedicated to the life and marriage issues on the ballot in this and other elections have applied all their time and resources to getting out the vote and making sure it’s well informed. That worked well in Massachusetts on the physician assisted suicide bill.
Not well in the states voting on marriage.
Voters in Maine and Maryland have approved initiatives legalizing same-sex marriage, and Minnesota voters have rejected a marriage amendment to the state constitution.
With 75% of the vote counted in Maine, voters approved same-sex marriage by a 53%-47% margin, just three years after the state’s voters, by the same margin, had repealed a law legalizing same-sex marriage.
With 98% of the vote counted in Maryland, voters approved same-sex marriage by a 52%-48% margin.
With 98% of the vote counted in Minnesota, voters, by a 52%-48% margin, rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
With 51% of the vote counted in the State of Washington, a ballot initiative that would legalize same-sex marriage was leading by a 52%-48% margin.
Tom Peters, relentless defender of marriage at National Organization for Marriage, gave my radio listeners some tough love in an interview the day after the elections. Besides being outspent on their campaign to uphold marriage law, Peters said the vigor in the movement to redefine marriage was highly-charged. “They wanted to do it more than we wanted to defend it,” he said, more as an indictment of Americans in general than his organization in particular. “Marriage undefended will lose,” he said. And that is now abundantly clear.
Until now, 32 out of 32 times the issue has been put to the ballot, voters have upheld the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. Some marriage defenders believe that’s still a bulwark against further assaults on the institution.
However, despite the setback for true marriage defenders, 30 states currently explicitly define marriage has between one man and one woman in their state constitutions, presenting a formidable barrier to the advancement of the homosexualist agenda.
True. But along with much else in America, that just may have begun to change. As Tom Peters said, marriage defenders have to want and work for their goal as much as those who want to redefine it.