Why McCain Lost
As I read often during the election (usually in reference to criticism of the McCain campaign), when you win, you have run a perfect campaign without any problems. When you lose, you have run the most disastrous political campaign of all time. It's easy to pick at mistakes McCain made because they seemed to have such a huge effect. Conversely, it's hard to find any mistakes Obama made, because he won despite them. How much this accounts for the reaction to McCainâ€™s campaign is somewhat debatable, though, because there were a lot of times his campaign seemed completely unhinged. Here are some thoughts on how McCain lost and what now for the GOP.
The GOP was defeated soundly by the Democrats almost across the board. What should they do now? A discussion between Tucker Carlson, Ross Douthat, Douglas W. Kmiec, Jim Manzi, Kathleen Parker, and Christine Todd Whitman. Some of the ideas are better schools, better immigration responses, and a constitutional amendment dictating life begins at conception. And then the discussion devolves into Ross Douthat excoriating Doug Kmiec. Thus making clear the issues the GOP has going forward - their coalition is falling apart. Tucker Carlson says, â€œOnce the party figures out what it's forâ€”or more precisely, againstâ€”it ought to stick to its storyâ€. The problem with this line is that people are tired of being against things, they want to be FOR things. Kerry ran the Anybody But Bush campaign in 2004 and it failed to capture anyoneâ€™s imagination. Obama ran by telling people what he was for and got a response from everybody under 65.
Should the GOP ditch Palin or keep her?
In the last few days, I have seen remarks to the effect that â€œanti-Palinâ€ conservatives are going to end up feeling foolish in the future for having doubted her qualifications, but with every passing day and each new revelation I am even more convinced that everyone who criticized her fairly on her record and statements will have no reason to feel that way.
RedState will attempt to destroy anyone who doesnâ€™t support Sarah, and The American Conservative mocks them for it.
Is there a brain drain in the GOP?
On November 4, two thirds of voters under 30 voted for Obama. Thatâ€™s the future. A large majority of voters with college educations voted for Obama. That represents the best informed segment of the electorate. So, how did everything go wrong for the Republicans?
Pat Buchanan doesnâ€™t think Obama won so much as McCain lost, or something like that.
Though Buchanan wasnâ€™t alone.
If, as Mark Steyn says, "Any shrill vicious ad hominem invective would be much better directed at each other. The Republicans lost this election," then I am not sure why the congratulations to the Obama campaign.
They lost because they deserved it!
You have earned the time you will spend wandering in the wilderness. The land on the other side is not a promised land. It will have to be earned, too.
McCain lost because he wanted to, to punish the GOP and his father and grandfather.
In the 2000 primaries, McCain played victim to the savageries of his own party. George Bush's camp orchestrated a fallacious push poll in South Carolina suggesting that McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child. In order to raise the level of debate, McCain pulled his negative ads, lost South Carolina, and ultimately the primary.
Or maybe he wasn't conservative enough?
This disastrous defeat can and will be laid at the feet of the Big Government corporate Republicans, who abandoned the Reagan Coalition, massively expanded government, and ignored the needs and values of regular, grassroots Americans. They protected Wall Street and K Street and forgot about Main Street.
Or maybe he wanted to be a noble failure:
Of course, there is one way in which this makes sense. McCain, itâ€™s always seemed to me, is at heart someone who loves the idea of what the Japanese call the â€œnoble failure.â€ I donâ€™t think his campaign was noble. But his farewell was.
George Will says thereâ€™s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Bad governance is good for turnout, a fact that should give pause to people who think high rates of voting are unambiguous indicators of civic health.
It wasn't all bad for the GOP
Palin and Bill Kristol were how close?
As Kristol used column after column to boost Sarah Palin, suspicions built inside the campaign that Kristol and McCain staffers close to him had written off McCain and were now determined to salvage Palin as a vehicle for Republican politics in the future, possibly the Republican nomination in 2012.
What Palin should do next:
Still, as her former running mate would say, the fundamentals of Sarah Palin are strong. Her conservative detractorsâ€”Colin Powell, David Brooks, and Christopher Buckley among themâ€”were put off not by her personality but rather her lack of knowledge about certain national and foreign-policy issues. Such deficiencies can be addressed easily. Meanwhile, to use another McCainism, Palin was a surge for the ticket. Rally attendance skyrocketed. Approval ratings went up. Palin's convention speech attracted more viewers than Obama's. "I'll take it," said McCain adviser Mark Salter, looking back.
Not quite sure about that.
Did she help?
Sarah Palin's selection as John McCain's running mate redefined how vice-presidential candidates influence a campaign. Unfortunately for McCain, the Alaska governor hurt his presidential bid more than she helped.
Palin is not sure she is going to run in 2012.
2012 sounds so far off that can't even imagine what I'd be doing then.
Round up of the split minds in the GOP on Palin.
Not necessarily about why McCain lost, but how he played the game.
Obama and his supporters decried McCainâ€™s tactics. Yet some of the strongest criticism came from people whom McCain revered or who had long revered him. And it was not merely about strategyâ€”the backbiting that always consumes losing campaigns. It was about the very nature of John McCain. In their eyes, at least, their hero was losing not only an election but his reputationâ€”or, as one prominent backer put it, â€œhis soul.â€
Survival guide for the â€œloyal oppositionâ€:
(1) Oppose Obama, Not America
(2) No Chicken-Hawking
(3) Don't Question The Verdict
(4) Don't Blame The Voters
(5) Don't Get Mad, Get Even
(6) We Play For 2010, Not 2012
(8) Watch Your Budget
(9) Grow A Thick Hide and Get Your Taxes in Order
(10) Buy More Life Insurance
(12) Get On Living
What should the foot soldiers do now? Take a breather for a second before getting out there.
So take today and rest. I canâ€™t blame you. In the mean time I will stand watch on the front. I will fight the fight while you re-energize. Iâ€™ll still be here when you come back. And when you do come back, you can stand on either hand and continue to keep this bridge with me. Iâ€™ll rest when Iâ€™m dead. At RedState, we fight on.
This is funny.
Mr. Bush has endured relentless attacks from the left while facing abandonment from the right. This is the price Mr. Bush is paying for trying to work with both Democrats and Republicans. During his 2004 victory speech, the president reached out to voters who supported his opponent, John Kerry, and said, "Today, I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust."
Though, itâ€™s possible Bush didnâ€™t work THAT hard to earn the support saying the very next day, â€œLet me put it to you this way. I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style.â€ Iâ€™d like to take this opportunity to suggest to the WSJ that the governing style detailed in this quotation earned him exactly what he got and more.
Paul Krugman responds to the idea that Bush was mistreated:
And attacks on Bush gave aid and comfort to his enemies â€” unlike the firehose of abuse that will be directed against President Obama, which will of course be an expression of true patriotism.
The last talking points memo sent out by McCain campaign blamed the political climate created by GWB and the economic crisis.
Pinning the GOP loss on the harsh environment and economic crisisâ€¦In the party-line version of history, it was the latter that ultimately dashed McCain's White House hopes.
What Bush said about the election on Wednesday.
During this time of transition, I will keep the president-elect fully informed on important decisions.
And video of it.
McCainâ€™s concession was gracious. His supporters, not so much.
"In four years, you're not going to recognize this country," said John Torgan, 63, a retired military bombmaker. "I've spent half my life in the military. This is not good. (Obama) comes from the cesspool we call Chicago."
Jonathan Martin's take on the concession.
But after booing Obama's name and offering a few jeers, the crowd came to recognize the history in the evening when McCain paid tribute to the nation's first black president by recalling his own favorite commander-in-chief.
McCainâ€™s concession was gracious and went a long way towards redeeming him in the eyes of many (including me) who thought his campaign was not up to the honorable standards he set for himself. Iâ€™ll always remember him silencing the crowd who began booing when he mentioned Obamaâ€™s name. TIME said:
The speech also evoked a constant theme of McCain's life, his absolute conviction in his own personal fortune, a run of luck that allowed him to survive five and a half years of imprisonment in Vietnam, multiple cancer scares, and repeated brushes with death as a U.S. Navy fighter pilot. "I have always been a fortunate man," he said.
Back to Original
Celebrate! - A run down of the celebrations.
WINS! - A list of 38 sites and their winning posts.
Winners and Losers - 18 lists of election winners and losers.
Turnout, Voting, and Polling - Articles and stories about voting, polling, and turn out.
Reactions - Reactions from the world, pundits, and celebrities.
How Obama Won - Some thoughts on how Obama won.
Why McCain Lost - Some thoughts on why McCain lost and what next for the GOP.
Expectations and Advice - There are a lot of people with expectations and a lot of people with advice.
Race - Obviously electing the first black president is going to bring up comments on race.
Money and Business - What will the impact on your money and you business be?
The Media - Without the media, wherever would we be!?
Humor - Without the humor, wherever would we be!?
Miscellaneous - Without the miscellaneous, wherever would we be!?
Personal Stories from Friends - Just what it says.
273 Status Political Status Messages in 27 Hours - Just what it says.
Via - Hereâ€™s a list of all the sites I used in putting this together â€“ the sources.