Quick hits

1) Excellent Kevin Drum (largely quoting Connor Friedersdorf) on how the right wing media has failed the right wing.

2) Totally deserving it’s own post, but I’m a busy man.   Apparently Romney’s own polls were their own version of unskewedpolls.com.  Amazing that Romney’s campaign (maybe he isn’t so smart after all) would be so delusional on something so important.  They really did think they were going to win.  Fascinating.  Read this one.

3) Michael Tomasky on the fact that Democrats really now have an off-year election problem with their coalition being so much based on the young and minorities (who are much less reliable voters than old white people).

4) John Sides on how much the first debate actually mattered.

5) Tomasky again on post-election thoughts.  I especially like his take on Rove:

Never take these people seriously again: Karl Rove, Dick Morris, Scott Rasmussen. Here were Rasmussen’s picks: CT -10. Co -7, IA -7, NH -7, WI-7, VA -5, NV -4, MI -4, FL -3, NC -3, MN -3, OH -2. Average, 5.2 percent off. Dick Morris? Please. If he had any decency, he’d quit the business. Hugely embarrassing. And Rove. Can we just stop according him the status he has? Not only did he get this race really wrong, but he just burned many, many millions of rich Republicans’ dollars on ads that had no impact where they were supposed to. And then those shenanigans last night. He looked like such a fool, pointing and gesturing and huffing and puffing.

6) From this summer, but just sent to me by a friend.  Either you trust experts or you don’t, but ordinary citizens are not exactly in a position to judge whether climate scientists know what they are talking about.

7)Frum: “Upper class TV commentators think that only change GOP needs is on immigration. Of course, they all have health insurance.”

8) More Frum (actually a summary of his new e-book):

And while all of this was going on, the GOP’s answer to the job crisis was to lower taxes on wealthier Americans while offering nothing to convince middle class Americans they could help them afford college and medical care or even stay in their homes.

With eyes glued to Fox News Channel and ears tuned to talk radio, conservatives were convinced that an African(-American?) in the White House was secretly plotting with Arabs to launch jihad against America. They thought that voters in swing states faced with losing their homes and jobs would vote on Fast and Furious or the lax security at a consulate in Libya.

These are the conservatives Romney was speaking to when he wrote off 47% of Americans he felt were sitting on a couch, waiting for Uncle Sam to feed, clothe, medicate and house them.

Frum goes on to state an incredible array of outrageous comments and characterizations from conservative media flacks that successfully drove a wedge between the GOP and black and Hispanic voters. My personal favorite is the line from Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy asking whether the 47% should even be allowed to vote.

Frum observes the irony that “by insisting so emphatically on ferocious, militant ideology, the GOP rewards most those who believe the least, because only cynics and nihilists will make the transition from the real world of governance to the make-believe world of party purity tests.”

After observing that the current conservative ideology is completely foreign to the next generation of Americans (and over half of those under 18 are non-white) Frum presents a strong note of caution: “To be a patriot is to love your country as it is. Those who seem to despise half of America will never be trusted to govern any of it. Those who cherish only the country’s past will not be entrusted with its future.”

Republicans, abortion, and rape

Really like Amy Sullivan on the matter:

Let’s get one thing straight. GOP Senate candidates Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin did not lose their races on Tuesday because they are extreme right-wingers whose opposition to abortion, even in the case of women who become pregnant as a result of being raped, is considered beyond the pale. Nor did they lose because of verbal gaffes about rape—although Akin’s creative understanding of the female reproductive system should have been enough to disqualify him for a seat in the U.S. Senate, or in freshman biology.

No, Mourdock and Akin lost because they each made the mistake of actually trying to explain an increasingly common position by Republican officer-holders, including Paul Ryan…

It’s not unusual for GOP politicians to oppose rape exceptions. But they haven’t previously had to defend that position—at least not on a big stage. When they are forced to explain themselves, as in the case of Akin and Mourdock, it’s not their words that alienate voters, but the idea of forcing women to carry to term a pregnancy that began in rape. Americans can hold mixed positions on abortion in tandem—many continue to believe that abortion is morally wrong but should remain legal. Likewise, voters can support abortion restrictions while at the same time opposing the idea that a rape victim should have to carry her rapist’s baby.

Republicans can—and really should—try to recruit future candidates who are a little less wack-a-doodle. And GOP politicians will no doubt be a little more careful before they say anything that involves the word “rape.” But as long as opposition to rape exceptions remains a mainstream position for Republican officeholders, the GOP’s abortion problem is here to stay.

Yep.  Mourdock and Akin are not unusual in their positions on the issue.  Only in the fact that they were pushed to defend it in a public forum and that’s a hard thing to do that can easily lead to some unfortunate phrasing which can certainly come back to haunt.  Will be interesting to see if GOP incumbents who already hold this position get pushed harder on it next time.

Photo of the day

Big Picture set of election day photos:

A three picture combo shows Nina Bush reacting as she casts her ballot on an electronic voting machine at a polling site in the Toledo Police Museum. Bush stated that she was happy that she was able to cast her vote, believing she had done ‘a good thing’ by voting in the presidential election. (Jeff Kowalsky/European Pressphoto Agency)

Not Romney’s fault

I’m pretty sure I’m on record some way back as saying that the very nature of the modern Republican party means that embody the traits/positions necessary to win the presidential primaries makes it a very uphill struggle to win over the general electorate.   In short, Romney’s biggest problem was not Romney, but what he had to do (and was willing) to do to himself to win the Republican primaries.  Ezra:

The Romney campaign doesn’t get enough credit for the unlikely feat they managed in the primaries. The Republican Party’s mood was such that Donald Trump, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum all spent time atop the polls. Meanwhile, more sober, moderate candidates, such as Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and Haley Barbour, chose to sit this election out.

You couldn’t have imagined a candidate less suited to this tea party moment than a moderate former governor of Massachusetts who had signed the forerunner to Obamacare into law, who had been a steadfast defender of Roe v. Wade and who had a very public reputation for being the kind of person who’d ignore his party’s ideologues the moment he entered office. And yet Romney won the party’s nomination. Chief campaign strategist Stuart Stevens and his team managed to get the Republican Party to sign onto the only candidate in the field who could possibly win in the general election. That was no small accomplishment.

But that win didn’t come without costs. To survive the primaries, Romney had to pledge fealty to the tea party’s policy preferences at every turn. His initial, relatively modest tax cut plan was quickly replaced by a huge tax cut that the campaign could never explain, and that the Obama team used to devastating effect. He signed Grover Norquist’s pledge and promised to Cut, Cap and Balance the budget. He was all-in on repealing Obamacare, which meant he couldn’t leverage his Massachusetts accomplishments to argue that he could make the health care reform law better and get it done with bipartisan support. He ran to the right on immigration, on abortion and on gay rights, none of which helped him in the general election.

We’ll never know how moderate Mitt Romney, governor of Massachusetts, would’ve fared in this election.  But given how close it was I think it would be eminently reasonable to think that Mitt Romney would now be President-Elect.  The problem for the Republican party is that that Mitt Romney would have been DOA in the primaries (i.e., Jon Huntsman).

White Catholics are White people

Post’s exit polls:



Catholics used to be quite distinct.  Now, not so much.

F&^*%n gerrymander

I was, in fact, anxiously awaiting for someone to post numbers on this.  Via Politicalwire:

Americans Actually Voted for a Democratic House

Think Progress: “Although a small number of ballots remain to be counted, as of this writing, votes for a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives outweigh votes for Republican candidates… 53,952,240 votes were cast for a Democratic candidate for the House and only 53,402,643 were cast for a Republican — meaning that Democratic votes exceed Republican votes by more than half a million.”

And my FB friend who posted the link noted that more North Carolinians voted for Democratic house members than Republicans, but we will end up with 9 or 10 of 13 (recount pending) Republicans.  Just wrong.

Was about to post this, when I saw Ezra’s great take on the topic.  This chart tells you all you really need to know:

Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Virginia and Pennsylvania were the worst offenders. In each case, only a small number of seats from each state went to Democrats despite the fact that Obama won all of them. In Virginia, for instance, 27 percent of seats went to Democrats, while Obama got 52 percent of the vote. In Pennsylvania, 28 percent of seats went to Democrats, and Obama won 53 percent.

This really is so inimical to genuine democracy and just plain wrong.  It’s indefensible whichever party does it, but Republicans are clearly much better at doing it (as Ezra’s post further explains).  Now, I wish I were more of a comparativist (and by more of, I mean knew any comparative politics at all) to know whether this is particularly bad in America or whether it is a similar problem in other countries with single-member districts.  Regardless, just wrong.

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