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Author Topic: Life after defeat for Mitt Romney & the GOP  (Read 9423 times)
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« on: November 07, 2012, 09:38:35 PM »

Life after defeat for Mitt Romney: Public praise, private questions
By Philip Rucker

BOSTON — Mitt Romney began his retreat from public life Wednesday at a private breakfast gathering with a couple hundred of his most loyal and affluent campaign benefactors. The former Massachusetts governor, humbled by the thumping that ended his six-year pursuit of the presidency, reminisced about the journey and tried not to cry.

Romney waxed about the roaring crowds in the campaign’s closing days and the feeling that he was winning, said donors in attendance. He commended Stuart Stevens, his chief strategist, as well as his senior aides, and then went around thanking donors one by one.

“Mitt was vintage Mitt,” said L.E. Simmons, an oil investor on Romney’s national finance committee. “He was analytical, no notes, spoke from the heart and was very appreciative.”

But Romney’s top aides, who only a couple of days ago were openly speculating about who would fill which jobs in a Romney administration, woke up Wednesday to face brutal recriminations.

Some top donors privately unloaded on Romney’s senior staff, describing it as a junior varsity operation that failed to adequately insulate and defend Romney through a summer of relentless attacks from the Obama campaign over his business career and personal wealth.

Everybody feels like they were a bunch of well-meaning folks who were, to use a phrase that Governor Romney coined to describe his opponent, way in over their heads,” said one member of the campaign’s national finance committee, who requested anonymity to speak candidly.

“Romney World,” the fundraiser added, “will fade into the obscurity of a lot of losing campaigns.”

Stuart Stevens, who as Romney’s chief strategist was the recipient of some of the harshest blame, did not return requests for comment Wednesday. Nor did many of Romney’s other top advisers, who during Romney’s concession speech were visibly shell-shocked.

Bob White, Romney’s close friend and business partner who chaired the campaign, strongly defended Stevens and the rest of the staff in an interview a few weeks ago.

“Mitt never doubted his team, and the reports of infighting were not true,” White said.

In Washington, meanwhile, scores of transition-team staffers who had been preparing for a Romney administration started packing their belongings Wednesday.

Mike Leavitt, the former Utah governor running the transition, convened a conference call at 10 a.m. to inform the staff they had until Friday to organize their files, return their laptops and cellphones and vacate their government office.

At the Wednesday breakfast, Romney told the donors he believed Hurricane Sandy stunted his momentum in the final week of the campaign, according to multiple donors present.

Although Romney himself stopped short of placing any blame on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who praised President Obama’s leadership during the storm, several Romney supporters privately pointed fingers at the outspoken governor.

“A lot of people feel like Christie hurt, that we definitely lost four or five points between the storm and Chris Christie giving Obama a chance to be bigger than life,” said one of Romney’s biggest fundraisers, who requested anonymity to speak candidly.

Another major Romney fundraiser said Christie’s embrace of Obama after Sandy walloped his state only deepened a rift that opened between the Romney and Christie camps over the summer.

Christie and his wife were unhappy with Romney’s vice presidential search process, believing they were “led a little bit far down the garden path” without being picked, the fundraiser said.

Romney advisers have said they were disappointed with Christie’s keynote address at the Republican National Convention because they believed the speaker focused too much on himself and not enough on the candidate. Republicans close to Christie, however, said the Romney team approved the final draft of the speech.

Some Romney advisers insisted Wednesday that tensions with Christie have been overstated.

“The problem with Sandy was not Chris Christie,” said one political adviser. “The problem with Sandy was we couldn’t talk about the choice argument for the last week of the campaign. At a time when Barack Obama’s campaign was small, it allowed him to be bigger, and provided him a vehicle for him to show he can be bipartisan.”

Christie on Wednesday defended his work as a surrogate on Romney’s behalf, saying, ”I did my job.”

“I wouldn’t call what I did an embrace of Barack Obama,” Christie said at a news conference. “I know that’s become the wording of it, but the fact of the matter is, you know, I’m a guy who tells the truth all the time. And if the president of the United States did something good, I was gonna say he did something good and give him credit for it.”

He continued, “But it doesn’t take away for a minute the fact that I was the first governor to endorse Mitt Romney, that I traveled literally tens of thousands of miles for him, raised tens of millions of dollars for him and worked harder, I think, than any other surrogate in America other than Paul Ryan, who became his running mate.”

The time will come for Romney and his campaign leadership to fully assess what went wrong. Some of his top donors immediately pointed to the campaign’s early strategic decision to frame the race as a referendum on Obama rather than a choice between two different governing philosophies and leadership styles.

A second member of Romney’s national finance committee said that while the campaign’s tactics and fundraising organization were executed well, the strategy and message were “total failures.” This fundraiser added that the campaign’s cautious and adversarial relationship with the news media proved detrimental.

“That strategy was we don’t want to define differences, we want it to be a referendum not a choice, but it was always going to be a choice. Elections are a choice. Their fundamental premise was incorrect — and when you’re incorrect on this level, you are shunned by people in the party,” said the fundraiser, who requested anonymity to speak candidly.

But Romney, those close to him said, is not second guessing the counsel or work of his staff. After he spoke at Wednesday’s breakfast, Simmons said he spoke privately with Romney.

“I said, ‘So what are you going to do for the next few weeks? Let’s do something fun,’ ” Simmons recalled. “And he said, ‘Uh, I’m going to be really busy.’ He said, ‘I have 400 people to get great jobs for.’ ”

Late Wednesday afternoon, as sleet fell in Boston’s North End, Romney visited his campaign headquarters for one final staff meeting. He thanked his aides and said goodbye. His Secret Service detail gone — and with it his code name, Javelin, after a car once made by his father’s company — Romney was spotted driving off in the backseat of his son Tagg’s car. His wife, Ann, was riding shotgun.
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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2012, 09:41:57 PM »

This loss has got to hurt--bad!  Everyone knows Romney has been running for President for at least six years.  I think it is safe to say no one in recent memory wanted to be President more badly than Mitt Romney.  The look of defeat and resignation in their faces...  Their transition teams were already in place... practically measuring drapes for the White House and to have it end with such finality.  Wow!  I almost feel sorry for them.  Cry


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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2012, 09:50:59 PM »

agreed he wanted it more than anyone else in the country.

and that version of mitt that gave the concession speech probably would have won the election.

He just wasn't good at being a politician- he tried to please everyone.  You know when someone just doens't give a fck?  Romney didn' thave that.  He wanted to please everyone in every room.  Bill Clinton would be able to shrug and say "you might not like it, but this is how it is".  Bush2 could say it - i'm the decider.   Obama was shooting jumpers on election day, he did what he had to, but was down 10 million votes and should have lost.

People would rather vote for someone they trust but hate - than someone they agree with, but cannot trust. 

Mitt is worth millions.  He had two failed runs at prez  Quiet retirement, easy life ahead of him to be sure.  It's funny how we all end up like our fathers, huh?
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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2012, 10:10:21 PM »

Between the two candidates, all told, more than $2 billion went into this race!  Half of that from Mitt's camp, supporters, outside groups, etc.  Remember when Meg Whitman spent $130 million of her own money in her quest to be California governor and still lost?  Yeah, it feels like that... only worse!  Cry


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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2012, 10:15:41 PM »


and that version of mitt that gave the concession speech probably would have won the election.

i was very impressed at Mitt's graciousness and tact in that speech.
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2012, 10:56:48 PM »

agreed he wanted it more than anyone else in the country.

and that version of mitt that gave the concession speech probably would have won the election.

Yeah. I agree. The Mitt Romney who gave that concession speech (which, by the way, was pure class unlike a lot of other concession speeches) was actually relatable, passionate and came across as a genuine guy. in stark contract to a lot of his appearances.
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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2012, 11:02:31 PM »

Yeah. I agree. The Mitt Romney would gave that concession speech (which, by the way, was pure class unlike a lot of other concession speeches) was actually relatable, passionate and came across as a genuine guy. in start contract to a lot of his appearances.

Guess thats what happens after too long in politics... you lose who you really are, you become what you're supposed to be, which, ironically, is usually the polar opposite of what got you elected in the 1st place.
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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2012, 12:35:49 AM »

Simmons said he spoke privately with Romney.
“I said, ‘So what are you going to do for the next few weeks? Let’s do something fun,’ ” Simmons recalled. “And he said, ‘Uh, I’m going to be really busy.’ He said, ‘I have 400 people to get great jobs for.’ ”

What??!!...Mr. 'I like being able to fire people!'...He certainly didn't have this attitude at Bain!...And people are Goddamned genuinely mystified why this man lost!
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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2012, 09:23:46 PM »

Republican Party begins election review to find out what went wrong
By Peter Wallsten,

Top Republican officials, stunned by the extent of their election losses Tuesday night, have begun an exhaustive review to figure out what went so wrong and how to fix it.

Party leaders said they already had planned to poll voters in battleground states starting Tuesday night in anticipation of a Mitt Romney victory — to immediately begin laying the groundwork for midterm congressional elections and a Romney 2016 reelection bid.

But as they watched one state after another go to President Obama and Senate seats fall away, party leaders quickly expanded and retooled their efforts. Officials told The Washington Post that they’re planning a series of voter-based polls and focus groups, meetings with constituency group leaders, and in-depth discussions with their volunteers, donors and staff members to find ways to broaden their appeal.

The review is a recognition that party leaders were confounded by the electorate that showed up on Tuesday. Republican officials said that they met all of their turnout goals but that they underestimated who would turn out for the other side.

Party officials said the review is aimed at studying their tactics and message, not at changing the philosophical underpinnings of the party.

“This is no different than a patient going to see a doctor,” said Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee’s spokesman. “Your number one thing is to say, ‘I’m not feeling well. Tell me what the problem is. Run some tests on me.’ ”

Tuesday’s results, along with national and state-level exit polls, illustrated the depth of the GOP’s challenges and its growing weaknesses among crucial constituencies, such as Hispanics and women.

Many Hispanics were turned off by tough talk on immigration from Romney during the primary campaign, while Democrats think their candidates benefited from Republican policies on women’s health issues and verbal miscues on rape.

Underscoring the thoroughness of the GOP defeat, a Florida exit poll showed that Cuban Americans went for Obama by 49 percent to 47 percent — a watershed moment for a group that has been solidly Republican for a generation.

The review comes amid signs that the election results have pushed some conservative leaders and officials to consider tackling one of the most politically touchy issues for many Republicans: whether to put millions of illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship. For years, conservatives have blocked immigration legislation. But seeing Obama win seven in 10 Hispanic voters appears to have left some wondering whether it is time to compromise, particularly with the president pledging to make the issue a centerpiece of his second-term agenda.

The Internet was buzzing late Thursday as word spread that Fox News Channel commentator Sean Hannity declared he had “evolved” on the issue and now thinks illegal immigrants without criminal records should have a “pathway to citizenship.”

In an interview Thursday with ABC News’s Diane Sawyer, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said the immigration issue “has been around far too long.” He said a “comprehensive approach is long overdue, and I’m confident that the president, myself, others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all.”

Asked about the GOP’s demographic problems, Boehner said: “What Republicans need to learn is: How do we speak to all Americans? You know, not just the people who look like us and act like us, but how do we speak to all Americans?”

Although Democrats argue that Tuesday’s results point to a potentially long-lasting winning coalition, Republicans are fighting among themselves about what went wrong.

Some party leaders have blamed the losses on the rise of the tea party movement and the growing pressure on GOP candidates to hew to a purist brand of conservatism that wins primaries but turns off voters. Others have taken the opposite view, blaming party establishment leaders and Romney for trying to play to the middle.

RNC officials say their results will help guide Republican lawmakers and governors as they tackle sensitive issues.

The committee’s move suggests that Chairman Reince Priebus, who will face reelection in January, may be trying to fill a void left by Romney’s loss and the lack of a party leader focused on political strategy.

The review began on election night with polls in key states, and next week the party will begin a string of voter focus groups.

Priebus and other party officials also will meet with constituency-group leaders representing Hispanics, African Americans, veterans, evangelicals, tea party activists, business groups, youth voters, centrists, Asian Americans and women.

Party officials plan to delve deeply into the Hispanic community, with separate focus group sessions being devoted to Puerto Ricans, a key bloc in central Florida that strongly backed Obama, as well as Mexican Americans and Cuban Americans. Mexican Americans make up the bulk of Hispanic voters in the battleground states of Colorado and Nevada.

The RNC’s review, to be conducted over the next two months and handled in some cases by independent firms, will look at the party’s get-out-the-vote operations, its national field staff and tactics, online voter-targeting strategy, and donor relationships. About 150,000 volunteers and 600 staff members will be queried on such topics as the quality of the party’s technology and voter-contact database to see if other factors contributed to their losses.

“We lost Wisconsin and Iowa, and we didn’t lose those because of the Hispanic vote,” Spicer said. “This is not a one-trick-pony problem.”

The review is designed in part to identify the positives, as well, and keep them in place for the future, he said.

Yet, whatever the Republicans did well, the Democrats did it better. That’s why another piece of the GOP review will include a study of Obama’s political machinery, including the sprawling network of neighborhood captains and activists in place since the 2008 campaign that appeared to roar back to life in time for Tuesday.

“We’ve got to know what they did well,” Spicer said. “We’ve got to give them credit, they won. We need to know what we’re going to be up against in 2013, 2014 and 2016.”
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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2012, 09:25:55 PM »

Repubs will immediately appeal to Hispanics...  bush got 44% of hispanics, and Mitt got 27%?  Hannity intro'ing DREAM today proved that.


mitt wanted the job so bad, i truly felt bad for him.  Bush didn't want to be prez, he was doing coke and making jokes for the same years that Mitt was laying the groundwork to get the job.  Romney really worked for 30 years to be president.
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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2012, 09:32:58 PM »

I really like Mitt to be honest...when he is himself.......when he tries to hard to please the Tea Party he is dispicable...

Mitt would have won if he ran against Obama in the primary as a Democrat!!!!
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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2012, 02:47:47 PM »

He was a good candidate.  Good man. 

I think he'll struggle to find a way to spend his millions.  lol
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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2012, 09:27:29 PM »

The GOP’s blame game
By Dana Milbank,

And now begins the quadrennial exercise of coming to terms with the loss of a presidency.

For the second time in a row, Republicans are the grieving party proceeding through the five stages.

Denial. “I think this is premature,” Karl Rove protested on Fox News election night, after the cable network, along with other news outlets, correctly projected that President Obama had won Ohio — and therefore the presidency. “We’ve got to be careful about calling things.”

Bargaining. “We’re willing to accept new revenue under the right conditions,” House Speaker John Boehner offered Wednesday, shifting his budget negotiating posture before reconsidering the next day, but “the president must be willing to reduce spending and shore up entitlement programs.”

Depression. “If Mitt Romney cannot win in this economy, then the tipping point has been reached,” Ann Coulter said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show. “It’s over. There is no hope.”

Anger. “We should have a revolution in this country,” tweeted flamboyant mogul Donald Trump, who had served as a prominent surrogate for Romney. “This election is a total sham and a travesty.”

Acceptance. Uh, well, there hasn’t been much of that yet.

Before arriving at acceptance, Republicans must go through another stage of grief unique to political loss: an extended period of finger-pointing known as the recriminations phase. Only after this period of excuses is it possible to arrive at the plain truth of the matter: The electorate wasn’t buying what they were selling. But first, it is necessary to blame:

The weather. “Hurricane Sandy saved Barack Obama’s presidency,” Haley Barbour, the Mississippi governor and former Republican Party chairman, informed NBC’s Matt Lauer.

The governor of New Jersey. “A lot of people feel like Christie hurt, that we definitely lost four or five points between the storm and Chris Christie giving Obama a chance to be bigger than life,” one of Romney’s biggest fundraisers told The Post’s Philip Rucker.

Senate candidates in Missouri and Indiana. “Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock and Chris Christie undermined the Republican message,” a Romney adviser told National Review.

Karl Rove. “Congrats to @KarlRove on blowing $400 million this cycle,” the Twitter-happy Trump tweeted. “Every race @CrossroadsGPS ran ads in, the Republicans lost.” Actually, a study by the Sunlight Foundation found that Rove’s super PAC had a 1 percent success rate.

The candidate’s personality. “If you put out a guy who is enormously unlikable, who is a caricature of a distant and out-of-touch technocrat, then he’s going to run poorly,” deduced Ben Domenech of the conservative blog RedState.

The candidate’s management skills. “Many Republicans are also questioning whether Romney was personally engaged enough in key decisions,” Politico reported.

Staff incompetence. “They were a bunch of well-meaning folks who were, to use a phrase that Governor Romney coined to describe his opponent, way in over their heads,” a member of Romney’s national finance committee told Rucker.

Staff deception. “There was … a lot of smoke and mirrors from Team Romney and outside charlatans, many of whom will now go work for Republican Super PACs making six figure salaries, further draining the pockets of rich Republicans,” RedState’s Erick Erickson wrote.

GOP leaders. “Republican leaders behind the epic election failure of 2012 should be replaced,” declared conservative activist Richard Viguerie at the National Press Club, singling out party chairman Reince Priebus, Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

Country-club Republicans. “The presidential loss is unequivocally on them,” said Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots.

The Republican Party’s moderation. “We need a third party to save this country,” Herman Cain said in a radio appearance.

Failing to talk about foreign policy and Obamacare. “Those are major issues and Romney rarely mentioned them in the final days,” a Romney adviser said to National Review.

Failing to talk about abortion. “Mitt Romney … never highlighted this vulnerability,” complained Marjorie Dannenfelser of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List.

Relying on old people. “The Democrats do voter registration like a factory, like a business, and Republicans tend to leave it to the blue hairs,” said Henry Barbour, nephew of the former Mississippi governor, according to the Huffington Post’s Jon Ward.

After Republicans work through the blame, they can get down to the real reason for the loss, and it has nothing to do with Romney, his staff or the weather. Once Republicans can accept this — that their alienation of Latinos and women is shrinking the party into a coalition of white men concentrated in the South — they can begin to do something about it.
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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2012, 11:58:52 AM »

Would have loved to see him become President.
On the positive side getting this many votes with some of the stuff the reps uttered it's awesome that they got that many votes.
Obama is now a man on a mission - after the following 4 years he will be happy to hang it up.
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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2012, 10:37:17 PM »

Romney's still uber rich.    He just doesn't have to downplay it anymore.  Life is good for him.
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« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2012, 08:14:08 PM »

Mitt Romney never overcame bailout opposition in Ohio
By John Flesher

DETROIT — Only a couple of weeks after Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, the man who would become his Republican challenger in the next election penned a New York Times column with a fateful headline: "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."

Those four words would haunt Mitt Romney across the Rust Belt, where auto manufacturing remains an economic pillar — especially in Ohio, a state that every successful GOP presidential nominee has carried, and in his home state of Michigan, where his father was an auto executive and governor.

Romney's opposition to the federal rescue of General Motors and Chrysler didn't necessarily seal his fate in those two crucial states. But no other issue hung in the background for so long. And nothing that Romney tried — his many visits, the millions spent on ads, his efforts to explain and refine his position — could overcome it.

"The biggest determining factor was that we couldn't handle the automobile bailout issue," said Bob Bennett, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party.

Fairly or not, the perception of Romney as indifferent to the auto industry's fate was "a coffin nail," said John Heitmann, a University of Dayton historian who teaches and writes about the car's place in American culture.

Ohio is second only to Michigan in auto-related employment. A 2010 report by the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor said the industry accounted for more than 848,000 jobs in Ohio, or 12.4 percent of the workforce. That included jobs with vehicle manufacturers or dealers and with businesses that sell products or services to them, plus "spinoff" jobs produced by their economic activity.

Exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks found that about 60 percent of voters in both states supported the government's loan and industry restructuring program, and three-quarters of them backed Obama. The bailout also was popular in Wisconsin, even though it hadn't stopped GM and Chrysler from closing plants there.

"We have a debt to pay back to President Obama. He saved us," said Joseph Losier, 33, a fourth-generation autoworker from suburban Detroit. After the bailout, Chrysler hired 500 people at the stamping plant where he works.

Even those with no direct connection to the industry were grateful.

"He actually kept his promise. I felt like he cared," said Darlene Jackson, 57, of Detroit, who has worked as a seamstress since losing her city job during the recession.

Romney insisted he'd been misunderstood — he wanted to save U.S. auto manufacturing, not destroy it. In his newspaper column, he argued that federal loans would merely postpone the companies' demise: "You can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye."

He called for a "managed bankruptcy" that would let the companies cut labor costs and become more competitive. Proper roles for government would include supporting energy and technology research, adjusting tax policies and protecting car buyers' warranties, he said.

But those nuances got lost as the campaign geared up. Automakers' fortunes had improved, and as many as 1 million jobs had been saved. Obama said Romney's approach would never have worked because no private capital was available to keep the companies afloat.

After stumbling badly during the first debate, the president made the bailout an early topic during the second. He raised it again during the candidates' final encounter, which was supposed to be about foreign policy.

"If we had taken your advice ... about our auto industry, we'd be buying cars from China instead of selling cars to China," Obama said.

A defensive Romney retorted: "I'm a son of Detroit. ... I would do nothing to hurt the U.S. auto industry."

But by then, the argument was a moot point for most Ohio voters. Nearly seven in 10 had made up their minds before September, the exit polls showed.

With time running out, Romney strategists gambled by airing television and radio ads in Ohio that claimed Obama's policies had led GM and Chrysler to build cars in China. The move backfired, drawing sharp rebukes from both companies.

"It was very misleading, to be kind. It really upset a lot of our people," said Dave Green, president of a United Auto Workers local representing about 1,500 workers at a plant in Lordstown.

Obama won Michigan by a comfortable margin but took Ohio with just over 50 percent of the vote. Despite his steadfast support of organized labor, many blue-collar autoworkers were torn because of disagreements with the president over issues such as guns and abortion, Losier said.

That's where the bailout may have tipped the scales. Union members who backed the president lobbied wavering co-workers, reminding them how dire their situation had been when Obama took office.

"There was a real belief that they were going to liquidate our facility," Green said. "People were walking around with clipboards taking inventory. It did not look good. The polls were all saying, 'Don't rescue the auto companies.' But he did it anyway."

In the end, Green said, the choice came down to a simple question: "Who are we going to vote for — the guy who was trying to push us down the river or the guy who was throwing us a life vest?"

The bailout was popular with independents and even some Republicans, and drew support for Obama outside the usual Democratic-leaning areas, said Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.

Frank Hocker, a retiree who once worked at a truck manufacturing plant in Springfield, said he wasn't a single-issue voter. But when Obama "stuck his neck out and did the right thing with General Motors, you know, that satisfied me."
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« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2012, 08:38:00 AM »

G.O.P. Strains to Define How to Close Gap With Voters
By KEVIN SACK and SARAH WHEATON

For four years, the leader most capable of unifying the fractious Republican Party has been Barack Obama.


Now the Republicans find their divisions newly revealed in the raw. By exposing the party’s vulnerability to potent demographic shifts, the 2012 results have set the stage for a struggle between those determined to rebrand the Republicans in a softer light and those yearning instead for ideological purity.

But before acceptance comes denial. And the party’s first challenge, it seems in the immediate aftermath, is to find common ground simply in diagnosing the problem. Though some leaders argued that basic mathematics dictates that the party must find new ways to talk about issues like immigration, abortion and same-sex marriage, others attributed Republican losses to poor candidate choice, messaging missteps and President Obama’s superior political operation.

“We continually crank out moderate loser after moderate loser,” said Joshua S. Treviño, a speechwriter in George W. Bush’s administration who now works for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative group. He said Mitt Romney was part of a “pattern” of Republican nominees, preceded by John McCain, Bob Dole and George H. W. Bush, who were rejected by voters because of “perceived inauthenticity.”

By contrast, Ralph Reed, the longtime Republican strategist and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said he would redouble efforts over the next four years to recruit women, Latinos and young people as grass-roots organizers.

“I certainly get the fact that your daddy’s Republican Party cannot win relying singularly on white voters and evangelicals alone — as critical as I believe those voters are to a majority coalition,” Mr. Reed said. “The good news for conservatives is there are many of those who have not always felt welcome in our ranks who share our values.”

The re-election of Mr. Obama, despite the flagging economy and ambivalence about his leadership, left questions that Republicans may sort out only over time, starting with the direction set by the party’s majority in the House and the run-up to the 2016 campaign.

Can the Republicans shore up their weaknesses purely with tonal changes on issues like abortion, immigration and same-sex marriage, along with a repackaging of conservative fiscal policy? Will it require real moderation on social and economic positions that the Tea Party movement and the conservative base consider inviolate?

Or is an embrace of unyielding conservatism required to rally an electorate that has grown cynical about candidates who shape-shift after the primaries?

The debate is already roiling, with early markers laid in postelection news conferences and on the Sunday talk shows. On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Carlos Gutierrez, a Romney adviser and a commerce secretary under George W. Bush, blamed the loss “squarely on the far right wing of the Republican Party.”

Countered Gary L. Bauer, the socially conservative former presidential candidate, “America is not demanding a second liberal party.”

The Republican National Committee is undertaking a two-month series of polls, focus groups and outreach meetings about its message and mechanics, with added focus on Latino subgroups like Cubans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. Introspection will also be on the agenda when the Republican Governors Association convenes on Wednesday for a three-day meeting in Las Vegas.

“The question really is how do we set the best tone in delivering our conservative message so that it becomes attractive to more people,” said Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia, the association’s chairman. “Looking at how young voters and minority voters are voting, it’s an unsustainable trajectory.”

In addition to losing both the popular and electoral votes for president, the Republicans lost nearly every swing state. Although the race was far closer than in 2008, Mr. Romney won two million fewer votes than Mr. McCain did against Mr. Obama that year.

Democrats, once fearful of losing the Senate, gained one seat there and four in the House. They also added seats in state legislatures.

The Republicans’ only bright spot, other than maintaining the House majority, came in governors’ races. They picked up a long-elusive seat in North Carolina, bringing their total to 30, the most by either party in 12 years.

The longer-term concerns for Republicans were revealed in exit polling. While Mr. Romney won the votes of 59 percent of whites, 52 percent of men and 78 percent of white evangelicals, Mr. Obama claimed 55 percent of women, 60 percent of voters under 30, 93 percent of African-Americans and more than 70 percent of Latinos and Asians.

Although the president’s majority shrank nationally, he won a larger proportion of Latino and Asian votes than in 2008. Among Latinos, Mr. Romney’s share of the vote fell 17 percentage points below the 44 percent won by George W. Bush in 2004.

Perhaps most ominous, the Latino share of the total vote rose to 10 percent from 8 percent in 2004, and the Asian share rose to 3 percent from 2 percent. The electorate is now 28 percent nonwhite, more than double the figure from two decades ago. That growth is certain to continue; in 2011, births to nonwhites outnumbered births to whites for the first time.

“It’s stunning that Republicans won the white vote by 20 points and still lost,” said Alan I. Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University who writes about polarization. Unless Republicans reverse the trend, he said, the rising strength of Latinos could doom the party’s ability to map a winning electoral strategy. Colorado and Nevada could soon join California and New Mexico as noncompetitive states for Republicans in presidential elections, with Florida not far behind.

“And eventually Texas,” Dr. Abramowitz added. “Not 4 years or 8 years from now, but in 12 or 16 years Texas is going to become a swing state. And if Texas becomes a swing state, it’s all over.”

Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, noted that Mr. Romney did better than Mr. McCain among white voters, and won independents by 5 percentage points, all to no avail.

“It is patently obvious that unless Republicans do better among nonwhite voters, they will cease to be a viable national political party,” Mr. Ayres said. “Obviously, doing something on immigration-related issues, like the Dream Act, is a start. But we’re also going to have to address the fact that younger people tend to be less conservative on a number of hot-button social issues.”

The imperative to reach Latinos may put pressure on Congressional Republicans to compromise with Mr. Obama on a bill that provides illegal immigrants, or at least those who arrived in the United States as children, with a path to legal status. Senate leaders in both parties announced on Sunday that they were renewing negotiations to seek a deal.

But the Republicans will also have to overcome the tone set by Republican-led states that have enacted tough new measures aimed at catching illegal immigrants. Latinos will never vote Republican, said Mr. Treviño, the former Bush speechwriter, “if they think your political party just doesn’t want you as a neighbor.”

Republican officials said that meant aggressively recruiting Hispanic candidates like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Senator-elect Ted Cruz of Texas, both sons of Cuban immigrants. And they said it required stressing common values, like opportunity, social conservatism and support for small business.

“The conservative movement should have particular appeal to people in minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it,” Mr. Rubio said after the election, “and Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them.”

Mr. Rubio will be a featured speaker on Saturday at a fund-raiser in Iowa being hosted by Terry E. Branstad, the state’s Republican governor.

Ryan R. Call, the state Republican chairman in Colorado, where Hispanics made up 14 percent of those who voted there last week, said the party had to find a way to stand firm on conservative principles while finding a “proactive response” on issues like immigration and gay rights.

“We can’t simply be the party of no,” he said.

But the party’s staunchest conservatives, including leaders of the Tea Party movement, are not ready to yield. Many, including House incumbents from safe districts and deep-pocketed financiers, hold outsize influence in the party.

The conservative strategist Richard A. Viguerie kicked off a news conference in Washington on Wednesday by declaring that “the battle to take over the Republican Party begins today.” He added, “Never again are we going to nominate a big-government, establishment Republican for president.”

Mike Huckabee, a former Republican presidential candidate and current Fox News host, said in an interview that shifts in the party’s approach to social issues would be difficult “because those are not political issues, they’re deeply held moral positions by the people who hold them.”

Similarly, Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, a fiercely antitax Republican, said in an interview that the election results gave him little incentive to compromise on fiscal principles, including in the coming negotiations with Democrats over deficit reduction.

“We’ve been offering solutions,” Mr. Toomey said, “and the people who voted for those solutions were re-elected.”
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« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2012, 11:58:04 AM »

This goes back to what I said in my thread about the 2004 election and all the "soul-searching" the Dems were doing. If you'd told anyone that just two years after Bush got re-elected, the GOP would lose the House and Senate and Obama would be elected two years after that, people would have accused you of smoking crack.
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« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2012, 10:29:06 PM »

GOP’s Red America forced to rethink what it knows about the country
By Eli Saslow

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. — She arrived early to take apart the campaign office piece by piece, just as she felt so many other things about her life were being dismantled. Beth Cox wore a Mitt Romney T-shirt, a cross around her neck and fresh eyeliner, even though she had been crying on and off and knew her makeup was likely to run. A day after the election, she tuned the radio to Glenn Beck and began pulling posters and American flags off the wall.

Her calendar read “Victory Day!!” and she had planned to celebrate in the office by hosting a dance party and selling Romney souvenirs. But instead she was packing those souvenirs into boxes, which would be donated to a charity that sent clothes to South America. Instead a moving company was en route to close down the office in the next 48 hours, and her friends were calling every few minutes to see how she was doing.

“I will be okay,” she told one caller. “I just don’t think we will be okay.”

Here in the heart of Red America, Cox and many others spent last week grieving not only for themselves and their candidate but also for a country they now believe has gone wildly off track. The days after Barack Obama’s reelection gave birth to a saying in Central Tennessee: Once was a slip, but twice is a sign.

If, as Obama likes to say, the country has decided to “move forward,” it has also decided to move further away from the values and beliefs of a state where Romney won 60 percent of the vote, a county where he won 70 percent, and a town where he won nearly 80.

Among so many Romney voters, perhaps none had been as devoted to the cause — as indefatigable, as confident, as prayerful — as 44-year-old Beth Cox, a member of the school board and a volunteer who had committed to Romney early in the Republican primaries. She had run the small GOP campaign headquarters in Sumner County by herself for six days a week during the last four months. She had been the first in line to vote on the first day of early voting.

Now it was left to her to clean up the aftermath. She stood next to a space heater in a small building in the exurbs of Nashville, taking inventory of what supplies they had left and packing up boxes of red-white-and-blue streamers. She put away the pink Romney shirts, the white Romney-Ryan hats and the GOP bumper stickers with the Tennessee logo. Down came the sign that read: “We Built It!” Down came the elephant flag and the George W. Bush commemorative emblem. Down came the signed picture of Romney, with a typed inscription that read: “This is a great time to be a Republican.”

But now Cox was wondering: Was it?

She had devoted her life to causes she believed were at the heart of her faith and at the core of her Republican Party. She counseled young married families at church, spoke about right to life in area schools and became a stay-at-home mom with two daughters.

Now, in a single election night, parts of her country had legalized marijuana, approved gay marriage and resoundingly reelected a president who she worried would “accelerate our decline.”

While she took apart the office, a dozen friends and neighbors stopped by to share the same concerns.

“I just don’t get it,” the county sheriff said.

“I’m worried we won’t see another Republican president in our lifetime the way it’s going,” a GOP volunteer said.

“What country would want more years of this?” asked the newly elected alderman.

Cox shrugged back at them. “I don’t know anymore,” she said. “What the heck happened to the country? Who are we becoming?”

****

She turned on her computer and pulled up an electoral map that she had filled out a few days before the election. She had predicted the outcome twice — once coming up with a narrow Romney win and once more with a blowout.

Florida: red.

Colorado: red.

Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin: all red.

Everything in her version of America had confirmed her predictions: the confident anchors on Fox News; the Republican pollsters so sure of their data; the two-hour line outside her voting precinct, where Romney supporters hugged and honked for her handmade signs during a celebration that lasted until the results started coming in after sundown. Romney’s thorough defeat had come more as a shock than as a disappointment, and now Cox stared at the actual results on her computer and tried to imagine what the majority of her country believed.

“Virginia went blue? Really?” she said. “Southern-values Virginia?”

“And Colorado? Who the heck is living in Colorado? Do they want drugs, dependency, indulgence? Don’t they remember what this country is about?”

It was a country that she had thought she knew. As a kid, she had seen it from the back of a station wagon, traveling to 40 states in a blur of peanut butter crackers and Holiday Inns with a mother who taught U.S. history.

“I am not naïve. I’m not ignorant,” Cox said. She had graduated from the University of Kentucky and lived for a few years in California before moving to raise her family in Tennessee. But suddenly the map on her computer depicted a divided country she could barely recognize.

She blamed some of the divisiveness on Republicans. The party had gotten “way too white,” she said, and she hoped it would never again run a presidential ticket without including a woman or a minority. The tea party was an extremist movement that needed to be “neutralized,” she said, and Romney’s campaign had suffered irreparable damage when high-profile Republicans spoke about “crazy immigration talk and legitimate rape.”

But many other aspects of the division seemed fundamental and harder to solve. There was the America of increased secularism that legalized marijuana. And there was her America, where her two teenage daughters are not allowed to read “Harry Potter” or “Twilight,” and where one of them wrote in a school paper: “God is the center and the main foundation of my family.”

There was the America of gay marriage and the America of her Southern Baptist church, where 7,000 came to listen on Sundays, and where church literature described marriage as “the uniting of one man and one woman.”

There was the America of Obama and her America in Tennessee, where last week Republicans had won 95 percent of local races and secured a supermajority in the state legislature.

She could sense liberalism creeping closer, and she worried about what Red America would look like after four more years. Nashville itself had gone for Obama, and 400,000 more people in Tennessee had signed up for food stamps in the last five years to further a culture of dependency. The ACLU had sued her school board for allowing youth pastors to visit middle school cafeterias during lunch. Some of her friends had begun to wonder if the country was lost, and if only God could save it.


She closed her computer.

“God put us in the desert,” she said. “We are in the desert right now.”

****

Later that night, she left her two-story house in the suburbs and headed to a church a mile outside of town. It was her place of comfort — the place where she always found an answer. She drove onto the church’s sprawling campus, past the children’s center, the volleyball courts and techno-lit recreation room for teenagers and parked in front of a small building. Then she walked up to the second floor to lead her weekly prayer group of 25 women.

It was a demographic that, in so many other places, would have voted for Obama: white women, college-educated and in their early-to-mid-20s, most of them upper-middle class. But here they had almost all voted for Romney, and they consoled each other as they entered the room. Cox joined them in the circle and bent her head in prayer.

“Yes, Lord,” she said. “We are saying yes to honoring you, but no to the junk of this world, to the wickedness, the self-gratification, the path that we are just saddened by. We choose your path, Lord.”

It was a path that had worked for her, providing strength and stability during her parents’ rocky divorce, and then helping her transform from a stubbornly independent woman — the “feminist, I-am-woman, hear-me-roar type,” she said — into a mother and a wife who respected what she called the “natural order of the household.” She had two beautiful daughters who earned A’s and a husband who took time off from his job as a pastor for annual family “playcations” to museums and amusement parks. Local Republicans were encouraging her to run for state office, but she didn’t want to give up her volunteering, her scrapbooking, her weekend getaways with her daughters — her “Godly life,” she said.

It was the same life she wanted for the women in this room — newly married, new to motherhood and beginning to sort out priorities of their own.

“The world will tell you to be so many things,” she advised them, and on this night she talked to them about the importance of preserving life, the sanctity of marriage, the advantages of raising children at home and the importance of “relying on family, and on your core values, and not on the government.”

“It’s not an easy road to be a Christian, and if it was, everybody would be on it,” she said. She passed out blank white note cards and asked each woman to write down a worry to surrender to God. Then, before closing, she asked what they wanted to pray for.

“Our president,” said one, and the women in the group nodded.

“Our values,” said another.

“All people in our country who are lost.”

“The soul of America.”

“Amen,” Cox said.

****

She came back into the Romney office again the next morning. The moving truck was waiting outside.

“It’s so depressing,” she said, walking into the office. “Let’s just get it done.”

They threw out yard signs, hauled office supplies into storage and donated some furniture to Goodwill. Cox swept the floor and then came outside to watch the mover climb on top of his trailer to take down the “Sumner County Republican Party” banner that had hung on the front of the building. Four months of dedication and work — the sale of 1,600 signs, 500 bracelets, 1,200 buttons and a few hundred hats — reduced to nothing in 48 hours.

She stood in the cold and stared at the two-story building. It had belonged to a doctor’s practice that had closed, and then to a newspaper that had downsized, and finally to a campaign that had failed to win office based on its vision of America.

She took out her phone and snapped a picture.

“So that’s it,” she said. “It’s all gone.”
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« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2012, 10:32:56 PM »

This goes back to what I said in my thread about the 2004 election and all the "soul-searching" the Dems were doing. If you'd told anyone that just two years after Bush got re-elected, the GOP would lose the House and Senate and Obama would be elected two years after that, people would have accused you of smoking crack.

okay..granted...but the Dem reaction was not to destroy each other in debates, lie lie lie, and themn go to its extreme wing of the party like the GOP has done....the GOP is waging a war against all its moderates...it will soon be a political party like the green party if it keeps it up.....

Herman Cain has already comeout in favor of starting a third party..(again)...if that happens, the GOP is doomedforever since third parties hurt the GOP more than the Dems
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« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2012, 11:04:19 PM »

Herman Cain has already comeout in favor of starting a third party..(again)...if that happens, the GOP is doomedforever since third parties hurt the GOP more than the Dems

normally I agree....  BUT... Dems would have LOVED to have an option in 2012 that wasn't shitty ass obama.

howver, their options were the self-described severe conservative Mtt, or obama.

I think huntsmann would have grabbed a lot of dem votes.
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« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2012, 11:24:15 PM »

normally I agree....  BUT... Dems would have LOVED to have an option in 2012 that wasn't shitty ass obama.

howver, their options were the self-described severe conservative Mtt, or obama.

I think huntsmann would have grabbed a lot of dem votes.

what was so shitty about Obama exactly???
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« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2012, 11:38:16 PM »

what was so shitty about Obama exactly???

michelle wore this china red dress.    And he looked really silly on the bike.   Need I continue?
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« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2012, 06:45:45 AM »

GOP’s Red America forced to rethink what it knows about the country
By Eli Saslow

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. — She arrived early to take apart the campaign office piece by piece, just as she felt so many other things about her life were being dismantled. Beth Cox wore a Mitt Romney T-shirt, a cross around her neck and fresh eyeliner, even though she had been crying on and off and knew her makeup was likely to run. A day after the election, she tuned the radio to Glenn Beck and began pulling posters and American flags off the wall.

Her calendar read “Victory Day!!” and she had planned to celebrate in the office by hosting a dance party and selling Romney souvenirs. But instead she was packing those souvenirs into boxes, which would be donated to a charity that sent clothes to South America. Instead a moving company was en route to close down the office in the next 48 hours, and her friends were calling every few minutes to see how she was doing.

“I will be okay,” she told one caller. “I just don’t think we will be okay.”

Here in the heart of Red America, Cox and many others spent last week grieving not only for themselves and their candidate but also for a country they now believe has gone wildly off track. The days after Barack Obama’s reelection gave birth to a saying in Central Tennessee: Once was a slip, but twice is a sign.

If, as Obama likes to say, the country has decided to “move forward,” it has also decided to move further away from the values and beliefs of a state where Romney won 60 percent of the vote, a county where he won 70 percent, and a town where he won nearly 80.

Among so many Romney voters, perhaps none had been as devoted to the cause — as indefatigable, as confident, as prayerful — as 44-year-old Beth Cox, a member of the school board and a volunteer who had committed to Romney early in the Republican primaries. She had run the small GOP campaign headquarters in Sumner County by herself for six days a week during the last four months. She had been the first in line to vote on the first day of early voting.

Now it was left to her to clean up the aftermath. She stood next to a space heater in a small building in the exurbs of Nashville, taking inventory of what supplies they had left and packing up boxes of red-white-and-blue streamers. She put away the pink Romney shirts, the white Romney-Ryan hats and the GOP bumper stickers with the Tennessee logo. Down came the sign that read: “We Built It!” Down came the elephant flag and the George W. Bush commemorative emblem. Down came the signed picture of Romney, with a typed inscription that read: “This is a great time to be a Republican.”

But now Cox was wondering: Was it?

She had devoted her life to causes she believed were at the heart of her faith and at the core of her Republican Party. She counseled young married families at church, spoke about right to life in area schools and became a stay-at-home mom with two daughters.

Now, in a single election night, parts of her country had legalized marijuana, approved gay marriage and resoundingly reelected a president who she worried would “accelerate our decline.”

While she took apart the office, a dozen friends and neighbors stopped by to share the same concerns.

“I just don’t get it,” the county sheriff said.

“I’m worried we won’t see another Republican president in our lifetime the way it’s going,” a GOP volunteer said.

“What country would want more years of this?” asked the newly elected alderman.

Cox shrugged back at them. “I don’t know anymore,” she said. “What the heck happened to the country? Who are we becoming?”

****

She turned on her computer and pulled up an electoral map that she had filled out a few days before the election. She had predicted the outcome twice — once coming up with a narrow Romney win and once more with a blowout.

Florida: red.

Colorado: red.

Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin: all red.

Everything in her version of America had confirmed her predictions: the confident anchors on Fox News; the Republican pollsters so sure of their data; the two-hour line outside her voting precinct, where Romney supporters hugged and honked for her handmade signs during a celebration that lasted until the results started coming in after sundown. Romney’s thorough defeat had come more as a shock than as a disappointment, and now Cox stared at the actual results on her computer and tried to imagine what the majority of her country believed.

“Virginia went blue? Really?” she said. “Southern-values Virginia?”

“And Colorado? Who the heck is living in Colorado? Do they want drugs, dependency, indulgence? Don’t they remember what this country is about?”

It was a country that she had thought she knew. As a kid, she had seen it from the back of a station wagon, traveling to 40 states in a blur of peanut butter crackers and Holiday Inns with a mother who taught U.S. history.

“I am not naïve. I’m not ignorant,” Cox said. She had graduated from the University of Kentucky and lived for a few years in California before moving to raise her family in Tennessee. But suddenly the map on her computer depicted a divided country she could barely recognize.

She blamed some of the divisiveness on Republicans. The party had gotten “way too white,” she said, and she hoped it would never again run a presidential ticket without including a woman or a minority. The tea party was an extremist movement that needed to be “neutralized,” she said, and Romney’s campaign had suffered irreparable damage when high-profile Republicans spoke about “crazy immigration talk and legitimate rape.”

But many other aspects of the division seemed fundamental and harder to solve. There was the America of increased secularism that legalized marijuana. And there was her America, where her two teenage daughters are not allowed to read “Harry Potter” or “Twilight,” and where one of them wrote in a school paper: “God is the center and the main foundation of my family.”

There was the America of gay marriage and the America of her Southern Baptist church, where 7,000 came to listen on Sundays, and where church literature described marriage as “the uniting of one man and one woman.”

There was the America of Obama and her America in Tennessee, where last week Republicans had won 95 percent of local races and secured a supermajority in the state legislature.

She could sense liberalism creeping closer, and she worried about what Red America would look like after four more years. Nashville itself had gone for Obama, and 400,000 more people in Tennessee had signed up for food stamps in the last five years to further a culture of dependency. The ACLU had sued her school board for allowing youth pastors to visit middle school cafeterias during lunch. Some of her friends had begun to wonder if the country was lost, and if only God could save it.


She closed her computer.

“God put us in the desert,” she said. “We are in the desert right now.”

****

Later that night, she left her two-story house in the suburbs and headed to a church a mile outside of town. It was her place of comfort — the place where she always found an answer. She drove onto the church’s sprawling campus, past the children’s center, the volleyball courts and techno-lit recreation room for teenagers and parked in front of a small building. Then she walked up to the second floor to lead her weekly prayer group of 25 women.

It was a demographic that, in so many other places, would have voted for Obama: white women, college-educated and in their early-to-mid-20s, most of them upper-middle class. But here they had almost all voted for Romney, and they consoled each other as they entered the room. Cox joined them in the circle and bent her head in prayer.

“Yes, Lord,” she said. “We are saying yes to honoring you, but no to the junk of this world, to the wickedness, the self-gratification, the path that we are just saddened by. We choose your path, Lord.”

It was a path that had worked for her, providing strength and stability during her parents’ rocky divorce, and then helping her transform from a stubbornly independent woman — the “feminist, I-am-woman, hear-me-roar type,” she said — into a mother and a wife who respected what she called the “natural order of the household.” She had two beautiful daughters who earned A’s and a husband who took time off from his job as a pastor for annual family “playcations” to museums and amusement parks. Local Republicans were encouraging her to run for state office, but she didn’t want to give up her volunteering, her scrapbooking, her weekend getaways with her daughters — her “Godly life,” she said.

It was the same life she wanted for the women in this room — newly married, new to motherhood and beginning to sort out priorities of their own.

“The world will tell you to be so many things,” she advised them, and on this night she talked to them about the importance of preserving life, the sanctity of marriage, the advantages of raising children at home and the importance of “relying on family, and on your core values, and not on the government.”

“It’s not an easy road to be a Christian, and if it was, everybody would be on it,” she said. She passed out blank white note cards and asked each woman to write down a worry to surrender to God. Then, before closing, she asked what they wanted to pray for.

“Our president,” said one, and the women in the group nodded.

“Our values,” said another.

“All people in our country who are lost.”

“The soul of America.”

“Amen,” Cox said.

****

She came back into the Romney office again the next morning. The moving truck was waiting outside.

“It’s so depressing,” she said, walking into the office. “Let’s just get it done.”

They threw out yard signs, hauled office supplies into storage and donated some furniture to Goodwill. Cox swept the floor and then came outside to watch the mover climb on top of his trailer to take down the “Sumner County Republican Party” banner that had hung on the front of the building. Four months of dedication and work — the sale of 1,600 signs, 500 bracelets, 1,200 buttons and a few hundred hats — reduced to nothing in 48 hours.

She stood in the cold and stared at the two-story building. It had belonged to a doctor’s practice that had closed, and then to a newspaper that had downsized, and finally to a campaign that had failed to win office based on its vision of America.

She took out her phone and snapped a picture.

“So that’s it,” she said. “It’s all gone.”



Everything about the GOP's position can be summed up in those 5 little words.

They just don't get it.  Bunch of whackjobs.
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« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2012, 06:51:17 AM »

GOP’s Red America forced to rethink what it knows about the country
By Eli Saslow

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. — She arrived early to take apart the campaign office piece by piece, just as she felt so many other things about her life were being dismantled. Beth Cox wore a Mitt Romney T-shirt, a cross around her neck and fresh eyeliner, even though she had been crying on and off and knew her makeup was likely to run. A day after the election, she tuned the radio to Glenn Beck and began pulling posters and American flags off the wall.

Her calendar read “Victory Day!!” and she had planned to celebrate in the office by hosting a dance party and selling Romney souvenirs. But instead she was packing those souvenirs into boxes, which would be donated to a charity that sent clothes to South America. Instead a moving company was en route to close down the office in the next 48 hours, and her friends were calling every few minutes to see how she was doing.

“I will be okay,” she told one caller. “I just don’t think we will be okay.”

Here in the heart of Red America, Cox and many others spent last week grieving not only for themselves and their candidate but also for a country they now believe has gone wildly off track. The days after Barack Obama’s reelection gave birth to a saying in Central Tennessee: Once was a slip, but twice is a sign.

If, as Obama likes to say, the country has decided to “move forward,” it has also decided to move further away from the values and beliefs of a state where Romney won 60 percent of the vote, a county where he won 70 percent, and a town where he won nearly 80.

Among so many Romney voters, perhaps none had been as devoted to the cause — as indefatigable, as confident, as prayerful — as 44-year-old Beth Cox, a member of the school board and a volunteer who had committed to Romney early in the Republican primaries. She had run the small GOP campaign headquarters in Sumner County by herself for six days a week during the last four months. She had been the first in line to vote on the first day of early voting.

Now it was left to her to clean up the aftermath. She stood next to a space heater in a small building in the exurbs of Nashville, taking inventory of what supplies they had left and packing up boxes of red-white-and-blue streamers. She put away the pink Romney shirts, the white Romney-Ryan hats and the GOP bumper stickers with the Tennessee logo. Down came the sign that read: “We Built It!” Down came the elephant flag and the George W. Bush commemorative emblem. Down came the signed picture of Romney, with a typed inscription that read: “This is a great time to be a Republican.”

But now Cox was wondering: Was it?

She had devoted her life to causes she believed were at the heart of her faith and at the core of her Republican Party. She counseled young married families at church, spoke about right to life in area schools and became a stay-at-home mom with two daughters.

Now, in a single election night, parts of her country had legalized marijuana, approved gay marriage and resoundingly reelected a president who she worried would “accelerate our decline.”

While she took apart the office, a dozen friends and neighbors stopped by to share the same concerns.

“I just don’t get it,” the county sheriff said.

“I’m worried we won’t see another Republican president in our lifetime the way it’s going,” a GOP volunteer said.

“What country would want more years of this?” asked the newly elected alderman.

Cox shrugged back at them. “I don’t know anymore,” she said. “What the heck happened to the country? Who are we becoming?”

****

She turned on her computer and pulled up an electoral map that she had filled out a few days before the election. She had predicted the outcome twice — once coming up with a narrow Romney win and once more with a blowout.

Florida: red.

Colorado: red.

Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin: all red.

Everything in her version of America had confirmed her predictions: the confident anchors on Fox News; the Republican pollsters so sure of their data; the two-hour line outside her voting precinct, where Romney supporters hugged and honked for her handmade signs during a celebration that lasted until the results started coming in after sundown. Romney’s thorough defeat had come more as a shock than as a disappointment, and now Cox stared at the actual results on her computer and tried to imagine what the majority of her country believed.

“Virginia went blue? Really?” she said. “Southern-values Virginia?”

“And Colorado? Who the heck is living in Colorado? Do they want drugs, dependency, indulgence? Don’t they remember what this country is about?”

It was a country that she had thought she knew. As a kid, she had seen it from the back of a station wagon, traveling to 40 states in a blur of peanut butter crackers and Holiday Inns with a mother who taught U.S. history.

“I am not naïve. I’m not ignorant,” Cox said. She had graduated from the University of Kentucky and lived for a few years in California before moving to raise her family in Tennessee. But suddenly the map on her computer depicted a divided country she could barely recognize.

She blamed some of the divisiveness on Republicans. The party had gotten “way too white,” she said, and she hoped it would never again run a presidential ticket without including a woman or a minority. The tea party was an extremist movement that needed to be “neutralized,” she said, and Romney’s campaign had suffered irreparable damage when high-profile Republicans spoke about “crazy immigration talk and legitimate rape.”

But many other aspects of the division seemed fundamental and harder to solve. There was the America of increased secularism that legalized marijuana. And there was her America, where her two teenage daughters are not allowed to read “Harry Potter” or “Twilight,” and where one of them wrote in a school paper: “God is the center and the main foundation of my family.”

There was the America of gay marriage and the America of her Southern Baptist church, where 7,000 came to listen on Sundays, and where church literature described marriage as “the uniting of one man and one woman.”

There was the America of Obama and her America in Tennessee, where last week Republicans had won 95 percent of local races and secured a supermajority in the state legislature.

She could sense liberalism creeping closer, and she worried about what Red America would look like after four more years. Nashville itself had gone for Obama, and 400,000 more people in Tennessee had signed up for food stamps in the last five years to further a culture of dependency. The ACLU had sued her school board for allowing youth pastors to visit middle school cafeterias during lunch. Some of her friends had begun to wonder if the country was lost, and if only God could save it.


She closed her computer.

“God put us in the desert,” she said. “We are in the desert right now.”

****

Later that night, she left her two-story house in the suburbs and headed to a church a mile outside of town. It was her place of comfort — the place where she always found an answer. She drove onto the church’s sprawling campus, past the children’s center, the volleyball courts and techno-lit recreation room for teenagers and parked in front of a small building. Then she walked up to the second floor to lead her weekly prayer group of 25 women.

It was a demographic that, in so many other places, would have voted for Obama: white women, college-educated and in their early-to-mid-20s, most of them upper-middle class. But here they had almost all voted for Romney, and they consoled each other as they entered the room. Cox joined them in the circle and bent her head in prayer.

“Yes, Lord,” she said. “We are saying yes to honoring you, but no to the junk of this world, to the wickedness, the self-gratification, the path that we are just saddened by. We choose your path, Lord.”

It was a path that had worked for her, providing strength and stability during her parents’ rocky divorce, and then helping her transform from a stubbornly independent woman — the “feminist, I-am-woman, hear-me-roar type,” she said — into a mother and a wife who respected what she called the “natural order of the household.” She had two beautiful daughters who earned A’s and a husband who took time off from his job as a pastor for annual family “playcations” to museums and amusement parks. Local Republicans were encouraging her to run for state office, but she didn’t want to give up her volunteering, her scrapbooking, her weekend getaways with her daughters — her “Godly life,” she said.

It was the same life she wanted for the women in this room — newly married, new to motherhood and beginning to sort out priorities of their own.

“The world will tell you to be so many things,” she advised them, and on this night she talked to them about the importance of preserving life, the sanctity of marriage, the advantages of raising children at home and the importance of “relying on family, and on your core values, and not on the government.”

“It’s not an easy road to be a Christian, and if it was, everybody would be on it,” she said. She passed out blank white note cards and asked each woman to write down a worry to surrender to God. Then, before closing, she asked what they wanted to pray for.

“Our president,” said one, and the women in the group nodded.

“Our values,” said another.

“All people in our country who are lost.”

“The soul of America.”

“Amen,” Cox said.

****

She came back into the Romney office again the next morning. The moving truck was waiting outside.

“It’s so depressing,” she said, walking into the office. “Let’s just get it done.”

They threw out yard signs, hauled office supplies into storage and donated some furniture to Goodwill. Cox swept the floor and then came outside to watch the mover climb on top of his trailer to take down the “Sumner County Republican Party” banner that had hung on the front of the building. Four months of dedication and work — the sale of 1,600 signs, 500 bracelets, 1,200 buttons and a few hundred hats — reduced to nothing in 48 hours.

She stood in the cold and stared at the two-story building. It had belonged to a doctor’s practice that had closed, and then to a newspaper that had downsized, and finally to a campaign that had failed to win office based on its vision of America.

She took out her phone and snapped a picture.

“So that’s it,” she said. “It’s all gone.”


What a stupid uninformed bitch
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