2012 election recap

I don’t have it in me this week to do a full scale 2012 election compendium like I did in 2008, but just a few good links that cover the election well. Conventional wisdom heading into the campaign stated Dems would lose seats in the Senate and Obama, presiding over historically bad unemployment numbers and a weak economy, should be easier to defeat. That didn’t happen. The GOP primary season was a clown car and Mitt Romney barely made it through. After the party conventions, Obama took a commanding lead in the national and state polling. The first presidential debate, in which Romney was widely seen to have destroyed Obama, reversed national polling trends and tightened many state races. (“Did Obama Just Throw the Entire Election Away?”) This reversal was halted at around the time of the VP debate, and began to turn around shortly thereafter. It was at about this time the questioning of polls began (Unskewed!), and as election day got closer and closer, a backlash against Nate Silver began.

Now that the election is over, many in the GOP are blaming Hurricane Sandy and Chris Christie for thwarting Romney’s momentum, though Romney’s momentum started to thwart before the Hurricane, and if you’re election can be derailed by someone in your party saying nice things about the other guy, you have bigger problems. Like the demographics of the electorate.

Leading to the Romney campaign’s ultra-confidence, and the driver for distrusting the polls, was a misunderstanding of the election climate. They didn’t think Obama could match his 2008 turnout, which lead them to believe the electorate would be far whiter than it was. Obama also beat Romney among unmarried women (who made up 23% of the electorate), by 38 points. More on women voters and how underreported rape and abortions may have doomed the GOP.

Lastly, it was a terrific night for LGBT rights as gay marriage was approved in Washington, Maine, and Maryland, and an anti-gay marriage ballot initiative was defeated in Minnesota. Wisconsin also elected the first openly gay senator.

Below are some more links worth looking at about the election.

Obama’s speech after winning the election.

Romney’s classy concession speech. In another classy move, they streamed Obama’s speech on the campaign website.

After Fox News projected Obama as the winner of Ohio, and thus the election, there was some amazing theater live as Karl Rove pushed back on the projection. Reports of Rove melting down or freaking out were overstated, but the weird part was Megyn Kelly leaving the anchor desk and walking through the studio to the office where projections were being made. In any case, Rove is in hot water himself for spending lots of money raised from rich dudes with little to show for it. Questions persisted about possible reasons for Rove’s outburst.

Was he acting as the man who oversaw the most expensive advertising assault on a sitting president in history, unable to face his own wounded pride? The fund-raiser who had persuaded wealthy conservatives to give hundreds of millions of dollars and now had a lot of explaining to do? Or the former political strategist for George W. Bush, who saw firsthand how a botched network call could alter the course of a presidential contest?

Round up of conservative commentary: Why Romney lost.

How Obama made his way back after the first debate.

Another look at how Republicans are reacting in the aftermath.

DKos election thoughts.

Why was Dick Morris wrong in his predictions? Because he’s racist and stupid.

Romney’s friends in the media then and now.

The conservative media lost to the MSM.

How many hours of Glenn Beck conspiracy theories did Fox News broadcast to its viewers? How many hours of transparently mindless Sean Hannity content is still broadcast daily? Why don’t Americans trust Republicans on foreign policy as they once did? In part because conservatism hasn’t grappled with the foreign-policy failures of George W. Bush. A conspiracy of silence surrounds the subject. Romney could neither run on the man’s record nor repudiate it. The most damaging Romney gaffe of the campaign, where he talked about how the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes are a lost cause for Republicans? Either he was unaware that many of those people are Republican voters, or was pandering to GOP donors who are misinformed. Either way, bad information within the conservative movement was to blame.

Unskewed founder realizes he unskewed the polls too much.

Florida took two days to finalize their vote, and many Americans stood in long lines to vote. Here’s 5 ways this could be sped up, including the information Congress has broad powers to dictate how things should go. They just haven’t historically used those powers.

Hippies Wander Into the Lions’ Den, Maul Lions.

This map shows the US the states drawn to emphasize the number of electoral votes.

This is from the last speech Obama gave as a candidate.

2012 election recap

Karl Rove vs James Carville, Wang Center Boston – 5/27/09

Of the three 2009 Speaker Series: Live & Uncensored events, the one I had originally looked forward to most was tonight’s showdown between James Carville and Karl Rove. According to Charlie Rose, the moderator, Rove and Carville are both known for “helping an underdog get elected President twice” and connected by Mary Matalin, who is linked to “the political side of Rove” and “the loving side of Carville.” Whatever that means.

Considering the insanity from last night’s event at Radio City Music Hall, my expectations were pretty high. Alas, something seemed off about the night from the very beginning (the orchestra was only 3/4 full at 8:00 when the evening was supposed to start, though it did eventually fill), and it never got completely on track. Frankly, Rove wasn’t as despicable as he’s often portrayed, Carville wasn’t as spicy as he is when he’s ‘on’, and Rose didn’t care to control the conversation.

I was surprised at the amount of attention paid to Carville v. Rove Round 1 in NYC because for Coulter v. Maher I wasn’t able to find anything ahead of the event. Last night in NYC was marred by protesters and hecklers and perhaps the excitement was too much for the 3 performers because, while the Boston crowd was well-behaved (surprising after our Maher/Coulter display), there weren’t a lot of fireworks on stage. Of course, there was Carville’s Ragin’ Cajun huffing and puffing and Rove’s know-it-all smugness. Even Rose got into it, pointing and bowing his body like a marionette, sometimes folding all the way over.

I’m losing steam, but I want to share the notables:

-The sound issues for the Speaker Series continued as Rose’s introduction battled someone who had their mic turned on backstage and I was begging for a 30 Rock/Naked Gun moment of embarrassment. James Carville was impossible to understand for most of the night. Part of this was his accent, but when he moved the mic closer to his mouth, it was better.

-Bodily theatrics played a big part tonight: Already mentioned was Rose’s puppet-like pantomimes. Carville mugged for the crowd, but also fidgeted constantly, adjusting his tie and socks, and scratching his armpit. At one point, Rove mimicked Carville’s herky-jerky gesticulations for a good 20 seconds, much to the delight of the audience.

-Topics covered include: The Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor (“All I could say was ‘sonofabitch'” – Carville, Rove thinks she’ll be easily approved.), The Economy (Carville, in a point that he leaned on like a wooden leg, says it’s a “breathtaking accomplishment” how much Obama has made us feel better about ourselves and the direction of the country, Rove thinks it’s all Obama’s fault.), Health Insurance, Does the Market work?, Foreign Policy (“More power to him, he’s doing the right thing” and “America’s popularity is different than is credibility” both by Rove.) Bush (Rove said they should have tackled immigration before trying to fix Social Security, Carville said they succeeded in Africa and had good ideas on immigration), Clinton, and best political lesson (“It’s about addition, not subtraction” – Rove. “When I was younger, I overrated intelligence, but now I’d go with judgment” – Carville.)

-Favorite quotes/interactions:
“I don’t want the cops busting my door down when I’m having sex.” – Carville “I don’t want to be the cop busting down the door while YOU’RE having sex.” – Rove
“You don’t interrupt James when he’s talking.” – Rove. “He doesn’t whine.” – Rose.
“Difference between Clinton and Bush, Clinton had 8 bad minutes, Bush had 8 bad years.” – Carville
“James, your ignorance is appalling.” – Rove

I’m glad I got to go if only to see how brilliant these guys usually are in short bursts on live TV. The three are whip-smart and fanatically prepared. Tonight, however, it didn’t feel like any of the three were on. They also hadn’t agreed on a format; Rove came for a debate, Carville came for a talk show. I think this has more to do with what each of them have been doing for the last 8 years, than either of their political or speaking skills.

I’m also extremely excited to see what the Speaker Series has in store for Boston in 2010. Hopefully more events of different formats (town hall with submitted questions, maybe?). It might also be interesting to see them approach books (Gladwell vs Lewis?!) or movies, and maybe in different settings. This might be a more ambitious path than they’re looking to forge, so if that’s the case, I’ll happily accept several more politically-themed events next year, but let’s maybe mix it up with less established politicians or pundits. If they won’t sell as many tickets, the Speaker Series should consider utilizing some of the Wang’s smaller properties.

Karl Rove vs James Carville, Wang Center Boston – 5/27/09