NOTE: I outlined a number of points on election night and then decided to sit on them and reflect 36 hours later. Basically, the points are unchanged.
"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time." That's a famous quote from Abraham Lincoln and it fits here. Obama proved on Tuesday night that he can continue to fool enough people to have them overlook his failures in office.
But by the narrow margin of his victory, he's left with a country deeply divided by his negative campaign, the worst in modern history. [Can we now dispense with the conventional wisdom that negative campaigns don't work or does that still apply to Republicans?] Every modern President who has won re-election has increased his margin of victory. Not so with Obama. More objective pundits than myself readily acknowledge that this leaves Obama with no mandate to continue with his failed experiment in social justice but nearly everyone expects that he will continue to go down this failed path no matter what.
Democrats are calling on Republicans to compromise. But to them, compromise is a one way street. Even after the "shellacking" Democrats got in 2010 they doubled down on failure and gridlock and refused to compromise. Considering the negativity of the race in which Republicans were painted as heartless and wanting to poison the air and water (this from Obama himself) it seems unlikely that Obama or the Democrats will now pivot towards a new policy of listening and cooperation to the other party. Remember also, that Democrat's like Senate Majority Leader, who now calls on Republicans to compromise said that if Romney were elected he would refuse to work with him. As always, Democrats define bipartisanship and compromise as doing it their way. No thanks!
New Leadership from Obama? Not Likely!
It also seems unlikely that Obama, tagged as the Campaigner in Chief will all of a sudden drop that mode of operation and begin providing the presidential leadership that has been so lacking the last four years. As Bob Woodward writes in his new book, "The Price of Politics", this failure of leadership is a personal character flaw of Obama and one not likely to be overcome.
Corrupt News Media
It's hard to believe that so many of the voters were duped again by the charlatan from Chicago but we have to keep in mind that many millions of voters are willfully ignorant. They turn away from informing themselves on politics and national issues preferring to spend their time in mind dulling idle entertainment or sports programming on television.
What little news these willfully ignorant voters receive is likely to come from elite liberal news media which still has great power to determine which stories are covered and which are not. It's no secret that most of the media hyped every gaffe or stumble by Romney and ignored those by Obama. The best example of this was the Benghazi story. Media stories critical of Mitt Romney's statement in the immediate aftermath of the attacks were widespread. Those seeking answers to why the attacks happened and questions about the White House response were largely muted. Which was more important, a statement by presidential candidate or the failure of an Administration to protect our Ambassador and then lie about the story? Considering the media suppression of this story it's no surprise that many Obama voters never even heard of the Benghazi story.
Perhaps more than any other factor, the corrupt news media that failed to apply the same standard to a sitting President that they did to a presidential candidate is one of the biggest scandals in modern times. It's as if the liberal elites in the news media look on Obama as the affirmative action president and refuse to apply the same rules to him they would to a white candidate.
Some speculate that now that Obama has won a second term that the news media that covered up for him will suddenly change their tune and begin demanding more from him. I doubt it. Obama may not be able to blame George W. Bush for the "mess" he inherits in his second term, but there's every indication that he will continue to scapegoat the GOP congress. It's most likely he will continue to reject their ideas then damn them if they fail to endorse all of his. The lap dog media that has failed to point out the fact that Senate Democrats haven't passed a budget in years will continue to blame Republicans for any gridlock.
Mitt Romney: Good Man, Average Campaign
Mitt Romney is a good man who would have been a great President. The media and establishment elites assured us that he was the man to reach middle or moderate voters. So why didn't he win? First, he failed to effectively counter the negative impression in many voter's minds from the barrage of poisonous ads the Obama campaign launched against him in late summer. The debates cleared away much of that but then Hurricane Sandy blew Romney off the radar at a key moment when his momentum was building towards election day. Obama skillfully took advantage of that crisis to appear presidential and hasn't been heard from since in the disaster stricken parts of New Jersey which he used as a campaign prop.
On the whole Mitt's campaign was well run. But when Mitt felt he was winning he pulled back in the final debate when he could have elevated the Libya issue which exposed Obama's incompetence in foreign policy and indifference to the safety of our Ambassador and personnel. That was a mistake.
But more than any of these issues the failure of Romney and the Republicans to mount an effective ground game and turn out the GOP base. Republicans saw how effective the Democrat machine was in 2008 and had four years to prepare to counter it in 2012. Since 2008 I have warned repeatedly about this. More on this in a later post.
Bottom Line: Regroup and Defiance
It's a cliché to say that people get the government they deserve. Over the next four years voters who can break through the media haze praising Obama will learn what a mistake they made.
Republicans can and will regroup and find new leaders to carry on. There is every indication that a new crop of younger leaders will have the seasoning and experience it takes to mount a winning fight in the congressional midterm elections of 2014 and the presidential election in 2016. But that is a long way off.
Until then, I look to examples of forebearance from history. Winston Churchill comes to mind. He endured a decade in the political wilderness. Out of power and regarded as irrelevant he never stopped warning of the danger coming from Nazi Germany. When the danger broke Britain turned to him in the critical hour.
As Britain stood on the knife's edge between defeat and a long slog to victory Prime Minister Churchill visited his old school, Harrow. He told the boys: "Never give in. Never, never, never." If there is one message to my conservative friends it would be this:
A second quote from Churchill also fits: "In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Goodwill." Our liberal friends have already demonstrated a complete lack of magnanimity and goodwill. We must remain resolute and defiant. Better days are not far off and another liberal shellacking is on the horizon. That meal of liberal crow will be served soon enough!