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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Political Lessons Learned (or not) for 2014?

Do both Obama and the GOP need to avoid becoming "stuck on stupid?"

Australia kicks off 2014 New Year celebration in Sydney Harbor
With the New Year comes a quick look back at 2013 and the year's preceding. When thinking about this theme I'm reminded of the words of General Honore who took command of relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and reminded reporters "don't get stuck on stupid." It seems all too often most of us suffer from that problem including Obama and even Republicans.

Speaking of Obama, both Charles Krauthammer and Peggy Noonan have been writing a series of columns describing his sole focus on politics instead of governance. (If only I knew how to cash in on repeating the blatantly obvious I'd be rich too.) The best example is ObamaCare where instead of making sure the program works and is well managed Obama gives another speech or starts another campaign swing. Obama and the amateur hour staff in the White House, none of whom have any executive management experience (again, stating the obvious) just can't seem to learn that lesson. Politico reports that Obama is ramping up yet another campaign to sell ObamaCare. Yeah, that's what we need. With Obama stuck on stupid, 2014 looks to be no better for him and Democrats than 2013.

As for Republicans 2014 should be a good year. Emphasis on SHOULD. But as I have alluded to repeatedly for several years now GOP campaign strategists are also stuck on stupid. They spend huge amounts of money trying to tailor campaign ads to attract women and minorities while ignoring the base of the GOP. Since 2006 we have watched while Democrats successfully employ a micro-targeting plan to mine the votes from their base in key precincts. Dems aren't wasting huge amounts of money trying to win over reluctant voters. They are banking the votes of those who they know are most likely to be on their side. Which makes more sense? The GOP outreach to all or the Dem's know your friends strategy? Results speak for themselves.

The GOP problem is that campaign consultants don't make money driving a van around GOP neighborhoods taking seniors to early voting centers. Hence, stuck on stupid. Meanwhile, in 2014 expect Dems to continue tapping the permanent progressive political activist and labor infrastructure to stave off any GOP wave in key senate races. If the GOP would actually copy what worked for Obama and the Dems in the last few elections we might stand a chance of taking control of the Senate. As of now, it's only a 50-50 chance.

As of now, the GOP's best ally is Obama and vice versa. The GOP could win big in 2014 if it stopped playing defense and Obama could win big if he actually did his job for a change!

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