Quote of the Day: Yet MORE Sour Grapes from the Romney Campaign (UPDATE 2)

As a lifelong (beginning the day JFK was shot) political junkie, I cannot remember a time when we’ve seen a losing side be such ungracious losers as the Romney campaign. With comments like this, perhaps we should simply remove the word “ungracious”:

“There was a time not so long ago when the problems of the Democratic Party revolved around being too liberal and too dependent on minorities. Obama turned those problems into advantages and rode that strategy to victory. But he was a charismatic African American president with a billion dollars, no primary and a media that often felt morally conflicted about being critical. How easy is that to replicate?”

That (via Political Wire) is Romney strategist Stuart Stevens, writing in the Washington Post.
Yep, when in doubt, throw in that mean, old liberal media and some folks will applaud.

I don’t think you can find comments such as this that were NOT at all introspective coming from many losing campaigns. So he only won because he’s charismatic, black, had lots of money (so Mitt Romney had none?) and of course the press (except the objective press Fox News and serious, objective analysts such as Rush Limbaugh, Dick Morris and Sean Hannity who were explaining what Americans really were going to do and how they felt).

With comments such as this and Mitt Romney’s about Obama winning because of “gifts” he gave to key constituencies, perhaps when Barack Obama invites Romney to lunch he should serve him something reflect of what they’ve been saying:

A balony sandwich.

For dessert? A Fib Newton.

UPDATE: Booman reacts a bit more…moderately…than I did in reading this quote. And offers a deeper more thoughtful analysis than mine. To wit:

There is a bunch wrong with that paragraph but I want to focus on the last sentence. How easy will it be to replicate the success of Barack Obama’s two presidential campaigns without Obama as the candidate?

I think the likelihood of replicating those efforts depend on a few factors, but the only one that Mr. Stevens correctly identified as a problem is Obama’s unique charisma. His charisma, discipline, and skill as a candidate cannot be replicated. However, he didn’t win because he had a billion dollars or because the press went easy on him or because he’s black or because his policies were liberal. And, while I’ll concede that the lack of a primary helped him this time around (although not in the first debate), his rough and tumble competition against Hillary Clinton may have been a necessary component for preparing him to beat John McCain in 2008.

On the subject of Obama’s race, rather than determining whether he won or lost the last two elections, it had more of an effect on the shape of his victories. I do not believe that states like West Virginia, Arkansas, and Missouri that were friendly to Bill Clinton would have turned so sharply against the Democratic Party if Hillary had been the nominee and president for the last four years. On the other hand, Obama many have run stronger than Hillary would have in some states with heavy black and Latino populations. If we’re talking 2008, Clinton might have won Missouri and lost North Carolina, for example.

But we are talking about the future, and after eight years of having a black family in the White House, there has been some reshuffling of the two parties’ brands. The GOP is whiter than ever and the Democratic Party is more identified with the changing demographics of the country. Both changes are alienating people and growing the polarization between the parties. It may be that a 2016 campaign by Hillary Clinton will discover that Arkansas doesn’t love her family anymore, and that West Virginia and Missouri are not going to come back into the fold. On the other hand, it could be that Obama’s race is disguising the true weakness of the Republican Party. It could be that a 2016 Democratic candidate who is seen as a sound bet to continue Obama’s policies and solidify his legacy will have no trouble holding onto his coalition, but will also find a much bigger pool of white working class voters willing to give their candidacy a look. Honestly, I suspect that GOP is only hanging on as well as it is by fueling itself on the fumes of racial fear and resentment.

If the GOP doesn’t adapt to appeal to a larger and more diverse segment of the electorate, I don’t think the Democrats will need a terrifically charismatic candidate to replicate Obama’s victories….

UPDATE II: Talking Points Memo notes that the op-ed also suggests minority voters somehow don’t count or aren’t the real voters:

Mitt Romney can take some solace in his devastating loss on Nov. 6: at least he won the voters who really count.

That’s the thesis anyway of top adviser Stuart Stevens, who penned an op-ed in the Washington Post on Wednesday arguing that by winning wealthier and whiter voters, Romney secured the moral victory over Obama.

“On Nov. 6, Mitt Romney carried the majority of every economic group except those with less than $50,000 a year in household income,” Stevens wrote. “That means he carried the majority of middle-class voters. While John McCain lost white voters under 30 by 10 points, Romney won those voters by seven points, a 17-point shift.”

According to Stevens, “The Republican Party has problems, but as we go forward, let’s remember that any party that captures the majority of the middle class must be doing something right.” As a result, “Republican ideals — Mitt Romney — carried the day.”

The implied argument that poorer votes are inferior seems to undercut the campaign’s central message over the last two years: that Romney’s top concern was providing jobs for the jobless. The unemployed Americans Romney highlighted in ads, speeches and photo-ops make under $50,000 a year almost by definition and campaign videos like the one below are jarring next to Stevens’ latest piece.

         

36 Comments

  1. If the GOP doesn’t adapt to appeal to a larger and more diverse segment of the electorate, I don’t think the Democrats will need a terrifically charismatic candidate to replicate Obama’s victories

    I think that’s the bottom line. It isn’t just about demographics either, it’s about a party that seems to believe the Walmart model is better than the Costco model. When people start realizing how little thier hard work is valued by people who they’ve voted for it’s just a matter of time before they switch loyalties. That realization may be slow in coming for some, but nothing focuses the concentration like pain.

    And yes, the sore loser-ism is pretty epic.

  2. Most Republicans I know are EXTREMELY dissappointed by the loss. This particuliar election has ignited issues of core beliefs far greater than political ideologies. It has touched on racial supremacy, class distinction, and religious dogma.
    The Republicans just didn’t lose a chance to control a working ( but limited) government that supported their fiscally conservative platform. They lost a chance to have their world view dominate, and they lost it to the very people who represent all they feel is inherently wrong with our country. A loss they will not accept.
    This I fear goes much deeper than sour grapes. This is a “them against us” mentality that will continue to be at the root of our congressional and senatorial conflicts for a very long time to come.

  3. sk, If the Dems had lost, I think there would have also been a lot of angst and anger, IMHO, because of all the time, money and BS that goes into current big, bloated, money driven campaigns.

  4. Hi dd..no…I don’t think you would see a such verbal backbiting, discontent, and poor sportsmanship even remotely on this level.
    As I said, This has less to do with political ideologies and more to do with core beliefs about race, class, religion and women….something which is a NON issue to Democrats. They have lost elections before, and will lose again, but this behavior from the Reps is UNPRECEDENTED….as the article states.

  5. I wonder just how much angst and anger would have come from the Democrats if they’d lost the White House? I’ve said before that this race was a mirror of the 2004 contest…a weak incumbent hated by the opposition, who ran a feckless out of touch Massachusetts flip flopper and lost.

    If I remember correctly, though, the Democrats didn’t whine nearly this much when their own stiff rich guy lost by a significant margin. There wasn’t the level of public finger-pointing we’re seeing from the GOP, and Kerry wasn’t caught blaming half the country for his own failures as a candidate. No, they went back to work, and a couple years later handed the GOP a mid term shellacking.

    The 2008 Democratic primaries were not a race to the base, but a fight over the middle that was whittled down to Hillary and Obama (the two most moderate candidates) by the end of January. They fought it out, to be sure, but didn’t damage each other like the GOP primary contenders did this year.

    I agree with sheknows…it goes deeper than sour grapes. What remains to be seen is if the GOP can get over it by 2014 or 2016. They won in 2010 primarily because of the Tea Party and the lousy economy. If the recovery continues, even at its present slow pace, will there even be a Tea Party movement 2 years from now? And in 2016 will the GOP fight over the middle like the Democrats did in 2008, or will they race to appease the base again?

  6. I find it quite telling that not one of the reasons he listed was actually what cost him the race. How about maybe, “Yanno, perhaps I shouldn’t have said F&*K you to 47% of Americans”, or perhaps I should have been more open with my tax returns, or my post election tax plan cuts, or anything along those lines. I find it funny he counted race and money among Obama’s advantages, when neither of those were in this race. Typical self delusion that I’ve come to expect from the GOP these days.

  7. LOL :0 You are funny dd. well for one thing I listen to the news and read the paper and hear for myself that the Reps will not stop attacking. Now you can speculate all you want about whether or not the Dems would have done the same, but we simply have no proof of that, either from past elections or presently. It is the Reps who keep casting aspersions and finding excuses for having lost the election by blaming the Dems. This isn’t tribalism..this is actually disgust. Aren’t YOU sick of hearing this crap??

  8. SK, “Aren’t YOU sick of hearing this crap??”
    I’m not hearing that much after a $2 billion dollar, 1.5 year charade. And, yes, it is tribalism and you belong to one tribe and I the other, that is how we often pick our political party (although I would love to be an Indie). The difference, IMHO, is that some are willing to give the other guys the benefit of the doubt on certain issues.

  9. Still lovin the both sides shtick eh dd? I guess it’s hard to drop a meme once you have a certain amount of love invested in it, no matter how hollow it is.

  10. Some noggins are hollow of respect of the other side as being as human as they are.

    I guess it’s hard to drop a meme once you have a certain amount of love invested in it, no matter how hollow it is./>

    I agree.

  11. What is there to give the benefit of the doubt on dd?? This article is about how Reps keep finding new ways of attacking Dems and blaming them for the loss of an election. It’s ENOUGH ALREADY !! Please God…make it stop!!
    Get over it Reps. Move on. GROW UP. Figure out how YOU failed and stop inventing excuses.

  12. Would you prefer that I agree with you and the Reps are whining and the Dems would not have? Fine, so be it.

  13. Ducky,

    The Reps are whining.

    In the run up to the election, they’d talked themselves into believing it was in the bag. When it turned out otherwise, they set about blaming literally everyone but themselves.

    Would the Dems have done the same?

    Maybe if they lose in 2016, we’ll see how they react. Until then…

  14. From what I have seen, the conservatives appear to be blaming the voters. Just my perspective.

  15. The Republicans just didn’t lose a chance to control a working ( but limited) government that supported their fiscally conservative platform. They lost a chance to have their world view dominate, and they lost it to the very people who represent all they feel is inherently wrong with our country. A loss they will not accept.
    This I fear goes much deeper than sour grapes. This is a “them against us” mentality that will continue to be at the root of our congressional and senatorial conflicts for a very long time to come.

    THIS.

    “Congressman Torn Between Meaningless Pledge To Anti-Tax Zealot, Well-Being Of Nation”
    http://www.theonion.com/articl.....ant,30539/

    PS: when did the onion become a news source? Dang.

  16. Gotta call shenanigans on the notion that only the GOP are poor losers. I remember the vitriol when Bush won re-election in 2004. The patterns are very similar: an uncharismatic challenger, polling surprises, cries of voter fraud, complaints of an “out-of-touch” party, etc. Friendships & families were broken up because of it, and there were cries of “let’s move to Canada.” I, for one, did not fly an American flag from my porch until Bush the Lesser was out of office, I as so disgusted with the man & his administration.

    The GOP certainly makes more noise about it because they have a billion-dollar media voice in Fox News/Rush Limbaugh/etc., but the Dems are no better.

  17. The results of this election give me a bit of encouragement about the quality of our electorate. That republicans are surprised and put out by this loss is mostly an indication of how fervently they’ve been buying into their own BS. A bubble like that can’t be sustained forever, eventually reality is going to intervene.

  18. Thanks, Barky, I was only guessing that the Dems would have had some people that would have whined if they had lost this election. It was not a prediction, just a feeling because with a $2 billion campaign some people would have been disappointed.

  19. In any contest, the post-mortem needs to include an honest redux of what went wrong. The dems would have been doing the same, I think, if they had lost, and that is as it should be; I have no doubt that there would have been lots of hand-wringing and complaining as well. The problem is that it seems like the only people being taken seriously by the GOP on the post-mortem analysis are the ones saying that there’s nothing wrong with the strategies and policies and candidates and positions taken by the GOP, that it’s all a flash-in-the-pan coincidence fueled by identity politics and moochers who want stuff from the government.

    I actually think Mitt Romney’s “47%” comment was prescient and perfect for what the GOP believes. What he misses about that is that if your policies are harmful and abhorent to half the country, maybe that’s not a problem with that half of the country, but with your view of it and your policies. If you don’t want the elderly poor to have healthcare, the elderly poor are not going to vote for you. If you think that going to college is a prize for who has enough money to pay for tuition plus the tiny percentage who gets straight-As in high school, instead of as a way to build up the country’s resources of educated people who will drive the country’s future, then I don’t want you as my president. If you think that statements like this are anything but crap:

    On Nov. 6, Romney carried the majority of every economic group except those with less than $50,000 a year in household income. That means he carried the majority of middle-class voters. While John McCain lost white voters younger than 30 by 10 points, Romney won those voters by seven points, a 17-point shift. … [A]ny party that captures the majority of the middle class must be doing something right.”

    …then you don’t deserve any votes from people who aren’t wealthy. (Mitt Romney lost, but he got all the GOOD votes, I guess?)

    Maybe the GOP problem has to do with their crap policies, and none of this other stuff that they’re trying to blame it on.

  20. By the way, is that picture of sour grapes from Berkeley Bowl? It must be!

  21. Good analysis, Roro, I agree.

  22. Instead of disparaging the 47% and writing them off, Romney should have looked at breakdown within that group and campaigned to them: On unemployment/welfare…I know you would rather have a job; on social security…I’ll make sure SS will still be around for your kids and grand kids; Disabled/disabled vets…I’ll go after those cheating the system taking away precious resources from those the system was set up to help etc. That being said, the number not paying federal income tax has increased significantly over the years: 1962, 23.7%; 1968, 12%; 1984, 14.8%; 2000, 34.1%; 2009, 49.5%.
    http://blog.heritage.org/2012/.....ome-taxes/

  23. Z..your source couldn’t be more biased and right wing. ” join Rush Limbaugh and the 700,000 conservatives in the Heritage foundation”……
    Sorry, those figures aren’t accurate.

  24. sheknows, Do you have an alternate source of information? And BTW, just because something is posted on Huffington, doesn’t mean I don’t evaluate it for merit.

  25. Zusai, no off hand I have no accurate figures on those who don’t pay fed taxes, but since 1962 it’s safe to say that many factors are in play. As with the 47% comment by Romney, later proven to show WHY that comment was inaccurate, I have to assume it is for the same reasons. Most of those who don’t pay fed taxes, actually DO pay other taxes..they just make so LITTLE they can’t afford federal taxes. But population increases, baby boomers and many other factors since then have come into play.

  26. It would have been nice if instead of disparaging the “47%” Romney would have campaigned to them, but that wouldn’t address the problem.

    Those people aren’t paying federal income taxes only because the tax code is unfairly tilted in favor of the poor. It isn’t because the bar for paying federal taxes has been lowered. No, it is because thanks to stagnant wages over the last 3 decades, more and more people have fallen below the bar.

    The problem isn’t that 47% and growing aren’t paying taxes. It is that 47% and growing don’t make enough to warrant being taxed. The solution to the problem is not to tax them – hitting them even harder than they’re already being hit – but by raising their income to the point where they rise above that low bar and into an income bracket where they can afford to have, as one billionaire put it, “skin in the game.”

    Let’s take those figures from the Heritage folks at face value for a moment. In 1968, only 12% were too poor to pay federal income tax. In 2009 it was 49.5%. In 40 years we went from a little over one out of ten people not making enough to be taxed, to a little less than half the population falling under that level.

    That’s not because an increasing number of people at the bottom have figured out how to alleviate their tax liability through clever accounting. It is because there is an increasing number of people at the bottom.

    And giving even more tax breaks to the top 1% will not help the 47%. We’ve been doing that for decades now, and wages have remained stagnant for the working and middle classes, while income disparity has skyrocketed to levels not seen since the Gilded Age.

  27. cjjack..Well said!

  28. What Cjjack said.

  29. From the CBS article, written in 2009:
    “An astonishing 43.4 percent of Americans now pay zero or negative federal income taxes. The number of single or jointly-filing “taxpayers” – the word must be applied sparingly – who pay no taxes or receive government handouts has reached 65.6 million, out of a total of 151 million.

    Those numbers come from an analysis published yesterday by the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution. Neither is a low-tax or conservative advocacy group; the Urban Institute was created under the Johnson administration during the Great Society era, and it receives most of its funding from the federal government.

    “You’ve got a larger and larger share of people paying less and less for the services provided by the federal government,” says Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center. “The concern is that the majority can say, ‘Let’s have more benefits, spend more,’ if they’re not paying for it. It’s ‘free.’ That’s not a good thing to have.”

    By historic standards, today’s situation is an aberration. Between 1950 and 1990, the number of owe-no-money federal tax returns averaged 21 percent, dipping to 18 percent in 1986, according to Tax Foundation data. In the 1990s, the owe-no-money percentage hovered around 25 percent of taxpayers.

    But then politicians began another round of tinkering with the tax code, adding reams of new pages to an already incomprehensible set of rules that even the guy overseeing the IRS can’t seem to figure out.

    Democrats wanted to lower taxes on the least affluent, while Republicans wanted to lower taxes on everyone. The result was bipartisan enthusiasm for tax credits aimed at everything from children (1997) and college students (1997) to hybrid cars (2005) and homebuyers (2009). Many of these credits dole out cash to people even if they report no income, making them mere government handouts.

    “There’s no difference at all in terms of the effects on the federal deficit,” says Williams of the Tax Policy Center. “It’s perfectly equivalent. It’s just easier to say, ‘I cut your taxes’ as opposed to ‘I created a new federal program to send money to people.’”

  30. Wow..I think we have sufficiently unraveled this thread to the point where the original article is just a giant lint ball.

  31. sour grapes…remember? Anyway, re: this off-shoot discussion cjjack said it all quite eloquently and accurately.

  32. Why do people say: “people that don’t pay federal income taxes”, the accurate way is to say “they don’t OWE any federal income taxes”. The former is a distortion, and unfair.

  33. Why do people say: “people that don’t pay federal income taxes”, the accurate way is to say “they don’t OWE any federal income taxes”.

    Well said dduck, that’s the best I’ve heard it explained and I agree with you 100%… Hope you were sitting down.:)

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