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?”
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.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.