Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Why Did Obama Win? 3 Perspectives

Before I call it a night -- and a hugely disappointing one at that -- here are two perspectives on what happened.

Meryl Yourish explains How Obama Won Re-Election:
With the economy still in the tank, our standing in the world beneath what it was when W. was president, our debt larger than it has ever been, what, you may be wondering, got this crappy president re-elected?

  • Media covering for him on economy: Check.
  • Media covering for him on Libya: Check.
  • Media covering for him on the debt: Check.
  • Media covering for him on the failure to have a budget for three years: Check
  • Media covering for him on crony scandals like Solyndra: Check
  • Media covering for him on horrible FEMA response to Hurricane Sandy: Check
Read the whole thing.

Jennifer Rubin, on the other hand examines the tactical mistakes that led to a Romney loss:
Plainly Romney team officials overestimated their strength in Colorado, Iowa and Florida, which they had expected would narrowly go their way. Ohio was in their minds a dead heat that could be won on the ground. It wasn’t. The auto bailout and the improved economic condition in the state spelled defeat for Mitt Romney.

Romney proved to be a better candidate than many expected, but he was not able to shake the conviction of enough voters that things were getting minimally better. There will be plenty of discussion about the low percentage of Hispanic votes garnered by Romney, but it was not the decisive factor. Some conservatives will insist that a more stringent conservative would have made better use of the Romneycare [Obamacare?] issue. But that didn’t seem to be the decisive issue, either. If Romney had made more hay out of Obama’s foreign policy failings, would that have made a difference? Unlikely.

Part of the explanation is certainly the war that Obama waged during the summer. And although stunningly effective debate performances reenergized Republicans, it was not enough to dislodge Obama from the presidency.
Read the whole thing.

I have no idea how to counter the increasing media liberal bias. I am of course used to seeing it applied to the media coverage of Israel, but seeing it avoid key issues on the one hand while creating others out of whole cloth seemed to be something new.

How does one get the electorate to approach the media more critically?

On the other hand, Rubin does have some advice for the GOP:
Republicans now will need to develop a strategy for addressing our fiscal problems with only one house of Congress in their possession. They will need to look at what the voters are telling them and who the voters are in the 21st century — fewer marrieds, more secular, more ethnically diverse.
We may be more diverse, but according to James S. Robbins of the Washington Times, we are more polarized as The United States has become two separate nations:
America is experiencing a hardening of ideological categories. Republicans are becoming more conservative and Democrats more liberal. Crossover voting is practically nonexistent. Partisans vote their tickets, leaving the shrinking center to decide the race. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former chief of staff of the Obama White House, said the election would be decided in “five states and 500 precincts,” and it may have been even fewer. The rest of the country was essentially irrelevant and is divided between relieved winners and losers nursing a grudge.

This is the character of contemporary American politics, a ceaseless war for supremacy with no quarter asked or given. Barack Obama and George W. Bush stand as the most divisive presidents in recent history. Congress is more polarized now than at any time since the years after the Civil War. The Supreme Court is split into blocks that disagree even over the fundamental matter of constitutional interpretation.

The fractured government is the product of a divided society. The United States is populated by groups of people who may as well be living in different countries. They have separate histories, cultures and visions for the future. They are two distinct nationalities, divided by mutual distrust and joined by mammoth public debt.
Read the whole thing.

In the face of the enormous challenges facing the US -- both here and abroad -- the need for the ability to compromise becomes that much greater:
Compromise has become a dirty word in politics, but it’s imperative to embrace this value if the government is to function as it was intended...

A successful president must master the art of the deal. All of the hard issues that were shunted off until after the election — budget sequestration, taxes and the debt limit — will come due soon. The executive and legislative branches must work together to stave off the approaching fiscal train wreck. This will require a degree of leadership the country hasn’t seen in many years.
The divisions are divisions that were utilized if not outright exploited by an Obama campaign that long ago dismissed the promise of a great uniter. The problems are for the most issues that have only grown worse while still being blamed on a president whose term ended 4 years ago. And the issues abroad become more stark as radical Islamists have demonstrated that they can still reach out and kill Americans.

As Robbins writes:
America has chosen a leader; it remains to be seen if he can and will truly lead.

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