One, Republicans really need to remind Obama that he won a pretty close election, indeed, a lot closer than his first election in 2008. That means he has actually lost political capital since then. The fact is, slightly more than half the country voted for him, which means almost half the country voted against him. He is not Lyndon Johnson in 1964 or Ronald Reagan in 1984. Both won legitimate landslides, and could thus claim a real mmandate. Obama has no such mandate, and Republicans should tell him, in no uncertain terms, to stop
acting like he does.
Furthermore, this was basically a status quo election. The political landscape on November 7th was little different from what it was on November 5th. Obama was still president and the Dems still had the Senate, but the GOP still had the House, and more important, most of those Tea Party guys elected in 2010 were still there. There was no great Democrat Tidal Wave, never mind how much the media and the Democrats themselves would like to tell you otherwise.
Of course, things could have been different. Had Mitt Romney played to win, as opposed to playing not to lose, he could have, and should have, won. I don’t blame Romney entirely. He seemed to be under the (not entirely unreasonable) impression that any sitting president with a record as bad as Obama’s simply couldn’t get re-elected, not as long as his opponent was at least reasonably competent. And Romney was plenty competent. So his campaign strategy seemed geared more to not making any mistakes as opposed to going after Obama agressively.
Unfortunately, Romney did make two big mistakes. The first was allowing Obama’s attacks on his business record to go unanswered. As an email friend observed, they basically took a classic American success story and turned him into Gordon Gekko. The second mistake was allowing Obama to get away with blaming his
own failures on President Bush. Romney should have said, in either TV ads or, better yet, one of the debates – “Mr. President, leaders don’t whine, make excuses and blame the other guy. They take responsibility themselves, roll up their sleeves, and start fixing the country’s problems. But you have fixed nothing, solved nothing, and offered nothing but excuses. That’s not leadership. You should step aside and let a proven leader lead, one who won’t whine, make excuses, or blame others”. There! A simple statement like that would shut down Obama’s whole “Blame Bush” strategy and made him look like the whiny excuse maker he really was.
But it’s too late now. still, we can learn from the past. Next time, no more playing it safe. Be agressive and exploit every weakness the enemy has. Hardnose politics works, the Willie Horton ads worked (no matter how much the liberals whined about them, which was just proof that they worked) and the Swift Boat ads worked, too. Hit ‘em on the personal stuff, hit ‘em on the political stuff, and especially hit ‘em on their extreme left wing ideology. Point out that theirs is an alien ideology that is against the very principles and ideals this country was founded on. It might not work right away, but do it often enough and long enough, and it will definitely pay off down the road.