Some post-election must-reads:

Mitt Romney

The election is over, alas … but it’s never really over until all the post-mortems are in. Here are some good ones for you to enjoy. 

At Salon, the great Steve Kornacki (also an MSNBC host), has this to say about sore losers:

Mitt Romney has been publicly quiet since his brief remarks on Election Night, but he told his top donors on a conference call yesterday that Barack Obama had won by giving “very generous” freebies to key constituencies, including blacks, Hispanics and young people.

“The president’s campaign,” Romney said, “focused on giving targeted groups a big gift, so he made a big effort on small things. Those small things, by the way, add up to trillions of dollars.”

Romney surely didn’t mean for his remarks to become public, but he probably shouldn’t be surprised that they leaked. After all, the same thing happened when he told donors earlier this year that 47 percent of the electorate would vote for Obama “no matter what” – because they “believe that they are victims” and that “they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

A tape of those comments emerged in September, and Romney eventually repudiated them and spent the rest of the campaign insisting that he would be a president for “the 100 percent.” That he’s still disparaging Obama’s coalition behind closed doors all but confirms that his campaign trail pleadings were insincere. It also reinforces the worst image of Romney, as a sneering plutocrat who has contempt for the common man.

But mainly, it’s just bad form. Romney was roundly defeated last week, and the man who defeated him has now publicly saluted him twice. This is the time for Romney to show grace, humility, and maybe some humor too. Instead, he’s coming across like a sore loser, one who’d rather make excuses than give his opponent any real credit.

Read the whole thing at Salon.

Also at Salon: Gallup is very angry at Nate Silver. To which I say, “heh!”

BTW if you feel like a laugh, take a gander at Frank Newport’s Gallup self-defense. Also, “heh!”

Staying with Mitt Romney’s “Obama is the candy-man” gripe, Andrew Sullivan has a great take at The Daily Beast, which can be summed up in the following phrase, best read in a pirate voice: “bribery, I tell ya! Briiiibery!” A clip:

A couple of obvious questions. Does Romney understand that he is essentially saying that Democratic voters were not interested in the common good, that they had no opinions about the issues as a whole, but were simply after getting “stuff”, as Bill O’Reilly explained. Does he understand how that insults the intelligence and good faith of a majority of Americans?

And nothing is free in government. It either has to be paid for in taxes or borrowing. So is Romney’s very low tax rate (compared with mine), for example, not a gift from the government? Are all the net federal transfers of wealth to red states not also, by that logic, a gift? What would Romney call getting offered a job with zero risk (Bain Capital), and a promise that if the investments did not work out, he could go back to his old job with no penalty, and retroactively get all his previous salary paid? Was that a gift as well? Or was that thriving, striving, Deseret?

Also at The Beast, this from the increasingly indispensable Michael Tomasky:

It’s nice that Bobby Jindal laid into him, but honestly: among rank and file conservatives, what percentage do we reckon agrees with Romney, and what percentage with Jindal? Romney was articulating a longstanding conservative view of government clientelism. It was an argument made against Social Security in the 1930s, Medicare in the 1960s, the Clinton health plan in the 1990s, and Obamacare today.

Romney’s words are straight out of Martin, Barton, and Fish, or Albert Jay Nock, the noted libertarian anti-New Dealer. There is no ability to see that these programs might help people; only that they were created cynically for the purpose of getting their votes and, by implication, turning them into slaves of the states …

And I wrote a take on the subject summarizing the critiques of Romney’s foolish loser excuse at TheGrio.

Romney misses the point when he reduces that strong turnout — and the record 72 percent of Hispanics and two-thirds of young voters who preferred Obama over him, to a transaction in which those votes were exchanged for trinkets (I for one have not received my “gifts…”). He would do better to begin his assessment by looking in the mirror.

… It’s not just black voters who turned their backs on Romney and his campaign.

He, after all, was the author of a 2009 op-ed saying the federal government should “let Detroit go bankrupt”; produced false ads claiming Chrysler was going to outsource Jeep jobs to China, only to be slapped down by both General Motors’ and Chryslers’ CEOs; named as his running-mate Paul Ryan, the author of a House of Representatives plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program; and made serial mistakes during the campaign — including the infamous “47 percent” remarks — that alienated white working class voters, who were crucial to Romney’s defeat in his home state of Michigan, Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin, and of course, in Ohio.

It’s also not exactly rocket science that Latino voters preferred the president who issued an executive order protecting young DREAMers from forced separation from their families, to the guy who advises immigrants to self-deport while referring to human beings as “illegals.”

Is Romney really so shocked… shocked!… to discover that young people preferred the guy who cut banks out as student loan middlemen and expanded Pell Grants, over the team that wanted to eliminate federal education funding and slash the Department of Education down to the size where you can drown it in a bathtub?

And it’s not exactly surprising that women who were appalled by the number of Republicans who made contraception, abortion and even rape into campaign issues decided to pass over the ticket that included Congressman Ryan, who has described rape as just another “method of conception,” and go with the guy who signed the Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay Act.

That’s not transactional — it’s rational. Even Ayn Rand would say so. …

Over at New York Magazine, we uncover the latest Republican scapegoat for their Election Night shellacking: GOP primary debate moderators! Damn them!

Also at NYMag, Jonathan Chait’s epic post-election piece: “we just had a class war, and one side won.” It’s a must-read. A clip:

When President Obama took the stage at McCormick Place in Chicago well after midnight, we were all too wiped out with joy or depression or Nate Silver auto-refresh fatigue to pay careful attention to the speech the newly reelected president delivered. The phrase that lingered in most of our sleepy ears was the reprise of his career-launching invocation of the United States as being more than red and blue states. So soaring, so unifying. But those words were merely the trappings of magnanimity draped over an argument that was, at its core, harsher than the one he had regularly delivered during the campaign.

The telling phrase came when Obama turned away from the thank-yous and patriotic hymnals into the guts of his remarks. “Despite all our differences,” he transitioned, “most of us share certain hopes for America’s future.” The key term here is “most,” as opposed to “all”—“most” meaning less than 100 percent and possibly as little as 51 percent. He attributed to most Americans a desire for great schools, a desire to limit debt and inequality: “a generous America, a compassionate America.”

Obama then proceeded to define the American idea in a way that excludes the makers-versus-takers conception of individual responsibility propounded by Paul Ryan and the tea party. Since Obama took office, angry men in Colonial garb or on Fox News have harped on “American exceptionalism,” which boils our national virtue down to the freedom from having to subsidize some other sap’s health insurance. Obama turned this on its head. “What makes America exceptional,” he announced, “are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth. The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.” Obama invoked average Americans living out this ethos of mutual responsibility (such as a “family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors,” the example of which stands at odds with the corporate ethos of a certain ­Boston-based private-equity executive). And even the line about red states and blue states began with the following statement: “We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions.” …

Read the whole thing here.

And while we’re rounding up Romney excuses for losing, shall we add …

Because Bill Clinton said Hurricane Sandy did it …” which a) doesn’t make sense because Sandy hit primarily blue states, b) I somehow doubt that Bill Clinton called Romney and said that … and

Because the primary was butt-ugly…”

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2 Responses to Some post-election must-reads:

  1. Robert Pheanious says:

    Like most sane Americans I wanted Obama to win reelection.What I was afraid of and still am was the fact that so many people -millions- were willing to vote for Romney.He was like a bad dream. I thought he represented no one.He was so shallow,so devisive.A terrible candidate but after every gaff every slip of the mask he was given a clean slate to start over again as a viable candidate.The election reminded me of things that would happen in elections in emerging democracies.The one percent is not going to stop trying to regain power.They are not going to try and represent the whole country.They are not going to evolve.They are going to wait for an opening and attack.” Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it “

  2. Kiran says:

    arj, I do think that Giuliani’s been hurt in this process. He’s down more than 10 poitns nationally.Carlos, Dick Morris is pro-Huckabee and anti-Romney. He’s a past advisor of Huckabee campaigns.arj is right that you’re correct about Romney offering nothing to a VP ticket. Whoever gets nominated (Giuliani, McCain, or Romney) will want someone from the South. I’m going to be fasting and praying between now and the Republican convention that this does not end up being Huckabee, though a Guiliani-Huckabee ticket is all-too-probable, given Giuliani’s need to mobilize the Bible-vomiters.arj is also right that Romney was quite unlikely to win re-election as Governor in Massachusetts. He was reasonably popular, but Shannon O’Brien (his Democratic opponent) was a very week opponent. Duval Patrick, who was Romney’s successor (and another prominent black politician) is an exceptional campaigner, and would likely have beaten Romney, though not by as much as he beat Romney’s Lieutenant Governor, Kerry Healy (a woman politician who was a good enough candidate personally, but who had no organization or advisors because the state Republican party in Massachusetts is basically non-existent and Romney’s organization went with Romney to campaign nationally for the Republican nomination.)And the reason Liddy Dole didn’t do well in Republican primaries is the same reason Dick Lugar didn’t, and it had nothing to do with sex in either case. She just never materialized into a compelling candidate. Most candidates don’t. The other women candidates (e.g., Carol Mosly Brawn) never even stood a chance at making it to the first tier of candidates.Dan, national polls comparing candidates mean nothing right now. Remember George H. W. Bush’s 1988 campaign in its infancy? People were sure he’d lose because he couldn’t shake his wimp image (there was even the famous Newsweek cover with the photo of George H. W. Bush and the word WIMP in pink letters). By 1992, everyone thought that he was unbeatable thanks to record-high approval ratings. Regarding Obama and his liberalism: He was among the most liberal state-senators in a very liberal state (and he’s only a few years out of the state senate, after all).Devyn, the liberals want Huckabee to win almost as bad as conservatives wanted Dean to win it 2004. The difference: Iowa liberals in 2004 proved to be smarter than Iowa conservatives in 2008.Steve Evans, you’re absolutely correct.Todd Wood, I’m glad you like Bible-vomiting evangelicals. I coined it myself.Clark, being underwhelmed by primary choices is practically a national pastime.jjohnsen, here’s another blanket statement: It’s utterly impossible for core-Democrats (the ones who vote in primaries) to chose a president who will be good for America; the question is merely which one will do the least amount of harm. If they weren’t so anxious and eager to predict and bemoan America’s next defeat (as we saw earlier this year when the Democratic leadership wanted every excuse to cut and run in Iraq, but had to shut up when sticking it out proved them wrong), then things might be otherwise. But the sad truth is this: The only constituency more damaging to US interests than the religious right are the core-Democrats.kevinf, qualifications have very little to do with presidential campaigns. If history is any record, they have little bearing on presidential effectiveness.Brad, the accusations of rape against Bill Clinton are pretty compelling. I believe that he should at least have been put on trial for them.Jeremiah J, if you think that my predictions are things that I desperately hope will happen, then you’re giving me too much credit best I can tell, I haven’t strayed much from conventional wisdom. But it’s easy enough to prove you wrong. Read my response to Margaret Young.Furthermore, you haven’t read me very closely if you’re under the impression that I think that Romney’s a great and appealing politician. This seems to be more what you desperately want to think I believe, but it sure is not what I believe.And Obama is easily the most liberal candidate after Kucinich. Look at his record in the Illinois state senate. Bible-vomiting refers especially to any evangelical who is anti-Mormon enough to ask, Don’t Mormon’s believe that Jesus is Satan’s brother? or to vote for someone who asks that. Although I’m an active Mormon, I’m proud to stand in the company of atheist secularists when it comes to decrying the stupidity of Bible-vomiters. (I’ve been an atheist, and I think it’s a perfectly respectable position. In fact, it’s not all that different from Mormonism. Atheists believe that all religions are false, and we Mormons believe that all religions are false but one. A difference of one is hardly even worth mentioning.)Margaret Young, I’ll take your bet. My prediction about who is ultimately going to win the nomination has been the same since last summer: Hillary vs. Giuiliani. My prediction for who wins the presidency: Hillary by at least 8%. (Sigh. Boy-oh-boy, do I hope I’m wrong.)Mark D and Carlos, there’s zero chance that Utah will vote for Obama. Alan Keyes was the most conservative candidate seeking the Republican nomination in 2000. The last Democrat presidential candidate they voted for was Johnson. Not only was that 4 decades ago, but it’s a biased sample: Johnson won in every state no matter how Republican except Arizona (Goldwater’s home) and a handful of staunchly Democratic southern States (thanks in part to his opposition to the Civil Rights Act). In any event, it’s been decades since race/ethnicity has been a major factor in politics among whites, though you’d never know it listening to those who are perceived (rightly or wrongly) as black leaders. Obama’s victory in Iowa, to be sure, is a landmark event. But make no mistake: It’s a lagging indicator.

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