“Uh oh …” was my reaction Tuesday night after our poll (Horsham 1-3) closed and our group sat around a table as the votes were tallied. I hadn’t been expecting a Miracle (Rooney over Schwartz), but I thought the Hail Mary (Romney over Obama) might connect. And if not that, then surely the Hare would beat the Tortoise (Smith vs. Casey).
I hadn’t felt particularly confident in the days leading up, even as I pushed the message and radiated a positive demeanor. But when I saw The GOP Headliner up by only 35 votes in our precinct, I was immediately apprehensive.
Beginning Wednesday, I tried several times to write a perspective on the results of Tuesday’s election, but they sounded either vindictive or whiny. The last thing I wanted to do was place blame on someone – like those misguided attempts to vilify NJ Governor Chris Christie. So instead, I’ll just throw out some of my own perceptions, and let it go at that. Bigger Republican minds will grope with this problem, and I’m pretty sure they won’t be placing any calls my way.
- Can a Moderate Republican win a National election?
Damn good question … Hard to imagine it happening when any Moderate running for The Oval Office feels compelled to zig hard to the Right to survive a primary campaign, then zag back to the Political Middle where all the undecideds reside. What results are too many YouTube moments and enough potential flip-flops to shod a herd of shoobies.
Said Moderate has to stick to his guns; run as a Moderate; and let the dip chips fall where they may. A Conservative doesn’t have that problem in the primary battles; but in this case at least, it probably wouldn’t have altered the outcome.
Seems to me that a Moderate Democrat finds it much, much easier to zig to the Left and then zag back to the Middle than it is for a Republican to do so on the other side. Quite the conundrum …
- Rejecting the 10-for-1 deal
A disaster from the instant the question was asked during a primary debate in Iowa. How does one candidate – let alone an entire party of them – sell themselves as pragmatic Budget Solvers when not one of them jumped on the theoretical $10 in budget reductions for a $1 boost in taxes deal? Just call it the Norquist Curse.
- Mitt’s tax issues
Romney’s tax returns were an albatross throughout the election, although I supported the position that they were irrelevant and simply political noise created by the Democrats to keep Mitt off-balance.
What I would have done was to release all those past tax returns (assuming there’s nothing mortally wounding in them) during the Democratic National Convention. The Dems would have been sufficiently distracted and the media ruckus the returns stirred up would have pulled some of the limelight away from the DNC fest.
- Economy?!? What economy?!?
Appears that at least 50% of the Electorate either doesn’t really care or they have a warped sense of how long – in Economic terms – four years really is. Perhaps a new Rule is necessary for limiting how long an incumbent can keep blaming his predecessor for the difficulties of Leadership. One wonders whom President Obama will blame now that he’s the Predecessor-elect …
- Protecting the vote
In my humble opinion, bringing this up in a Presidential election year was a classic case of unholstering the sidearm; pointing it at the top of your Oxford wingtip; and letting loose a round. Even if it wasn’t intended to influence a specific election, it sure LOOKED like it was! So, let’s keep pushing the current initiative to its conclusion and provide another layer of security to an important process. Just leave the politics out of it!
- Social Issues
I’m dancing through the minefield here; because for many fellow Republicans these issues will remain of paramount importance. These issues, which include such demographically loaded issues as immigration and gay rights, will continue to be an albatross that prevents the GOP from broadening its political base.
My point here is that, with all the other more direct and pressing problems the Nation faces, we – as a Party – must recognize the political limitations and liabilities these positions represent.
Voter impressions from Election Day:
It’s always a fun distraction, while spending a day at the polls, to watch the infrequent voters who only show up for the Big Headline elections. You can spot them when they come in the door, looking as if they just stepped through a portal into another dimension. Is this the right place? Where do I go? Who ARE these people?!?
Pet peeve of mine are those voters who think we have important elections only once every four years.
One woman – with child in tow – had no idea where she was supposed to vote, and instead of taking responsibility for no knowing for herself, promptly and loudly complained that WE weren’t being helpful enough!
Reminded me of a moment during the 2008 election when – again – all the infrequent voters popped up to make their preferences known. One voter, who seemed more interested in proving a “voter suppression conspiracy” than figuring out where her polling place was located, accused us of attempting to suppress her rights when we asked for her place of residence which – by the way – determines which polling place to use.
Convinced we were trying to mislead into going somewhere else to vote (i.e. across the street!), she stormed past us – finger waving all the way – and up the three flights of stairs to the polling room. Five minutes later she comes quickly down the three flights of steps, head bowed, avoiding all eye-contact, and sheepishly walked across Meetinghouse Road to her proper poll location.
Learning something new:
One thing I learned this past Election Day was how Absentee Voters are prevented from casting in-person ballots. This question was brought up to me during the day, and I found out how it works from an election clerk as we watched the early returns at a local restaurant.
When an Absentee Ballot is mailed, the voting roll book is annotated with the fact that the Voter submitted such a ballot. The book is annotated, where the Voter would register with their signature, in red lettering so to be immediately noticeable.
And yes, this election clerk stated that several attempts were made by Absentee Voters to vote in person! When this happens the Absentee Ballot is removed from those to be counted at the end of the night, and the Voter is allowed to cast an in-person ballot. Of course the Voter does have the option to let the Absentee Ballot stand.
Same experience with occasional voters a few times, as an exit pollster, here in warrington. It was funny and not so funny.