Going into yesterday, I told those that asked me that I gave McCain a 40% shot to win. I thought he had a shot at Pennsylvania. If he didn't win there, he had to run the table. I didn't think that could be done. My realistic odds were closer to 30% than 40%. Part of that was the McCain campaign's doing. Most of it was due to Congress, Bush, and Washington screwing up. This was not that hard to see coming. I'm not going to post anything close to the election that would decrease turnout on the right.
Obama's strategy was largely built on the 2000 Bush message and 2004 Bush organization with a few tweaks. Bush won largely thanks to the classic outsider message and by winning the ground game. Bush's people had a tin ear when it came to policy related issues, but they are ace organizers, and the difference was striking between 08 and 04. As far as Obama's campaign organization, Obama used to organize for a living. He was one of ACORN's best people. Seeing 2000 and 2004, the plan was all laid out for him and Axelrod. Obama expanded on the 2000 Bush strategy with with the financial jaggernault, a media in the tank for him, gullible voters and capitalizing on blunders. The one good thing I can say is that anytime one party gets total control of government, they eventually screw up badly. The Democrats will screw up badly, eventually. Chicago style Daley Machine Politics is coming to America. The bad part is that I'm going to get screwed as well as those who voted for them. Until then, protect your wallet, buy some more guns and ammo before the new bans (as soon as a high profile shooting takes place - it will nickle and dime us out), get out of the market before the capital gain increases and switch to other investments. They are going to do for this country what Granholm is doing here. Don't bitch to me about it if you voted for him. He's your president, not mine.
However the title of this isn't about how bad of a president Obama is going to be. It's titled Self-destructed - from 06 to today, and the way to climb back. I've always been a believer in taking care of our own house first. You don't beat even an empty suit with nothing. The worst aspect of the last few years in Congress is that the few real alternatives and the piss poor communication (and some cases, stepping on) of any alternatives that did exist. That was the biggest problem of the Bush administration and Congressional leadership.
1. Mistake number one is this. When Congress/Senate got its ass kicked in 2006, why did we put the same people in charge of leadership? Whips were put in charge when leaders were needed. John Boehner and Roy Blunt are not leaders. What alternatives to the crap from Pelosi that Boehner/Blunt proposed? Where was the fight against big government? They let Pelosi run the show and at most just said no and lost the vote. That's unacceptable. They needed then to put Pence (Who won with 65% overall and 56% in a county that Obama won with similar margin) Shadegg, and Hensarling in charge. They need to do that now, or at the very least take a page out of that playbook or they will not take Congress back, even when Obama screws up. Stop following and start leading. The GOP Congress spent time letting Bush do all the leading (he's not a leader. He'll sometimes take a stand, but there's more to leadership that just that.) and even stepped on the leadership of some of their own members at the behest of DC consultants and beltway people. That's unacceptable. That needs to change and change now.
2. Bailout. Bailout. Bailout. McCain sealed his defeat by his handling the bailout situation and never recovered. That lost much of the blue collar vote nationwide. After the house defeated the "crap sandwich" the first time, he suspends his campaign, and votes for a worse bill. McCain could have been the Maverick and fought this bailout bill for saying what it was, a bad bill, then offered an alternative. McCain's biggest strength was his fiscal restraint and he lost it there. Both parties were behind the bailout.
3. You had a matching funds candidate taking on a 500 million dollar machine, plus the union leadership, plus the media completely in the tank for Obama, plus the congressional money. There's only one way to fight against that and it is to run against the big money special interests. Run against them, expose them. What happened to taking down their names and making them famous? That needed to be done much more often than it was.
4. Cliff Taylor. This was the worst loss. We knew that Jon Stryker and his gazillions was going to try and take him out and we were unprepared to strike back. I saw a couple of anti-Hathaway ads, but why didn't we fight back with better ones, like Michigan's Surpreme Court being considered the best in the country, and show the voters why he deserved to keep the job. I did not see one Cliff Taylor sign. I tried for three months to get one. Most people did not know who Cliff Taylor was, but the democrats made sure their people did. The GOP has been counting on the incumbent tag and has neglected these races for years, counting on the Michigan Chamber of Commerce to do the job for them. The Chamber needs more help.
5. Conceding the state. Whoever that aide was that announced McCain was pulling out of Michigan needs to get blacklisted. If you pull out of states, you don't announce it to the world. That gets you tagged as a quitter. Even that aside, I was not laughing at Howard Dean's 50 state strategy in 2004. Reagan won 49 states. Probably more impressive given the quality of candidates, the first Bush won 426 electoral votes. Nobody comes close to that today. McCain lost many of his votes by not fighting hard there. Bush made the same mistake in 2000, but was able to run the table.
6. No planning whatsoever. When the party throws as many people to the wolves as they did, there needs to be mass firings up and down the board. This crap has gone on for too long and is a big reason why you will never see me ever donate to the NRCC or NRSC. The conventional way hasn't worked. The 1994 way did. It's a great blueprint. Stop tossing tough seats to the wolves and conceding them before it gets started. Limiting the playing field limits victories to running the table. Hell, this year in the senate, the NRSC considered losing 4 seats a victory. What the hell is that about? Losing one is defeat, but I expect to win every game I play. The worst case was in Arkansas. Pryor was almost unopposed. No Republican ran.
After 06, I posted these pieces and much of what I said then applies today.
First is why I supported Mike Pence for minority leader. Second is is Newt's advice about turning 2008 into 1994. That didn't happen. That did not happen largely due to putting the same people with the same strategy in charge. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Lastly in 2006, I said then that it was time for Big Government Conservatism to end. Two words with that. The bailout.
That common sense I posted in 2006 wasn't followed, and we got our asses kicked as a result. Now we're back in 1976 all over again. Now this is what I would do if I was GOP boss, both state or federal.
1. Run a slate in each state taylored to the dynamics of each state (or localities within the state). Obama's the money machine. They have a lot of money to defend seats. Run against the fat cats, K Street, and rich leftist hypocrites funding them. Contest all races, and pick a half-dozen issues to run on. Criteria for these candidates - no rematches. Once you're knocked out of congress, that's it. Game over. New blood is needed, as well as new ideas to change Washington without being changed by Washington. The slate needs to be by state. At the same time, that means putting up with Republicans who may be more liberal or conservative than others on some issues depending on the issues. That I'll get to more in "balance." Run on the 70% issues. This is to get around the money defecit that will happen under the Obama regime.
2. Balance. Outside of being a great communicator, this is what Reagan brought that people forget. He knew what played well in which state, and found a way to balance Western libertarians, Midwest conservative populists, Security voters, Northeast Rockefeller Republicans, and Southern Conservatives, and even was able to win California which while at one time was more Republican friendly, was never a conservative state statewide. The Republicans lost this when they ditched states rights. This more than anything else is the problem that Bush and Congress had. They alienated all groups here as some time or another. That I pin mostly on Bush's policies. This needs to be remembered with any nationalized campaign. Hit those 70% issues. Then leave the rest of the stuff to the states where it belongs. We don't need a constitutional amendment on gay marriage. I don't live in Massachusetts. I live in Michigan. We don't need DC'ers running our states. That goes for perscription drugs bills, no child left behind, and all the other "compassionate conservatism" stuff that was pushed over the last eight years. Leaving things to the states is what preserved the big tent.
3. Don't neglect the intellectual side of conservatism, especially limited government. We need the "Joe the plumbers" but we also need the Jerry Zandstras. Without the ideas, a party is bankrupt. Without practicality, a party is still in perpetitual defeat. Both are needed. This side has been neglected over the past few years in all areas outside of foreign policy, and even that is debatable. Newt Gingrich, Phil Gramm, and Dick Armey were never replaced in Congress. I don't always agree with them, but when they left was when the mismanagement really started to begin.
3. Screw mandates. They don't exist. Period. The democrats never let Bush have a mandate. In 2004, when the GOP gained seats along with the presidency, there was no mandate. Bush thought he had one. He thought wrong. In 1992, Bill Clinton thought he had a mandate. He thought wrong. "Mandates" last as long as the policy is accepted by the people. No more, no less. Those who think otherwise, overreach and lose their jobs. That goes for Democrat and Republican alike. If the GOP buys into the mandate talk, they'll lose more seats.
5. Run on the 70% issues. We can start with balancing the budget without raising taxes, something a democrat congress has not done since before my lifetime. It was the 1994 Republicans that did it. Other issues. Ballot integrity which democrats hate because they sometimes steal elections. These issues need to be brought up immediately when Obama takes office. The GOP members of Congress need to lead, communicate the message, and tell Pelosi, Reid and Obama to put up or shut up on fiscal responsibility. Pence brought in a balanced budget before. It got voted down by his own party. Guess who is still in office and ran ahead of the ticket. Guess whose leadership got an ass kicking. It's time to lead, and make them follow or at the very least, get the hell out of the way like Clinton did to an extent after 94.
Maybe this time Congressional leadership got the message and will stop listening to the DC beltway. If not, maybe their seats go next.