Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, November 17, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 16



 Mountain Views News Saturday, November 17, 2012 

HOWARD Hays As I See It



This will be the last postmortem of the 2012 elections, I promise. I’m revisiting 
the topic because I believe it is important that we truly understand why Mitt 
Romney lost and Barack Obama won. It’s not for the reasons being pushed 
forward by most of the mainstream media and liberal elites. It is not because 
demographics or cultural trends have somehow moved against the Republican 
Party or made the conservative message obsolete.

The accepted wisdom going into the election was three fold: 1) the 
conservative base would turn out in larger numbers than they did in 2008 because they were really 
angry about what Obama had done, 2) the liberal base would turn out in smaller numbers than they 
did because they were disheartened by what Obama had done, and 3) the independents would break 
for the challenger because that’s what they always do. 

The exit polling was absolutely fascinating. It confounded everything we thought we knew about the 
election going into it. Romney actually made gains (I repeat, gains) among women voters and younger 
voters. Yes, you heard that correctly! Despite the “war on women” and the extensive campaign 
waged by team Obama to convince the young and impressionable (college kids and the millenials) 
that Obama’s policies would meet their needs, Obama captured a smaller percentage of these groups 
which showed up to vote. Romney captured a larger share. Romney also captured a larger share of 
the self-identified independents that showed up to vote. Independents swung 13% in favor of the 
Republican ticket from 2008 to 2012. That is an astounding number!!! It doesn’t bode well for the 
Liberal approach to governance and policy.

So, why did Obama still win? It’s a great question, and the answer will undoubtedly surprise you, as 
it did me. Despite all the frustration and disappointment among conservatives with what Obama 
has done over the last 4 years, Republicans voted in smaller numbers in 2012 than they did in 2008. 
Now, it’s also true that Democrats voted in smaller numbers, but the Republican decrease was more 
pronounced than the Democratic decrease. This is the deadly stealth statistic of the 2012 election. I 
say this because Obama’s ground game was supposed to be superhuman, perfected in 2012 beyond its 
already impressive 2008 results. But there was dissatisfaction in the land. Fewer people turned out to 
vote in 2012 than did in 2008 – fewer Liberal diehards turned out than were expected or targeted. For 
all the money, and all the effort, the vaunted Obama machine didn’t turn out a larger vote.

In addition to this disaffection of the left, we were also supposed to find excitement among the right. 
Obamacare was supposed to be an issue. The economy was supposed to be an issue. America’s 
deteriorating prestige abroad and ability to influence foreign events was supposed to be an issue. 
The problem is that for these to have been critical electoral issues a candidate had to emphasize and 
reinforce them as such. There needed to be a candidate who articulated the problem and then offered 
a specific solution around which the generally speaking conservative-leaning population could wrap 
their hearts and mind.

Herein was the great tragedy that was the Romney campaign. With the exception of the brilliance 
of the first debate’s 90 minutes, there was no aggressive, articulate conservative candidate. Romney 
ran a no-risk unimaginative campaign which offered no compelling positive reason to vote for him 
as opposed to the other guy. It is a testament to our system that the electorate usually chooses to vote 
in favor of one candidate as opposed to choosing to vote against the other candidate. America was 
looking for a cogent argument about why they should vote for Romney. They wanted to vote for a 
new vision of American growth, for a new vision of how healthcare issues were going to be solved, 
for a new vision of U.S. leadership in the world. That message, that vision was never adequately 
developed or presented.

Independents broke for the challenger, but that’s what they typically do. But breaking for the 
challenger is not in any way, shape or form breaking for a vision. Independents weren’t casting an 
affirming vote for Romney as much as they were casting a condemning vote Obama. Independents 
did pretty much what they were expected to do, and if the conservative base had shown up as needed, 
the independents would have taken Romney over the top. 2012 witnessed fewer conservatives casting 
a vote for Romney than the conservatives in 2008 who voted for McCain. 

Among those who voted, Romney beat Obama 49% to 44% on the Obamacare issue and 51% to 
47% on the handling of the economy. Unfortunately, there just weren’t that many conservatives or 
conservative-leaning voters who turned out to vote. Romney’s team made a strategic decision to play it 
safe. They criticized Obama, but never really offered a cogent philosophy or set of policy prescriptions 
for why to vote for Romney. Without that commanding and inspiring vision, conservatives stayed 
home. Romney refused to put himself out there or to articulate a clear message of specifics that would 
reverse the impact of Obamacare, reinvigorate the economy and improve our international standing. 
His message was largely, “trust me, I know what I’m doing”. He played it safe, the other team swung 
for the fences, and the game broke for the man who was able to convince the dwindled electorate that 
somehow 4 more years of the same policy will generate distinctively different results.

In the end analysis, the demographic and generational changes were not the harbinger of greater 
potential danger for Conservatives. We lost because we didn’t have a candidate that truly spoke to 
the hearts of those who believe in smaller government, individual freedom, and fiscal sanity. Those 
concepts polled very well. We just didn’t have anyone who really advocated them with reverence and 

About the author: Gregory J. Welborn is a freelance writer and has spoken to several civic and religious 
organizations on cultural and moral issues. He lives in the Pasadena area with his wife and 3 children 
and is active in the community. He can be reached at

“. . . the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate 
loopholes. . . the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”

 - Bobby Jindal

 “If another Republican man says anything about rape other than it is a horrific, 
violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue.”

- Karen Hughes

 “It won’t kill the country if Republicans raise taxes a little bit on millionaires.”

- Bill Kristol

 Bobby Jindal is the Republican governor of Louisiana. Karen Hughes headed “public diplomacy” 
under President Bush. Bill Kristol is editor of the Weekly Standard, and longtime spokesman for 
conservatives. This is how Republicans assess the drubbing their party suffered in the election. And 
– they’re increasingly concerned about risking irrelevancy (as in Sacramento) unless House Speaker 
John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wake up and stop 
taking cues from those who predicted a Romney landslide.

 The matter at hand is the “fiscal cliff” addressed by President Obama in his press conference 
Wednesday morning. That “cliff” has a lot of layers to it that would make for a severe fall. First, there 
are those Bush tax cuts originally set to expire at the end of 2010. Republicans coming off wins in 
the mid-terms threatened to raise taxes on everybody unless millionaire tax cuts for the upper 2% 
remained untouched. Those tax cuts are due to expire again at the end of this year.

 Also set to expire December 31 are parts of the president’s economic stimulus, such as the cut in 
payroll taxes, waiving of the alternative minimum tax for middle-income families, hiring incentives 
for small businesses, and extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed.

 Another layer to the cliff is the “sequester” of funding for federal programs across the board 
(education, FEMA, Medicare, etc.), including $55 billion from next year’s Pentagon budget – all set to 
kick in January 1. Republicans insisted on this as part of their debt-ceiling deal, though they probably 
never thought they’d actually be faced with it as a looming reality.

 Writing in Forbes, Rick Ungar estimates this fiscal cliff of combined tax hikes and budget cuts would 
take some $800 billion out of the economy. Under that scenario, the CBO sees another recession 
hitting at the beginning of the year, with growth dropping by half a percent and unemployment rising 
above 9% by the end of the year.

 In his press conference, President Obama emphasized that a deal has already been struck in 
the Senate – significant cuts in federal spending combined with returning the marginal tax rate on 
income over $200,000 a year ($250,000 for families) to what it was under President Clinton. It’s a 
plan, he reminded, that would allow us to continue our recovery while protecting tax cuts for 98% of 
taxpayers, and 97% of small businesses.

 In the House, however, Speaker Boehner seems intent on protecting the Mitt Romney tax plan, 
though the candidate himself was soundly defeated at the polls. According to the Tax Policy Center, 
that plan gives a $175,000 average tax cut to those with incomes over $1 million a year and a $1,800 
cut to those in the $75,000-100,000 range. Those earning less than $30,000 would see their after-tax 
income go down by about $130.

 Republicans such as those quoted above are warning that playing a game of chicken with our 
nation’s solvency isn’t going to work today as it did two years ago. A Pew Research Center poll from 
last week found that should a deal not be reached to avoid that fiscal cliff, only 10% would blame both 
the president and Congress; 29% would blame President Obama, and a majority of 53% would place 
the blame squarely on Republicans in Congress. As the president noted, more Americans support his 
compromise plan than supported him for president.

 The day that poll came out, White House spokesman Jay Carney reiterated that the president won’t 
be signing any deal extending the Bush millionaire tax cuts to avoid the fiscal cliff. Democrats in 
Congress get the message, seeing additional seats gained in both the House and Senate. Republicans 
see prominent tea-baggers sent packing. Perhaps more will see that unless they engage in grown-up 
governing, they’ll see it’s their own party being shoved off the cliff. 

 On another subject: I don’t get a lot of comments on my columns – but I did receive a number 
of compliments on the one I did a few weeks ago on Malala Yousafzai – the Pakistani teenager 
recuperating from an assassination attempt by the Taliban, brought on by her very public advocacy of 
everyone’s, especially girls’, right to an education.

 If you can, try logging onto this website:

 There’s a short video narrated by former British PM Gordon Brown, now the United Nations Special 
Envoy for Global Education. He tells how November 10 (last Saturday) is “Malala Day”, a day in 
which a petition is presented to the Pakistani president holding over a million signatures from around 
the world in support of Malala’s cause – and decrying the fact of some 61 million children in the world 
denied a primary education.

 This goes beyond any left/right issue. It’s about a fifteen-year-old girl who took a bullet through her 
head but remains determined to return home and continue speaking out, knowing the Taliban has 
promised not to fail in a second attempt to kill her and permanently silence her voice.

 It’s about my writing these words late at night in my comfortable Sierra Madre home, then turning 
out the light, going up to bed, kissing my wife goodnight, then staying awake wondering if, of all the 
convictions I’ve written about in this column, if there were any I’d risk my life for.

 It’s about that world-wide slogan, “We are all Malala” – and wondering, how many of us really are? 

JOE Gandleman An Independent’s Eye



The 2012 elections surprised both sides and hit a reset button on the 
Obama administration -- and American politics. Here are 10 conclusions:

1. So much for Citizens United destroying the fabric of America with big 
bucks automatically meaning victory. Billionaire Sheldon Adelson would 
have gotten more bang for his buck if he had visited The Chicken Ranch.

2. Republican Party, you DID build that: From its wishful-thinking alternate 
reality; to its exiling and dissing of moderates who then voted for 
Barack Obama in huge numbers; to its polarizing talk show hosts turning 
off key demographic groups; to its cherry-picking partisan pollsters and 
voter suppression efforts that brought indignant targeted voters out to vote -- the GOP literally gave 
this election away. In the end, Clint Eastwood's empty chair symbolizes the inaccuracy of Republican 
assumptions about the Presidential race, the degree of national conservative support -- and about 

The National Journal's Charlie Cook writes about GOP primaries: "It would be easy to just blame 
[Mitt] Romney, but when he finally got around to being himself, in the first debate, his numbers 
moved up.... Instead, Republicans should be asking themselves about their own party and how they 
took a very smart and rational guy and made him turn into a pretzel to win the nomination—a contortion 
that left him unable to straighten himself out in time to win in November. The nomination 
process has been captured by such an exotic breed within the GOP that anyone emerging from it faces 
significant electability challenges."

3. The center lives: Losers included many high profile, outspoken, media-hungry Tea Party/Talk Radio 
Political Culture candidates that moderate voters couldn't stand.

4. Winning independents doesn't guarantee success. Romney won independents. Moderates flocked 
to Obama. The Democrats' coalition of women, Latinos, young people, and Asian and Jewish voters 
was as potent as the 2008 Obama coalition or the winning FDR coalitions. Some pollsters didn't correctly 
sample cell phone users. 

5. Serious analysts not political entertainers are the ones to watch for REAL predictions. The accuracy 
of New York Times' Nate Silver, the University of Virginia's Larry Sabato, and San Diego political scientist 
Samuel Popkin again demonstrated why they're the best in the business. Before the vote, Wall 
Street Journal's Peggy Noonan announced that "all the vibrations were right" for a Romney victory. 
She must have been feeling the vibrations from her TV tuned to "Fox & Friends."

6. Dick Morris MUST have something bad on Rupert Murdoch. What else can explain him continuing 
to be paid to make predictions so breathtakingly wrong that he further damages the Fox News 

7. Karl Rove Political Genius, Buh-Bye: Will Congress pass a special law to protect billionaires from 
Karl Rove? His costly PAC's efforts flopped, his on-the-air Fox News election night melt-down gave 
him an enduring image as a hack, and his plan to support more electable candidates in GOP primaries 
means he'll be at war with Tea Partiers. 

8. Telling post-election signs. Barack Obama teared-up thanking his young campaign workers. Mitt 
Romney's campaign staffers on election night found their campaign credit cards were turned off 
when they tried to pay for taxis taken home.

9. Big Labor is back and battling. No longer can you joke that you couldn't even start a labor union 
in a maternity ward.

10. Truth matters. Future campaigns will note that Mitt Romney's stunning discarding of past positions 
and his campaign's running of proven, false assertions may have backfired. Fox News has also 
been damaged by its dishonestly, badly misleading and misinforming viewers.

Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has appeared on cable news 
show political panels and is Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, centrists and moderates. 
CNN's John Avlon named him as one of the top 25 Centrists Columnists and Commentators. He can be reached at jgandelman@ and can be booked to speak at your event at