Posts tagged Obama
Posts tagged Obama
Brothers and sisters: Before we open our hymnals and sing the many grim verses of “Now Cometh the Hard Part,” the quadrennial post-Election Day dirge, the congregation is kindly requested to indulge in a brief interlude of soul-replenishing joy. Go ahead. Relax those shoulders. Breathe. Linger a while over the night of Tuesday, November 6th. Congratulate the President on his reëlection. Play a clip of his stirring acceptance speech. Watch his handsome family waving to the jubilant crowd. Wave back. Replay in your mind, just for fun, the moment when Fox News’s Megyn Kelly rebuked Karl Rove for his refusal to accept the verdict in Ohio (“Is this just the math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better or is this real?”), before making her long trek to the reality-based precincts of the Decision Desk. Send a thank-you note to Bill Clinton, to the determined, foot-sore voters of south Florida, and—what the hell—to Chris Christie. Finally, bid a fond farewell to some of the gargoyles who have haunted your sleep in these many months of incessant cable-gazing, Web-cruising, and poll-checking. See ya later, Brothers Koch! Shalom, Sheldon Adelson! Get a new slide rule, George Gallup and Scott Rasmussen! Hasta la vista, Tea Party! Ciao for now, Donald Trump! Feel better? Good, because the celebration is officially over.
At some point, the Republican Party will pull out of its various funks and win again. There is a crop of smart young conservatives waiting in the wings, ready to lead Republicans and conservatism in new directions. But first, they will have to overcome the mindset on display in Daniel Henninger’s Wall Street Journal column entitled “The Racializing of American Politics.”
The usual suspects — Barack Obama, Democrats, the liberal media — are responsible for the racializing, of course. Henninger reserves special opprobrium for exit polls, which used nefarious racial designations to reveal that blacks, Hispanics and Asians voted overwhelmingly for Obama.
I wasn’t around at the time, but I suspect the racializing of American politics may have even earlier roots, perhaps around the time African slaves were brought ashore or maybe when the Founders put that awkward 3/5 provision in the Constitution. Both events sound pretty “racial.”
But Biden said “chains”!
This particular exchange between Ezra Klein and Chrystia Freeland stands out:
EK: You and I spoke shortly before the election for a piece I was doing on Romney’s history as a manager. These folks, too, are purportedly very data focused, very good at assimilating new information. So I find it genuinely scary that neither Romney nor his super-rich backers had any idea he was going to lose. All the polls, all the models, all the betting markets said he was likely to lose. How did a group of people who, in their jobs, have to be willing to read and respond to disappointing data convince themselves to ignore every piece of data we had?
CF: That’s the single most astonishing thing. By his own definition, Romney’s single strongest qualification to become president was analytically based, managerial excellence. And if the election campaign were the test of that, and even if you were ideologically his fan, you should think it right that he lost. Now, how could it happen? My first thought was it was also the case that all the smartest guys in the room managed to lose a lot of money in 2008 and managed to convince themselves of a set of very mistaken beliefs about where the markets where going to go. It was a lot of the same people on the wrong side of both bets.
But I find it truly mystifying. I don’t claim to have particularly unique insight. I think it could be a combination of things. One is a generic belief that in order to run for president you have to think you’re going to win. You can’t do it otherwise. A second thing, and this is not so much about the rich guys as about the Republican Party in America, I think Republicans have felt since the time of Ronald Reagan that they are the party that represents the true America, and that the Democrats might sometimes win, but it’s kind of an aberration. And when it comes to the super-rich guy dimension, and I imagine this has happened to Obama as well, when you’re a rich and powerful guy, it can make it hard to see reality, especially when you’re paying your campaign staff great salaries, as Romney was.
Truly the Romney campaign’s willful suspension of reality remains the strangest part of the campaign. I will be interested in insiders’ accounts of how this happened.
Not surprisingly, President Barack Obama’s Thanksgiving proclamations have been particularly pedestrian and perfunctory. God is lucky to get a mention or two. In his 2009 proclamation, the only reference to God came in a quote from George Washington. If his proclamation of America Recycles Day (“we rededicate ourselves to building a more sustainable future”) invoked the divine providence somewhere, it wouldn’t be so different in tone or content from his Thanksgiving proclamations.
What God has lost in prominence in Obama’s statements has been gained by the American Indians, in a bow to multicultural pieties. His 2010 proclamation described how a spirit of Thanksgiving “brought together the newly arrived Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe — who had been living and thriving around Plymouth, Mass., for thousands of years — in an autumn harvest feast centuries ago.” His proclamation last year urged the country “to remember the ways that the first Americans have enriched our nation’s heritage, from their generosity centuries ago to the everyday contributions they make to all facets of American life.” Near the end, that proclamation included the ringing, “Let us pause to recount the simple gifts that sustain us, and resolve to pay them forward in the years to come.”
Lo and behold, the God of conservatives is an angry God, who requires explicit shout-outs from Democrats. (Conservatives, He knows, don’t need to mention Him, cause He knows it’s all good). And this God gets angry when the other people of His world get mentioned, because in the tally of His peoples, only white southern conservatives count.
The solution was a program called Optimizer: A team of software engineers at Obama HQ in Chicago headquarters developed a system that collected reams of data on the pricing of TV ads. An analytics team, operating out of a side room half-jokingly dubbed “The Cave,” then sifted through the data in search of efficiencies.
The results prompted the Obama campaign to seek bargains outside of the usual local newscasts. And thanks to data it had already collected on likely voters, the geeks had a pretty good idea of where to look. For instance, the analytics team discovered that a large number of registered voters who had avoided watching the debates weren’t apathetic after all; they just had young kids and were too busy to tune in. “So then it’s like, ‘Okay, here are the households that watch Spongebob; what else are they watching?’” says Davidsen. The team used the same approach for voters tagged as non-news consumers or who watched fewer than two hours of television per day. “It was kind of like a secret weapon,” Davidsen adds.
Wow. Obama’s team deserves every extra vote they got.
(Source: Mother Jones)
That was just one of several ways that Mr. Obama’s campaign operations, some unnoticed by Mr. Romney’s aides in Boston, helped save the president’s candidacy. In Chicago, the campaign recruited a team of behavioral scientists to build an extraordinarily sophisticated database packed with names of millions of undecided voters and potential supporters. The ever-expanding list let the campaign find and register new voters who fit the demographic pattern of Obama backers and methodically track their views through thousands of telephone calls every night.
That allowed the Obama campaign not only to alter the very nature of the electorate, making it younger and less white, but also to create a portrait of shifting voter allegiances. The power of this operation stunned Mr. Romney’s aides on election night, as they saw voters they never even knew existed turn out in places like Osceola County, Fla. “It’s one thing to say you are going to do it; it’s another thing to actually get out there and do it,” said Brian Jones, a senior adviser.
The Oct. 3 debate sharply exposed Mr. Obama’s vulnerabilities and forced the president and his advisers to work to reclaim the campaign over a grueling 30 days, ending with his triumph on Tuesday. After a summer of growing confidence, Mr. Obama suddenly confronted the possibility of a loss that would diminish his legacy and threaten his signature achievement, the health care law. He emerged newly combative, newly contrite and newly willing to recognize how his disdain for Mr. Romney had blinded him to his opponent’s strengths and ability to inflict damage.
Mr. Obama recognized that to a certain extent, he had walked into a trap that Mr. Romney’s advisers had anticipated: His antipathy toward Mr. Romney — which advisers described as deeper than what Mr. Obama had felt for John McCain in 2008 — led the incumbent to underestimate his opponent as he began moving to the center before the debate audience of millions of television viewers.
The disdain between the two men comes as no surprise, being an open secret among pundits. What is surprising, however, is Obama’s promise to reach out to Romney in the coming weeks. What will two men who hate each other’s guts say?
The most concrete thing that strikes me about this public verdict is that Health Care Reform, Obamacare, a system of near universal coverage that will provide a framework for future reform, is here for good.
It withstood the challenge of the conservative judiciary. It survived a national referendum. As Bill Kristol wrote memorably back in late 1993, the reason conservatives fought this so hard is because they knew that once it was in place the public would never let it be taken away. And it won’t. It’s here for good. That alone would seal President Obama’s legacy.
According to Carolina Transparency, there is some very good news from the early voting in North Carolina. Obama has managed to increase the share of African-Americans voting (from 26% to 27%). This number 26% s a very important number on the national stage as well as in North Carolina. It is also the percentage of non-white minorities who voted in the 2008 election. If that number goes up, the math grows much harder for Mitt Romney.
If Obama has managed to increase his share of the African American vote across multiple battleground states, Mitt Romney could be in deep trouble.
These basic characteristics were repeated in all the offices I visited: The Obama offices were devoted almost entirely to the president’s reelection; the Republican offices were devoted almost entirely to local candidates, with little presence for Romney. In Greenwood Village, Colorado, I walked in past a handwritten sign reading “WE ARE OUT OF ROMNEY YARD SIGNS,” then had a nice chat with a staffer for Rep. Mike Coffman. In Canton, Ohio, the small GOP storefront was dominated by “Win With Jim!” signs for Rep. Jim Renacci. Obama’s nearest offices in both places were all Obama. In Canton, a clutch of yard signs for Sen. Sherrod Brown leaned against a wall, but table after table was filled with Obama lit — Veterans for Obama, Women for Obama, Latinos for Obama, and so on. The Obama campaign uses cell phones exclusively, while the Republicans use Internet-based land line phones programmed to make voter calls. Every Obama office has an “I Support the President Because…” wall, covered with earnest paeans to Obamacare and the like.
It is surprising, given the closer correspondence between local campaigns and Mitt Romney’s campaign, that his coattails are not reaching further.