By Carole on Nov 4, 2010
With the 2010 midterm elections and the two year campaign that preceded them in the national rear-view mirror, we have at least a few moments before the 2012 campaign begins to reflect on lessons learned (or lessons that should have been learned) over the last 24 hours.
1. Constantly referring to the Republicans as 'the party of no' was great...for the Republicans. The huge gains that have given the GOP control of the US House of Representatives prove that the vast majority of Americans believe that "no" is the right answer if the question is "Do you support the Obama agenda?"
2. President Obama will continue to make promises to groups of Americans that he has no intention of keeping. On what seemed like the first day of Campaign 2012 for the presumptive Democratic nominee, Candidate Obama said that repealing 'don't ask, don't tell' should not be a partisan issue and that the uncertainty created by lawsuits over the policy must end. (source) On a slightly related note, President Obama's administration has recently filed an appeal to prolong the most recent lawsuit on the matter in the hopes of overturning the judicial ruling against that policy.
3. The mainstream media can dish it out but they can't take it. In a live election night interview, Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) didn't take the bait from MSNBC's Chris Matthews and wouldn't turn her time on camera into some kind of gotcha moment about possible investigations of the administration by the new GOP majority. Instead she reported on what message the American people had sent with their votes because the alleged journalists refused to do their job. The frustration in Mr. Matthews' voice and bobble headed agreement by his equally biased colleagues gave the audience great insight into how the petulant mainstream media will perform now that the single-party rule they had helped to bring about has ended.
4. President Obama plans to adjust his style rather than change his course. In today's press conference, President Obama acknowledged that he is perceived as anti-business but at the same time refused to acknowledge that his policies actually are anti-business admitting only that his relationship with private sector businesses "has not been managed by me as well as it needed to be." (source)
5. President Obama questions only his methodology not his policies. Trying to portray his congressional cronies as victims instead of accomplices, Mr. Obama claimed that for him the toughest part of last night's election results is "seeing really terrific public servants not have the opportunity to serve anymore at least in the short term... there's not only sadness about seeing them go but there's also a lot of questioning on my part in terms of could I have done something differently or done something more so that those folks would still be here. It's hard and I take responsibility for it in a lot of ways....in the rush of activity we lose track sometimes we lose track of the ways that we connected with folks that got us here in the first place." (source)
6. Republicans understand they are on probation. Making the post-election media rounds, House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) said Tuesday's elections showed that the American people "want a government that listens to them again" and that "there isn't a lot of confidence focused on Republicans yet." (source) "This is a second chance for us. If we blow it again we will be in the wilderness for a very long time," Cantor told reporters early Wednesday morning. "We have to deliver." (source)
7. Democrats were right to be terrified of a Senator Marco Rubio. The man even the liberal New York Times is calling an action hero on the right: young, dynamic, serious about policy, with a biography ready-made for inspiration handily defeated both non-party affiliated Charlie Crist and Representative Kendrick Meek (D-Florida) the Democratic nominee who the Democratic establishment tried to talk into dropping out of the race in a desperate attempt to stave off a Rubio win. At a day-after-the election news conference, Senator-elect Rubio succinctly described the message he had heard from voters: "You better not go up there and become like everybody else." Marco Rubio gets it.
8. President Obama still doesn't get it. Wedged between all his rambling non-answers at today's press conference was the oft-repeated refrain that the American people are simply frustrated or don't understand how wonderful and necessary his unpopular policies are with the voters. Given multiple opportunities by reporters to let the American people know he received their message against his hugely unpopular and obscenely expensive agenda, he tried to deny there even was an agenda saying, "I think people started looking at all this and it felt as though government was getting much more intrusive into people's lives than they were accustomed to. The reason is that it was an emergency. Maybe people thought it was an agenda, rather than a response to an emergency." (source)
9. Soon-to-be Speaker of the House John Boehner gets it. "The American people spoke, and I think this is pretty clear that the Obama-Pelosi agenda is being rejected by the American people," he said. "They want the president to change course."
And finally there's this little gem of wisdom from the uber-educated, supposedly brilliant and exquisitely eloquent man himself. Though it may prove a much different point than the one Mr. Obama intended:
10. If President Obama's policies had not failed miserably, they would have succeeded. While claiming to take responsibility for the "shellacking" his fellow Democrats took last night but refusing to admit it was his policies that were rejected by the voters, Mr. Obama declared, "If right now we had 5 percent unemployment instead of 9.6 percent unemployment, then people would have more confidence in those policy choices." (source)
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