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Mitt Romney for President -- Part Something plus One

Discussion in 'Elections' started by argentine soccer fan, Sep 14, 2012.

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  1. HouseHead78

    HouseHead78 Member+

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    If there's anything more boring than health insurance details, I don't know what it is. Luckily, there will be an end to this thread's existence soon. :thumbsup:
     


  2. Barbara

    Barbara Where is Rickon?

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    It says something about how ready we are for this to be over if the thing we're off-topically discussing is 100 times more boring than the actual topic should be.
     
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  3. NMMatt

    NMMatt Member+

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    It's time to shut this whole thread down.
     
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  4. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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    Or change the title to "pointers for getting the best out of your insurance" thread.
     
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  5. Juve18

    Juve18 Member

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    Romney sucked...end of story
     
  6. Boloni86

    Boloni86 Member+

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    Mods pls shut thread maybe?
     
  7. HouseHead78

    HouseHead78 Member+

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    Hey, I just read you
    And this is crazy
    But this threads over
    Close it, maybe
     
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  8. DynamoEAR

    DynamoEAR Member+

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    ththt that's all folks! :)
     
  9. taosjohn

    taosjohn Member+

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    Was it over when Richard Nixon bombed out in 1962?
     
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  10. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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    We'll know when he tells us "You won't have Romney to kick around anymore" and then retroactively delivers his soon to be famous "Seamus Speech."
     
  11. yossarian

    yossarian Moderator Staff Member

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    Awesome. When is he going to have Robert Bork fire someone?
     
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  12. dapip

    dapip Member+

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  13. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

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  14. chad

    chad Member+

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  15. HouseHead78

    HouseHead78 Member+

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    I wouldn't mind ending on this note:

     
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  16. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator Staff Member

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    Where did this come from?! I haven't posted here in over 4 years, have I? Does this fulfill the requirement, or are you looking for something more?
     
  17. chad

    chad Member+

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    I actually thought that someday you might have some serious insight you could share. No snark intended.
     
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  18. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh, that's fine. Didn't think it was snark and felt a bit humbled that my name would come up after all these years. I could certainly add insight, but doing so flying blind might not be the best idea. And I'm not reading 116 pages of this. So, what do you want to know? Stuff about the campaign, the election or moving forward?

    For the record, I'm currently working at a firm where my direct boss was a Senior Adviser to Romney, though my day-to-day work with the campaign was minimal since the primaries. I did, however, go out to Ohio for the final 6 days, as my best friend and roommate from the 2007-08 campaign was the Comms Director out there this time. So I was in the War Room in Columbus when the race was called.
     
  19. Barbara

    Barbara Where is Rickon?

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    Is it true that they really had no idea that they might lose?



    Edit: Anyway, condolences. I'm sure it must have sucked, regardless.
     
  20. Crimen y Castigo

    Crimen y Castigo Moderator Staff Member

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    Well now I'm not closing this thread.
    (By the way, MassRef, you're name has come up more than a few times as folks were looking for more rational conservatives to chime in on a variety of matters.).
     
  21. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator Staff Member

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    I wouldn't say they had no idea that they might lose. But I think that senior staff certainly thought they could win. The nature of the loss was definitely shocking to most. It is also my understanding that the Romney family believed they would win (which, other than clear blowout situations, has to be expected no matter which side you're on).

    Personally, I was surprised. I didn't buy-in fully to the theory that public polls were "skewed," but I did buy the argument that if we won independents, we'd have a strong chance of winning. A lot of this debate about internal vs. public polling comes down to how pollsters screen for likely voters and then how they weight their data based on demographics and geography. It's not an issue of deliberate skewing data (just as media outlets argue they have no interest in rigging an election, campaign pollsters have zero interest in being wrong and painting an unnecessarily favorable landscape). I know that Neil Newhouse, in this instance, is not pleased with his own work--he got beat and he knows it. The Obama campaign and, in many cases, public polling operations, had a better grasp of who likely voters were going to be this time and where they were located. That caught everyone off-guard. I can't tell you why that's the case and I doubt there's a simple answer.

    I have a friend--a moderate Republican who is a PhD student now--who I discussed politics with daily. From about the convention on, we would regularly tell each other what we thought the chances of Romney winning were (and compared it to intrade and 538). I was in the low 30s through most of September. I hit near 50 after the first debate and steadily rose from there for awhile. I was probably in the 65% range going into Sandy. Post-Sandy, I was just over 50% because I didn't know what it all meant. Going to Ohio and being surrounded by the bubble drove me back up near 60%, and I had a little drop off when I saw the final data. So I probably went into election day thinking there was a 55% chance we were going to win. Admittedly, my own perspective was probably a bit skewed, being on-the-ground, at three Romney events (literally hanging out with the national press and Secret Service) and engulfed with the accompanying euphoria. If I was being honest with myself, I probably would have put it at a 40-45% chance to win. Still, I definitely thought we could win.

    A quick word, since I mentioned it, on Sandy. Do I think the outcome of the election would have been different if it didn't happen? After seeing the results, absolutely not (which means I was wrong to be at a 65% shout right before the storm). Do I think it took the wind out of Romney's sails at the worst possible time and affected the vote some? Yes. Impossible to quantify how much, of course, but never to the amount that it would have changed the outcome.

    A second quick word, and this is about Karl Rove and Ohio on Election night. He's getting a terrible rap about not willing to cope with reality. That's not what occurred at all and I had a first hand seat for this one. Right before the networks called Ohio, we got data from Hamilton County (Cincy) that put Romney back in the lead statewide. The Deputy State Director had just made that announcement, to cheers in the room. People were still clapping when the televisions showed Ohio being called for President Obama. You could hear a pin drop. No one understood. Quite frankly, at that moment, it was an irresponsible call. I don't care what the analysts at the networks say, they were all trying to be first and it was irresponsible. Yes, a lot of Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) was still out. But given which particular precincts were out in those two counties, it was not out of the realm of possibility for Romney to hang on. At that moment, we thought we would hang on. What a lot of people don't know is that Rove's deputy in the White House was Romney's Ohio State Director. So he immediately got on the phone with Rove and explained the situation, pleading with Rove to fight the call. It wasn't a case of Rove not seeing reality; he was being told directly that this call might end up being wrong. Yes, we all knew it might be right. But it genuinely could have gone the other way at that point. To be honest, if this election had hinged on Ohio, there was a chance this could have been another Florida 2000 moment. It was as though the networks completely forgot the lessons of that election.

    What bothered me most about the Ohio call was that Florida was far easier to call. I saw the senior staff in Ohio frantically fighting the call of Ohio, yet I (and another guy, who was up from North Carolina) were looking at the Florida data and we realized it was irrelevant. We were down 50k votes in Florida and the largest chunk left was Miami-Dade. How Florida wasn't called first (and didn't get called on Election Night), while Ohio did get called, is absolutely beyond me. Unfortunately, the takeaway for most is that Rove is bitter and delusional, because Ohio ended up going for the President. The real takeaway should be the networks once again jumped the gun and dangerously inserted themselves into the process where they didn't have to. They could have waited about an hour on Ohio to make everything clear.

    As far as the overall results go, the most shocking thing for me is that turnout was down overall. The Obama campaign did two things very well, one of which everyone sort of knew before Election Day and the second of which was a surprise.

    First, they disqualified Romney as an alternative with moderate independents/Dems in swing states with the barrage of attacks over the summer. That was obvious, but the extent to which it was done (Romney getting fewer votes than McCain in some key states) was staggering, giving the relative unpopularity of the President compared to where he was in 2008. As a related aside, I also speculate here that the Mormon issue--which the media, interestingly, dismissed late in the campaign--probably played a role in keeping some evangelicals home and keeping Romney's overall total in the popular vote down. But that was likely on the margins and doubtful that it affected the outcome in any state (maybe North Carolina wouldn't have been so tight, but it wouldn't have flipped any states).

    The second thing the Obama campaign did was turnout their base. Period. They followed the Bush model of 2004 and no one saw it coming on our side. They just beat us. I said to co-workers, when we were all shocked after Romney's first debate performance, that everyone seemed to forget that Mitt Romney "really wants to be President" and that to expect him to go down without a fight (which it was looking like heading into October) was naive. Excuse the comparison if it sounds flippant, but I think people forget that the black community "really didn't want the first black President to be unseated." So expecting them not to turnout with the same intensity as 2008, even though the overall popularity of President Obama was down, was, in retrospect, equally naive. I focus here on the African-American community, but obviously OfA did a good job of turning out 25-39 year olds, who supported the President last time. Again, team Romney just got beat in this regard. I won't get into the details of ORCA, because I don't know enough about it and the stories are still coming out, but suffice it to say that we knew in Ohio by 9am that it wasn't working properly. Like Sandy, I think the failure of ORCA probably hurt Romney to a small degree, but not to the extent that it affected the outcome of any state.

    Before I move on to the current state of the GOP and the future, a word about Mitt Romney. I went to work for him in 2007 because I genuinely thought he was the only Republican candidate who could be the anti-Bush, as running anyone who reminded voters of President Bush was a nonstarter. Romney, to me, embodied a guy who demonstrated success at each endeavor he took up. I don't want to re-litigate these things, so I'll just say there is a strong argument to be made or presented that he left every post he had (Bain, SLC, Massachusetts) better off than when he took over. Being on the inside in 2007, I was definitely disappointed with some of the way the campaign was run and I was absolutely disappointed with Romney at times. Going into 2011-2, I didn't necessarily have him as my favorite. Around September last year, you could say I recommitted, mostly for lack of any real alternative. I wasn't sold throughout the primaries. And I felt he could win, but only if President Obama imploded. I also thought it would be disappointing and ironic if someone like Romney won the Presidency, while other alternatives who are on the Republican bench stood down. By the time this campaign ended, I didn't feel that way. I saw again the good in Romney. I genuinely believe he would have been a strong, competent leader who would have left the country better off. Partisans won't believe it, but this guy is a good man (just as, I'm sure, President Obama is). You saw it in his closing at the Al Smith dinner and you saw it in his concession speech. Yes, there's a bit of narcissism that shows in the pursuit of the Presidency (there has to be--for any candidate). But, Mitt Romney was a good guy, and years from now I will be able to say I was proud to work for him.

    Of course, he's now in the past. So what's next for the Republican party?

    First, the notion that there was this crushing, soul-searching defeat is over-done in one regard. The GOP could change absolutely nothing and dominate the 2014 midterms. The composition of the midterm electorate is vastly different from the Presidential campaign. And President Obama will be wholly incapable (and perhaps not that motivated) to turnout a Democratic victory in 2014. So the idea that the GOP needs to change immediately is erroneous if short-term electoral victories are the primary goal. Mitch McConnell, who is up in 2014, is indicating what his interest is already. It will be an interesting dynamic, I feel, as McConnell and Boehner have two competing personal interests. McConnell wants to avoid a primary challenge in a state where President Obama likely won't set foot in the next four years, take back 6 GOP senate seats, and be majority leader again. Boehner wants to maintain his Speakership while also seeking a grand compromise. Boehner is looking toward history, McConnell is looking toward winning. It's not quite that simple, but that's about the dynamic.

    Additionally, we got our ass kicked in the Senate races, but that was mainly a product of having awful candidates. In my humble opinion, the only "good" candidate who lost in a race that he should have won was Rick Berg in North Dakota. Heather Wilson, as I think I've said before, was our best candidate, but she faced an impossible headwind in New Mexico. Aside from those two, every challenger loser was, well, a loser (Scott Brown is an obvious exception as an incumbent and you might make the argument that George Allen was a legitimate candidate, but it now seems like he's old news in Virginia). Other than those I mentioned, there was no one who deserved to go to the Senate who got beat (and I'm using "deserve" subjectively, yes). It wasn't a national wave election--candidates matter (witness, for the Democrats, Berkley in Nevada)--and the Republicans had bad candidates in too many competitive elections. If we nominate normal candidates in 2014 who can campaign competently and don't say stupid things, we'll be in fine shape. In fact, the 2014 landscape is pretty awful for Democrats in the Senate (mainly because 2008 was such a good election). There might be two Republicans who are genuinely vulnerable to a loss and both of those would be stretches at the moment. On the other hand, I can identify four Democrats right off the bat who I think have a minimal chance of being re-elected, with another 7-8 who could be in trouble, depending on their opposition.

    All that said, short-term electoral victories better not be the primary goal! The demographic writing is on the wall for future Presidential elections and beyond. That PhD candidate friend I told you about just pointed out to me that President Obama won the under-30 North Carolina vote 67-32, whereas Romney won the over-65 vote 64-35. That's a death sentence for the Republican candidate in 2016. I suspect the numbers are similar in a state like Iowa (which already has a penchant for going blue) and probably also creeping toward that direction in Georgia. If/when Georgia (or maybe Arizona) seriously gets put on the table, the White House is totally off-limits to Republicans unless they find a way to put a Democratic state on the table. The only candidates I can think of, at the moment, are Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Oregon. But we saw how well that worked this election.

    This analysis will be disjointed, but I also want to speak to the black vote. It has gone about 96/4 for President Obama, correct? I believe it was more like 88/12 in the past (but could be mistaken). Anyway, not only has it been better under President Obama, but it's also a higher percentage of the electorate. I've already heard some in my party pontificate that it will revert, once a black man is not at the top of the ticket. That's nice in theory. But the reality is that President Obama is now going to be the first-ever ex-black President, with not much to do around Election Day for the next 30 years. What I mean is that President Obama--even if he leaves office unpopular at large--will forever remain popular in the black community. Just as President Clinton has become the go-to guy in certain areas, President Obama is going to be a one-man turnout machine for the next 4-5 Presidential elections, particular the next one. And that's a reality that Republicans have to confront. President Obama is going to be in Cleveland and Milwaukee and Indianapolis and Atlanta and Philadelphia and maybe even Memphis for the final week, every Election Day, for the next few generations.

    The next issue is the growing Hispanic vote. I really think rectifying this problem, compared to the rest, is the easiest. It's tonal and a slight change on policy. There needs to be a compromise on comprehensive immigration reform. And our base needs to shut up about it (of course, the left has an interest in amplifying our craziest leaders on immigration, so maybe this is easier said than done). I'm not naive enough to think that compromising on immigration is what will shift votes. Just as I'm not stupid enough to think putting a Hispanic on the ticket would automatically change votes. But it takes away the biggest impediment for outreach because it eliminates an issue where some of our most extreme voices come off sounding racist. Once the issue is off the table, genuine outreach into the Hispanic community could prove fruitful. There are a lot of issues where the general Republican platform meshes well with an immigrant, Hispanic community. The same goes, frankly, for the Asian-American community. Our outreach has sucked there and it has to change. It starts by addressing immigration.

    While I dismiss the issues with the Hispanic vote as somewhat easy to solve, I don't think the generation gap is something that the Republican party understands how to confront. I think the establishment--elected officials and consultants--are blind to how big of an issue gay marriage is. Gay marriage initiatives were put on the ballot 8 years ago to maximize turnout for the GOP. We are already in an opposite world for swing states going forward. What happened in North Carolina last year is not going to happen again in any state that matters. That's just reality.

    Now, personally, I don't care about gay marriage. I guess you can say I'm for it; it's sort of a non-issue for me. I just think it's a bit rich when activists for it call people "bigoted" or "close-minded," when, if you go back 10 years, I would venture to guess that a vast majority of the people now supporting gay marriage didn't even consider it an issue. My point here--again, a personal one--is that things change and people do evolve. So it always rankles me a bit when the activist side says opposition to it is about hate when, for example, the President of the United States opposed it himself earlier this year.

    The reason I inject my personal opinion and my attitude toward the issue is because I realize it's at odds with a lot of people in my generation. This is just anecdotal, but I'm running into more and more people who I'd classify as moderate/centrist, open to either party's arguments on fiscal or security issues, but who reject the Republican party out-of-hand because it doesn't accept what are perceived by them as equal rights. This surprises me some, but I know understand it's happening. And if it surprises me, I can guarantee you it baffles the elder statesman of the party. They just don't--and won't--believe an entire generation of heterosexuals might view their party with disdain because of a gay rights issue. To state the obvious, this is a problem. It's a problem because people don't recognize the problem foremost. But it's also a problem because, once recognized, the logical position (a laissez-faire approach to the issue) will satisfy neither constituency. The evangelical base will feel sold out totally and that the "marriage is between one man and one woman" platform was a lie to them, whereas the younger generation won't accept a late conversion as genuine. I honestly don't know how this problem gets solved, but I do know gay marriage is about to become, if it hasn't already, a wedge issue that benefits the Democrats. And it won't stop there. I say, within 15 years, gay adoption will be next. And unless the GOP changes tact, it's always going to be 10-20 years behind the curve. I just don't know how it changes tact without losing votes on the right-wing. This is a big problem.

    A final thought, before I wrap-up, on the abortion flaps in Missouri and Indiana. While I think gay marriage is a big problem for the GOP, as future generations are going to come of voting age seeing this as a rights issue, I don't feel the same about abortion. Gay marriage, as it becomes a right, is just something you can't take away. Whatever the merits of it, you can't explain to people that you are a party that is taking away rights. There's no counter-argument that centers on rights. Abortion, on the other hand, is an issue where both sides see it as a question of rights (women's rights vs. the rights of the unborn). Abortion will be with us forever and, in some election cycles it will benefit conservatives and in some cycles it will benefit liberals. This cycle, we saw what happened. Two idiots made dumb remarks and they paid the price, even though the party tried to throw them under the bus quickly and vocally. Do I think Akin and Mourdock affected the outcome of the election, other than in their races? No. But like Sandy and ORCA, they were another unneeded hiccup.

    So, I wasn't sure I was going to write at all, but once I did, I guess I just didn't stop. I'm sure I left out a lot and I'm not sure this is what people were asking for. I will close by saying this: the GOP needs to find its message and then worry about the messenger. The intense focus on personalities--from both sides--is unhealthy. Marco Rubio and Condi Rice are great leaders and one of them very well might be on the ticket next time. Or it could be someone like Jindal or Bush or Ryan or Christie. It also could be someone like Paul or Walker or Thune. But it's stupid to assume it's one of them based purely on identity politics or based on current levels of popularity. The GOP has a big bench and 2016 is a long way off. Our party--and the country--needs to see who steps up to lead on issues in the next 18 months, not who forms a political committee and makes speeches in Iowa or New Hampshire. It's wishful thinking, but I hope that's how it works. Particularly since the other side is frozen until Hillary Clinton declares her intentions (and while Joe Biden remains a legitimate possibility). Someone--or multiple people--need to step up and actually lead, particularly in the Senate. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
     
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  22. luftmensch

    luftmensch Member+

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  23. Crimen y Castigo

    Crimen y Castigo Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd seriously like to give that post a standing ovation.
    Thanks so very much for that.
     
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  24. ratdog

    ratdog Member+

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    Thank you for the interesting thoughts that are a break from usual Reep-affiliated media voices. I do have a few questions based on your observations.

    Is there any possibility that the networks might have a solid case for why they called Ohio when they did? I ask because I saw races at all levels being called (for both Reeps and Dems) with barely 20% of precincts reporting and they all ended up being correctly called.

    Let's say the networks HAD gotten wrong and then presumably corrected themselves fairly quickly. What would have been the practical impact, seeing as polls in Ohio were long closed by that time? Would the outcome in the western states have depended on the outcome in Ohio? Do you think the networks NOT calling Florida as quickly as they did Ohio helped or hurt Romney or did neither?

    Say the networks did wait another hour or two. What practical impact would that have had on the election outcome? Could that have turned any of the western states?

    Obviously, there are certain characteristics in Romney the man that made that easier than it probably should have been. Do you think that Americans having had two years to watch the "tea party" group in action may have had anything to do with the effectiveness the Dems had in painting Romney as an extremist?

    In hindsight, which of the other primary candidates, if any, do you think would have done better than Romney?

    It seems like the heaviest losses for the House (example: Joe Walsh), Senate, and some local races was concentrated among candidates who were identified most strongly with the "tea party". Obviously, not every tea partier lost, but it seems like they bore the brunt of the losses. Could the propensity to say "stupid things" be an artifact of the heavy overlap between that wing of the party and the religious base that is prone to make *ahem* "controversial" statements on wedge social issues like abortion, women's issues and gays?

    And if the tea party favorites are replaced with moderates, what impact might that have on activating that portion of the party. In short, could the losses this past week have a negative impact on Reep turnout in the next election cycle?

    Finally, while keeping in mind that candidates matter and the "rape" gaffes didn't help, is there anything regarding the candidates' or the party's stands on actual issues that may have contributed to the losses?

    Given that younger voters are disproportionately negatively impacted by the Great Recession and plodding recovery, I'd have thought that Obama would have lost many of them but that was very much not the case. This would indicate that there is something else at work other than the ethnicity, the economy and gays. Leaving aside the changes in strictly ethnic demographics, do you think the "generational" gap is really only about gays or are there perhaps other longer-term causes also contributing to the outcome among younger voters?
     
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  25. HouseHead78

    HouseHead78 Member+

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    MassRef that is a great post.

    You mentioned Akin and Mourdocks slips of the tongue. But don't you think the
    larger problem is really the platform and the actual policy via a via rape and incest? Don't you think if the party just called it good on those, it'd be a stalemate and the extremists would have to live with it?

    It just seems so easy for the party to make a strategic decision to test the base over these two years. Lose the extreme positions on gays and vaginas, test the waters in a few situations... and if you lose your base at midterms, recalibrate before 2016. If they still come along, you can move incrementally to the center in other areas, perhaps.

    Also, it annoys me when I sense that the goal of the GOP in hispanic outreach is not to make their lives better, but to get some cheap votes. Kraut hammer (who should not be allowed to talk again, so wrong has he been on so many things) has a two-step pandering plan to win the Hispanic vote. I involves border security and dreamers. I find this cynical and I'm sure they will too. Am I misreading this?
     
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