By Dave Andrusko
Late in the day on Wednesday, a friend wrote a very kind note ending “Your election analysis is keeping me sane.” That is too generous by half, but is an indication of how so much post-November 6 commentary is either self-evident, at one extreme, or badly misreads what happened nine days ago, on the other. If you stick with the facts, you are far less likely to fall into the trap of not being able to see the forest for the trees.
For example, pro-abortionists did well not because the electorate experienced some new-found love for their extremism but because of the coattails of pro-abortion President Obama and, in two instances, very poorly worded responses to very difficult (but not surprising) questions by pro-life senatorial candidates. That and Obama’s almost limitless resources and the kind of lowest common denominator campaign that virtually guaranteed to depress turnout.
Before looking at two recent commentaries, let me confess that I think I was not the only one who missed the boat on three scores. I honestly thought that (1) the President’s nonstop negativity would boomerang; (2) the coarseness of so much of the President’s re-election effort would flop; and (3) the omnipresent Obama ads (it was like something out of Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984”) would turn people off.
Daniel Henninger, a terrific columnist for the Wall Street Journal, titled his Wednesday piece, “Barack Obama’s Persuasion Army: The president has finally made the permanent campaign a reality.” Henninger’s argument—and it is entirely valid—is that before Republicans throw the baby out with the bath water (go into full panic mode), “it should have a clearer understanding of the implications of the methods Barack Obama used to deliver his own message.”
You can read his analysis at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323551004578117420761844996.html?mod=rss_opinion_main so let me make just one quick point. The President never, ever stopped campaigning. Henninger wrote
“The Obama ‘turnout machine’ wasn’t faceless. It was real people living full-time, some much of the past four years, in battleground states such as Ohio, Iowa and Virginia. They attended full-time to targeted racial, ethnic and labor constituencies, as the campaign did in 2008. Obama adviser David Plouffe calls them ‘the persuasion army.’ I would call it a skilled propaganda machine.
“The job of the Obama persuasion army was to make sure that those targets never stopped having their heads filled via emails, phone calls, meetings and such with what Barack Obama was saying as president. USA Today reported, for example, that when Mr. Obama delivered his State of the Union speech last January—a half-year before Mitt Romney was the official GOP nominee—the campaign’s persuasion army held 2,700 house parties.”
Henninger quotes Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt, who told ABC in September: “One thing that’s different here is that this is the first president in history who kept his supporters and his grass-roots organization in place during the course of the presidency.”
Karl Rove offered his thoughts as well in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. Under the headline, “The Lessons of Defeat for the GOP: Everything from the ground game to the date of the next convention needs to be re-examined,” Rove asks tough questions and makes strong suggestions.
He makes two interesting points that, as it happens, are relevant to us as we go forward. First, “Republicans should also emulate the Democratic ‘50-state’ strategy by strengthening the ground game everywhere, not just in swing states.”
We have affiliates in all 50 states, which is the reason we were able to save candidates who otherwise would have drowned in the Obama electoral tsunami. But if we are to help even more pro-life candidates in the years to come, we must be sure we are able to help everywhere.
Second, when you lose, you need to boost support in many categories: millennials, women, and Hispanics are three that Rove mentions. Many polls have shown women to be more pro-life than men; Hispanics are a natural treasure trove of pro-life support; and what worries pro-abortionists more than anything is the unmistakable enthusiasm of pro-life young people.
As we’ve detailed over the past week, although badly outspent, National Right to Life was able to perform yeoman work because of your generosity and your dedication. I can guarantee that, like you, we are not deterred and will work harder than ever to return legal protection to unborn children.
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