First thing, I'm not going to beat up on Romney. He ran as Mitt Romney and it is what it is.
The big takeaway is that we are a 50-48 nation, and in some of our most important states, we are a 49-49 state. No blowout, no mandate; a status quo election, and the results in the Senate and House validate that.
Some can say that like Carter and Bush 41, Obama was beatable. Carter was a rolling train wreck inside a rolling train wreck. Bush 41 thought he could spend a ton of post Desert Storm political capital by throwing his base under the "No New Taxes" bus, and as a result got a 3rd party run that put Clinton in the White House with 43% of the vote. Obama is many things, but he is not Carter or Bush 41.
President Obama continues to be what he is - regardless of what you think of his policies, he is a likable guy. That counts. He managed to get over 50%, he wins.
The Republicans will spend a fair bit of time picking their belly buttons, and that is good and healthy. While they pick away, here are some thoughts from Sal on self-improvements.
1. Re-balance. Purges are bad, but there are some things that need to be put in their proper place. First of all, the DC-Consultancy once again has proved that is doesn't have what it takes to win. They got their candidate and campaign in 2008 and 2012, and the results speak for themselves. Secondly, going with the "you need good candidates to beat good candidates" idea, the DC-Consultancy along with the another group picked a strange mix of also-rans, old bulls, and untested types that just were not ready for prime time in this election. Even with Obama winning the general - look what happened in the House, with good candidates the Republicans should be at 51 seats minimum in the Senate. The DC-Consultancy needs to find different people and ideas, starting with themselves. The models that put McCain and Romney at the top just ain't cutting it, and neither are they.
Oh, who is that second group that needs re-balancing? It is the people I call the "700 Club socio-cons." These people are part of the conservative block, but their influence needs to be attenuated to their percentage of the vote. That is coming from your humble blogg'r - and evangelical Southerner. Those people's political instincts are about as good as their choice in hair styles. You saw their influence in more than a couple of Senate races. Nuff said.
2. Next, we need a flush of new blood. We should just skip the Baby Boomers and go straight to the exceptional bench of younger Republican leaders in the Senate and Governorships who will be at or near ~50ish in 2016. That bench is strong.
Somewhere is the USA version of a Steven Harper from Canada. If you want success right of center, benchmark him.
3. The Republicans need new blood in their national security advisory circles as well. The "600-ship Navy" and "New Syrian Army support" parallel universe of the last few months was off key, temporally displaced, and never survived the follow-up question. There are a lot of good people with modern ideas, move them to the front of the table please.
4. There are two things that were not emphasized that should have. They are Republican issues, but are being put in the background when they should be on the front.
-- First are the government unions. When government employees have exceptionally higher salaries, better benefits, job security, and better retirement plans than those they are supposed to "serve" - then you have a neo-feudal system of producers and takers. The takers want more and more from the producers and provide little in return but spite and disrespect. Who is serving who again. One, two - a thousand Scott Walkers, please.
-- Freedom. What is the core of freedom? To live your life without as little interference as possible from government, and to keep the fruits of your labor. People want more freedom for their children to have more to look for but poor jobs and high taxes to pay for the debt their parents built up. No one really wants to be a ward of the state. Figure the freedom line out people. It is a wide open field no one has put their flag on properly.
So, "forward" it is. This is a great nation - and there is a lot of ruin in a nation. Four years will be over before you know it. Don't quit, don't withdraw, don't despair (OK, you can despair until the 11th - then think of those who died to let us have elections, and then grow up and get back to the business of a representative republic).
If you think all the above is bollocks and I've gone squish - don't worry. Part of me is, like Mark, with Sir Richard,
“We’re all f***ed. I’m f***ed. You’re f***ed. The whole department’s f***ed. It’s been the biggest c**k-up ever and we’re all completely f***ed.”
UPDATE: A lot of you need to listen to Ann Coulter .... yes .... Ann Coulter.
Purist conservatives are like idiot hipsters who can't like a band that's popular. They believe that a group with any kind of a following can't be a good band, just as show-off social conservatives consider it a mark of integrity that their candidates -- Akin, Mourdock, Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell -- take wildly unpopular positions and lose elections.
It was the same thing with purist libertarian Barry Goldwater, who -- as you will read in my book, "Mugged: Racial Demagoguery From the Seventies to Obama" -- nearly destroyed the Republican Party with his pointless pursuit of libertarian perfection in his vote against the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
I like a band that sells NO albums because it proves they have too much integrity to sell out.
We have a country to save. And just as the laws of elections generally mean the incumbent president wins, they also mean the party out of the White House typically stages a big comeback in midterm elections. BIG. Don't blow it with purist showoffs next time, Republicans.