Last week, Republicans lost a golden opportunity to win the White House. The GOP also lost two seats in the Senate when there were many more Democratic seats up for grabs than Republican ones. The GOP retained control of the House of Representatives but nationally more voters actually supported Democratic House candidates. Please forgive the length of this post. There are so many Republicans to blame and so little space.
Defeat had a thousand GOP fathers, so I don't know where to start. Limbaugh is a good place. The Republican rout was not a fluke. Limbaugh was part of the team effort that helped Democrats hang on to the White House and the Senate. Limbaugh and his "ditto heads" set the tone for the Republican Party. Due to his visibility, Rush, not John Boehner, is the de facto leader of the GOP. Republicans need a Sister Souljah moment and a prominent Republican needs to take Limbaugh on to make the party more attractive to moderate voters and to save the GOP.
The Senate minority leader was the biggest loser who was not on the ballot. He blew his chance for the second straight time to run the Senate, because of the Tea Party candidates Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin. The two unsuccessful Senate candidates played the parts that Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle played in 2008. McConnell also failed in his own priority, which was to deny the president re-election. Since he failed in job no. 1, it's no wonder that he whiffed on his secondary goal, which was to work with the president to create jobs. The senior senator from Kentucky runs for re-election in 2014 and it would be fitting if a Tea Party candidate takes the minority leader out in the GOP primary and a Democrat wins the seat.
The Tea Party
The Tea Party gave us Richard Mourdock in Indiana and Todd Akin in Missouri. The Tea Party also drove Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine out of the politics and she took any hope of GOP control of the Senate with her. You would think that some Republicans would have already taken on the Tea Party and pushed it aside. In 2010, the Tea Party produced Sharron "Second Amendment remedies" Angle of Nevada and Christine "I'm not a witch" O'Donnell of Delaware and killed the GOP's chance to control the Senate then. It will be interesting to see if a Republican leader challenges the Tea Party before the midterm Senate elections in 2014. The president's party usually does poorly in the sixth year of his presidency, so the GOP will get another shot. But the GOP and the Tea Party will probably piss away this opportunity too, and make Harry Reid majority leader for life.
The Koch brothers would have done better investing their money with Bernie Madoff. The GOP's failure to flip the White House and the U.S. Senate means American Crossroads was a flop. Turd Blossom's (George W. Bush's nickname for Rove, not mine) groups spent more than $170 million and he directed 98 percent of the money to losing Republican candidates. Republican strategist Rick Tyler described Rove's operation as a "colossal failure." My guess is that Rove is still in the Fox News Channel studio trying to convince Megyn Kelly and Michael Barone that Romney will win Ohio.
Their fanatical opposition to abortion led Republicans to make rape a campaign issue. Attacking the victims of sexual violence became part of the GOP brand and was a stone cold loser for the party. The success of socially liberal ballot measures means trouble for fundamentalists. Voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington approved gay marriage. Voters in Colorado and Washington legalized pot. Things will get even worse for the religious right as the socially liberal millennial generation becomes a bigger and bigger voting bloc.
Older White Males
The first 12 years of this of this century—not the 1960s—represented the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. After ruling the roost for the last few hundred years in the United States, older white guys are losing traction. (Disclaimer, I'm an older white guy.) They overwhelmingly supported John McCain and Mitt Romney but that wasn't enough to defeat the nation's first black president. The power of older white voters will continue to decline as the fast growing young Latino population becomes a larger share of the electorate.
Calling The Donald a loser is like shooting fish in a barrel. His constant questioning of the president's birthplace distracted the GOP from the issue that they should have talked about—the economy. Plus he forgot that "news" means something new. After he built up the announcement that he said would radically shake up the presidential race, he trotted out a $5 million award for anybody who could give him Barack Obama's college grades, an issue that Trump pushed unsuccessfully for months. MoveOn.org is circulating a petition that asks Macy's to drop Trump from their TV holiday advertising campaign. Where do I sign?
- Read Susan Milligan: Why Is David Petraeus's Affair a Scandal?
- Read Ford O'Connell: Fixing the Fiscal Cliff and Immigration Are Keys to a GOP Revival
- Check out U.S. News Weekly, now available on iPad.