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How They Won

By Greg L | 7 November 2012 | RPV, National Politics, Manassas Park, Manassas City, Prince William County | 69 Comments

Candidates and campaigns win elections in the environment that exists while voting is conducted.  While that statement isn’t terribly revealing it points out the three primary components of an outcome.  Activists like myself can’t change the candidates (at least after they’re nominated), the environment is largely out of our control, but we do impact campaigns by volunteering our time, our treasure and our talents.  What happened on Tuesday at the local level should be a wake-up call for conservative activists, and there’s a path ahead that might lead to a different outcome if we learn from this defeat.

We’ve heard for a while now about how Democrats have been building a database of voters and making sure those voters get to the polls, and Tuesday we got a chance to see a second iteration of this rather impressive effort.  A hallmark of the ‘08 election was a higher than usual turnout that included a lot of new voters.  As hard as it may be to think Democrats could eclipse that remarkable performance, they did.  Turnout once again jumped, and the differential voters showing up were even more likely to be Democrats than they were in ‘08.  Forget stories about “voter intensity,” “buyers remorse” and the other largely anecdotal narratives that were spun to encourage people hoping that Obama might get kicked out of office.  It was all about a decidedly non-sexy effort driven by data and hard work.

Doesn’t the Republican party have data that they do something with? Sure.  At the local level it’s called “Voter Vault” (UPDATE: which has been re-vamped and re-branded as “GOP Data Center”, a change that makes all the difference.  Virginia and Florida were the wind test dummies for this change to noticeably underwhelming effect).  The data starts with a voter list from the State Board of Elections, and RPV expects campaigns to fill out that list with information they collect during a campaign about voter preference.  That hardly ever happened in my experience, as campaigns almost always considered their data a jealously guarded secret not to be shared with anyone else.  As a result, about the only voter preference information in that database is derived from who shows up to vote in which primary election.  That’s fine if you’re dealing with a low-turnout election where those folks constitute a huge proportion of the electorate, but you have no visibility at all of voters who only show up occasionally and never vote in primaries.  As a tool to win elections in Virginia, it’s nearly useless.

Democrats started building a quality database in ‘08 and have been consistently working to refine it ever since.  Instead of one data point — participation in a party primary — that list is rechecked several times to make sure voters are who Democrats think they are.  The effort is strictly controlled from the top and candidates don’t have the option to build their own data and not share it with anyone else, and given the quality of that data no candidates would ever want to.  Data comes from canvassing run by the national party, a dedicated online interaction effort with voters, and from information collected from volunteers.  If you’re a Republican, you didn’t get one phone call, one piece of mail, or any other contact from Democrats.  They focused their effort on those voters they knew.  It’s sharpshooting with a rifle at a specific target instead of blasting away with a shotgun at anything that moves.

In the Manassas area, the only area where additional turnout favored Republicans was in the Brentsville District (adjusted for redistricting) where about 52% of the additional votes where for Romney with a net partisan increase of 173 votes.  In Coles, 71% of additional votes were for Obama for a net gain of 721, in Gainesville 57% of additional votes went to Obama for a net gain of 387.  In Manassas, 66% of additional votes were for Obama for a net gain of 474 and in Manassas Park a whopping 87% of new votes were for Obama for a net gain of 351.  If “buyers remorse” was a consideration in any of these localities, it was easily overcome by identifying and driving new Democrat voters to the polls.  When you look at individual precincts the picture gets even more stark.

In Manassas every precinct substantially increased the number of Obama votes, exceeding the number of additional Republican votes over 2008 except in the absentee precinct where Democrats unexpectedly dropped the ball and got 434 fewer absentee votes than in 2008.  The effect is more pronounced in typical Democrat-leaning precincts, but appeared everywhere.  Here’s a table that shows the increase in vote totals between 2008 and 2012:

Precinct Obama Romney Difference
Dean 298 187 -111
Weems 302 53 -249
Metz 206 109 -97
Haydon 258 70 -188
Baldwin 330 100 -230
Absentee -434 -33 401
Total 960 486 -474

This same story plays out in Manassas Park and western Prince William County (except in the Brentsville District), so this isn’t a case of a party organization in one locality doing better or worse than others.  Manassas Park’s local GOP left at least half of their precincts unmanned and virtually without signage on election day, which probably is consistent with how hard they worked leading up to election day, while Manassas City had a very organized effort with fully staffed precincts on election day.  The Manassas City Democats spent all their time in Manassas Park trying to get Jeanette Rishell elected (the succeeded) and didn’t devote all that much time to Manassas City.  Despite this, there’s really not much difference in the results between these two.  Clearly something bigger than local committees were driving the results.

Brentsville is the outlier in all this.  Republicans managed to perform better than in 2008 and did better than Democrats by 173 votes.  That’s not huge performance increase, but it is a performance increase where everywhere else there was a decline.  It’s not readily apparent what precincts were driving this as the precinct lines underwent significant changes between ‘08 and ‘12 but it does seem that it was pretty even across the board.  The difference in Brentsville may be due to the effect of Jeanine Lawson’s campaign against Wally Covington.  Lawson’s campaign might have ended but the organization that was built has remained, giving these activists a substantial data set of people they know well and those activists didn’t sit on their hands this election cycle.  It’s also possible that Democrats decided to bypass the strongly-Republican area to avoid “riling up” Republicans but since Obama’s turnout increased by 24% over 2008 while Coles and Gainesville increased by only 9 and 15% respectively, Democrats clearly weren’t ignoring the district.  It could be argues that they focused on it instead.  It’s important to note here that the precincts used to calculate all these numbers have been adjusted based on redistricting, using the current magisterial district boundaries, as much as it’s possible to do without splitting precincts.

The solution suggested by all this is for local activists to start building their own databases at the magisterial district level to hopefully overcome the shortcomings in Voter Vault, but even that is going to likely come up short in a lot of places.  RPV has to make a dedicated effort to improve the quality of that database and put it to good use, or we’re going to see this happen in every presidential election in the future.  Democrats will turn out increasing numbers of marginally-interested voters and in a few places local efforts might blunt that effort, but not very often.

The 2013 elections will be rather different, as Democrats are relying on marginally-engaged voters who might be interested in a presidential election but far less likely to turn out at other times.  Their rather considerable challenge is to make this happen in off years without the kind of vast budgets they had to work with this year, and with candidates like Terry McAuliffe at the top of the ticket who are much harder to sell.  The challenge for Republicans is to spend the next four years building the kind of high quality database Democrats used this year, forcing elected officials and previous candidates to share their voter lists, and using that database well instead of simply buying whatever services entrenched vendors can sell to candidates and the party at the highest profit.  That will take time, money and effort, but there isn’t much choice.

If this doesn’t happen, we better get used to a socialist national government because that’s all we’re ever going to have.  Activists can force this change at RPV and at the national level, as well as working at the local level as was done in Brentsville this year to implement that change.  Fortunately with Ken Cuccinelli running for Governor and favored to win the Republican nomination, who is arguably the best grassroots organizer in modern Virginia history, there’s a very unique opportunity to do just that.  His list won’t be as comprehensive as what Democrats are using, but it will be very high quality and a great place to start.

For a fascinating look at behind-the-scene data operation the Obama campaign was running, check this Time Magazine piece out.  Here’s an excerpt:

The new megafile didn’t just tell the campaign how to find voters and get their attention; it also allowed the number crunchers to run tests predicting which types of people would be persuaded by certain kinds of appeals. Call lists in field offices, for instance, didn’t just list names and numbers; they also ranked names in order of their persuadability, with the campaign’s most important priorities first. About 75% of the determining factors were basics like age, sex, race, neighborhood and voting record. Consumer data about voters helped round out the picture. “We could [predict] people who were going to give online. We could model people who were going to give through mail. We could model volunteers,” said one of the senior advisers about the predictive profiles built by the data. “In the end, modeling became something way bigger for us in ’12 than in ’08 because it made our time more efficient.”

UPDATE: Apparently the Romney campaign tried their take on big data, but the program was a disaster.  Instead of a data warehouse to identify voters and get them to the polls, they developed an “app” that no one was able to use, and insanely focused on robo-calling, which was probably the biggest waste of money and effort a campaign could have made this cycle.

“So, the end result was that 30,000+ of the most active and fired-up volunteers were wandering around confused and frustrated when they could have been doing anything else to help. Like driving people to the polls, phone-banking, walking door-to-door, etc. We lost by fairly small margins in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado. If this had worked could it have closed the gap? I sure hope not for my sanity’s sake.

“The bitter irony of this entire endeavor was that a supposedly small government candidate gutted the local structure of GOTV efforts in favor of a centralized, faceless organization in a far off place (in this case, their Boston headquarters). Wrap your head around that.”

UPDATE 2: I suspected facebook was a major part of OFA’s efforts.  Turns out that suspicion was warranted.

UPDATE 3: Republicans try to figure out how they will respond. Since they’re still stuck in a “list management” solution implemented from the top down, I’m not encouraged at all.



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69 Comments

  1. The Derecho said on 7 Nov 2012 at 3:35 pm:
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    You’re dead on in many respects, a little wordy, but dead on.

  2. Diuttyman8 said on 7 Nov 2012 at 6:57 pm:
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    Greg:
    As someone who worked the polls yesterday at Bethel, I agree with you. This is not a slam on any individuals, just a way to kick around ideas for a better ground game. When I got there to work the polls, the DEMS already had a table, manned with 4-5 people at all times while we only had two people standing around while we were passing out sample ballots, which most people did not need. They had a van shuttle to bring older voters there. They also had a large sign saying if they had any questions, to feel free to approach them. They also went out of their way to get disabled voters inside the building so they did not have to wait two hours outside. They were doing everything possible to get voters to the polls, while we were most ignored and it shows. Romney only got 39% at Bethel. While PWCGOP leadership did show up, I did not see any elected leaders at the polls during the time I was there (5:30 – 12:30 pm).
    We need to do more to get people active in the party and give them more options. While I volunteer time at elections, I have not been a member of the PWCGOP since 2007. Part of it was a reaction to what the party leadership was doing. Another reason is the silly RPV rules, which forces people to attend so many meetings, and conventions, most people do not have the time if they have long work hours or take care of young children. I would like a class of membership where I can be involved (get e-mails, be involved via social media, attend meetings when I can) without having to be physically present so often.

  3. Anonymous said on 7 Nov 2012 at 7:50 pm:
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    Its kind of hard to gerrymander democratic voters out of existance at the state level as it is at the magisterial and congresional level. Look at the results for the ellis precinct; coles, stonewall precinct; brentsville, jackson precinct: gainesville. This area is physically known as North manassas. The area has been waterd down by political gerrymandering. We as a group all go to work in the service economy in Fairfax county. We are not the one percent. We are the 47% who like good schools, jobs, and the piece of mind that if our kid comes down with cancer our health insurance provider will cover the cost. We do not have the gold plated health insurance offerd by the military industrial establishment as our brethern have in the west end. We are nonunion. We work in the real economy, i.e. small business employes. We see the ivy leage style schools with the sprinkled atheletic fields while we wallow in trailored out schools that are 40 years old. We are not asking for a handout. We just want our children to have the same oportunities as the others who have maginalised us as a group.

  4. Anonymous said on 7 Nov 2012 at 8:09 pm:
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    By the way, if Frank Wolf were to run for president, I believe we would support him. I do believe that areas simmiliar to as I previously descibed were the ones who swung the swing states in Obama’s favor. Whitmans answere to us sitting for an hour to get into Fairfax every morning was to ask for more of our money? The Republican gerry mandering has left an electorate that feals as if its vote doesnt count on the local level. I mention Jeanette Rischell to people and they cringe, who wouldnt. I could imagine if the goverment were to decree that anal thermometers had to be used for accurate temperature measurement in the docs office. How do you think Women felt about Mr. vagina probe?

  5. Anonymous said on 7 Nov 2012 at 8:12 pm:
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    So to state that Obamas win was due to organisers who got wheel chair people to the poles underscores what the reality of the election turnout in Prince William county has spoken to the powers that be.

  6. Greg L said on 7 Nov 2012 at 8:21 pm:
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    It is very difficult to distinguish the previous three comments from the sort of spam I typically get. Utterly off-topic and impossible to comprehend.

    Let’s try to keep things on-topic? I’m moderating more than the usual number of comments here and don’t particularly feel like babysitting this thread so much.

  7. Jon Wong said on 8 Nov 2012 at 7:14 am:
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    Ground Game…When I drove by the County Voter Registrar Office on Saturday and saw vans with Maryland tags and Obama stickers unloading scores of voters…..I didn’t need anyone to tell me who would win on Tuesday.

  8. anon said on 8 Nov 2012 at 9:34 am:
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    Most of the campaigns spent way too much money on ads and not enough on the ground.

    Even some local losing campaigns have great lists with lots of info.

    Well local office holders need to worry about their own next election.

    That includes delegates and others.

  9. Anonymous said on 8 Nov 2012 at 9:47 am:
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    “Fortunately with Ken Cuccinelli running for Governor and favored to win the Republican nomination, who is arguably the best grassroots organizer in modern Virginia history, there’s…”

    You have got to be kidding me. He is so extreme and so rabid, (or will be painted so) he has no hope of winning what is quickly becoming a more moderate Virginia. McDonnell had no trouble because Creigh Deeds was so weak. That won’t happen again. It’s not just about organization, it’s about policy. This is why we are losing.

  10. Greg L said on 8 Nov 2012 at 10:02 am:
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    OK, I’ll bite on this. How is Ken Cuccinelli supposedly ‘extreme?’ Give me ONE example if you can.

  11. Anonymous said on 8 Nov 2012 at 4:21 pm:
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    Here’s but one example of Cuccinelli’s extreme positons. This from the Richmond Times Dispatch, not known for liberal positions:
    http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/rtd-opinion/2012/mar/05/tdopin01-cuccinelli-denied-ar-1739769/

  12. Greg L said on 8 Nov 2012 at 4:39 pm:
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    So the example of “extremism” is that public universities in Virginia should comply with investigatory demands from Virginia government.

    Yeah, I can live with that. “Extremism’ has obviously been redefined since I last looked it up in the dictionary.

  13. Anonymous said on 8 Nov 2012 at 6:35 pm:
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    Greg, you’re saying that a government official can launch a broad investigation without probable cause? How is that liberty?

  14. Anonymous said on 8 Nov 2012 at 6:54 pm:
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    I’m fine with Bill Bolling, and think MacDonmel has been terrific. But cuccinelli is a nut case and would be beaten by twenty points by Warner if he chooses to run.

  15. Greg L said on 8 Nov 2012 at 9:47 pm:
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    I’m fine with one government agency demanding records from another government agency to see if taxpayer dollars were misused. What I am NOT fine with is a government agency believing they are above the law. Even though a judge ruled that UVA didn’t have to comply, I believe this was decided wrongly.

    But anyone who wants to hang their hat on this as being ‘extreme’ is welcome to do so.

  16. Jack Slimp said on 8 Nov 2012 at 9:56 pm:
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    How they won ——
    A significant factor is ignorant voters. The question then is, why are they ignorant? By far and away, the chief reason is what is being portrayed by the media and what is being taught in the schools. Whoever controls the schools and the media controls the country. After 50 years of advancing liberal ideas in the schools, the liberal media is now able to fully capitalize on the results. Most of the media is very left, and their cacophony of lies and distortions was constantly blared throughout the year. An excellent examination of their impact on the election is given in Brent Bozell’s article,A Dreadful Media Campaign: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/brent-bozell/2012/11/06/bozell-column-dreadful-media-campaign

    What conservatives need to do is refocus their efforts toward overtaking the public schools and the media. This will take a long time if even possible now. We may have crossed the Rubicon.

  17. Bluer Virginia said on 9 Nov 2012 at 8:14 am:
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    Yes, Cuccinelli is an extremist. It’s because he’s a social conservative, which equates to extremism. Despite the Right’s attempt to push a false equivalence of the Left being equally extreme, people are beginning to understand this, as the election shows. However, many on the Right pretend to be confused by this, so I shall explain.

    Ken is against gay marriage and gays in general. That’s an extreme position. “No gay marriage” is extreme. The opposite extreme point would be “no straight marriage.” But of course, nobody is arguing that. The liberal idea is, “gay and straight marriage should both be allowed.” That’s a neutral, not extreme, position.

    “Abortion should not be legal,” something Ken believes, is extreme. The opposite extreme view would be, “mandatory abortions for everyone.” Again, nobody is arguing that. “Women should be free to choose whether or not to have abortions” is the neutral, moderate stance.

    “Abstinence-only education is all that should be taught,” again something Ken likes, is extreme. “Everyone should be forced to have sex” would be the opposite extreme. “Tell kids that they shouldn’t have sex, but give them information on birth control so they can at least be safe if they do” is the neutral position. It’s also the most rational stance, as a quick comparison of teen birth rates between the south (emphasis on abstinence) and north (willing to teach about birth control) will indicate. The Bible Belt has much higher teen pregnancy rates than elsewhere. (Ask Bristol Palin how well that whole abstinence education thing works.)

    The right is perhaps learning that nobody is interested in their extreme social views. You can’t pretend to be the party of small government when you’re pushing your nose as far into people’s bedrooms as you can. Stick to the responsible fiscal policy thing, work on reducing government (including the bloated defense budget), and stay out of social issues. Or keep voicing ignorant opinions on rape, trying to curtail women’s reproductive health, voting down domestic violence bills, and generally alienating women, non-whites, gays, etc. Pandering to these silly extremist views that are slowly dying off just isn’t working for you guys. Unfortunately, since the hallmark of Conservatism is “keep the status quo, nothing should ever change,” I’ve got a bad feeling we’re seeing the end of the GOP. And by “bad” I mean “great.”

  18. Doug Brown said on 9 Nov 2012 at 9:19 am:
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    Bluer Virginia,

    Cuccinelli is a faithful Catholic. If you wish to define that as extremist be my guest, but be honest, you oppose the teachings of the Catholic Church (fine) and you intend to deny the right of faithful Catholics to practice their faith and to give testament to their faith which they are required, by their faith to do. There are many Catholics; you may be one of them, who agree with you. Virginia just sent one of them to the US Senate. ( A Kaine vs. Marshall contest would have been more honest).

    Your “neutral” positions requires the faithful Catholic to live his/her life in isolation, in private, to acknowledge God’s dominion over him/her and then join you and others in opposing Catholic teaching a voice in public discourse. In short, you are telling Cuccinelli and his like to STFU if you want to take in public life of this country. Okay?

    STFU does not lead us, as an open and free society to debate political issues and arrive at compromise or a neutral position.

  19. Cajun said on 9 Nov 2012 at 9:37 am:
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    Doug Brown. An elected official’s first loyalty must be to the Constitution. If Catholics must always pursue policies that are defined by The Vatican, they are not faithful to their oath of office. Fortunately, most Catholic office holders are able to make a distinction between their personal conscience and their public responsibilities. BTW, there is no Catholic doctrine requiring trans-vaginal sonograms. There is no Catholic doctrine opposing science regarding global climate change. There IS Catholic doctrine opposing the death penalty … oh, let’s not raise that though.

    We are all, especially including Greg, cafeteria whatever — Catholics, conservatives, liberals. We pick and choose to fit our personal biases and beliefs.

  20. Bluer Virginia said on 9 Nov 2012 at 9:39 am:
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    Doug, Nobody is trying to oppress Catholics. Last time I checked, nobody is forcing you to have abortions, to gay marry, or to have sex. Catholics are more than welcome to believe whatever they want. I don’t agree with their views, but I’ll defend their right to believe the things they want to believe.

    The problem comes in when those religious beliefs–beliefs that are concerned, or should be concerned with the hereafter–affect the public life of people who don’t hold them. If you don’t want an abortion, you don’t have to have one. But don’t try to prevent the rest of us who want that choice available from having them. The gay marriage thing is especially galling. Nobody has ever come up with a reason why gays shouldn’t marry. Not one. Gay marriage simply doesn’t affect people who don’t want to gay marry. To be against this, while claiming to be for small government, is simply ridiculous.

    Religion is a private matter. It should never, ever, ever be dragged into politics. NOTHING good happens when it is. Look no further than the Talaban, a group of fundamentalists who use their religious ideas to force social constructs that denigrate women, deny the right for someone to be gay, to have abortions, to have premarital sex, to have fun. It’s great that you subscribe to a religion that views sex as something shameful that should be done as little as possible, and only for procreation. If that’s what gives you pleasure in life, GREAT! Go for it! I don’t care how you live your personal life. Please show me the same courtesy. Don’t push a social agenda that says with whom I can have sex, what their gender has to be, and curtails my right to decide if I want to be pregnant or not. To deny these things to all people is to be extreme. To say that it’s your choice what to do isn’t extreme.

    Nobody’s oppressing you. Go do Catholicky things, as many as you want. Don’t prevent me from having an abortion, and I won’t force you to have one. Deal?

  21. Doug Brown said on 9 Nov 2012 at 11:14 am:
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    Bluer Virginia,

    “Religion is a private matter. It should never, ever, ever be dragged into politics. NOTHING good happens when it is.”

    What you are really saying:

    ‘Catholicism is a private matter. It should never, ever, ever be dragged into politics. NOTHING good happens when it is.’

    I understand your position.

  22. Doug Brown said on 9 Nov 2012 at 11:41 am:
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    Cajun,

    What does the Vatican and the Founding Documents of this country have in common? To what or Whom are those office holders taking an oath to? What moral, legal authority are they committing themselves to upholding? You’re taking God out of your view of the American body politic, and I doubt you even realize you are doing it.

    Take two volumes of Thomas Aquinas and call me in the morning.

  23. Cajun said on 9 Nov 2012 at 11:53 am:
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    Mr. Brown:
    Actually one does not take an oath to God, one asks God to witness the Oath. The oath itself is to the American people. It is the framers of the Constitution who separated religion from American democracy. They could have established religion, or allowed individual states to do so, and specifically rejected it. We are not a nation of God. We are a nation of free people.

  24. Greg L said on 9 Nov 2012 at 12:05 pm:
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    “It is the framers of the Constitution who separated religion from American democracy”

    What complete and utter nonsense. I despair to see our country’s future even partly in the hands of those who profess such stunning ignorance.

  25. Doug Brown said on 9 Nov 2012 at 12:29 pm:
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    “We are not a nation of God. We are a nation of free people.”

    Cajun you have the wrong revolution, that would be the French Revolution. You’ve creoled your American History.

  26. Cajun said on 9 Nov 2012 at 12:41 pm:
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    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Sounds pretty American to me. Plain on it’s face and both proceeded and reiterated within the establishment of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

  27. Cajun said on 9 Nov 2012 at 12:45 pm:
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    From the Virginia Declaration of Rights:

    all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people;

    Note: not God, but ‘the people.’

  28. park'd said on 9 Nov 2012 at 12:52 pm:
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    The ONLY person to show up at my door was Jeanette. Although her politics are the polar opposite of mine, at least she had the good grace to talk with me and listen to my gripes about a 100% increase in water bills here in the park and listen to me telling her why MP will NEVER get businesses to locate here or people with any means due to the uncontrolled overcrowding and general filthy and rundown condition of the town. I respected her for that. Brian is the only one I voted for in the end because he and I have similar although certainly not the same POV on things. My write in for mayor was ‘anyone but frank’. The simple fact in the end is that NoVa has gone predominately liberal over the past decade due to the influx of illegals and other low and middle income minority folks. It must be VERY frustrating for the rest of the entire state of Virginia to be held hostage to the whims of the voters of a 600 sq mile chunk area at the top of the state…

    The GOP is already operating under the guise that the reason they lost and nobody showed up for them is because they are too conservative and must move more towards the center when in fact it’s the complete opposite. They ran two RINOs in the past two elections with little success because they were in fact not conservative ENOUGH. At this point amnesty is a foregone conclusion and what little blue collar jobs were available for Americans in this area will disappear the day after. Americans will get EXACTLY what they deserve imo.

  29. Greg L said on 9 Nov 2012 at 1:43 pm:
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    Cajum et al.: there’s an enormously huge gulf between “establishment of religion” and “separation.” The first allows “the free exercise” of religion by the people, a right afforded by God (as noted in the Declaration of Independence) and protected from Congressonal perfidity under the Constitution. The latter (separation) is a ban on the exercise of religious faith altogether.

    Liberals for some unfathomable reason believe that “separation of church and state” is written in the First Amendment of the Constitution. You’d think it was written in Latin for all the comprehension of it they display.

  30. Doug Brown said on 9 Nov 2012 at 1:46 pm:
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    Cajun,

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by Man with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    ???

    If you were really familiar with the history of the period you pretend to be and subsequent debates in the following decades, the irrationalism and mass slaughter of which was in full display during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Imperium, you would understand that you are grossly miscontruing where the Founding generation came down on the issue of where Government’s legitimacy ulimately rest.

    And I understand why so many Americans are prone and willing to do so, they need an historical narrative which legitimizes Roe v Wade, it’s all rather simple, but in the end it is and will always be simply wrong.

  31. Cajun said on 9 Nov 2012 at 1:52 pm:
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    Greg: You’ve lost the thread of your own argument, or you have intentionally changed the subject. No one is arguing that people are not entitled to practice their religion and participate in politics. Separation of church and State has been confirmed by the courts as an extension of the establishment clause as defined in case law. I’d assume you’d agree that Mormanism shouldn’t be taught in schools in Utah simply because that is the majority religion there.

    Of course, you have already made clear that you are not really a strict conservative, but want to pick and choose whose liberties are protected based on your own personal beliefs.

    But that’s okay. We all do that to some degree.

  32. Greg L said on 9 Nov 2012 at 1:58 pm:
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    “Separation of church and State has been confirmed by the courts”

    Pray tell, in what decision did they do that?

    Last I checked Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 143 U.S. 457 (1892) had not been overturned. Last I checked verses from Matthew were still inscribed in the Lincoln Memorial. Last I checked our currency still was inscribed with the national motto “In God We Trust” pursuant to an act of Congress passed in 1864. The last time I reviewed it, Congress in 1782 had passed a resolution recommending the Bible be used in all public schools.

    Separation of Church and State must have been some sort of secret idea of the founders that no one ever bothered to tell any of their contemporaries about, other than Jefferson’s infamous private letter to a literary society that never carried any legislative authority in the first place.

  33. Cajun said on 9 Nov 2012 at 2:13 pm:
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    Everson v. Board of Education.

  34. Greg L said on 9 Nov 2012 at 2:34 pm:
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    Nope. Everson simply reinforced the Establishment Clause by saying it was unlawful for taxpayer funds to be used to support a religious institution. You misread the opinion.

  35. Cajun said on 9 Nov 2012 at 2:40 pm:
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    Greg, You win ‘a wall of separation’ is not the same as separation. BTW, this secret concept started in the colonies not with Jefferson, but with Roger Williams. It all means the same thing. We are not a nation governed by anyone’s concept of Divine providence. We are not a nation subject to religious override, nor of preference to any one religion — or no religion at all. We have not requirement for office holders to be of any religion.

    So what’s your beef?

  36. Anonymous said on 9 Nov 2012 at 3:11 pm:
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    This is an amazing, though sometimes off topic, discussion. How they won. Really? Hispanics were a major factor in the Democrats’ victory in Prince William County and in Virginia. This site, and you personally Greg, probably more than anyone else, spouted inflammatory rhetoric about Hispanics for years and encouraged county leaders to do the same. You praised guys like Tom Tancredo, whose was an extremist on immigration issues. Now you think the Democrats victory was due to better organization. How they won. Look in the mirror.

  37. Robert L. Duecaster said on 9 Nov 2012 at 3:36 pm:
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    @Anonymous:

    What we had was an invasion of people who were not supposed to be here. Some of us chose to resist it, albeit too little and too late. If you want to characterize the rhetoric I and others “spouted” as inflammatory, so be it. I submit we were simply pointing out the obvious. My rhetoric was directed at all illegal aliens, regardless of origin, and still is. Illegal aliens, regardless of what country they come from, and what country they invade, are parasitic at best and predatory at worst. I prefer not to be parasitized nor preyed upon. If you find that rhetoric offensive and want to characterize it as inflammatory and extremist, go ahead. Your characterization does not, however, detract from its inherent veracity.

  38. Greg L said on 9 Nov 2012 at 4:00 pm:
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    Typical lib answer: Republicans can only win if they become Democrats. Right.

    I suppose the inverse is what Democrats decided to do in 2004 after Kerry lost. Somehow I don’t think Obama was the more to the center candidate Democrats were thinking of running back in 2004.

  39. Cajun said on 9 Nov 2012 at 4:11 pm:
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    Greg: You’re just sounding bitter. The larger point is that if your party loses among Hispanics, African Americans, young people generally and young women especially, among people with advanced degrees and people who live in urban areas, you’ve got a problem. You can stick to your principles and continue to lose elections, or, yes, you can change. That doesn’t necessarily mean becoming Democrats, but it probably DOES mean moderating the positions of the party.

    Let’s see the demographic breakout and see where traditional Republican strengths are. If a winning number can be put together among them, then don’t change a thing. On the other hand, I’d look not at Obama - Romney, but at Allen - Kaine for an idea of where Virginia voters are politically.

  40. Greg L said on 9 Nov 2012 at 4:30 pm:
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    The whole notion of segregating voters out into groups based not on what they think, but what their appearance is, is to me horrific. I refuse to think that I need to approach African-American women any different than I should approach German-American men. The message of liberty, personal responsibility, small government and the rule of law doesn’t depend on your national origin or racial appearance.

    Obama got fewer votes this time around than in 2008, but Romney got fewer votes than McCain. Obama ran very effective targeting and turnout operations in battleground states while Republicans did essentially nothing. The reason for this outcome is mechanics as well as candidates. As I said in the blog post I can’t fix candidates, but I can fix mechanics.

  41. Cajun said on 9 Nov 2012 at 4:42 pm:
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    Greg: Huh? What are you talking about? You’re being obtuse, either intentionally or maybe not. But if you think the Party, its policies and its messaging is just fine and dandy the way it is, go for it. How many more elections do you want to lose?

    I think you know the Mark Warner will be the next Governor of The Commonwealth if he wants to be.

  42. Doug Brown said on 9 Nov 2012 at 4:45 pm:
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    Anonymous,

    Off topic? Not really, characterizing Cuccinelli as an extremist is a continuation of splitting and encouraging division within the Republican base, that is part of what the Dems should and will do while they consolidate and bring out their own base, which is why they won, and will continue to win unless the Republicans counter more effectively. Hint, there is no 47%, no %%%, proceed as if everybody’s vote is up for grabs, believe in your ideas and stick to your principles. Romney came close to pulling it off, he should not have cluthed and held during the last two debates.

    Tom Tacredo was not so much an extremist as he was a poor strategist and thinker who did not understand what the Bush WH was up to., then again I don’t think the Bush White House really knew or understood what they were up to in regard to immigration. They did have the right idea about heavily focusing on and pursuing the Hispanic vote, but their implemetation of that policy bordered on criminal. :-)

  43. Cajun said on 9 Nov 2012 at 5:06 pm:
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    Bob McDonnell has been a very good and effective Governor. He is the kind of candidate Republicans should be looking for. He has been principled but has governed moderately and has had an open door to listen to opposing viewpoints.

    Cuccinelli is a self-aggrandizing extremist who is pursuing his own agenda rather than the interests of The Commonwealth. He will be a disaster as a candidate and a greater disaster if he is ever elected.

    Bill Bolling lacks charisma, in part because he is a modest man. He will have a difficult time whipping up enthusiasm for his candidacy, and will probably lose to Warner if he runs, as would Cuccinelli. The difference is that Bolling would be an excellent Governor, who will continue McDonnell’s pro business policies while remaining moderate on divisive and intrusive social issues.

    Virginia can lead the country in economic growth, education and quality of life, while maintaining a relatively modest tax policy. Or, Republicans can be ideologically ‘pure’ (as some anti-libertarians would define it) and the party will slide into a rural party with little success in statewide races.

  44. Jon Wong said on 9 Nov 2012 at 5:30 pm:
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    It’s all BS….Where the hell is my OBAMA PHONE?????

  45. Doug Brown said on 9 Nov 2012 at 5:37 pm:
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    Cajun,

    No comment on Warner’s weaknesses?

    (McDonnell has been a good Governor and Bolling a good Lt Gov.)

  46. Cajun said on 9 Nov 2012 at 6:56 pm:
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    Warner had a very good run as Governor. His weaknesses are related to policy differences, but he is a moderate. One thing Bolling would benefit from, but not Cuccinelli, is lower turnout. Oddly enough, if there is smaller turnout the Republicans could turn out stronger because of their more committed base. Cuccinelli would be polarizing and bring out more Democrats.

  47. Ronald said on 9 Nov 2012 at 10:29 pm:
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    Amen Greg… if the Republicans run a real Christian and conservative who will uphold all of our values, I’ll vote for them. The Republicans left a lot of votes on the table by running a mushy moderate member of a cult.

  48. Cynic said on 9 Nov 2012 at 11:34 pm:
    Flag comment

    Anonymous says:
    “This is an amazing, though sometimes off topic, discussion. How they won. Really? Hispanics were a major factor in the Democrats’ victory in Prince William County and in Virginia. This site, and you personally Greg, probably more than anyone else, spouted inflammatory rhetoric about Hispanics for years and encouraged county leaders to do the same. You praised guys like Tom Tancredo, whose was an extremist on immigration issues. Now you think the Democrats victory was due to better organization. How they won. Look in the mirror.”

    http://costonscomplaint.blogspot.com/2012/06/simpson-mazzoli-act-was-big-lie.html

    So, we should all be conforming whimpering wimps of democracy and cave to the illegal’s latest request - amnesty for the 11 million - just like we did in 1986.

    And, would not be afraid to bet money that the 11 million number is low balled.

    Open borders do not work in a welfare state - Dr. Milton Friedman. And, do not buy the counter argument that immigrants are ineligible for welfare benefits when the facts show that many illegals receive these benefits.

    Tancredo is a great American - far, far greater than any of the liberals that are supporting amnesty.

  49. Cajun said on 10 Nov 2012 at 8:33 am:
    Flag comment

    Note. Only citizens voted

  50. Doug Brown said on 10 Nov 2012 at 10:13 am:
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    Cynic,

    Good link, if people have a few minutes the video is worth watching because it does give a good sense of what we are all up against in addressing the problems of illegal aliens crashing our system.

    That being said, I still think Tancredo, Kris Kobach, NumbersUSA and the like are still a bunch of knuclkeheads. They won the battle in 2006-7 but have lost the war. Why? They used a shotgun on a sniper mission.

  51. Doug Brown said on 10 Nov 2012 at 10:27 am:
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    Cajun,

    As you prepare for the coronation of John Warner for Gov, if he wants it, you can’t find any other weaknesses except ‘differences in policy’? If the RPV comes knocking on your door to join their opposition research team, let me know, in some ways, it wouldn’t surprise me.

  52. Cynic said on 10 Nov 2012 at 11:47 am:
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    Doug,

    Battle - War - I agree with your conclusion.

    Majority of people make decisions based on emotions. Once the voting masses realize that they have control of the purse strings, a Country is doomed. Bye, bye Greece, Spain, and California!

  53. Cajun said on 10 Nov 2012 at 12:53 pm:
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    Doug,

    We’re talking about Virginia statewide elections. I’m also talking about Mark Warner, not poor John Warner. In a Virginia statewide election, Mark Warner has few weaknesses. If you think otherwise, well lay them out.

    Yes, I believe Warner would win over Cuccinelli by at least 10%, perhaps more. Actually, I’d vote for him over Cuccinelli.

    While we’re at it, I’m getting tired of the attitude that somehow democracy only is good when our team wins. If you think the country is ‘doomed’ well, move to Sweden or Mexico or someplace. We’ve done pretty well for the past 200 plus years, despite liars and crooks from both parties.

  54. Doug Brown said on 10 Nov 2012 at 2:11 pm:
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    Cajun,

    Sorry , it’s one of those typing mistakes I always seem to fall back into.

    I’m not one of those doom and gloom guys. America has ended as we know it…gnashing of teeth…

    Too much Drudge and Cable news (both sides) , Apocapylse 24/7 is a little too much to live with day in and day out.

    I had a rather nice day on November 7th, of course as a Russianist I always think Bolshevik Revolution and though it had a long and terrible run, it too passed. In fact, as a Papist I take great comfort that it ended on December 8th the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Of course, the USSR was the first major 20th century power of the world to embrace and promote abortion as a good thing. So the Sun sets and the Sun rises… Que Sera, Sera :-)

    MARK Warner does have weakness and that would be his service in Harry Reid’s Senate and his support of the President. I’m not cheering for success or collapse of the country, but if things head south fast that Senate record should be and will be pinned on MARK Warner , the Democrat.

  55. Anonymous said on 10 Nov 2012 at 4:27 pm:
    Flag comment

    What does the GOP need to do to get the black and Latino vote? Ans: Absolutely nothing. They (blacks and Latinos) are now so deeply entrenched within the Democratic party you will NEVER get them to change partys. The Democrats keep increasing the entitlements to these groups and they would be crazy to change the status quo and vote Republican. (IMHO)

  56. Cynic said on 10 Nov 2012 at 7:57 pm:
    Flag comment

    “move to Sweden or Mexico”

    Both are left oriented with an overpopulation/unemployment problem.

    Mexico sends it citizens to the US; Sweden sends theirs to Norway.

    http://www.inquisitr.com/385002/sweden-pays-jobless-citizens-to-seek-employment-in-norway/

  57. Jack said on 10 Nov 2012 at 10:20 pm:
    Flag comment

    You want birth control, Bluer Vagina? Pay for it yourself.

    You want an abortion? Pay for it yourself.

    You want health insurance for your gay lover? Pay for it yourself.

  58. Jack said on 10 Nov 2012 at 10:22 pm:
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    The reason the demonrats have a better ground game is that Republicans have JOBS. The demonrats get their poll workers right off of the welfare rolls. And the demonrats who DO have jobs? The unions pay them to work the polls.

  59. legal2 said on 11 Nov 2012 at 7:48 am:
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    For what it’s worth, there is an effort underway to encourage certain secretaries of state (some of whom are probably as corrupt as the regime we have in place) to investigate voter fraud: http://reagangirl.com/43247/

  60. Anonymous said on 11 Nov 2012 at 10:46 am:
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    It’s people like Jack that made others turn their back on the GOP. The haters got too much of a voice. It is not my father’s GOP anymore.

  61. Jack said on 11 Nov 2012 at 12:58 pm:
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    Yes, I do hate that our country is becoming just another socialist state.

    I notice that you have no rebuttal, just an ad hominem attack. Typical.

  62. Anonymous said on 11 Nov 2012 at 1:22 pm:
    Flag comment

    “Anonymous said on 11 Nov 2012 at 10:46 am:

    It’s people like Jack that made others turn their back on the GOP. The haters got too much of a voice. It is not my father’s GOP anymore.”

    I second that.

    Unless there are massive changes within in the GOP (or the electoral college), if the Dems run a competent candidate, I see the Republican party losing nationally in 2016 as well.

  63. Doug Brown said on 11 Nov 2012 at 1:47 pm:
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    Anonymous seconds Anonymous , the possibilities of the infinite loop are infinite.

    Check out Dick Morris’ “Whatever” piece. Demographics = Democrats. Of course he also predicted a Romney landslide.

  64. Jack said on 11 Nov 2012 at 2:33 pm:
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    It would be nice if the Democrats would put up a competent candidate, but they do not seem to care whether they do or not.

  65. Ronald said on 11 Nov 2012 at 4:10 pm:
    Flag comment

    I’d vote for Jack… he seems to know the score.

    You are going to hear that Republicans need to run “moderates” to win or that Republicans need to abandon their principles as Christians and conservatives. Well Republicans ran a liberal non-Christian and they lost, and they lost because true Christian conservatives, like me, voted 3rd party or stayed home.

    If the Republicans run a pro-abortion, pro-amnesty candidate, I will not be voting for them.

  66. Jack Slimp said on 11 Nov 2012 at 5:05 pm:
    Flag comment

    Good explanation of how the essentially one-issue GOP campaign (economy) lost - by Robert Knight: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

    Maybe not. Mired in the worst recovery since the Great Depression, with unemployment near 8 percent, companies laying off workers over Obamacare, a $16 trillion debt and gasoline at double the 2008 price, America still re-elected Barack Obama.

    Mitt Romney ran a single-issue campaign: the economy, stupid.

    The missed opportunities were endless. After CNN’s Candy Crowley silenced him in the second debate over the attack in Benghazi, Libya, Mr. Romney declined to expose Mr. Obama’s shocking lies and transparent cover-up. He also declined to educate Americans about the administration’s brazen lawlessness, especially that of the Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Labor Relations Board.

    What about Supreme Court appointments? The Keystone XL pipeline? The numerous “czars” appointed without Senate approval? Obamacare? Mr. Obama’s flip-flop on marriage?

    Meanwhile, 42 percent of voters in the Fox News exit poll said Mr. Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy was an important factor. Of those, more than 65 percent voted for Mr. Obama. Even if those voters were unduly impressed by the photo-ops and Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s fulsome praise, it means character still matters. Mr. Obama passed the last-minute leadership test, assisted by a media blackout of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s inadequate response and the scandalous non-coverage of the Benghazi cover-up.

    Many policy areas in which outright lies have been the coin of the realm could have been exposed if GOP consultants had not insisted on playing only Monopoly. Mr. Romney broke through the media fog in the first debate, showing the public a decent, more rounded candidate. He wasn’t the soulless, cancer-patient-killing corporate raider in the $100 million worth of smear ads that had run for months, but it wasn’t enough.

    What do we have, aside from a nightmare scenario involving the pending makeup of the Supreme Court, half of the American people’s de facto embrace of socialism, the survival of Obamacare and the Harry Reid-led U.S. Senate, and the Republicans’ continued control of 30 governorships and the U.S. House?

    Well, we have some important lessons:

    It’s not just “the economy, stupid.” If it were, Mr. Romney would have won in a walk.

    A moderate Republican from the Northeast who presided over the creation of homosexual “marriage” and pioneered Obamacare in his own state is not the best candidate to counter the left’s relentless promotion of moral and fiscal insanity.

    Big Bird’s Food Stamp Army is for real. Millions turned out to ensure that the government will support them with other people’s earnings. As Obamacare hits harder and companies lay off more employees, it’s hard to see how this will decrease anytime soon.

    Featuring minority faces on prime time doesn’t help the GOP’s demographic problem. Republicans have got to get to know the communities and make the conservative case to them.

    It’s OK to cast your vote based entirely on race as long as neither you nor the candidate is white. Despite endorsing the anti-biblical notion of homosexual “marriage,” Mr. Obama still garnered 93 percent of the black American vote, slightly less than in 2008. You could say it was “the economy, stupid,” except that the black community has been hardest hit under Mr. Obama’s policies.

    The media, comprised mostly of unrepentant partisan hacks, continue to worsen. They suppressed, Soviet-style, anything remotely unflattering to Mr. Obama, enabling him to continue the absurd fiction that his failures are George W. Bush’s fault.

    I talked with a 20-something graduate student in the Midwest (she’s afraid to say in print which school) who told me her female classmates were for Mr. Obama because they believed that “if a Republican gets in, he’ll take away the rights of women.”

    None mentioned the economy, the student said. One classmate did not know the U.S. ambassador to Libya had been slain. All they knew was that Mr. Romney was out “to control their bodies,” the young woman said. “The Obama campaign and the media have been able to make people believe total lies.”

    Indeed, single women and the “youth vote” again went for Mr. Obama. It’s not surprising that, after years of school indoctrination under left-wing teachers unions and a steady diet of music, TV and films that attack faith and promote sexual license, a majority of young voters buy into government-subsidized sexual anarchy. They’ve come to regard church-going Christians as crazed scolds who might interfere with their limitless entitlements. Sandra Fluke is no fluke. The phony “war on women” found eager ears.

    This was not inevitable. Nor were the homosexual “marriage” victories in four states. They happened because the party of traditional values hides under a green eyeshade. Being the Silent Majority worked once upon a time, but now GOP candidates must learn how to make the full conservative case. They cannot cede powerful cultural issues to the left. They need to make a compelling defense of traditional morality, without which free enterprise will die. It’s not that hard. Start by noting the consequences of moral decline. The same goes for the rule of law, without which diplomats die, constitutional liberties are lost, cities are ruined and guns get shipped to Mexico with murderous results.

    The Romney campaign showed, decisively, that it’s a mistake to politely ignore lies and abuses of power. Maybe I don’t watch enough TV, but I didn’t see any political ads about the Operation Fast and Furious scandal, Benghazi, Obamacare’s attack on religious freedom, Mr. Obama’s chilling “After my election, I have more flexibility” remark to the Russian president, or the outrageous order to Boeing Co. not to build a plant in South Carolina. “You can’t build that” would have been a nice lead-in to an ad about government tyranny under Mr. Obama.

    The GOP put all its marbles on the economy. It surrendered lots of marbles to people who long ago lost theirs.

    Read more: KNIGHT: Why the single-issue campaign failed - Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/9/why-the-single-issue-campaign-failed/#ixzz2BxDD0wXP
    Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

  67. Yawning Wold said on 12 Nov 2012 at 11:13 pm:
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    Greg, they didn’t win. We lost. No one votes FOR a person. They vote AGAINST the other guy. So, the real question is, “why did people vote against the Republicans”. Glad you asked:

    1. out of our entire nation that sorry azzed lineup of candidates was the best the Repubs could come up with??
    2. Herman Cain sounded decent until we found out the guy was a philanderer. What the heck is he doing up there on the stage? He makes ALL conservatives look bad.
    3. Bush destroyed our nation. The effects of his bad presidency are still with us. Bush was a loser. An ignorant, stupid loser. He doubled our debt and he calls himself a conservative??? The guy must have been a lib mole!
    4. The lib propaganda machine is superb! Diane Sawyer gushed every night over “Team Obama”. Brian Williams followed up.
    5. The legal Hispanics in this nation WANT illegals to be granted amnesty. And the legal Hispanics can vote. And someday so will their myriad offspring. And Hispanics love getting free stuff from our government. Good bye iPhone developers, hello gardeners. The only question is, “Whose garden will they maintain when we are all broke?”
    6. Our government is filled with traitors. That is what I call folks who welcome an invasion so that they can get votes.
    7. Romney is a mormon. He believes in the planet Kolab. The Repubs need someone with at least 1/2 a brain.

    The Repubs are dead. Sean Hannity is changing his position on illegals in an attempt to revive conservatism. Only problem is, his new view is not conservative. Give up. Its over. This generation had it shot at the brass ring, but we blew it. We will now descend into a 3rd (pronounced without the ‘h’) world nation like Mexico.

  68. Cynic said on 13 Nov 2012 at 12:21 pm:
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    Yawning Wold,

    “descend into a 3rd”

    We are already a “Third” World entity - no longer a Nation of laws but an entity run by the whims of those holding the reigns of power. And, during the next four years, our “Third” World status will continue to improve.

    “like Mexico”

    Not sure about that. Mexico may be less “Third” World than we are. Someone should gather the pertinent/relevant facts and then make an analysis and evaluation to determine our ranking in relation to Mexico.

  69. Anonymous said on 18 Nov 2012 at 12:40 pm:
    Flag comment

    Why didnt the Repubs explain the virtues of the free market to the residents of Danville VA? They lost there 12 dollar an hour job due to outsourceing. They could have told them that due to their location and education that they would need to move to Northern Virginia for jobs ! They could have crammed three families into a rundown 3 bedroom townhouse to compete with hispanics for the 8 dollar an hour landscape jobs w no benfits. They could pool their money together to pay 1800 a month in rent. Their substinance could be offset by outdated food handouts from serve.

    Republican free market reality! Why did they vote for Romney? God, gays and guns pure and simple!

    Social conservative ideology!

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