Winners & Losers
Cheers & recriminations
By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
As has become custom a day or two following a major election, MBT prevails on its portfolio of political savants to assess the winners and losers "beyond the obvious."
Obviously, President Barack Obama was the big winner and the Republican Party nationally is probably at the front of the loser line, destined for the sort of soul searching that comes only with a disappointing setback.
But even in the case of Obama and the GOP there are some subtleties that mitigate the glow of victory and soften the sting of defeat.
Without further adieu:
"The observation of H. L. Mencken says it best: 'Democracy is the theory that says that people know the kind of government they want and deserve to get it good and hard.'"
-- Frank McRight,
"Winners: The 47 percent;
Losers: The 53 percent who fund the 47 percent."
"The big winner nationally was President Obama, and the big losers were the nation’s tax payers and those who need a job.
The day after the election, the President and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insisted on raising taxes, just as they have the last two years. Most jobs in America are created by small businesses and they will see their taxes go up if the President and Senator Reid are successful, thus providing a disincentive for hiring at a time when we are looking for some momentum for economic growth.
There’s no change out of this election, and not much hope either, but, as opposed to four years ago, the President didn’t run on change or hope, just a burnt earth all-out partisan attack on Romney and Republicans, which further divided our country.
At the state level, the Democrats took a big hit (as expected), but found some life in winning local elections in Jefferson, Montgomery, Madison and Tuscaloosa counties. That local Democrat success was aided by new Democrat voter registration efforts in those counties funded back in August and September by the backers of the special election to raid the state’s trust fund and adroitly implemented by the Democrat consultants who ran that campaign. That’s significant because it was in these county races that the state Republican Party vowed to make progress. While the Republicans did win in some other counties, the mixed bag in local elections, in a year when Alabamans were voting in huge numbers against the Democrat presidential nominee, is a small win for the Democrats.
Also, the Democrats can take some small consolation that 200,000 Romney voters split their tickets to vote for the Democrat nominee for chief justice. It wasn’t enough to win, but it shows some residual strength which they could build on in the future. The Democrat consultants I referred to earlier are smart enough to accomplish that, if the Democrat leadership will start changing and adapting their party to the new political normal in Alabama. Look for those Democrat consultants and their candidates in the 2014 Republican legislative primaries.
The Forever Wild Amendment got more votes than Romney did in Alabama showing huge bi-partisan support for sensible conservation efforts.
And, AEA had a great day defeating Amendment Four, which caps a comeback year for them when they blocked the Governor’s No. 1 legislative priority (an economic development incentive bill), kept the Governor from raiding the education fund to solve our Medicaid woes (and convinced the Governor to raid the state’s trust fund instead), and killed charter schools. AEA was supposed to be dead after the 2008 elections, but they are back and arguably growing stronger. My hat’s off to Henry Mabry for filling Paul Hubbert’s shoes so adeptly.
With the President winning re-election nationally and AEA making a comeback in Alabama, I’m reminded of that lyric by The Who: 'Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.' Of course, it is ironic that the name of that song is 'Won’t Get Fooled Again.'”
-- Bradley R. Byrne,
GOP attorney, candidate
"This was going to be a close race under the best of circumstances. The GOP and the Romney campaign
never had a handle on the Latino vote. That being said it was critical to get the female undecided vote.
Two things occurred.
The first was hurricane Sandy. It just killed the campaigns momentum. Obama looked Presidential and Christie's praise of the President hurt.
The second thing was the Senate races in Missouri and Indiana. Two things a candidate should never do is put God and rape in any public forum. Those two guys quite frankly scared the hell out of women and sent them straight to Obama.
Women are tired of right wing candidates telling them about what they should and shouldn't do. What those two fools said resonated with women all over the country in an extremely negative way.
Just the way I see it."
-- Sage Lyons,
"I was real pleased to see locally the GOP add 5,000 more straight ticket voters than in 2008. The Democrat straight voting dropped 1,200 votes."
-- Mrs. Terry Lathan,
Chair, Mobile County Republican Executive Committee
"Perhaps worth noting for future reference ...Within the city of Mobile, President Obama got roughly 59 percent of the vote."
- Teachers Unions. Getting the penny tax by such a large margin in Baldwin plus voting down Amendment 4. Scare tactics are still a very powerful tool for this group.
- Elliott, Haygood and Stacey. 9-0 over the last two years as campaign consultants. Apparently not only do you have to be a Republican to get elected in Baldwin County, you also need to hire EHS.
- Bill Armistead, state GOP chairman. The 'White House to the Court House' campaign was a complete failure. Not only did we lose the White House, we lost five probate judge spots that we already had. Bad day for the leadership in ALGOP.
- Moderate Candidates. Two elections in a row we put up the candidate that was 'electable,' taking the base of the party for granted. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me."
"It is interesting that certain natural disasters, if they occur in an area that has a contested race going on and one in which one of the contestants has the momentum going, like in Sandy, can be disrupted and the campaign loses. I think that happened here. It also happened in the first Sam Jones race. The hurricane delayed voting for 2 weeks and Peavy lost his Mo. Beyond that, it seems to me that 'Abummer' is in a tough place of his own making, if Boehner wants to hold his feet to the fire. None of the 'saving' economic fixes can go anywhere unless they come out of the House. I guess POTUS does want to work with the other side NOW. Guess who may have BOH by the balls (if Jesse hasn't already cut them off), the young Irishman from Wisconsin and his committee. Humpf."
"Republicans need to have a better ground game, and more use of social media."
-- Bess Rich,
Mobile City Council
"Senator Beason of Gardendale now has even more egg on his face. First, despite the statements from our Governor that the key provisions of the Anti-Immigration Act in Alabama remain in effect, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Arizona will work to vacate our law. I suspect that the 11th Circuit’s ruling will come soon.
Next, the Hispanic community is a close community and communicates well.
Beason said that he wanted the message of self-deportation to get out to all the illegals. We saw that the message got out as many Hispanics did self-deport from Alabama as the act intended.
Beason’s message of self-deportation came before Romney’s message of self-deportation in the campaign which Romney announced in order to get to the right of Governor Perry of Texas on this issue.
After Romney was nominated and he tried to swing to the middle, his campaign surely tried to re-assure the Hispanic community that Romney was just playing politics and that the Republicans did not intend to enact such extreme measures into law. However, the Hispanics saw that the moment the Republicans took over the legislature in Alabama, they enacted 'the toughest anti-illegal immigrant act.'
So, Beason’s act gave credibility to Romney’s statement he intended to pass similar legislation causing 'self-deportation' which the Hispanic Community could not ignore and which was reflected in the vote.
While Bush received about 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, Romney received about half that amount. Since this vote was 10 percent of the electorate, it cost him the election.
A good argument can be made that Beason was a major contributor to the Romney defeat. Another unintended consequence of the anti-immigration act with far worse consequences than the arrest of the German Mercedes executive in Tuscaloosa and the Japanese Honda executive in Talladega."
"Bottom line is that the Obama campaign knew who their voters were, registered them and got them to the polls in greater numbers than the Romney campaign.
Micro-targeting and metrics won this election.
The Republicans need to take a long look at their party and a new, moderate leader needs to emerge, and quickly. Someone like Jeb Bush or Chris Christie must man up to the Tea Party wing and appeal to the middle. Otherwise, with the demographics moving so rapidly in the Democrats' favor, they're looking at about eight-12 years of Democratic rule in the White House and, possibly the Congress."
""I believe the 2012 Presidential Election will go down in history as the election in which we saw a monumental (and permanent) shift away from the conservative and moderate white voters being the controlling electorate in the election of a U.S. President. With as bad as the U.S. economy has been over the 4 years of the Obama Administration (and showing very few signs of improvement), it should've been fairly easy for the Republicans to take back the White House (and the Senate too). But of course, that didn't happen. If the national Republican Party wants to compete for the White House in the future, there's going to have to be some shifting of their policies on issues like immigration, abortion, health care, and yes, maybe even same-sex marriages. I'm not saying that's what they SHOULD do, but they have to consider ALL options if they want to compete for the Presidency. If the numbers are accurate that Hispanics and Asians are the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. population, then major policy changes have take place for the GOP which take into account the concerns of those two growing segments. And they have to find a way to appeal to more women as well as the middle class again which obviously cuts across many ethnic groups. All that's a big task. It'll be interesting to see how all this plays out."
consultant, former candidate
- The Baldwin County Republican Party and Chairman Matt Simpson. Baldwin is officially the reddest county in a very red state with all of its county wide races going uncontested by the Democrats.
- The Alabama Republican Party. Super majorities and complete statewide dominance. Look for consolidation of this power and additional gains in upcoming legislative races due to redistricting by Republicans.
- Baldwin Probate Judge Tim Russell. Despite the highest turnout ever, some 75 percent of registered voters, Russell and his trained poll workers masterfully handled the crowds on election day; no easy task.
- The Baldwin Democrats, both of them.
- The Alabama Democratic Party. What an utter and complete fall from power.
- Rural blue dog Dems holding local office. Your days are numbered. You simply can't survive in a state this red."
"Just an observation on Bob Vance's race. I don't know whether good TV ads would have made enough difference for Vance to win, but two out of his three ads either brought him no additional votes or cost him votes.
To win, Vance needed Joe and Jane Sixpack. The Democrats were already going to vote for him, as were the lawyers, judges and intelligentsia.
His first ad, introducing him and his family, simply portrayed a rich man displaying his comfortable surroundings and relying on his father's murder. His second ad, depicting the production of his own TV ad, conveyed, first, the message that TV ads are contrived and, second, the cutsie message that Vance himself is, in the words of his kids, 'a nerd.'
Was there anything in either of these ads that would stir anything but contempt in Joe and Jane Sixpack? Vance's candidacy was such a long shot anyway that he could ill afford for such a huge percentage of his campaign to be so counterproductive.
Vance, of course, is a splendid judge, but whoever produced and approved these two ads was clueless."
It is time to find a way to work together. It is time for the President to have regular meetings with the leaders of Congress. I said that four years ago, but President Obama didn't do it. Governor Romney pledged to do it, but unfortunately he didn't win. It is the only way to begin solving the problems facing the nation. The President must take the lead in this. The Congress must be responsive in a positive way.
I was in the Republican leadership for many years when I was a Congressman. Presidents in those years were, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan. The leaders of both parties, House and Senate, met with the Presidents every Wednesday morning in the White House to discuss the various issues of the day.
Let's hope President Obama will be a better leader this time. And let's hope Congress will come to the table. It is essential.
-- Jack Edwards,
U.S. congressman, retired
"Like most Republicans, I am disappointed in the outcome of the national election, but I am hopeful that the parties will work together to avoid the 'fiscal cliff' ahead.
Locally, there were a couple of surprises that have not been reported. First, two Democrats carried Mobile County while losing the state as a whole. Lucy Baxley carried the county by a few hundred votes, and Judge Bob Vance carried Mobile County by over 10,000 votes. Those results indicate that Mobile County voters are willing to split their tickets even while granting the Republican candidate for president a large margin of victory.
The lesson learned is that general elections in Alabama still matter, and that both parties need to nominate the most effective candidates possible in order to have a chance at victory. Both parties should also reconsider sending their troops off to "competitive" states during presidential elections, as there is plenty of work to do right here at home."
-- Adam Bourne,
Chickasaw City Council
"So much has been said already. Unrelated to the election I had a day off work Wednesday and in mid-afternoon was surfing tv to find out what happened
in Florida when I stumbled on C-SPAN's live broadcast of a press conference at the National Press Club by six national leaders of ultra conservative and Tea Party leaders talking about what's ahead.
As could be expected they all launched into passionate attacks but not on Democrats, but on the Republican Party starting with Mitt Romney and on down through Karl Rove by name and national party leadership by title and of congressional GOP leaders.
They stated flatly that their campaign begins now, that they expect results in the 2014 by-election and that by 2018 they expect to have taken control of the Republican Party.
It was scary. I wonder if Republicans are not regretting letting them inside the tent. With this kind of attack of Republicans from inside it does not appear that they will be too interested in bipartisan compromise."
-- JoAnn Flirt,
"The landscape in Washington today looks much like it did on Nov. 6. Not much has changed; the very same problems that faced small-business owners yesterday will face them tomorrow — higher taxes, more regulations, higher health-insurance costs. Washington is in a stalemate.
The fiscal cliff will be a huge issue for our members. If Congress and the president do not act, small businesses will be subject to a deluge of new taxes come Jan. 1, including the expiration of the current estate tax rates, the AMT and the expiration of the individual tax rates.
The small-business community never fully recovered from the recession – their level of optimism is still at recession levels. Most are unable or unwilling to expand because they are so uncertain about future costs.
However, small-business owners are resilient and determined people. Many have invested their savings and lives’ work in their businesses – they are not about to give up. But maintaining their businesses will be challenging if things in Washington remain in gridlock and if policies that promote economic growth are not put into place.
... In response to the Alabama vote approving Amendment 7:
"This is a big victory for Alabama's small-business owners and employees because it guarantees their right to cast secret ballots. The reason this even became an issue is because the labor unions want to change the rules so they can avoid secret ballots and organize a workplace simply by pressuring a majority of workers to sign union authorization cards. By defending people's right to secret ballots, voters are sending a clear message that we deserve to vote our consciences, without fear of intimidation, whether we're in the workplace or at the voting booth."
-- Rosemary W. Elebash,
Alabama State Director
National Federation of Independent Business
Seems that women factored in this time. I think Obama got some of that Clinton vote, although, we are talking about women from 12 years ago, but there are those who have come of age to vote since Clinton, too. They don't want their re-productive choices to be played with. Someone has said since Tuesday that old white men are dying out and the Romney campaign didn't seem to understand that while Obama did. I think that given the history of the Democratic party, we live out that scenario. We KNOW and KNEW that old white men are/were dying out. It's not a political strategy only, but how we understand our world. Dems are more accepting of the diverse portions of our population so we don't have to target those persons, we ARE those persons.
Another talking head said that the next election could find Texas in the Blue State column because of the growing Hispanic population and it tending to vote Democratic. I guess that means that Gov. Bentley and his right-wing cohorts in our legislature are going to have to find a way to keep them MexyCans out of Bama, huh? Otherwise, we might just have to contend with their "liberal" vote.
I wish for a state wherein there was a true dialogue. We need a mix of left and right to talk about what ails us. We need to educate the populace of Alabama to know that apple pie, Mom&'em, and God is not what it's exclusively all about, but that we need some education, some participation, some mind-broadening information in Alabama in order to give it a reason for remaining in the Union at all. When we think that we need to move out of Alabama in order to breathe free air (and I am evermore thinking that) the state has come to a sad point in the road. We have stagnated and we refuse to grow any more (if, indeed we ever did grow). The Civil War has ended. We can memorialize the Glorious Dead, but we need to join the 21st Century and think outside of that confining little box the conservative (Democrats and Republicans) have placed us in. There is a huge world outside of the state boundaries that many folk can't see beyond Saturday football schedules and NASCAR lineups.
The loss that troubles me most is the State Supreme Court Chief Justice. Roy Moore is dangerous. He thinks he has god in his hip pocket and that makes him one of Alabama's most dangerous men. Now, he will be sitting in a position to carry out his agenda with its extremes. He ran against Obama, not against Vance. Was that not a clue to people that he has a political motive in his head?
I am also sorry that we no longer have any Democrats in state level offices. The party needs to learn how to get Democrats elected. This state needs a balance because the scales are now tilted in a very low-hanging right-wing direction. In those states where there is a real dialogue going on, people can discuss their ideas and work compromises. Not so in Alabama. You are either right-wing, Christian, white, business-oriented, or you are S.O.L. What good can come from that?
Oops! I've gone on too far. Sorry. Feeling rather ranty today. I am pleased with the re-election of Obama, but I am now fearful that the rhetoric about 'cooperation and negotiation' coming from left and right is only rhetoric. If they don't get down to being gentlemen and ladies again, we need to march on D.C. and protest on the mall until the grass is worn off and the reflecting pool is contaminated.
-- Vivian S. Beckerle,
former county treasurer, Democrat
"I am disappointed that we have apparently reached a point in our country where more than 50 percent of the people think that government is the solution and provider to all of the needs and wants of our citizens. A Democrat, President John Kennedy said, 'Ask not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country.' Too many people either didn’t get the memo or understand the memo. May God help our great nation."
-- Randy McKinney,
state Board of Education, Republican
"The Republican Party, with its current makeup, its views and its attitudes, is dying. And the South is going to lose another war - the culture war."
-- Bob Beckerle,
former chairman, Mobile County Democratic Party