1. After the 2006 election, in which a Republican majority in the House and Senate became a well-deserved minority, the losing Republicans, in sharp contrast to their Democratic brethren after their losses in 2000 and 2004, were remarkably frank and gracious. I wrote on November 15, 2006…
When the Democrats were rejected at the polls in 2004, they and many of their supporters in the media declared that it was proof positive that the U.S. public was stupid, ignorant, and reckless. Many claimed that the election must have been rigged; others announced that the U.S. was a lost cause and that good people should consider moving to Canada. Some actually did.
The Republicans, who were resoundingly punished at the polls for everything from corruption to arrogance to incompetence, could not present a more dramatic contrast to their Democratic counterparts. They overwhelmingly placed responsibility for their losses squarely on their own mistakes and transgressions, where it belongs. They congratulated their victorious opponents. They avoided making legal challenges or suggesting that any elections were “stolen.” Defeated Republican Senator George Allen, whose race was close enough to demand a recount, did not. And no Republicans, as far as we know, have fled the country. They will be staying around to contribute to the process of democracy, because they respect both it and its results. In short, the Republicans have demonstrated the honorable and ethical was to lose.The deportment of the losers in a democracy is every bit as important as the behavior of the winners. As the Democrats attempt to teach their rivals something about how to govern when you win, let’s hope that they learned from the GOP’s lesson in how to behave when you get throttled. Some recent Canadian immigrants might think about it as well.
Will Democrats be model losers as well?
We shall see.
2. This “concession speech” by losing Kentucky Senate candidate Allison Grimes does not bode well:
Hmmmm. No gracious words about her opponent, no graciousness at all, in fact. Of course, Grimes’ campaign was tone deaf throughout, but losing with dignity and with a show of respect for the victor is an essential part of building and maintaining a civil political culture, and all participants are responsible for doing their part.
To their credit, the MSNBC commentators were immediately critical of Grimes’ performance, which many of the network’s blue meat extremists probably enjoyed.
3. Both MSNBC and Fox News were impressively objective, measured, professional and fair in their election coverage, with the glaring exception of Al Sharpton. I find it unprofessional for team broadcasters of major league baseball games to refer to their home team as “we.” For an alleged broadcast journalist to refer to a political party as “we” as Sharpton did consistently throughout the election coverage is, or should be, an embarrassment. MSNBC is apparently immune from embarrassment, or it wouldn’t employ Sharpton at all.
4. The spin efforts by the media and the White House to minimize the mid-term rejection of President Obama’s performance on the grounds that the Democratic “base” doesn’t come out to vote except in Presidential years is an admission that its partisans are less informed, less civicly engaged and less aware of how the government works than the more conservative voters who have been dominating the mid-terms. If you don’t see that the Congressional elections are as important as the presidential elections, then you are ignorant and lazy. The Democrats should be less eager to boast about the influx of a suddenly activated base in Presidential elections and more concerned about why their party’s appeal seems to depend more on emotion and manipulation of unengaged citizens than on genuine comprehension of the issues.
5. It was striking that three of the most disappointing and inept Democratic candidates—Mary Burke in Wisconsin, who lost to Gov. Scott Walker, Grimes, who lost a winnable race against the loathsome Senator Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, and especially Wendy Davis, who ran a dishonest, dirty campaign against Greg Abbott in the race for Texas governor—were women. It appeared that having made its big “war on women” pitch, Democrats got trapped into running women for office who were just not ready, not qualified, not fit, or all three. Ironically, the party was following in the gooey steps of the Tea Party, which blew the chance to turn the Senate red in 2010 by nominating women whose passion was on the right side of the political spectrum but who were inept, amateurish candidates, like Christine O’Donnell, Linda McMahon, Sharon Angle and Carly Fiorina. There’s no place for affirmative action in politics: it’s insulting to the public in its pandering, and it risks placing incompetents in important positions of power where they can do real, lasting harm. Lesson to be learned: Never be so disrespectful and contemptuous of your opposition that you don’t pay attention to their mistakes.
6. Once again, Lincoln was proven right after a major political party ignored his wisdom. You just can’t fool all of the people all the time, or even fool most of the people indefinitely. When will they ever learn?