Politics and Public Opinion, Elections

Candy and Sandy

Debate moderator Candy Crowley speaks to the audience before the start of the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012.   REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool

Debate moderator Candy Crowley speaks to the audience before the start of the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool

President Obama won reelection this past Tuesday. Congratulations to him! Let us hope that his second term will be marked by freedom and prosperity, not freeness of prophylactics. How did he pull off a victory in spite of high unemployment and stagnant growth? His GOTV operation has been described as masterful, but two other factors are likely to have had an impact large enough to sway the 60,000 voters who made the difference in states like Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania: Candy and Sandy.

Of course, there will be infighting and recrimination and reorientation and lots of talk of Hispanics within the Republican Party and the conservative movements for weeks if not months to come, but it’s important to remember that it is highly probable that without Candy and Sandy, Governor Romney would now be president-elect Romney, and President Obama would have commenced work on his fourth autobiography. (Yes, I’m counting that glossy brochure full of pictures of the president that came out two weeks before the election).

Candy, of course, is Candy Crowley. Her outrageous intervention during the foreign policy debate, when she shamelessly provided cover for the president’s lies about YouTube videos motivating Bin Laden to start Al-Qaeda or whatever it was he and his UN ambassador and his secretary of state spent weeks talking about, was quite the shockingly representative moment in an electoral cycle dominated by journalists shilling for Obama in the most aggressive manners imaginable.

The Republican Party needs to find a way around the legacy media, because getting its message out through them has become about as hard as getting its mail delivered by those USPS employees with xylophagia. Benghazi? Nothing to see here. Big Bird? Binders? Birth control? Weeks of headlines.

Sandy, of course, is the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, and brought horrific devastation to the East Coast, particularly New York and New Jersey. It also stopped the momentum of Governor Romney’s campaign right when things were finally looking up for him.

On top of that, President Obama responded heroically, by watching the news in the situation room and hugging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He received overwhelmingly positive reactions to this response from both the press and politicians such as New York City Mayor Bloomberg, who endorsed the president for reelection and stated: “Although we’re expecting a large surge of water, it is not expected to be a tropical storm or hurricane-type surge. With this storm, we’ll likely see a slow pileup of water rather than a sudden surge, which is what you would expect with a hurricane, and which we saw with Irene 14 months ago. So it will be less dangerous.” These implications of the storm all helped the president and his campaign; as Chris Matthews put it: “I’m so glad we had that storm last week because I think the storm was one of those things [that helped Obama win].”

Two obvious, straightforward lessons then, before we turn to issues of ideology or outreach: Sometimes you’re just unlucky, and, as Matthew Sheffield tweeted the day after the election: “Last night was not a “realignment,” it was Democrats finally getting a decent ground game. Will GOP wise up and get a decent media game?”

6 thoughts on “Candy and Sandy

  1. re: we can’t get our message out….

    the most viewed cable channel by far: FAUX NEWS…??

    every night I listen to O’Reilly and Hannity blame the media when they also say they are the most viewed media.

    how does that work?

    The reason the GOP can’t get their message out when they spent how much on campaign ads?

    you guys are a HOOT!

  2. The GOP says PLENTY – and all of it is angry white guy stuff.

    The minorities run away from the GOP and the GOP says wa wa wa.

    I expect a lot more whining from the GOP about how the world is not right when white guys can no longer be the sole proprietor of the GOPs “message” (sic).

    a “decent ground game” means that you SOLICIT the votes of the minorities as opposed to making them the target of angry white guys.

    think for a minute – exactly what the GOP would say to the minorities in a ground game…GOTV…

    I think that pretty much sums it up.

    • Thanks for the advice, Larry. I agree we need to figure out a way to attract more know-nothings like yourself. Our next candidate needs to go on shows like “The View,” “Daily Show,” and other media outlets where the low information voter gets his/her news. However, it’s always going to be tough to earn the minority vote because scumbags like yourself are always going to be falsely screaming “raaaaaaciiiiisssst!” as us. The Democrats are finished as a political party if the public en masse gets wise to this garbage .

  3. Wrong on Candy and wrong on Sandy.

    Despite your eloquent writing, neither assertion passes a common-sense hurdle.

    As for Candy, you’re arguing that some number of as-of-then undecided voters decided to vote for Obama based on what happened during a debate that covered the area of least interest to anyone who hadn’t already made up their mind? Given how low foreign policy ranked overall as an issue among voters, there is a likelihood that it wasn’t watched by anyone who was still up in the air. Imagine this: ‘I don’t know who I’m going to vote for and I could care less about foreign policy, but I’m going to watch the debate and make up my mind’… No, not happening. What Crowley did was unprofessional but it mattered not in the least to the target audience.

    As for Sandy, I offer the same type of argument. ‘Handling national disasters well’ doesn’t rank high on the list of core issues, and especially for late deciding voters. For your assertion to be true, there would have had to be some number of voters thinking along the lines of ‘I hate the bad economy, and I want a President who will fix it, but oh look, there’s a hurricane and Obama is visiting, so I guess I will vote for him’. Again, not likely.

    In addition, Obama already had a reputation as being a decent guy, he cared about people. Unlike media and storm junkies, people outside the affected area looked at Sandy with varying degrees of interest. Whatever they saw of Obama would have meshed with whatever they had already thought of him.

    If you get away from your Ivory Tower-ish view and looked at things from the ground level, you would know that Romney lost because he failed to convince the roughly 10% (at most) of the people who were truly up for grabs that he would make their lives better. He and (especially Ryan) talked like a bunch of economic professors… the problem was that the audience was a bunch of 7 grade equivalents. They don’t know (or care) about ‘deficit’ or ‘debt’. They don’t feel ‘entitlement crisis’. Most of them already had jobs and couldn’t be assumed to know how Romney’s pledge to create 12 million jobs would have helped them.

    And like every marketer who doesn’t sell benefits, benefits, benefits, and every teacher who doesn’t structure their lesson plan in a way that interests their students, the audience didn’t buy what Romney was trying to sell.

  4. I think it’s more a matter of uninformed rather than misinformed. I really don’t think the majority of Obama voters were as influenced by the mainstream media as most think. It doesn’t matter if Santa’s elves were running amok having affairs, smuggling gifts or falsifying wish lists. The only important thing was Santa showing up with the free stuff. Courtesy of the other half.

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