More Campaign 2008 Analysis
“WLS Shipwrecked” writes:
John McCain got 5 million fewer votes than Pres. Bush in 2004. Obama got approx. the same number of votes as Pres. Bush in 2004. Obama got about 3 million more votes than Kerry did in 2004.
What part of these margins came from 1) increased turnout among African-Americans that was certain to happen with the first African-American candidate for a major party ever, and 2) McCain doing worse among Hispanics than Pres. Bush did in 2004?
Taking those two facts into consideration, as well as the fact of McCain’s general lack of substantive appeal to true conservatives, and the numerical outcome of the election shouldn’t be much of a surprise.
But, those same facts mean this election was not “transfo[# More #] rmational” with respect to the general political ideology of the country. The outcome of this election was the product of a unique set of circumstances that were produced by having Obama and McCain as the candidates. In the tradition of pitting the ’27 Yankees against the ’74 Reds, would the 2008 Obama have beat the 1984 Reagan? Not very likely.
Pres. Bush compromised on the domestic spending side in order to have nearly unfettered support for his Iraq policy from 2005-2008. When he did so the GOP leadership in Congress went on a drunken bender. They paid for it in 2006 and 2008 because they could no longer distinguish themselves on matters of fiscal principle from their Democrat colleagues.
The GOP House and Senate, while now much smaller than before, are much more ideologically cohesive. They should be better able to collectively articulate clear conservative principles as the “interest group coalition” Democrats in the House and Senate fight among their competing factions while trying to deliver for an Obama Presidency. Its going to be ugly and fun to watch all at the same time.
What is the GOP path to victory in 2010 and beyond? To remember that all those under-30 voters who pulled the lever for Obama in 2008 will be the generation expected to pay ever higher taxes to support the Baby Boomer’s retirement plans from 2010-2045. Robert Samuelson wrote a great column back in October in which he covered Obama and McCain’s respective trips before AARP. Obama genuflected at the AARP alter and offered not a moment of dissent from their 10 most important issues. In essence he pledged to continue transferring wealth from workers to retirees at ever higher levels in the years ahead. McCain at least expressed discomfort and/or disagreement with 6 of the 10.
As under -30 voters become over-30 voters they make more money, take on family obligations and mortgages, and begin to realize just how pernicious the high tax rates favored by the Dems are on their ability to support themselves and their family. The reality of wealth transfer between classes and between generations comes better into focus as one seeks to acquire greater wealth.
Those voters will gravitate to the GOP party once it regains its fiscal sanity. That’s the path to victory.