NRO: No Wave for the GOP

Republicans need to fire the consultants who urge the party to mute social issues. 

The latest polls suggest the GOP now has only a 50–­50 chance of retaking the Senate.

There needs to be a mass layoff — of highly paid GOP consultants. Otherwise we risk a repeat of 2012, when overconfident Republicans in the middle of the worst economy since the 1970s became convinced that all they had to do to win was not be Obama. And they lost.

Romney’s strategy was simple. On the social issues, avoid, downplay, mute. On the economic issues, sound vague, promise to help job creators, and wait for the other team to self-destruct.

The RNC’s “autopsy” of the 2012 election reinforced the idea that doing more of what didn’t work would be the pathway to victory. If only we add more women and more diverse ethnicities to the GOP ticket while avoiding Akin-esque gaffes, we can win. “Don’t do stupid stuff,” while always good advice, is no more a winning strategy for the GOP than it is a foreign policy for a great nation.

It didn’t work then, and it is not working now.

In the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove acknowledged that despite the horrible environment for Democrats “a GOP senate majority is still in doubt.” Why? The Architect is convinced that his model is sound — donors just need to open their wallets to the consultants to script more TV ads.

While Democrats are out-spending Republicans, and GOP donors should take notice and correct this, the relatively narrow spending gap would not make the difference in a wave election.

Take Monica Wehby’s struggling campaign in Oregon. The state is an outlier for Republicans today, so a Wehby victory there would represent a profound rejection of Democrats. Perhaps that is not to be expected. But she is the perfect test case for the RNC “autopsy” strategy: an attractive professional single mom who is pro-choice, and now pro–gay marriage. The Koch brothers have spent $1.6 million in TV ads, and yet Wehby’s poll numbers show she is losing ground. I think economic ads like this one are part of the reason why:

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Maggie on Supreme Court Case in Politico

Maggie Gallagher is quoted twice in this recent Politico article noting the silence of GOP elites on the issue of gay marriage:

“I’m personally grateful to Speaker Boehner for being willing to defend the law, but it’s clear GOP elites don’t want to talk about it and want to keep it as quiet as possible,” said Maggie Gallagher, a founder of the National Organization for Marriage and a fellow at the conservative American Principles Project. “That’s so obvious, I don’t see any point in pretending otherwise.”

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Why I’m Voting For The Maryland DREAM Act

The latest polls in the conventional swing states show a close race, with neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama clearly ahead. Yet they also show a surprising number of formerly solid blue states now within Romney’s reach.

The rust belt is creakily swinging, according to new polls in Wisconsin, Michigan and even Pennsylvania, where a Franklin and Marshall poll released on Halloween has Obama up by just 4 points, within the margin of error, and under 50 percent.

But what surprised me the most are the new polls from Minnesota and Oregon (my home state).

Take Oregon first, which has not voted for a Republican candidate for president since Ronald Reagan’s landslide in 1984.

Two separate polls of likely voters released in late October show Obama at the 47 percent mark — with Romney at either 41 percent or 42 percent. Obama is under 50 percent and Romney is within or almost within the margin of error. And undecided voters break 2-1 for Romney when pushed.

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Social Issues Are Winning Issues

Can Social Issues Win?

This was the week when social issues trumped the economy in the news.

Here’s a rough timeline:  On Sunday, Joe Biden’s endorsed gay marriage on national TV.  On Monday, the media started jumping on Pres. Obama, asking where he was on the issue.  On Tuesday, 61 percent of people in a key swing state–the state which hosts the Democratic convention this year–solidly rejected gay marriage.

On Wednesday, Jay Carney got beat up by multiple reporters on where the President stands on marriage.  The Washington Post published a story stating that one in six  of Pres. Obama’s key “bundlers” (the guys who raise $500,000 or more) is openly gay.  By Thursday, the heat from donors and the media was too much and Pres. Obama threw in the towel on the charade that he opposes gay marriage.

Pres. Obama did a high-profile interview on ABC endorsing gay marriage.

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Marriagephobia and the GOP

Just a few days before the polls close on Tuesday, Mitt Romney still has said nothing about the marriage amendment in North Carolina.

Pres. Obama, meanwhile, weighed-in both in North Carolina and Minnesota, urging people to vote “no”:
“While the President does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples.”

But Team Romney has apparently decided that it’s best to stay mum on the marriage question.

Team Romney’s opinion is the conventional wisdom among GOP political elites.  Social issues are a problem for the party, not the solution.

John Weaver a man who ran John McCain’s losing campaign and followed it up with Jon Huntsman’s ridiculously losing campaign, told the New York Times in a story headlined  “Some in GOP Fear Focus on Social Issues” that the social issues fought in the state legislatures are killing the GOP.

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1-20-12: #3 Was Newt’s Divorce a Personal Tragedy?

As I write, ABC is debating when to air an interview with Newt Gingrich’s second wife, Marianne.

Team Gingrich is on the case. Speaker Gingrich’s two daughters from his first wife stepped forward as designated blockers, to run interference for their dad took the high road. Divorce is messy and painful, memories differ: ” We will not say anything negative about our father’s ex-wife. He has said before, privately and publicly, that he regrets any pain he may have caused in the past to people he loves.”

Meanwhile Bob Walker, a senior Gingrich adviser, got a tad ugly: “It is pretty nasty to use personal tragedy for political exploitation,” he says. “That was a very bitter divorce, and you’re talking about somebody who is still, probably, very bitter.”

“Nasty” and “bitter” definitely count in my book as “negative” things to say about Newt Gingrich’s second ex-wife. In fact, it’s the classic stereotype a way to dismiss the discarded wife.

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1-13-11: #2 The Cultural Conservative Moment

Sometimes you pick the man and the moment. Sometimes he — and it — pick you.

Social conservatives in American politics are facing a question this week: who represents the face of our movement?

Right now is the moment.

We have a few days or at most a week to either choose a leader, or to let history move without us. Doing the latter is a choice to be irrelevant as a force and a movement within the Republican Party, to let other people define us and our movement.

When it comes to standing down, indecisively demonstrating our irrelevance in presidential politics, social conservatives have done this before.

It’s one of the reasons we are not taken as seriously as our numbers deserve. With all our assets, with all the millions of voters who share our values and views, with truth and justice on ours side, we have not yet created political institutions or a political movement that can push the levers of power effectively, much less decisively.

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Values Voters Must Demand Clear Commitment

Will social conservatives let the GOP nominate a candidate for the White House who has flip-flopped on life and marriage? No, I’m not talking about Mitt Romney; I mean Herman Cain.

In the latest Quinnipiac poll, Herman Cain leads the field of Republican candidates, even as The New York Times tried to work the so-far nonexistent Politico “scandal” that consists of little more than a disgruntled employee who was let go claiming some gestures that were not sexual in nature made her feel uncomfortable. She got $35,000 in some kind of severance package, which is a whole lot cheaper than paying lawyers.

Cain is not going to be hurt by attacks like these, which, far from hurting Cain with his base, may result in a kind of Palinization of Cain — the more he’s perceived to be unfairly attacked by the mainstream media, the more the base loves him.

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When Faith and Values Collide

At the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., last weekend, a respected Baptist pastor from Texas, the Rev. Robert Jeffress, introduced Gov. Rick Perry.

“Do we want … a candidate who is a good moral person or one who is a born-again follower of the Lord Jesus Christ?” Then he upped the ante, responding to the press:

“In my estimation Mormonism is a cult, and it would give credence to a cult to have a Mormon candidate,” Jeffress said. “Every true born-again follower of Christ ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian.”

A kerfuffle ensued, egged on by the media. But it is a kerfuffle that raises important questions about how and why people of differing faiths — but shared values — should treat each other in the public square.

Bill Bennett, a Catholic with a radio show that attracts a large evangelical following, took on the challenge at the Values Voter Summit.

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