I have a long post I’ve been throwing links into a pile for, but I keep getting beaten to the punch by people who are smarter and actually do this for a living. Both Dick Morris and Haley Barbour came out in the last two days with their own personal theories of how the president won re-election, and boy, is he a lucky guy:
Haley Barbour, who served as Mississippi governor when Hurricane Katrina hit his state, asserted Thursday that “Hurricane Sandy saved Barack Obama’s presidency.”
“It broke the momentum that Romney had coming in to the end of October,” the former chairman of the Republican National Committee told TODAY’s Matt Lauer.
He at least gives a nod to the country’s changing demography, before course-correcting:
But the more proximate cause of my error was that I did not take full account of the impact of hurricane Sandy and of Governor Chris Christie’s bipartisan march through New Jersey arm in arm with President Obama. Not to mention Christe’s fawning promotion of Obama’s presidential leadership.
It made all the difference.
Neither has a shred of data to support these contentions. This is just one of those Things They Know By Virtue of Being Lavishly Paid Sages.
The biggest lesson of this week has been: Don’t trust guys like this. I have a feeling there will be a lot of contracts quietly expiring once the spotlights dim. The new negotiation will be, “Dick, can you do math? No? Good luck with the rest of your career.”
There’s a sub-theme here, too — that demography is the new decider. And while it has a lot of truth to it, it’s subtler than a few glib talking points. I think, of all people, John Cook at Gawker sort of nails it here:
One of the reasons the right-wing “brown people won” argument is so irksome is the implication that nonwhite votes don’t really count in the way white ones do. That white people vote based on logic and argumentation, and are persuadable, but nonwhites just press the “D” button and wait for their Obamaphones. That appealing to white votes and nonwhite votes are fundamentally different things. We would have won—we had more votes, but they had the blacks. What are you gonna do?
This is vile. All votes are the same. Persuading an African-American to vote for increasing taxes on the wealthy is precisely the same as persuading a white voter. Every Latino who cares about the treatment of illegal immigrants in this country and so voted for Obama did so for the same reason I did. There’s no difference between us. But the giddiness among the left over the racial coalition Obama built sometimes strikes me as uncomfortably close to eliding that fundamental equality, and regarding nonwhite votes as gimmes that don’t require persuasion. And it subtly ghettoizes those nonwhite voters, splintering issues of national importance into slivers of self-interest. Obama didn’t win because Latino voters want immigration reform. He won because more Americans want immigration reform than don’t.
Matt Yglesias plays variations on the theme:
Pundits are quickly turning to immigration to explain the Republicans’ Latino problem and to offer a possible cure, but the reality is that the rot cuts much deeper. The GOP doesn’t have a problem with Latino voters per se. Rather, it has a problem with a broad spectrum of voters who simply don’t feel that it’s speaking to their economic concerns. The GOP has an economic agenda tilted strongly to the benefit of elites, and it has preserved support for that agenda—even though it disserves the majority of GOP voters—with implicit racial politics.
He goes on to discuss Sonia Sotomayor, who some National Review wag suggested should pronounce her name “Soda-meyer” like an American, dammit.
Well. It’s the end of the week. Let us all let the weekend cleanse away its grime, bank its passionate fires, and ease us into Middle Fall and the inevitable run-up to the holidays. Let me leave you with a link you house-freaks should like — the rescue of a great Detroit house, lavishly illustrated with photos.
See you all Monday.