A Few Election Day Thoughts

Well, here we are — and I still have absolutely no idea who’s going to win this thing. That’s rather unusual.  I have a fairly good memory of elections going back to 1972, and the only other time I had no idea who was going to win was 2000. Let’s hope we can avoid a replay of that, at least.

Even if Obama pulls this out, it will mark the first time since 1916 — Woodrow Wilson — that a first-term president has been reelected with a vastly reduced majority. And look how that turned out — war, a revived GOP, stroke and paralysis …. not an auspicious precedent.  If I were Obama, I’d be tempted to concede at noon.

About the only prediction I can make with utter confidence is this — whoever wins is going to face a deeply and very evenly divided nation. Whether it’s 51-49 or 49-51 matters hugely to political professionals, pundits, seekers of government favors, and other riffraff, but it does not affect the fundamental topography of the American electorate one iota.As things stand, neither party, neither ideology, has a clear mandate. The Democrats hugely overreached in 2008 in confusing a moderate victory over an inept opponent smack in the middle of a financial panic with a “mandate” to lurch leftward. The only “mandate” Obama won in 2008 was to not be George Bush. This time around it’s pretty clear there’s going to be no “mandate” of any kind for anyone.

So, some unsolicited advice:

President Obama, if you manage to win this thing, recognize the electorate for what it is, and govern that way. Clear the campaign staff, the hyper-partisans, the Plouffes and Axelrods and Cutters, out of the White House and out of D.C.  Send them all off to write books or something.  Do as Clinton did — accept the fact that you only deserve to get 50-55% of what you want, and the other guys get 45-50%. If you want to avoid the debacle of a Wilsonian second term, and a Republican landslide in 2016, swallow your pride and channel Clinton.

Governor Romney, if you manage to win this thing, don’t over-reach. Do as Reagan did — pick your one or two highest winnable priorities, fight hard for those, and compromise graciously and civilly on the rest.  A lot of your supporters — this one included — want some partisan payback for the past four years of scorn, derision, and insults. Resist that urge. Sending Mr. Obama off to a lucrative retirement is sufficient payback. There will be limits to what you can do. Focus on building a stronger majority for 2016.

Odds that Obama takes this advice? 0.0%. Odds that Romney does? Probably about 80%. And if you’re one of the six undecided voters left out there, that alone should be sufficient reason to vote for Romney.

  1. dittoheadadt

    I think you overstate the odds that Obambi takes your advice.

  2. Spin

    Very nice post.  Excellent advice for both men.  

  3. DocJay
    dittoheadadt: I think you overstate the odds that Obambi takes your advice. · 1 minute ago

    What is less than 0 percent.  Maybe a guarantee to act worse than he has.  I have little doubt we are in for it if he wins.

  4. Becky53

    Your advice sounds wise.  What do you think:  If O wins, he presides of a country full of people (the non-47%) who are deeply disappointed in the trillion dollar debt, obamacare, the mainstream media, and his ugly rhetoric/campaign against a perfectly great candidate, Benghazi cover-up…  And, he has to deal with a divided congress.  He isn’t going to get a pass anymore.  And neither is precious media propagandists.

  5. Anthony Kaiser

    Headlines for tomorrow:

    Obama wins 51-49!  Mandate for a second term!

    Romney wins 51-49.  New President faces deeply divided country.

  6. Peter Robinson
    C

    Beautiful.

    Except, maybe, the part about how Romney should resist the urge toward partisan payback.  Couldn’t he engage in just a little?

  7. Duane Oyen

    You are absolutely correct- but if we miraculously pulled this out thanks to Wisconsin, Iowa, and Colorado, and Romney did exactly that- focus on the cliffs, that is stalling ObamaCare, reforming Medicare, and re-establishing some kind of more sustainable spending trajectory, more than half of the members here would be calling him a RINO traitor every single day as we heard about GWB, as we heard during the damaging primaries that arguably cost us Ohio if it goes that way.

    When you are hurtling off a cliff, it is no time to look for cheap thrills via Don Quixote dreams.

  8. Richard Stewart

    Oh, wonderful post! Thank you! You’re absolutely right about the tiny likelihood that Mr. Obama will heed such counsel. He is absolutely the most utopian of materialists on the national scene, and he will most likely continue down that path.

  9. Brian McMenomy
    Peter Robinson: Beautiful.

    Except, maybe, the part about how Romney should resist the urge toward partisan payback.  Couldn’t he engage in just a little? · 49 minutes ago

    The nuns that ran your school growing up would be using a ruler on your knuckles about now, Mr. Robinson :)