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Neither Mitt Romney Nor Paul Ryan Understand Why They Lost

With the election a week behind us, and most of the postmortems by the pundits published days ago, we’re finally starting to hear from the two members of the losing ticket to get their own opinions on why they ended up losing the election. Unfortunately for both of them, neither one of them seems to quite understand what went wrong.

First up, the man at the top of the ticket asserts that the reason that President Obama won was because he was promising free stuff to people:

A week after losing the election to President Obama, Mitt Romney blamed his overwhelming electoral loss on what he said were big “gifts” that the president had bestowed on loyal Democratic constituencies, including young voters, African-Americans and Hispanics.

In a conference call on Wednesday afternoon with his national finance committee, Mr. Romney said that the president had followed the “old playbook” of wooing specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people,” Mr. Romney explained — with targeted gifts and initiatives.

“In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said.

“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift,” he said. “Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.”

The president’s health care plan, he added, was also a useful tool in mobilizing African-American and Hispanic voters. Though Mr. Romney won the white vote with 59 percent, according to exit polls, minorities coalesced around the president in overwhelming numbers — 93 percent of blacks and 71 percent of Hispanics voted to re-elect Mr. Obama.

“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity, I mean, this is huge,” he said. “Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”

In the 20-minute call —which also featured an appearance by Neil Newhouse, the campaign’s pollster, Spencer Zwick, the national finance chairman, and Mason Fink, the finance director — Mr. Romney was by turns disappointed and pragmatic, expressing his frustration that he’d failed to defeat Mr. Obama on Election Day.

“I’m very sorry that we didn’t win,” he said on the call. “I know that you expected to win, we expected to win, we were disappointed with the result, we hadn’t anticipated it, and it was very close but close doesn’t count in this business.”

He continued: “And so now we’re looking and saying, ‘O.K., what can we do going forward?’ But frankly we’re still so troubled by the past, it’s hard to put together our plans from the future.”

He added half-jokingly that the close-knit group, which excelled in fund-raising but was ultimately unable to propel Mr. Romney into the Oval Office, could even help with “perhaps the selection of a future nominee — which, by the way, will not be me.”

While more sophisticated, Romney’s assessment of the election isn’t all that different from what we’ve heard from the likes of Rush Limbaugh over the past week. For Limbaugh, the explanation for Obama’s victory can be found in the fact that he played “Santa Claus” to a whole host of special interest groups ranging from minorities to women to young voters. It is, perhaps, an easy conclusion to come to if you’re a Limbaugh-type conservative. After all, for them the entire Obama Administration has been about giving people government benefits, and they typically cite things such as the increased number of people on  food stamps as proof of their argument. Of course, while it’s true that the number of people on food stamps has increased over the past four years, the main reason for that is because of the economic collapse in 2008 and the fact that we’re still struggling to get out of that whole. While I agree that the President has done far too little to fix the economy, blaming him for the fact that more people qualify for food stamps today than four years ago is kind of like blaming the cold weather for the fact that you need to wear a jacket when you go outside.

The bigger flaw in Romney’s assertion, though, is that it clearly misstates what the entire election was about. Even though I disagree with him on many issues, President Obama did not campaign on giving free stuff to people no matter how much conservatives want to tell themselves that he did. What the President did do, and quite effectively I have to admit, is appeal to a wide variety of interest groups by giving them the impression that he actually cared about the problems they were dealing with. This is something that Romney never seemed to be able to do, and when he tried it came across as a sort of false sincerity that clearly didn’t play well with voters. While that may not have been the main reason that the Republican ticket lost, it certainly didn’t help the ticket make its case over the course of the election.

Romney’s running mate has a different theory to explain why they lost:

WASHINGTON — As Representative Paul D. Ryan casts about to find an explanation for the defeat of the Republican presidential ticket, on which he was Mitt Romney‘s running mate, he is looking to the nation’s big cities for answers.

“The surprise was some of the turnout, some of the turnout especially in urban areas, which gave President Obama the big margin to win this race,” Mr. Ryan said in an interview with WISC-TV back home in Wisconsin on Monday before returning Tuesday to Capitol Hill for the start of the lame-duck session.

“When we watched Virginia and Ohio coming in,” Mr. Ryan said, “and those ones coming in as tight as they were and looking like we were going to lose them, that’s when it became clear we weren’t going to win.”

Mr. Ryan, now a potential 2016 presidential candidate, has repeated the sentiment in subsequent interviews. And he is not the only conservative who has embraced the notion that a surge of voters in urban America gave Mr. Obama the prize, as many Republicans try to come to grips with how an election they believed was theirs for the taking instead got away.

But his voice carries new weight as he returns to Congress with a larger responsibility to help lead his party back to the White House in the years ahead. Mr. Ryan’s blunt assessment of the failures of his ticket are sure to shape the party’s political future even as he returns to the immediate business of the fight over spending and taxes.

Mr. Ryan’s concerns follow on the heels of other Republicans who argue that the party’s lack of appeal to minority voters — many of whom live in the nation’s largest urban centers — has made it more difficult to win the presidency.

There is some anecdotal evidence to back up the analysis that Mr. Obama was helped by his appeal in the nation’s population centers. In Philadelphia and Ohio, for example, local news reports have documented dozens of city precincts where Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan failed to get a single vote. And in Ohio, turnout among blacks, many of whom live in urban areas, increased significantly over 2008.

In the nation’s largest cities, exit poll data show that the president won overwhelmingly, earning almost 7 out of every 10 votes. In some states, like Pennsylvania, Mr. Obama did even better in the big cities, winning 85 percent of the vote. Mr. Romney won the nation’s suburbs by a narrow margin.

But pointing to urban voters for the Republican failure to win last week does not take into account that the Republican ticket also lost big in some rural, mostly white states, like Iowa and New Hampshire.

And there is little proof from the results of the election that urban turnout over all played the decisive role in swing states like Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia or Wisconsin, where Mitt Romney lost in Mr. Ryan’s suburban home district.

“What Paul Ryan misses is that the Republicans have been losing the urban vote for a long, long time,” said Marc Morial, the president and chief executive of the National Urban League. “Now they are losing the suburban vote, too. They are becoming more urban in their character, in their makeup, in the problems.”

The assertion that the “urban” vote was somehow responsible for the Romney/Ryan ticket’s loss is, quite simply, absurd. For one thing, such an argument cannot explain the success of Obama/Biden in states such as Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, or Nevada, none of which have what could fairly be called major urban areas. For another, it’s a clearly phony argument once you give it even a moment of thought, as David Weigel explains:

I’d argue that Ryan’s position is fairly savvy, given what else is out there. A rumor du jour on the right (which I plan to get into as soon as our national Petraeus nightmare winds down) is that the lack of Romney votes in some Philadelphia and Cleveland precincts suggest that there was ELECTION FRAUD. There is, however, plenty of precedent for inner-city precincts voting heavily Democratic. Most of the precincts in question gave a similarly non-existent number of votes to John McCain in 2008. McCain didn’t really campaign in those cities, ceding the black vote to Barack Obama.

No, I think Ryan’s next statement is more revealing.

“I don’t think we lost it on those budget issues, especially on Medicare — we clearly didn’t lose it on those issues,” he said.

Ryan spent weeks promising to “win this debate” over Medicare, so he can’t say he lost it. But what he’s implying here is that voters, for other reasons, simply didn’t consider the wisdom of the big arguments. And that’s sort of the argument Republicans make about urban voters — they vote so reflexively Democratic, they’re hardly responsive to policy debates.

Weigel has a point here. Ryan doesn’t want to have to admit that the ticket lost on the field of ideas, so he is forced to make a phony argument about “urban” voters who were never going to vote for a Republican anyway somehow decided the election. If that’s not a clue that they haven’t figured out what’s wrong with their party, I don’t know what is.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Rafer Janders says:

    In a conference call on Wednesday afternoon with his national finance committee, Mr. Romney said that the president had followed the “old playbook” of wooing specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people,” Mr. Romney explained — with targeted gifts and initiatives.

    Yes, it’s really too bad that Romney never sank to pandering to his interest groups with promises, or he would totally have won.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 83 Thumb down 1

  2. Rafer Janders says:

    Maybe it was just a math problem — Romney couldn’t tell the difference between 47% and 51%.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 41 Thumb down 2

  3. Jr says:

    Mitt Romney is now irrelevant, so he can continue to delude himself on why he lost.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 0

  4. Rafer Janders says:

    Mr. Ryan’s concerns follow on the heels of other Republicans who argue that the party’s lack of appeal to minority voters

    They say lack of appeal to, I say active alienation of, tomato, tomahto….

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 1

  5. Latino_in_Boston says:

    Good post, Doug.

    A couple of thoughts:

    They lost. With all that emotional investment, one has to find justifications for one’s failings. Admitting that one was bad at getting one’s message across, not to mention one’s GOTV operation, would be a bridge too far, a serious hit to self-esteem. So one has to grasp at straws. If most of the conservative movement is not coming to terms with this, one can hardly expect the ticket itself to do so. I think this is especially true for Paul Ryan who sees himself as continuing this fight.

    I wouldn’t bet on them coming to terms with it any time soon.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  6. Jc says:

    The out of touch show that they are out of touch, and then wonder what happened. Sad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  7. Gustopher says:

    If the policies Romney and Ryan espoused cannot fail, merely be failed, and if Romney and Ryan themselves didn’t fail, then really, there aren’t many alternatives left.

    “Urban” voters, with their “urban” skin tones, being promised something for nothing (just like those “urban” welfare moms, and those “urban” young bucks eating t-bones)… that must have been it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  8. David M says:

    In a conference call on Wednesday afternoon with his national finance committee, Mr. Romney said that the president had followed the “old playbook” of wooing specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people,” Mr. Romney explained — with targeted gifts and initiatives.

    Hmm, I seem to recall one of the candidates promising the following:

    1) No Medicare changes if you’re over 55
    2) Restore $750 billion in Medicare funding
    3) Tax cuts for everyone
    4) 12 million new jobs
    5) MORE COAL!
    6) Increase defense spending by $2 trillion

    Good thing it wasn’t Romney promising free stuff things to any interest groups there.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 82 Thumb down 1

  9. Neil Hudelson says:

    I recently saw on twitter:

    Urban areas, giving stuff away, and election frauds. Yup it sure looks like the GOP is really doing that whole critical introspection thing. *

    *not an exact quote.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  10. Rafer Janders says:

    “Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women.

    God, he’s still lying. Who the hell offered free contraceptives?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 49 Thumb down 0

  11. Janis Gore says:

    We have plenty of welfare moms down south and they ain’t all “colored.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  12. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    My favorite tweet regarding Ryan’s explanation was this one:

    “Romney’s loss only happened because giant clusters of the American population, residing in our greatest cities, didn’t vote for him.”

    See? It’s not his fault.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 0

  13. David M says:

    Romney and the GOP are getting high on their own supply, and believe the nonsense from the conservative entertainment complex. It’s meant to fool the rubes, not anyone actually in office.

    In a country of more than 300 million people, there are bound to be loons in both parties, it’s just not supposed to be the people in charge.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  14. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people.

    During the debates you said this was a good idea and you’d keep it in your super-secret-plan-we-can’t-show-anybody. Was that a lie, Mitt?

    What’s happened now is that since the eight year campaign is over and Romney doesn’t need votes ever again, he’s dropping the whole “aww-shucks” nice-guy routine and is showing us the real Romney.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 0

  15. What the President did do, and quite effectively I have to admit, is appeal to a wide variety of interest groups by giving them the impression that he actually cared about the problems they were dealing with. This is something that Romney never seemed to be able to do

    Probably because he didn’t actually care.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  16. Mom of 4 says:

    “You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity, I mean, this is huge,” he said.

    I find this so patently offensive and in the same vein as his 47% comment. THIS is why he lost. It shows that he believes people making $25,000, $30,000 or $35,000 don’t deserve health care. He is so far away from most of the citizens of the USA that he just doesn’t get it.

    When Romney was first running, we were actually considering voting for him (because we are not happy with Obama). The more he campaigned, and the more dumb things he and the Republicans said (i.e. rape comments, makers vs. takers, non release of tax returns, 20% tax rate reduction without telling how he was *really* going to do it) that it became impossible for us to vote for him and not feel like we were screwing the rest of the US.

    BTW, my husband and I are so far into the 1% that any tax increase just means one less overseas vacation (notice, not spending $ here in the US) for our family per year. With a Romney win, our taxes would have gone down, but at a great cost to my family and friends. I don’t want to be a party to that.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 66 Thumb down 2

  17. cam says:

    @Rafer Janders: Actually, I think this one is at least partially true. My understanding is that that health plans under Obamacare will be required to cover birth control pills and other contraception without a co-pay. Now that’s not really “free” in that you will be required to pay for the health plan (unless you qualify for a subsidy), but it’s probably fair comment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  18. If the Strauss–Howe generational theory is correct, Ryan may actually be right about the “unexpected surge of urban voters”. However this isn’t something the Republicans should take comfort from, but actually dread. If SH is right, we’re currently in the crisis part of the cycle and the millenials are the next Hero generation. One of the characteristics of which is that they’re the most civically engaged of the four archetypes, which explains why they’re voting in unexpectedly large numbers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  19. john personna says:

    Mr. Romney said that the president had followed the “old playbook” of wooing specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people,” Mr. Romney explained — with targeted gifts and initiatives.

    That is freaking sad, but we have our answer. Some of us have suggested, going way back, that Romney was a victim of the bubble, and not just cynically using it. He thought the Cairo press release was “apologizing for America” seriously, and wasn’t just playin’ it.

    He was, as David says above, high on his own supply.

    Next time you hear a semi-rational rightist cay “oh no, no high level Republican believes all that Rush Limbaugh stuff,” call bullshit.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 2

  20. michael reynolds says:

    @Mom of 4:

    BTW, my husband and I are so far into the 1% that any tax increase just means one less overseas vacation (notice, not spending $ here in the US) for our family per year. With a Romney win, our taxes would have gone down, but at a great cost to my family and friends. I don’t want to be a party to that.

    Exactly my point as well. I make a nice living. It doesn’t mean I want kids to go without medical care. Raise my taxes. I won’t enjoy it, but I can afford it, and we have to pay our bills.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 43 Thumb down 0

  21. legion says:

    I find it hilarious that the Right is complaining that Obama won because he promised poor people “stuff”, when the entirety of Mitt Romney’s campaign consisted of promising “stuff” only to rich people. I guess there are more poor people in this country than rich.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 0

  22. michael reynolds says:

    Good post, good analysis, Doug.

    So the 47% thing really was how Romney felt all along. Mr. Romney is a creep. All that “he’s a good man,” blather was crapola. He’s a narrow, selfish, smug, arrogant, uncharitable, entitled aszhole. On top of that he was almost pathologically dishonest. He was without core, without meaning as a man, an empty suit stuffed full of dollar bills.

    Oh, and by the way? Fwcking stupid on top of it. His campaign was incompetent, he never found a message, he overpaid for ads, under-organized, bought into crap systems and assembled a team of the clueless.

    We dodged a bullet.

    And again, not to harp on it: this was the jackass the “good” Republicans thought could fix the party? Yeah. How’s that look now?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 64 Thumb down 2

  23. Janis Gore says:

    @michael reynolds: I just picked this comment up over at Kevin Drum:

    “Shorter Romney: “I appealed to the 1%, but as it turns out, they’re a small percentage of voters. Something in the neighborhood of 1%.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 49 Thumb down 0

  24. Spartacus says:

    This is only tangentially related, but I ran across an article today that referenced the following quote from the always prescient Peggy Noonan in 2011:

    “The secret of Mr. Obama is that he isn’t really very good at politics, and he isn’t good at politics because he doesn’t really get people. The other day a Republican political veteran forwarded me a hiring notice from the Obama 2012 campaign. It read like politics as done by Martians. The “Analytics Department” is looking for “predictive Modeling/Data Mining” specialists to join the campaign’s “multi-disciplinary team of statisticians,” which will use “predictive modeling” to anticipate the behavior of the electorate. “We will analyze millions of interactions a day, learning from terabytes of historical data, running thousands of experiments, to inform campaign strategy and critical decisions.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 42 Thumb down 1

  25. jukeboxgrad says:

    mitt:

    it was very close

    Wrong, it wasn’t “very close.” It wasn’t even “close.” The counting isn’t done yet, and you trail by over 3.5 million votes (Bush beat Kerry by barely 3 million). You got fewer votes than McCain did. The popular vote margin is currently 2.9% (in 2004 it was 2.5%).

    There is good reason to describe Obama’s result as both “a landslide” and “a mandate.” Link, link.

    Also:

    Obama is the first President since Ronald Reagan in 1984 to win a majority of the popular vote in consecutive elections and only the third Presidential candidate to do so since Franklin Roosevelt. Since 1824, the year when official popular vote totals were tabulated for the first time, only seven Presidents have won a majority in consecutive elections; Obama, Reagan, Eisenhower, FDR, McKinley, Grant, and Jackson.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 1

  26. Fiona says:

    This latest set of comments confirms for me that Romney’s 47 percent comments revealed the real Mitt, an insulated jerk contemptuous of anybody he deems beneath him. And that’s most everyone. As Michael said above, we dodged a bullet.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 0

  27. jukeboxgrad says:

    Another measure of Mitt’s weak performance: he won only two states that McCain didn’t win: NC and Indiana.

    Another electoral factoid: in the last 100 years, only 3 D presidents have carried FL twice. They are Wilson, FDR and Obama.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  28. john personna says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    Another electoral factoid: in the last 100 years, only 3 D presidents have carried FL twice. They are Wilson, FDR and Obama.

    … so the one dimensional Romney had no chance

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  29. michael reynolds says:

    @Janis Gore:

    Hah. That’s perfect,.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. michael reynolds says:

    @john personna:

    Nice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. jukeboxgrad says:

    so the one dimensional Romney had no chance

    Well, people talk about Obama playing 3D chess (example), so I guess that’s what inspired me to write it that way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. jukeboxgrad says:

    Obama has 62.6 million votes. Last time any R president has gotten that many votes: never. Last time a D president other than Obama has gotten that many votes: never.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  33. jukeboxgrad says:

    mitt:

    In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups

    Reminds me of this:

    Thanks to Utah politicians and the 2002 Olympics, a blizzard of federal money—a stunning $1.5 billion—has fallen on the state, enriching some already wealthy businessmen

    And this:

    How the Salt Lake Games came to receive more money than any games in American history isn’t much of a mystery. The organizers, including Romney, asked for it. In his 2004 book, Turnaround, Romney acknowledges the central role of the federal government in making the Olympics possible. “No matter how well we did cutting costs and raising revenue, we couldn’t have Games without the support of the federal government,” he wrote.

    Mitt didn’t build that.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  34. jukeboxgrad says:

    Stolen from somewhere:

    This Mint Romney ice cream tastes like sour grapes and asshole.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  35. Franklin says:

    @Rafer Janders: I don’t know, but if young women all vote for the candidate who offers free contraceptives, by all means offer them! It wouldn’t even be a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of the budget.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  36. al-Ameda says:

    @Latino_in_Boston:

    “Romney’s loss only happened because giant clusters of the American population, residing in our greatest cities, didn’t vote for him.”

    Yeah, places where lots of hardworking people live are really a drag.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  37. anjin-san says:

    In addition to not knowing what anyone who could navigate to Nate Silver’s blog knew – that they were about to get smoked – these clowns are utterly incapable of doing failure analysis after their very expensive train wreck.

    The party of personal responsibility indeed…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

  38. anjin-san says:

    The “Analytics Department” is looking for “predictive Modeling/Data Mining” specialists

    So Noonan is pissed because Obama lives in the 21st century and is not hanging out back in 1980 with the Republican dudes?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

  39. JR says:

    @anjin-san: That is what makes this hilarious. Not only did they got cut stomped, they don’t even understand why.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  40. anjin-san says:

    Has anyone seen Drew??

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  41. Hopsrice says:

    Romney did not lose the election.
    Use all the lame expressions of ignorance you want.
    The fraud in this sham of November 2012 presidential election by the Ocommunisto regime was blatant and disgusting. The legal voters of America have been screwed.
    But go ahead and drink your koolaid if you think different.
    Our precious right and gift of our votes has been executive ordered out, and the entitled, illegal aliens and disrespectful, irresponsible have been executive ordered in.
    Romney was our best chance in decades, and no one with a brain would think another four years of Ocommunisto could have won without the blatant thievery and fraud that is so obvious.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 64

  42. Janis Gore says:

    Whatev.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  43. Andre Kenji says:

    Well, most of the American population lives in Urban Areas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  44. Herb says:

    @Hopsrice:

    “Romney did not lose the election.
    Use all the lame expressions of ignorance you want.”

    Like….”Romney did not lose the election?”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    So the 47% thing really was how Romney felt all along. Mr. Romney is a creep. All that “he’s a good man,” blather was crapola. He’s a narrow, selfish, smug, arrogant, uncharitable, entitled aszhole. On top of that he was almost pathologically dishonest. He was without core, without meaning as a man, an empty suit stuffed full of dollar bills.

    Oh, and by the way? Fwcking stupid on top of it. His campaign was incompetent, he never found a message, he overpaid for ads, under-organized, bought into crap systems and assembled a team of the clueless.

    We dodged a bullet.

    C’mon Michael, tell us how you really feel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  46. superdestroyer says:

    @Jr:

    Wouldn’t it be easier to say that the Republicans are irrelevant and that whatever the Republicans do in the future to remain relevant is doomed to failure.

    To argue that the Democrats did not benefit from the David Axelrod plan of talking about raising taxes on just a few percent of the population. Most Americans do not care that the government spends $4 trillion because most of the spending comes from taxes on others and from borrowing. Thus. most people are getting government at a big discount. There is nothing the Republicans can do for the people who want big government, big entitlements, and big spending.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 19

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Hopsrice: Wow. We have a new name for delusion: Hopsrice. I like it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  48. Janis Gore says:

    @superdestroyer: Dayum, man! Stop being such a bore!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  49. Janis Gore says:

    @superdestroyer: If they’re as freakin’ clueless as you are, they should not only be irrelevant, but rejected out of hand as defective.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Good post Doug, but

    For one thing, such an argument cannot explain the success of Obama/Biden in states such as Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, or Nevada, none of which have what could fairly be called major urban areas.

    Huh? Denver is not a major urban area? Nor Las Vegas? What about Miami, Jacksonville, or Tampa Bay? Last time I checked the NFL is not in the habit of placing franchises in rural backwaters.

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  51. Barry says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “If the Strauss–Howe generational theory is correct, Ryan may actually be right about the “unexpected surge of urban voters”. However this isn’t something the Republicans should take comfort from, but actually dread. If SH is right, we’re currently in the crisis part of the cycle and the millenials are the next Hero generation. One of the characteristics of which is that they’re the most civically engaged of the four archetypes, which explains why they’re voting in unexpectedly large numbers.”

    I’d like to see evidence; I read their book and thought that it was pretty bad.

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  52. superdestroyer says:

    @Janis Gore:

    So how do the Repulbicans remain relevant given the changing demographics of the U.S. Does becoming Demcratic-lite keep them relevant?

    How does the more conservative party remain relevant when politics is about entitlements, who gets them , and who pays?

    Of course, I have pointed out for a long time that Romney had zero interest in policy or governance. Is it any wonder that he still does not understand all of the different percentages (tax payers, benefit receivers, people who will never vote for a Republican) and that he does not understand how policy actually works?

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  53. Barry says:

    @Hopsrice: Please keep going on likecthat; it’d be nice to win a few more elections.

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  54. Janis Gore says:

    Look to libertarian (small ‘L’) ideas, and keep your f******g fingers out of my panties would be a start.

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  55. Herb says:

    @superdestroyer:

    “So how do the Repulbicans remain relevant given the changing demographics of the U.S. Does becoming Demcratic-lite keep them relevant?”

    By not being racist assholes.

    Which pretty much means they’ll never be relevant to you.

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  56. sam says:

    A rumor du jour on the right …is that the lack of Romney votes in some Philadelphia and Cleveland precincts suggest that there was ELECTION FRAUD

    There was ELECTION FRAUD alright, but it was perpetrated on the Romney campaign by whoever designed (if that’s the word) and foisted on the campaign Project Orca.

    I don’t think there has ever been, in the history of modern campaigning, a more galactic clusterfvck than Orca. And the next time, if ever, someone tells you what great manager Mitt Romney is, just point them to Project Orca in rebuttal.

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  57. Janis Gore says:

    @sam: Don’t forget to giggle when you point.

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  58. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @superdestroyer:

    So how do the Repulbicans remain relevant given the changing demographics of the U.S. Does becoming Demcratic-lite keep them relevant?

    Well, they could start by listening to Bobby Jindal:

    “That is absolutely wrong,” Jindal told reporters in Las Vegas at the Republican Governors Association meeting. “Two points on that. One, we have got to stop dividing American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent — we need to go after every single vote. And second, we need to continue to show that our policies help every voter out there achieve the American dream, which is to be in the middle class, which is to be able to give their children the opportunity to get a great education, which is for their children to have even better-paying jobs than their parents.”

    I happen to think GOP policies make it harder to stay in the middle-class, never mind becoming m-c, but he has the first point right. Don’t actively insult large swaths of the electorate.

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  59. jukeboxgrad says:

    spartacus citing peggy noonan:

    The “Analytics Department” is looking for “predictive Modeling/Data Mining” specialists to join the campaign’s “multi-disciplinary team of statisticians,” which will use “predictive modeling” to anticipate the behavior of the electorate.

    What Noonan was mocking is now understood as related to this:

    Academic ‘Dream Team’ Helped Obama’s Effort … This election season the Obama campaign won a reputation for drawing on the tools of social science. … news reports have portrayed an operation that ran its own experiment and, among other efforts, consulted with the Analyst Institute, a Washington voter research group … Less well known is that the Obama campaign also had a panel of unpaid academic advisers. … “In the way it used research, this was a campaign like no other” … In addition to Dr. Fox, the consortium included Susan T. Fiske of Princeton University; Samuel L. Popkin of the University of California, San Diego; Robert Cialdini, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University; Richard H. Thaler, a professor of behavioral science and economics at the University of Chicago’s business school; and Michael Morris, a psychologist at Columbia. “A kind of dream team, in my opinion,” Dr. Fox said. He said that the ideas the team proposed were “little things that can make a difference” in people’s behavior.

    While Obama was “drawing on the tools of social science,” Mitt was drawing on his much-vaunted skills in organization and management to create the epic failure of project Orca (I see now Sam has also mentioned this):

    … the catastrophic failure of the system, purchased at large expense, squandered the campaign’s most valuable resource—people—and was symptomatic of a much bigger leadership problem. “The end result,” Ekdahl wrote, “was that 30,000+ of the most active and fired-up volunteers were wandering around confused and frustrated when they could have been doing anything else to help. The bitter irony of this entire endeavor was that a supposedly small government candidate gutted the local structure of [get out the vote] efforts in favor of a centralized, faceless organization in a far off place (in this case, their Boston headquarters). Wrap your head around that.”

    See also Doug’s post here. As someone said: “So apparently Romney was rubbing two sticks together while Obama had a Zippo. Good to know.”

    Obama had “a kind of dream team” while Mitt’s GOTV was a “catastrophic failure.” Obama had the Boss; Mitt had Kid Rock, Rodney Atkins and Ted Nugent. Obama was paying attention to people like Nate Silver; Mitt was paying attention to people like Dean Chambers and Dick Morris.

    From every perspective, this was about pros vs amateurs. We dodged a bullet when the latter lost.

    Also: Seamus and John Lauber both died a long time ago, but they finally got their revenge.

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  60. Moosebreath says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    There’s something ironic about Hopsrice giving himself a screen name which are the main ingredients in Budweiser. I think he’s already had a few.

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  61. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Neither Mitt Romney Nor Paul Ryan Understand Why They Lost

    That headline astonishingly is ironic. Mostly because the liberal chattering classes generally speaking have no idea how or why they won and more aptly they’re completely insouciant of the ramifications.

    In any event, what happened in the ’12 election cycle is as simple as black and white. Quite literally. But the missing elephant in the room, both figuratively and literally, and something about which even the sentient elements of the chattering classes have missed, is that Republicans in droves stayed home and didn’t vote. That’s a topic that deserves a lot of attention and study. It might affect election cycles for years if not for decades to come. But it won’t even be addressed much less analyzed in critical detail. Which itself is ironic.

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  62. john personna says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    So, how do you identify “Republicans”?

    I submit that you have a contradiction deep in your analysis. If these “missing” were Republicans in any meaningful sense, they voted. If they did not, they were not Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  63. J-Dub says:

    @Latino_in_Boston: Like the giant urban cluster of Janesville, WI, which Romney/Ryan lost by 25 points!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/paul-ryan-election_n_2130885.html

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  64. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    That headline astonishingly is ironic.

    Again, no its not.

    Mostly because the liberal chattering classes generally speaking have no idea how or why they won and more aptly they’re completely insouciant of the ramifications.

    Except for the thousands of articles and comments that point to exactly why Obama won.

    In any event, what happened in the ’12 election cycle is as simple as black and white. Quite literally.

    Yup, that 14% of the population sure does outnumber that 74% of the population.

    But the missing elephant in the room, both figuratively and literally, and something about which even the sentient elements of the chattering classes have missed, is that Republicans in droves stayed home and didn’t vote.

    The “elephant’ is still figurative. Unless you think actual elephants can vote, none of this is literal.

    Obama had 7 million fewer votes than in ’08. Romney had 800,000 fewer votes than McCain.

    For an “attorney” you are have an incredibly poor grasp of language, and are honestly sometimes quite stupid.

    How “ironic.”

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  65. Herb says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    “But it won’t even be addressed much less analyzed in critical detail.”

    Well, that’s true, but it’s mostly because what you said is BS….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  66. C. Clavin says:

    @ Tsar,,,

    “…In any event, what happened in the ’12 election cycle is as simple as black and white. Quite literally…”

    Well yeah…because Obama’s electorate resembled America…with significant percentages of ALL races including 60% white…while Republicans and Romney only appealed to white America…and carried single digit percentages of black, hispanic, and asian voters.
    Your talk like Obama got no white votes. That’s total bullshit. Seeing things as black and white is childish. And it’s ignorant. The world is complex. And perhaps that is why YOU DON’T GET IT.

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  67. john personna says:

    It really is pretzel logic that Dems should feel responsible for disaffection of Republican voters. If anyone was responsible for getting them motivated, enthused, and to the polls, it was the Republicans themselves.

    If at the end of the day, “Republicans” said “meh” and stayed home, or left that absentee ballot on the counter, that was about their platform and their ticket.

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  68. I’m a little confused about your assertion that Flordia, Virginia, Iowa and Colorado don’t have major urban areas. If I’m not mistaken, Flordia has several (Miami-Dade, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, etc.), Virginia has the DC suburbs, Richmond and the Virginia Beach areas and Colorado has Denver-Boulder and Colorado Springs. Only Iowa doesn’t have a major metro area.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  69. john personna says:

    @Dennis Sanders:

    Yeah, there is a “percent urban” table here. Florida, at 84.8%, ranks pretty high.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  70. Herb says:

    @Dennis Sanders: I’m gonna go with sloppy writing on that one. The quote was:

    none of which have what could fairly be called major urban areas.

    I don’t take that as an assertion that these states don’t have “major urban areas.” It seems that Doug had in mind some scale that he didn’t include in his sentence.

    “Fairly” is the key word. I live in Denver, and we’re a pretty “major urban area” from my vantage point. But I also recognize that we’re not even in the top 20 when it comes to “major urban areas” in the US. (Jacksonville, FL is number 11, though.)

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  71. Rafer Janders says:

    @Herb:

    I disagree that it’s sloppy writing — rather, it’s sloppy thinking. Doug sees the words “Florida, Virginia, Iowa and Colorado” and, subconsciously or not, a trigger goes off in his head and he hears the words “Real America.” And what does Real America not have, by definition? Major urban centers, which are all in those hippie liberal elite coastal states such as New York, Massachusetts and California.

    Of course, if you think about it for even one second, you realize that yeah, Florida, Virginia and Colorada all have major urban centers. But he never thought about it for even one second — he just went with his automatic association that “Real America does not equal urban.”.

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  72. Herb says:

    @Rafer Janders: I might agree with you if I were less familiar with his writing (and his occasional sloppiness) and he didn’t use the word “fairly.” That signals an argument.

    And I’m pretty sure the argument wasn’t “These states don’t have major urban areas.” It had to be something else, something missing, like “these states do not account for a large number of urban voters.” I’d say that’s true in the case of Colorado and Iowa, debatable for FL and VA.

    But that’s alright. It’s an argument. It’s supposed to be debatable.

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  73. sam says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Mostly because the liberal chattering classes generally speaking have no idea how or why they won and more aptly they’re completely insouciant of the ramifications.

    Jesus Christ.

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  74. Rafer Janders says:

    @Herb:

    No, I think he meant exactly what I said. His exact sentence was “For one thing, such an argument cannot explain the success of Obama/Biden in states such as Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, or Nevada, none of which have what could fairly be called major urban areas.”

    What Doug’s saying, therefore, is that Romney-Ryan are wrong to blame their loss on voters in cities, because they also lost in Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada, and none of those states have cities. The “fairly” there, as Doug uses it, is meant to mean “even if we’re being generous with our definition of major urban area, none of Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Colorada or Nevada have major urban areas; you cannot be fair and claim that any of those states have cities.”

    Which, yes, doesn’t make any sense, because several of those states do have major cities.

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  75. Herb says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Which, yes, doesn’t make any sense, because several of those states do have major cities.

    Hmm….think about that for a second.

    We both see a sentence that doesn’t make any sense. I conclude Doug missed a word or phrased his idea poorly (sloppy writing). You conclude he’s…Lewis Carroll?

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  76. Rafer Janders says:

    @Herb:

    No, I conclude he’s a sloppy thinker (when he’s not being deliberately deceptive). Which, given my familiarity with his work over the last year, I have ample evidence for. I’m well past the point with him of giving him the benefit of the doubt.

    What idea do you think Doug was trying to convey? How would you reword his sentence so it made any sense?

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  77. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @sam: I’m starting to think that Tsar N just takes superdestroyer’s posts and runs them through some sort of thesaurus algorithm to make his racism sound smart.

    @Rafer Janders: Yeah when I saw that, the first thing that ran through my head was “WTF – Miami Metro is the 7th or 8th largest MSA in the US.”

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  78. Herb says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    “I conclude he’s a sloppy thinker”

    Sometimes….it’s true. But we’re all guilty of that sin, aren’t we?

    This is how I would have put it if I thought it was going to be an issue:

    “For one thing, such an argument cannot explain the success of Obama/Biden in states such as Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, or Nevada, states which do not account for a large number of urban voters

    Denver has less than a million people, Vegas even less.

    Add up the populations of the largest cities in the 5 states mentioned above and you get (roughly) 2,687,000 people. A lot of people, no doubt.

    But it’s only a third of New York’s population. It’s smaller than LA and Chicago. In fact, when you add the populations of the top 5 largest cities* you get (roughly) 18,000,000 people.

    Do the math.

    And yes….being pedantic again. But I knew what Doug meant and it makes sense.

    (* New York, LA, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia)

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  79. Rafer Janders says:

    @Herb:

    But I knew what Doug meant and it makes sense.

    How do you know what he meant? Because that’s not at all what he wrote. What he wrote was, simply, “none of which have what could fairly be called major urban areas.”

    That’s obviously a crazy thing to write. Now, in your desire to turn that into something less crazy, reword it as “states which do not account for a large number of urban voters.”

    Now what you wrote makes it more accurate, but it doesn’t alter the fact that what he wrote isn’t accurate at all.

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  80. Rafer Janders says:

    Also, too, your rewritten statement of “states which do not account for a large number of urban voters” is cross-wise to Doug’s point, since your statement is relevant only in the context of urban voters as a whole nationwide, whereas Doug was attempting to explain the success of Obama in those specific select states.

    And in fact, he’s still wrong there, as many of those states do have both major urban areas and large numbers of urban voters. In Nevada, for example, over two-thirds of Nevadans live in Clark County, which is the Las Vegas metro area. Simililary, over 80% of Floridians live in Miami, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville or other urban areas, and 70% of Virginians live in high-density areas (either ciites or city-adjacent metro areas).

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  81. Herb says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    “whereas Doug was attempting to explain the success of Obama in those specific select states. “

    Really?

    Read it again without the offending sloppiness:

    “For one thing, such an argument cannot explain the success of Obama/Biden in states such as Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, or Nevada…”

    Don’t get stuck on the sloppy turn of phrase.

    Later in the post, he writes:

    “…[T]he ticket lost on the field of ideas, so [Ryan] is forced to make a phony argument about “urban” voters who were never going to vote for a Republican anyway…”

    Seems like you’re just reading this wrong.

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  82. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Herb: You can’t just look at city populations. You need to look at metro areas. Boston only has about 650,000 people in it, and is the 21st largest city in the US, but the Boston MSA has 4.6 million, and is the 10th largest MSA in the country. I don’t think anyone would say that metro Boston isn’t a major urban area.

    The Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX MSA has about 6 million people. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL MSA has about 5.7 million. 300,000 people is the difference between being a major urban area and a backwater?

    DC Metro is the 7th largest and includes the Virginia side. Tampa is the 21st largest metro. Denver is the 21st, with 2.6 million people. Orlando is 26th.

    I’m sorry. I usually think you’re spot on, but you just aren’t proving the point here you think you are.

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  83. Rafer Janders says:

    @Herb:

    I honestly have no idea what you are trying to say anymore. When I wrote that “whereas Doug was attempting to explain the success of Obama in those specific select states”, you responded “Really?” and then again cited Doug’s claim that “For one thing, such an argument cannot explain the success of Obama/Biden in states such as Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, or Nevada…”

    Um, those are the SAME THINGS. My restatement of what Doug wrote is accurate. Doug was trying to prove that Obama also carried states without substantial urban centers, but he was hilariously wrong in the specific states he cited as several of those did indeed have large urban centers. Doug got it wrong, because he didn’t really think about he wrote. It’s not more complicated than that.

    Here, let me cite it one more time, in its entirety: “The assertion that the ‘urban’ vote was somehow responsible for the Romney/Ryan ticket’s loss is, quite simply, absurd. For one thing, such an argument cannot explain the success of Obama/Biden in states such as Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, or Nevada, none of which have what could fairly be called major urban areas.”

    In plain English, this is “Romney’s claim that he lost due to big cities is wrong because he also lost in states that don’t have big cities such as Florida, Nevada, etc.” But, as we’ve seen, that’s just nonsense.

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  84. JohnMcC says:

    From ‘The Hill’ of 11/15 by Peter Fenn in their ‘pundit’s blog’: “The rural vote was going to be huge and also propel Mitt to the win. You can see from all the maps out there how a vast number of counties went republican, by a vast sea of red. Romney did receive 59% of the rural vote, 5% more than John McCain did four years ago. But what did this mean?

    My friend, Hill pundit Cheri Jacobus, cited a republican study that said you could drive 3000 miles across country from the Pacific to the Atlantic and only go through Romney Republican counties.

    Yes, but the increasing problem for your team, Cheri, is that nobody lives there anymore. We worked with the Metropolitan Policy Program of the Brookings Institution and I confess to having my eyes opened by these very smart people.

    What I learned is that 83% of Americans live in metropolitan areas and the number continues to grow. In fact for the first time in 90 years cities grew faster than the suburbs last year.”

    We may agree that Mr Mataconis actually knows very little about the demographics of the electorate and that he expresses his limited thoughts unclearly. But that he has actually pointed out a significant part of the Democratic victory strategy virtually without meaning to because it is so big.

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  85. Janis Gore says:

    @JohnMcC: You don’t have to have a PhD to see that.

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  86. Janis Gore says:

    @JohnMcC: Where all these people come from?

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  87. Hopsrice says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Very funny but I deal with reality and what has just happened, not nonsense that makes me (in my own mind) look smarter than you.
    http://theintelhub.com/2012/11/14/22-signs-that-voter-fraud-is-wildly-out-of-control-and-the-election-was-a-sham/
    I can give you hundreds more if your demographics theories don’t work out for you.

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  88. David M says:

    @Hopsrice:

    Please stop with the nonsense, there’s no reason to take anything you’ve linked to seriously.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  89. Hopsrice says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Once again I am amused.
    So you would dismiss the facts that the numbers don’t add up.
    The registration rolls vs the amount of voters?
    In 59 districts in Ohio not one vote for Romney or 99% for Obama.
    1000s showing up at the polls only to be told they voted by mail / absentee and were made to file provisional ballots?
    GOP workers being thrown out of polling places?
    Voting machine programmers testifying about machine tampering and being paid for it?
    If you condone any of this, or dispute any of my facts? Debate it with me.
    Seems you all for the most part are my way or the highway. hmmm Sounds familiar. Cheers..
    And yes Budweiser beats the hell out of Koolaid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  90. Herb says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    ” I usually think you’re spot on, but you just aren’t proving the point here you think you are.”

    Yeah, I got into the weeds on that one. My ultimate point is that I’m pretty sure Doug knows those states have “major urban areas.” He, after all , “holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. ”

    Faced with choosing between the idea that Doug is ignorant, or that he was sloppy, I’m going with sloppy. I disagree with him politically on a lot of things, but I have seen no evidence he’s ignorant.

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