RUSH: Jim Geraghty today, National Review Online: "Do Wavering Obama Voters Think the Man They Voted for Is Naive? -- In the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt, an examination of a key question before Republicans and conservatives this year: 'How do you persuade someone who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 to vote for the Republican option in 2012? It is bigger than the million-dollar question. Republican turnout may or may not be higher than in 2008. Some Obama voters of 2008 will stay home in 2012. But in the end, Obama had 69.4 million votes in 2008 and McCain,'" well, Palin, "'had 59.9 million. To get to 270 electoral votes, the Republican nominee will need some of those 69.4 million to swing into his column.
"'Not long ago, our great deputy managing editor Kevin Williamson noted: "The most acute division on the right -- the one that will give Mitt Romney the most trouble -- is not between moderates and hard-core right-wingers, between electability-minded pragmatists and ideologues, or between the Tea Party and the Republican establishment. It is between those Republicans who disagree with Barack Obama, believing his policies to be mistaken, and those who hate Barack Obama, believing him to be wicked. Mitt Romney is the candidate of the former, but is regarded with suspicion, or worse, by the latter. The former group of Republicans [and that's those who disagree with Obama] would be happy merely to win the presidential election, but the latter,"'" the ones they say here hate Obama.
It's not about "hate," but I'll get to that in a minute. "[T]he latter are after something more: a national repudiation of President Obama, of his governmental overreach, and of managerial progressivism mainly as practiced by Democrats but also as practiced by Republicans." There's some truth to that. The right way to say this is: We don't hate Obama; we despise what he's doing to the country! And, yeah, it does require a massive turnaround. And it does require a massive repudiation of his policies. The American people have to know how destructive and bad they are and have been. And, by the way, I'm in that group, and I make no apology for it. I make no apology.
This is a teachable moment, and it's the most important teachable moment for the people of this country that we've had in my lifetime. And this is one of the problems that people on my side have with Romney. They don't think Romney or the Republican establishment cares that much about repudiating what Obama has done. They just want to beat him. They just want back in control. They want to be in charge of the spending; they want the committee chairmanships. We don't want to win for that reason. We don't want to win so we can run government. We want to win so that we can get rid of people who are trying to destroy it, as founded. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Anyway, this piece is all about how do you persuade these Obama voters to vote for the Republican next time. Because, "Generally speaking, people hate admitting they made a mistake -- particularly over a decision that is culturally regarded as important as one’s presidential choice." This was a presidential election, and it was the first black president, and a lot of people are gonna be emotionally attached to that as the right thing to have done regardless. Because that says I'm a big person. I'm an open-minded person. So persuading that group of people that they made a mistake, that's a toughie.
"That's why you still see cars with Dole-Kemp, Gore-Lieberman, and Kerry-Edwards stickers in some parts. Very few Obama voters will express their vote for the GOP nomination in 2012 as an explicit act of personal penance for bad judgment." There aren't that many Obama voters that are gonna admit they made a mistake. So the theory is, don't go after 'em that way. Don't tell 'em they made a mistake. That's like telling somebody you're wrong and that's never a good way to persuade people. You know as well as I do, you get in somebody's face... Even if they're making horrendous mistakes in their life, you get in their face and you tell 'em that, and they just steel their resolve against you. For the sake of it.
You could be right as nails but they're gonna still stand up to you. I myself have learned about the art of persuasion. So going after these Obama voters as having made a mistake, as practical matter -- if that's the primary thing you're gonna do or use to persuade them to vote Republican -- it probably won't work. "Although," Geraghty says here, "I stand by my position that anyone who voted for John Edwards for president should sit out the next two presidential elections, examining their spectacularly wrong assessment of his character in quiet contemplation." Good point, but, Jim, I'll tell you: I really can't blame these people. The media wouldn't take the story up. You knew about it 'cause you follow inside baseball stuff.
The Drive-Bys didn't pick this stuff up until long after the story was old. I know a lot of people, when the truth came out about Edwards, they were shocked! They could not believe it. I know people who fundraised for Edwards. They're lawyers, they're trial lawyers, but they still did it, and they were stunned when they found out all that stuff. Even now, you'll get Clinton. Here's Clinton, who destroyed the life of a 19-year-old girl, ruined her life and who knows how many other women's lives. Yet the war on women is supposedly a Republican thing. But Clinton, despite that, is the biggest hero the Democrat Party has. He's the most in-demand speaker on any subject.
These emotional attachments are tough, tough things.
So "a lot of Obama voters must be persuaded that they made the wrong choice in 2008, and that it isn't their fault. ... Those who voted for Obama won't call him stupid, and certainly don't accept that he's evil. But they have seen grandiose promises on the stimulus fail to materialize, Obamacare touted as the answer to all their health care needs and turn out to be nothing of the sort, pledges of amazing imminent advances in alternative energy, and so on," and none of it has happened. "He seemed to think that reaching out to the Iranians would lead to a change in the regime's behavior and attitudes. He was surprised to learn that shovel-ready projects were not, in fact, shovel-ready."
Let me go through the list. In fact, that's the best way to do this. Here's what we're up against. A lot of people thought Obama was smartest president ever 'cause that's what they were told. There had been nobody like him before! He was the Great Unifier. The rest of the world was gonna love us, when the rest of the world didn't hate us. There were so many false premises. It was all predicated on the fact the media drummed up hatred against Bush and convinced everybody that the world hated us. The world never did hate us. We weren't hated and despised by the rest of the world, but the media said so. There was Obama.
In this Game Change movie, they have footage of Obama's Berlin speech. I literally wanted to throw up watching some of this stuff. But all this talk of Obama being the smartest president ever, unlike anybody else, The Great Unifier, the world is gonna love us? It was fake conventional wisdom brought to us by the Drive-Bys. But a lot of people believed it. So these people have to be convinced they made a mistake, but it wasn't their fault. They were tricked. They had the wool pulled over their eyes. Because the truth here is Obama's not smart. But at the same time, whereas you had a lot of people... This is key, folks. Listen to me very carefully. This is very key.
Where you had a lot of people who thought they were making history voting for the first black to run for the presidency, by the same token, these people don't want to admit that the first black president's a failure. They don't have the guts to say it. They don't want to think it. They don't want to believe it. Because of the racial component. So then intervention is called for, and these voters are going to need a trip back to Realville. It's going to be very tricky convincing them that they did all this but it wasn't their fault. So here's a profile of an average Obama voter: "He seemed to think that reaching out to the Iranians would lead to a change in the regime's behavior and attitudes. He was surprised to learn that shovel-ready projects were not, in fact, shovel-ready."
In fact, you could say this about Obama, too. Obama and his voters, same profile: They are "surprised to learn that shovel-ready projects were not, in fact, shovel-ready. He was surprised to learn that large-scale investment in infrastructure and clean-energy projects wouldn’t great enormous numbers of new jobs." Obama thought it was magic. We've got book out from a liberal Democrat reporting that Obama's sitting in the Oval Office stupefied when they tell him that only 3500 new green jobs, created. (impression) "Well, what about all the money I spent? Uhhhh, all that investment? And, uh, uh, well, infrastructure. Where are the jobs?"
He's stunned! He doesn't understand. He throws money at it and it's supposed to happen. It didn't. Voters are the same way. "He's surprised that his past housing policies haven't helped struggling homeowners like he promised. He's surprised that his signature health-care policy has become as controversial as it has." It isn't working. None of it's working. They all realize Obama's been a giant mistake, but there's too much emotional investment in the vote. "The 'recession turned out to be a lot deeper than any of us realized.'" Some people are sympathetic to that. The point is, they have to be convinced they made a mistake but that it's not their fault.
Now, I'm not so sure I agree with this. I'm just reading the opinion espoused here at Geraghty's blog, linking to this somewhere else. But I do know that persuasion often does not happen by getting in somebody's face and wagging a finger at 'em, telling them they're wrong. "When a woman says her semiconductor engineer husband can't find a job, Obama says he's surprised to hear it, because 'he often hears business leaders in that field talk of a scarcity of skilled workers,'" but he can't believe it! Why, semiconductors? We invested in that! Why aren't there any jobs?
"If we're seeking to persuade Obama voters that it's okay to vote for someone else this time, perhaps we need to reinforce that notion that he just doesn't quite understand how things work in the real world -- that he understands the theories of job creation, but not the practice. He talks about a future of algae-powered cars while rejecting pipelines." Basically, we have to kind of convince people we've got somebody here that just isn't up to the job. That may be why Romney's saying what he's saying. You know, Romney's making a big point of saying (paraphrased), "Look, he's a nice guy, just in over his head." This is practically the same thing. So there's probably some oppo research going around and some focus group research saying this is how you have to go about it."
We'll see. I just wanted to share that with you.
RUSH: Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is Mike. Thank you for calling, sir. It's great to have you with us on the program.
CALLER: Yes, sir, Rush. I was calling 'cause I really love your topic about why people have such a difficult time admitting that they voted for Obama. I'm 72 years old. I go all the way back. My first exposure to a campaign was with Goldwater, and I was a Republican. I voted Republican all the way to Obama. And then under what I felt sorta was a weakness with Palin and McCain. And then being a minority here in New Mexico, I thought, "Well, let's break the minority ceiling and I'll go ahead and vote for Obama." Well, I woke up the next morning like I'd had a hangover: Sorry that I did it, and sorrier every day since. But at least I wanted to confess before the world that I made a mistake and that you can go back to being loyal to our party and our platform.
RUSH: Mike. Why, again, did you vote for Obama? I missed that.
CALLER: You missed what?
RUSH: What you said, about why you voted for Obama.
CALLER: Well, because as a minority here, I was trying to support the idea that we needed to break this minority ceiling and get somebody in there that could represent, you know, maybe the minority community --
RUSH: What did you think was gonna happen?
CALLER: -- and the weakness in McCain-Palin --
RUSH: This guy's not even on a cell phone and he can't hear me.
CALLER: -- Obama and I woke up the next day sorry.
RUSH: What did you expect...? Mike, by the way, our phone system here isn't working. So try to make your answers short because I've been trying to interrupt and ask you a question. You can't hear me.
CALLER: Oh, no.
RUSH: It's not your fault.
RUSH: Try to make your answers short.
RUSH: I'm fascinated but this. Why did you think that electing a minority would improve minority relations throughout the country?
CALLER: Because I think it's something that's just within a minority that you think that a Sotomayor is gonna have some influence from her background, her childhood or Obama's or whoever that might affect.
RUSH: What minority are you a member of?
CALLER: I am Hispanic, known to the world as Mexican-American.
CALLER: Mexican-hyphen-American, but I consider myself Mexican, no hyphen, American.
RUSH: Do you consider yourself...? You describe yourself that way today, but in your life do you consider yourself a minority first and American second?
CALLER: I would say that I don't believe so. I served 32 years in the military.
RUSH: No, there's no wrong answer. Don't misunderstand. There's no wrong answer. I'm just trying to understand your mind-set and the way you think, 'cause it's fascinating. You thought -- I'm sure a lot of other people did, too -- electing the first black president would erase some of the problems this country's had with discrimination against minorities in the past. You thought that was going to happen and it didn't it take you long to figure out that wasn't the case and you made a mistake.
CALLER: Well, I guess part of the mistake was not knowing enough about the background of Barack Obama. So therefore, you know, if you're ignorant and it wasn't bliss... I didn't know enough about him to just set that aside but I did have a real strong feeling that we were kinda weak in the McCain-Palin and so that had an effect.
RUSH: Okay. So basically you... you... Well, I don't like to use the term "fell for," but it's actually what happened. You fell for the media portrayal of Obama versus their portrayal of Palin primarily and McCain second. You didn't know anything about Obama 'cause the press never vetted him. They didn't tell you who he was. So to you he was a magic elixir because he was a minority?
CALLER: Well, I figured that we'd come a long way since the beginnings of this nation and that we were ready to give that its chance. Maybe that would work out and we could go on from there and then maybe that would kinda work, you know?
RUSH: Okay. What have you learned now?
CALLER: Well, I've learned to pay much more attention to the background of the candidates so that when we do have people that just sorta come out of the night, we've kind of investigated where they came from, what they represent, who's backing 'em, and where's the money coming from.
RUSH: That's exactly right.
CALLER: Et cetera.
RUSH: The thing to take away from this is: When you're talking about people who are going to lead the country, it doesn't matter what their skin color is. It doesn't matter what their national origin is. It doesn't matter what their orientation or gender is. All that matters is their ideas. All that matters is who they are, not what they look like. And way too many people fell for the "what he looks like" and thought that made a big statement about them. And in the process, we got an incompetent, huge mistake that is gonna take a long time to undo.
I appreciate the call, Mike. Thanks much.