OUR VIEW: Republicans don't need much soul-searching

People in the media fancy themselves as independent thinkers, but there is way more herd mentality than original thought in the nation's commentary business.

Within three days of the election, national pundits — known in some circles as the chattering class — had seized upon two words and run them into the ground: soul searching.

They argue that humiliated Republicans should be off licking their war wounds and examining their inner elephant hearts.

Elaborate demographic scenarios are being constructed showing that the Republicans' philosophy is unsustainable, that the party is becoming older and whiter while the country is becoming younger and more multi-racial.

This is the customary reaction after election defeats, but both Democrats and Republicans would be wise to remember a few things.

First, let's put this defeat in perspective. At this time two years ago, Democrats were headed into soul-searching psychoanalysis after being "shellacked" in the mid-term elections.

Let's recall the dimensions of that Democratic rout.

The GOP gained 63 seats in the U.S. House and recaptured the majority. It was the biggest midterm loss for a party since 1938.

Republicans also gained six seats in the U.S. Senate and would have gained more had not their primary election process produced some seriously strange candidates.

Just as importantly, Republicans picked up 680 seats in legislative races, leaving them controlling 10 more state legislatures (including Maine) than before the election. Republicans also took control of a majority of the nation's governorships (again, including Maine).

It was a stunning reversal of the 2008 election that swept Barack Obama and Democratic majorities into the U.S. House and Senate.

Predictably, the nation's pundits said for a week after the 2010 thrashing that the Democratic Party had a lot of "soul searching" to do.

Hmm. Can anyone think of a way Democrats changed their core philosophy between 2008 and 2010? If so, please send us a telegram.

Second, these wild gyrations between parties simply reflect voter fear and uncertainty in this long, painful recession.

If one party doesn't produce quick results, that party is unceremoniously booted out the back door.

Two years ago, Republican strategists looked like savants; today they look like dunces.

Third, we should always remember how hard it is to beat a presidential incumbent. 

Only three of them have been defeated in nearly 40 years, and those three faced either third-party competition or survived bitter primary election challenges.

The president gets to look presidential, fly around in the most impressive jet on the planet and handle the occasional crisis, like a hurricane.

Finally, despite being plagued by a political career of major flip-flops and gaffes, Romney nearly won the most votes.

His defeat was magnified by the idiotic vagaries of the Electoral College which placed unfair and out-sized importance on just a handful of states.

Now, in recent memory, we have had a Democrat (Gore) win the popular vote and lose in the Electoral College and a Republican (Romney) nearly win the popular vote and get slaughtered in the Electoral College.

Why should Ohio and Florida be so all-important to selecting presidents? The Constitution is a great document, but the Electoral College is undemocratic anachronism

This is a closely divided country, and this was a darned close election, 50 percent for Obama and 48 for Romney.

Major political parties are like adaptable organisms. Republicans will quickly make the necessary changes to be competitive again, and without selling their souls.

rrhoades@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.

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Comments

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

In a way I hope you are right,

Nothing could cement Democratic control for the next generation more solidly then for the Republicans to change nothing.
Republicans won in 2010 because they promised to create JOBS, JOBS, JOBS in the middle of a recession their policies caused. They lied. They proposed in the Federal Government as well as the States they controlled not one bill to create jobs. Instead they proposed and often passed oppressive legislation that attacked women's rights, voters' rights, workers' rights, and cut taxes for the rich leaving a bill for future generations to pay. The Romney campaign had only to look to the behavior of the party the previous two years to find its voice - lie and keep on lying. A blogger has identitied and documented 917 lies the Romney campaign told during the election. In that Romney was the perfect candidate.
His party is homophopic, zenophopic, and racist and in that too he was the perfect candidate. His calls to anglo-saxon culture, birtherism, and referring to the President as lazy, "foodstamp" president, and a hundred other personal attacks perfectly represented his party.
His party is unpatriotic. Their attacks on Max Cleveland in 2010 and Tammy Duckworth in 2012 match well their contempt for our military and their proposals to cut veterans spending.
We don't even have to mention their attacks on hispanics.
Nor do we have to mention that the Republicans core principle - trickle down economics - has failed when and whereever implemented. That their core attitude that all government is bad is just a naked attempt to seize power wherever they can.
Nope. I don't think Republicans need to change a thing.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Republicans don't need much soul-searching

ed. 12.11.09. 20:00
. . My sons listen to what my wife used to term " angry young male music . " Most Republicans are old and white , dismayed and probably angry
In contrast , Democrats are every color of the rainbow , happy , predominantly female , many G L B T and mostly young activists . Witness the Occupy Sandy movement on facebook® 
This should make one wonder , in a country known for it's diversity , which party is the party of the future ? The answer is obvious
Tom Jefferson's Electoral College may be an anachronism but so are cables ( i.e., telegrams ) . i believe he recommended this form of national level election process ( the electoral college ) to avoid the tyrrany of the majority
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyranny_of_the_majority also mentioned in 1835 in Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville, a frenchman
i would have liked them , our founding fathers , to have left Tom's original " pursuit of property , " in rather than the milquetoast " pursuit of happiness , " but que sera , sera . .whatever will be , will be . Esta bien y esta funcionada mejor gue todos otros
Romney nearly won the most votes but he lost both Mass-a-two-sh*its and Michigan . How ironic is that ? His dad was a Governor of there once . Religion was not an issue this election , thank God
In American we do not approve of political dynasties like the Romneys , the Bushes ( Prescott , Gdub'ya or his dad ) , the Gores , or the Kennedys , when it comes right down to it
Some wanted George Washington be King . He just said , " No ." t y v m
God bless this very rich endowed union of ours' •
Go plant a flag and thank a service member . It's Veteran's Day weekend • /s Steve

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

Thomas Jefferson's Electoral College????

often Jefferson is believed to have discovered everything from the wheel to jet propulsion. Do you have a source for this. Given that Jefferson was not in the country during any part of the development or ratification of the Constitution and his role was at best limited to a letter or two between himself and Madison it seems unlikely.
Given the following quote seems even more unlikely; "I have ever considered the Constitutional mode of election ... as the most dangerous blot on our Constitution...." The Writings of Thomas Jefferson Vol. 10 page 264.
Given the troubles the Electoral Collage caused Jefferson in the elections of 1796 and 1800 seems unbelieveable.

Amedeo Lauria's picture

Never said they voters were ignorant...

just said I couldn't understand how they vote the way they do based on the actions of the administration and the current employment and economic situtation in America after the past four years.

By Democrat logic...the problems in New York getting the power back on falls on the lack of "caring" by the Obama administration; instead of ConEd being overwhelmed by a natural disaster. That twisted logic was used after Katrina to bash and demonize the Bush Administration.

Gas prices are double what the were in 2008 due to relying on "green energy" failing to have a coherent policy; the Democrat logic would be to blame Obama, since they blamed Bush...but no...they don't.

...the worst being what happened in Benghazi all apparently falling on the deaf ears of voters.

As the Mayor of Chicago once said "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste..."

The logic escapes me how people who claim to be so intelligent and informed continue down the path of reckless spending, are unable or unwilling to form a coherent and cost effective energy policy and follow a reckless foreign policy that emboldens our enemies.

If the shoe fits....ladies and gentlemen...

CRYSTAL WARD's picture

""Hmm. Can anyone think of a

""Hmm. Can anyone think of a way Democrats changed their core philosophy between 2008 and 2010? If so, please send us a telegram."
"Major political parties are like adaptable organisms. Republicans will quickly make the necessary changes to be competitive again, and without selling their souls. "
When Bush lost the Popular vote but won the electoral college by a Supreme court cases that was OK ?? But when Obama wins the popular vote and the electoral vote without the court just an out right WIN something is wrong?

The Democratic core philosophy includes ALL americans. The Democrats understand diversity, the working class , women, the young and elderly.

Republicans will have a very hard time changing from control by middle age and old white men.. Even shown the changes in America after the 2010 census the Republicans could not move positions to include ALL Americans. With almost 90% of the population saying to tax the rich higher (over $250,000) the republicans are still saying they have a mandate not rasie taxes on the rich . Does this look like they listen to or understand the american people?
I must agree that this editoral looks and sounds like a lot of excuses and "sour grapes" the "game is over" there is a winner now shake hands and get to work !!!

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Republican strategists

I'm hearing blame by some Republicans on Karl Rove and Romney. This is very wrong. Just look at all that the Republican strategists did to win this election. They spent 2 years gerrymandering Congressional districts to make incumbents unbeatable. They spent $800 million on ads, mostly negative ads. They passed ID laws in every state they could which were mostly expensive, unnecessary and onerous for voters. They hired a company that was caught in 3 states registering democrats and throwing away the registrations. They robocalled people in 2 states telling them that voting was extended to Wed. They purged voter roles of many voters who should have been eligible to vote in Penn and Fla. They tampered with voting machines in Ohio and Fla. They shoved people into provisional ballots in Arizona and Fla. and threw away the ballots. Republicans told their employees they would be fired if Obama won. They "unskewed" the polls. Romney tapped danced his way around his tax returns, his off shore accounts and his record at Bain and in the end became more moderate. All this and Democrats added to their seats in the House and the Senate and Obama got nearly all the battleground states and 50% of the popular vote, something neither Bush nor Clinton achieved. Had the Republicans not done all that they did their numbers would have resembled Hoover's in my opinion.

RONALD RIML's picture

Rex - Republicans would sell their Souls for Power

(If they had them)

MARK GRAVE's picture

There you go demonizing

There you go demonizing people again that don’t think like you. Not sure about you, but I get a bit concern when our government is used to attack people who don’t fall in line with the current popular thought. Just wait until the shoe is on the other foot.

I get the left, who blow their horn of compassion, are not too compassionate to opposing thought.

RONALD RIML's picture

Evidently Rove doesn't even think like his Masters at Fox.....

Is his world becoming that unraveled?????

Karl Rove Causes Fox News Chaos By Challenging Obama Victory Projection

"After Fox News called the election in favor of President Barack Obama, Fox contributor Karl Rove challenged their decision to give Ohio to the president, causing chaos on-air as hosts Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly scrambled to refute Rove’s reluctance to believe the Fox News “decision desk’s” call in favor of Obama.

“We have got to be careful about calling things when we have like 991 votes separating the two candidates and a quarter of the vote yet to count,” Rove warned the Fox anchors, much to their dismay. “Even if they have made it on the basis of select precincts, I would be very careful about intruding in this process.”

After a brief pause, Baier, Kelly and Chris Wallace joked about how “awkward” Rove has just made the entire situation, with Baier deadpanning: “It’s great to have you guys here.”

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark - You might try hooking up with Karl to assuage your mutual disappointment.

MARK GRAVE's picture

Perhaps you should watch the

Perhaps you should watch the video reply on YouTube. There was no chaos. Watch the video; actually it made for pretty good live TV.

RONALD RIML's picture

I did.

Anything not perfectly scripted by Fox is chaos.

MARK GRAVE's picture

Okay Ronald, whatever you

Okay Ronald, whatever you say.

Did you get any snow yet?

Steve  Dosh's picture

Claire and Ron , i think what

Claire and Ron ,
i think what we're really trying to say is that , in order to survive during this century , the Grand Old Party needs to put a little soul in their hearts and a little heart in their souls ? Happy Veterans Day weekend , women and men of our armed forces . We salute you • /s Steve and ohana

Amedeo Lauria's picture

I've given up trying to figure out...

why voters vote the way they do; it will make your head explode! I don't think it's Republicans who need soul searching based on what I see with my own eyes...

DEMOCRATS IN WASHINGTON:

7% heading for 9% unemployment - Of course vote for the same guy.

Fiscal Cliff on the horizon - Of course vote for the same guy.

Trillions more in debt - Of course vote for the same guy.

Foreign policy in shambles - Of course vote for the same guy.

Fast and Furious - Of course vote for the same guy.

Benghazi debacle - Of course vote for the same guy.

REPUBLICANS IN MAINE:

More money for education - Vote them out!

Offer choice to parents in educating their children - Vote them out!

Uncover and punish corruption and incompetence - Vote them out!

Help Maine's military with a taxbreak if they are stationed out of state - Vote them out!

The largest tax break in Maine's history for the lowest income groups - Vote them out.

I'm going to take a walk in the beautiful Maine woods with my dogs and realize that we will be going through another four years like the last four years.

My only regret from Tuesday is that Maine has gone back in time. Our debt clock with soon once again run forward at breakneck speed.

According to the LSJ, the usual suspects will again occupy their positions in Augusta.

We will regain our position at the bottom of the Forbes list of business friendly states and the cycle will begin again I suppose.

Very sad indeed.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Amadeo ? 21:00 hst

Amadeo ? 21:00 hst Friday
Don't dismay , Don't despair . Leave the - d a r k - side and come over to the brighter and lighter side . We'll help you figure it out . You are not alone . We are in-clusive , not ex-clusive . We are optimists , not pessimists . We aren't sarcastic or cynical . We do not listen to or approve of S H O U T radio jocks like Rush Limbaugh ( or others ) who preach fear , intimidation , and loathing
We listen to reason and facts . We are smart ( like you ) http://climate.nasa.gov/ ? 10,000 N A S A scientists and many others in Europe and Asia
We are genuine . We are real . We are young and mostly female ( not you or i - HAHahhah )
We love love and hate bigotry , fascism , xenophobia , homophobia , hatred , mis-understanding and most any phobia you can name
We are simply the Democratic Party of these very United States of America .
Plain and simple , /s, Steve dad of four , widower . .

Zack Lenhert's picture

I've seen this though-out

I've seen this though-out conservative media since the election....blaming the voters. I have conservative friends on FB claiming that Obama voters are ignorant, dumb, etc.

That's a good way to convince people to join your party. "You're ignorant if you didn't vote for us, so vote for us next time"

This is why the GOP needs to do some soul searching. They have zero comprehension of why somebody would not support their agenda. I've voted Republican in the past and would do so in the future, but as the party stands now, they're too much in right field for me.

Not everybody votes with just their pocketbook.

RONALD RIML's picture

Another Four Years Like the Last Four Years??

It's even going to be better Amedeo;

We're gonna shidt-can your Buddy Paulie LePage.....

MARK GRAVE's picture

And the rest of the country

And the rest of the country will watch as Maine goes back to deficit spending....have fun with that.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Ron , 21:00 hst friday (

Ron , 21:00 hst friday ( still )
. .Your Hon Gov. Lepage is a laughingstock and is endorsed by neither party
He forgot to attend the Republican National Convention , remember ? He was probably un - invited
In a similar vein , there's your semmingly xenophobic Mayor Macdonald , also . ...
If something's broken , fix it . If you can't fix it , learn . If you are un willing or in capable of learning just be quiet and stop complaining and If one does not vote you only have yourself to blame
( l o l - not you , Ron )
/s, Steve " i voted for Barack Hussein " Dosh

RONALD RIML's picture

No longer my Mayor, Steve....

Though once living in Lewiston, close enough to hear the drunken 'Mating Calls' emanating from your beloved Bates early into the wee hours.... I learned to 'Fix' it....

I moved to quiet, serene East Boothbay, where at the worst I am bombarded by seagull shidt and summer tourists....

Zack Lenhert's picture

I'd like to point out that

I'd like to point out that voter turnout for Presidential elections is much larger than for mid term elections. Republicans have only won one Presidential popular vote since 1988.

This is why the Democrats didn't necessarily need to change their message between 2010 & 2012, they new a different looking electorate would turn out. They could run the same messages as in 2008, the last Presidential election.

The demographics that turn out for midterms heavily favor Republicans, not to mention recent gerrymandering. If the GOP wants to win a Presidential election they will need to tweak their message, especially towards minorities, young people, and women. The same could be said about Democrats for midterm elections, they need to tweak their message to appeal more towards older more traditional voters.

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Soul searching.........

..........assumes that there is a soul to be searched for.

Jason Theriault's picture

BTW - Being the president doesn't allways look Presidential

BTW - Being the president doesn't allways look Presidential

"The president gets to look presidential, fly around in the most impressive jet on the planet and handle the occasional crisis, like a hurricane."

Steve  Dosh's picture

Jason , l o l . 'member

Jason ,
l o l .
'member that picture during the Bush-Cheney years of the Marine saluting his dog as it climbed off the helicopter ? C l a s s i c . The things our service members have to do . How about the one of his dad fishing in the streets of N'orleans during Katrina ? The hubris of 'em all . i've said it B4 and i'll say it again . Buck Fush ? Happy Veteran's Day weekend everyone http://vhv-vetshelpingvets.com/ /s Steve , HI , FSO ( ret.)

Jason Theriault's picture

The electoral college

"His defeat was magnified by the idiotic vagaries of the Electoral College which placed unfair and out-sized importance on just a handful of states."

...Which the GOP platform says would be a mortal threat to our federal system"

We oppose the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact or any other scheme to abolish or distort the procedures of the Electoral College. We recognize that an unconstitutional effort to impose “national popular vote” would be a mortal threat to our federal system and a guarantee of corruption as every ballot box in every state would become a chance to steal the presidency.

http://www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_We/#Item6

DONALD FERLAND's picture

This editorial almost sounds

This editorial almost sounds like sour grapes....Romney lost, Raye lost and this editorial board supported 2 out of 3 losers.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Tina , 21:30 HST ? ƒlyday (

Tina , 21:30 HST ? ƒlyday ( still )
You're right ? Sour grapes , nassty wine , vinegar . .all the same to us :)
" If life deals you lemons you make lemonade . If life deals you tomatoes , you make Bloody Marys . If life deals you a pick up truck full of grenades ? Now that's a message ? " - - paraphrasing Erma Bombeck " The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank ."

Mark Wrenn's picture

huh?

Florida didn't matter this election, and Romney lost by 3 million votes and more than 15% in Maine.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Mark , 21:30 HST

Mark , 21:30 HST Friday
Right ?  Flori-duh rarely matters except when they steal elections ( Zeb Bush ) via hanging chads or when they shoot kids coming out of 7-11s with Twinkies ® and sodas in their hands in Sanford , FL . /s Steve

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