NEW CASTLE, Pa. —
The president, in his closing argument, kept saying, “We’ve come too far. We can’t go back now.”
And the voters agreed. It was a thin margin of victory, but those who want government to take care of them – either directly or through public-sector unions – now outnumber those who don’t, even if it means bankrupting the coming generations. They can’t go back now. They’re much too comfortable having the president “loot the future to bribe the present,” as columnist Mark Steyn puts it.
Identity politics: No, not the kind that slices the population into white, female, black and Latino etc. This is different. Conservatives are never going to be able to match the intensity of liberals in contests like this because they view government differently. For conservatives, government is an important job, but it’s just a job. For liberals, it is an identity. Losing an election is a bit like an existential threat – losing who you are. No wonder Democrats have a much better “ground game.”
It’s the media, stupid: James Carville’s famous “It’s the economy, stupid,” needs an update. Obama won because the mainstream media, even though it is not as influential as it once was, still shapes the thinking of much of the nation.
No Republican president with majorities in both houses of Congress for the first two years could ever get away for more than six months with blaming failures on “the mess we inherited.” He would be relentlessly mocked if he were still doing so three and four years later. He would never, ever, enjoy love fests from the ladies on The View, David Letterman and Jon Stewart.
No challenger would have had to bring up the disaster in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens were killed in a terrorist attack that the president and his people insisted for weeks was just a spontaneous demonstration against a movie trailer. The mainstream media would have blown a Republican president out of the water. Instead, they gave much more coverage to Romney’s comment about “47 percent.”