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November 03, 2010

Reflections on the Election, By Monty

Monty wrote this in email.

Jim Geraghty is right: this is the most frustrating landslide victory in history.
Bizarre feeling this morning. In short, this is the most frustrating overwhelming landslide victory of all time.

I find it odd -- I went to bed in a fairly sour mood, but my mood has
improved by leaps and bounds since waking up. The GOP really did do
very well last night. We lost some races we should have won, but the
colossal state-house GOP victories will be the biggest unreported
story of this election. That is huge, and very welcome, news.

Barone has made the point that this election may have been more of a
GOP consolidation election than a takeover of blue districts, and
given the CT, MA, and CA races that's probably true: blue districts
stayed devoutly blue. (Scott Brown's victory was indeed a fluke,
apparently.) But the GOP at long last has a fired-up base and a
coherent message to take forward, along with a majority in the House
big enough to stop the runaway Democrat train.

I dearly wanted to take Reid down, but he does us almost as much good
in his weakened state. The Donks are going to be under fire from their
own uber-liberal base as well as from angry Republicans. The next two
years are going to be a story of balked dreams and frustrated desires
for the Donks, which brings a smile to my face.

I wanted more, obviously, but I'm not going to let perfect be the
enemy of the good. The forces of small government and fiscal sanity
had a very good night last night; let's not lose sight of that.

I agree. Here are some of my spin-off thoughts:

I drank deeply of the Kool-Aid. Far too deeply.

At some point I had to confront the question of whether I was setting expectations (for myself and others) too high and was helping to create a let-down. I decided that I would worry about the let-down on Novemeber 3rd -- until November 3rd I would subscribe to the slogan of Ladd Ehlinger, Jr. that there is no such thing as an unwinnable seat. (That's not a link to that specific idea; just something he wants to put out there.)

I'm not sure that was the right attitude -- a more sober assessment of how hard it would be to grab 70 seats (nevermind the 88 I had in mind a month ago) would have left me a lot more elated that I feel now. And generally, the party wouldn't be making "excuses" as to why it merely won 60+ seats in the House and 6 in the Senate.

I'm sorry about that. I let my enthusiasm cloud my judgment. It turns out that a lot of money and effort went into lost causes like Sean Bielat -- whereas if a little more effort went into Ruth McClung, she could have won. (No slight intended of Sean Bielat, who's an outstanding guy -- it's just that Massachusetts is officially a no-go area for the GOP, and we shouldn't bother attempting to win there again. At least, we shouldn't direct outside money and energy there. Sorry, Massachusetts conservatives -- we know you yourselves are good people, but you're surrounded by liberal assholes. Lost cause, I'm afraid.)

Early in the season, I thought our focus should be on seats 21-60 (letting 1-30 take care of themselves). By the end I was pushing seats 61-90. I should have stuck to 31-60 -- If Andy Barr winds up losing (in a race that should have been won), I'll hate myself.

I thought he was good as gold. So I moved on to Rob Steele vs. John Dingell.

Another thought-- "Be the Wave" just didn't work. At all. I had hoped for 1000 total volunteers; I don't know the numbers, but I think we had less than 100, or just above it.

I don't know. I think the idea is basically good, in principle; but most of the blogosphere and Twittersphere ignored it. Maybe in 2012 I would give it another shot, if I had a few more months to promote it in advance; probably not, though.

Honestly, after the low attendance the first weekend I wanted to cancel on it, because I didn't really want to do it if it was just going to be a few people. But I couldn't, of course, as I had started it. So on Monday night I went out and dropped literature for Sharron Angle with one guy.

(Who, by the way, was awesome at this, and kicked my ass with the pace of his movements; Sharron Angle's organization had inexplicably turned him away from volunteering for them despite the fact he had recommendations from previous candidates calling him the "best district walker in the state" -- and yeah, he was that fuckin' good. I knew Monday night Sharron Angle was a lost cause -- they had no GOTV and were turning away highly-motivated, highly-experienced volunteers for reasons that will remain a mystery.)

There were snafus everywhere -- including, I guess it's okay to say this now, DrewM. showing up at Gibson's HQ, after letting them know they were coming down, and Gibson's HQ saying "We have nothing for you to do."


I was always the wrong guy for this -- I am awful, just awful, at organization and planning. Maybe someone with a talent for that type of thing will give it a shot in 2012.

I did meet and work with a bunch of cool people, and two of the candidates I worked for -- Grimm in NY-13, and Runyan in NJ-3 -- won. So that's something.

Republicans really have to understand this GOTV thing -- the Democrats kick our asses with it, year in, year out.

One more thought: The time to really engage with the election was four months out, with a Voter Registration Drive. I can't help but think that many people would have liked to have voted on November 2nd, but hadn't bother to renew their registration (or apply for it for the first time); I wonder how many votes we wound up leaving on the table.

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posted by Ace at 06:31 PM

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