Republican Scott Brown's Massachusett's Senate victory was almost certain days before the election. President Obama's stump for Democratic challenger Martha Coakley took the almost out from in front of certain. The seed of the Obama debacle was there long before the tea party protests, the relentless pound from Rush Limbaugh, the Fox News Network, the pack of right side talk jocks, and Republican National Chair Michael Steele. The seed was in the silly belief that Obama's victory was tantamount to FDR's 1932 smash election victory and the even sillier belief that the GOP had been reduced to a dwindling bunch of tobacco spitting rednecks in the Deep South and know nothing heartland voters. Neither was ever true.
The myth that Obama had game changed American politics by swaying a majority of mid America voters got started in the string of Obama primary victories over challenger Hillary Clinton in the Deep South and heartland Red States. Those were Democratic caucus or primary victories. They meant nothing in his general election showdown with John McCain. These are all rock solid GOP states and McCain swept them all. The five states that broke ranks and ultimately tipped the election to Obama were Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, and Pennsylvania. The states are either solidly GOP or tenuous swing states, with a huge percent of the voters blue collar, anti-big government, socially conservative, pro defense, and intently patriotic. There was nothing close to a changing consensus that Obama's policies had gained any traction with these voters. He won because black and Latino voters turned his campaign into a holy crusade with an off the chart record voter turnout in four of the states. In Florida, the fifth that went for him, if the large bloc of liberal, black, Jewish, and younger Latino voters in South Florida hadn't crusaded for him, Florida also likely would have ended in the McCain win column.
After his White House win, polls repeatedly showed that while a majority of voters said they personally liked Obama, a mounting number said that they didn't like, or at best, were deeply ambivalent about his polices. The polices they disliked ran off the sheet--his failure to wind down the Iraq War, escalating the failed, flawed, no-win war in Afghanistan, a muddled, patchwork, terribly compromised health care reform plan, failure to rein in Wall Street profiteering, skyrocketing unemployment, bottomless home foreclosures, a stimulus plan that hiked the deficit but created few sustained, verifiable, long term jobs.
The even bigger mistake was too badly misread the presidential election results. Much was made that Obama got more white votes than John Kerry or Al Gore. That he revved up young whites, and that he totally exorcised race from the campaign. Obama's win supposedly was final proof that America had kicked the racial syndrome. This was the stuff of media talk and wishful thinking. Despite a GOP racked by sex and corruption scandals, an anemic presidential opponent, a laughingstock vice presidential candidate, a collapsed economy and an outgoing GOP president with a rating worse than Herbert Hoover's, McCain still crushed Obama by a twelve point spread among white voters.
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