Barack Obama just doesn’t get it.
Is he incapable of hearing America’s message?
"Obama is something of a puzzle," marvels former Congressman Ernest Istook.
"He seems to have gotten too comfortable with his tired policy talking points, which focus on assigning blame," writes Peter Roff, senior fellow for the Institute for Liberty.
"President Obama is incapable of saying that the voters rejected his agenda and collectivist worldview," writes Boston University Professor Cornelius Hurley. "He is too much of an ideologue. Temperamentally he is more like Jimmy Carter than Bill Clinton, and thereby destined to be a one-term president."
"The American people sent him a clear message," observes investment advisor Karl Mills. "His response is just a nicely-phrased way to reject their message."
"Barack Obama was right in 2008 when he said ‘elections have consequences, and I won,’" writes Matthew P. Clune of the Kansas City Star newspaper. "He took that sentiment to heart and consequentially used his majorities and super-majorities to cram a boatload of legislation down our throats."
As a result on Election Day 2010, "Obama and the Democrats endured what the president described as a ‘shellacking.’
What happens next?
"What are the consequences of this shellacking?" asks Clune. "Gridlock is likely because Obama is resolute in his belief that more government is the answer to everything. The new majority will oppose anything that even smells like more government or more spending."
Another consequence of Obama’s shellacking is nationwide gains in state legislatures.
"While the Republican gains in the House and Senate are grabbing the most headlines, the most significant results came in state legislatures where Republicans wiped the floor with Democrats," writes Jeremy P. Jacobs, reporting for the National Journal.
"Republicans picked up 680 seats in state legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures – the most in the modern era. To put that number in perspective," explains Jacobs: "In the 1994 GOP wave, Republicans picked up 472 seats. The previous record was in the post-Watergate election of 1974, when Democrats picked up 628 seats.
"The GOP gained majorities in at least 14 state house chambers. They now have unified control – meaning both chambers – of 26 state legislatures.
"That control is a particularly bad sign for Democrats as they go into the redistricting process," writes Jacobs. "If the GOP is effective in gerrymandering districts in many of these states, it could eventually lead to the GOP actually expanding its majority in 2012."
In 15 states, Republicans now hold what they call the redistricting "trifecta" – a triple advantage consisting of both chambers of the state legislature plus the governorship in Republican hands.
They also control the Nebraska governorship and its single-house legislature, taking the number up to 16. And in North Carolina – probably the state most gerrymandered to benefit Democrats – Republicans hold both chambers of the state legislature, plus the Democratic governor does not have veto power over redistricting proposals.
The national Republican State Leadership Committee took the lead in pursuing the state legislature elections, according to Chris Jankowski, a spokesman for the committee. He said they were very specific about where they used their financial resources this year.
The news was not entirely bad for Democrats, notes Jacobs. They have their own redistricting "trifectas" in eight states. That number jumps to nine if Democrats hold onto the Colorado state House and 10 if Rhode Island is included.
It just elected former Republican, now left-leaning independent Lincoln Chafee as governor..
However, "the GOP holds the redistricting trifecta in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Ohio, Nebraska and North Carolina."
Of those, South Carolina, Utah, Florida, Georgia and Texas are projected to gain seats after the census totals are finished. Ohio and Michigan are also important because they are projected to lose at least one seat, making the redistricting lines all the more important.
"Obama’s strategy in the next two years," writes Clune, "will be to blame the Republicans, again describing them as the ‘party of ‘no.’ This won’t work because if nothing happens, the economy will still be in dire straits, and Obama will lose in 2012. The nation’s resolve against larger government will have only strengthened.
"If he wants to win in 2012," advises Clune, "Obama has to get something done. He has to be able to point to some improvement and say, ‘I did that, so vote for me.’ Herein lies Obama’s problem, and a decided advantage for conservatives. To the core of his being, his definition of progress is more government and more spending, both of which were rejected by the voters.
"Here also is where conservatives can hope that Obama’s idealistic resolve will actually preclude any chance of his re-election in 2012. Obama’s genuine belief in larger government will continue to be revealed over the next two years, to the point that if anything of value does come out of this Congress, the Republicans can rightfully claim the credit."
Obama is laboring under some major trust issues as well.
"In 2008, he campaigned to change the partisan tone of Washington and reach across the aisle," notes Istook. However, he did just the opposite. Then, "in 2010, he campaigned as a full-throated partisan against his uncompromising ‘enemies,’ and it failed miserably. So he went back to talking about finding ‘common ground’ and restoring civility in Washington.
"Both reactions are quite comprehensible, if hardly a model of consistency. So does he mean it, or is it a renewal of the posturing? Basically he said there wasn’t anything wrong with his policies."
Indeed, Obama lectured a press conference two days after Election Day 2010 that the public simply doesn’t appreciate that it will take more time for his policies to be successful.
"That doesn’t sound like someone newly intent on compromise in a more moderate middle ground," notes Istook. "Although he was eloquent as always on the virtues of doing so."
"The idea that Obama has been willing to compromise is true only if he defines compromise in the same way my ex-wife did, which was me agreeing to do things her way without any further discussion," writes Ken Blackwell, former Ohio Secretary of State. "The voters were saying ‘Enough.’ Remember that just two years ago, Time magazine ran a cover story exploring seriously the idea that the GOP was extinct."
At Obama’s post-election press conference, "After trying
confrontational tactics for weeks, Obama signaled a return to his earlier
which seems based on his belief that his personal charm will triumph over substance," writes Mills. "He gave no apology for his big government agenda, continuing to insist that his failure is that his agenda is misunderstood, rather than realizing that it’s understood all too well."
Can he admit failure?
"Barack Obama is in a deep state of denial," writes Christian author Gary L. Bauer. "In his ‘post-mortem’ interview with 60 Minutes, Obama was asked whether the Election Day ‘shellacking’ was due to his ‘failing to sell the importance of several legislative milestones.’
Indeed, the president responded: "Over the course of two years we were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that, we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation. That it’s a matter of persuading people, making an argument that people can understand. I think that we haven’t always been successful at that.
"And it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully as I go forward."
"Poor Obama," marveled Bauer. "He feels he got shellacked because Americans are too dumb to understand what great things the Democrats were doing for us.
"Obama still doesn’t get it.
"For the first year of his presidency, Obama was constantly talking at us. He gave 42 news conferences, held 21 town hall meetings, visited 58 cities in 30 states, gave 52 speeches on ObamaCare and sat for 158 interviews."
That was "far more than any of his recent predecessors in their first year," according to CBS News reporter Mark Knoller.
So, "the idea that Democrats lost simply because voters didn’t hear from Obama often enough suggests a disturbing disconnect with reality," offers Bauer. "Americans heard enough. They didn’t vote Republican because they wanted more of Obama – they voted Republican because they wanted to stop Obama’s socialism!
"Obama is bemoaning our inability to comprehend his greatness. I thought Obama’s greatest strength was his rhetorical skills! If he’s lost them, what’s left?"
"The president’s press conference showed that he is vulnerable to his own ideals," writes Thune. "His tone was humble and he talked of changing his ways. But the substance of his remarks contradicted this sentiment. Time and again he was asked whether he admitted the elections were a rebuke against his policies, and time and again he dismissed these ideas and blamed the slow economy.
"When asked whether he accepted the fact that the Republicans will not allow any more spending bills, he (quite unbelievably, given the circumstances) responded by rattling off several areas in which he thought legislation and ‘investment’ were needed. The reporter, again offering some reality, stated: ‘things that you just called investments they call wasteful spending.’
"At that point Obama officially started the blame game, saying that ‘without any Republican support on anything, then it’s going to be hard to get things done.’ Here again is Obama’s reelection conundrum: his idea of ‘getting things done’ is government stepping in, and the majority of American voters’ think it is government stepping out."
Doesn’t he understand?
"The Obamacare disaster was an issue the president repeatedly and stubbornly defended. He refused to acknowledge any threat of repeal, or that it was the wrong thing for this country. He mourned the loss of Democrats who voted with ‘courage and conviction’ for the bill, and said ‘it was the right thing to do.’
"He still doesn’t get it. Obama continues to think that he knows better than others what’s best for people and that he has a higher calling, no matter what anyone says.
"Let’s hope he doesn’t change his mind anytime soon because elections have consequences, and we’ve got one coming up in 2012.
But Obama isn’t the only one living in a fantasy world, writes columnist Dr. Laurie Roth
"You can’t write this stuff in movies. During the obvious political and American backlash against the Obama and congressional dictatorship, we heard Nancy Pelosi saying the Democrats would keep the House. Health care reform would continue. Obama and the big vision were just fine.
"Wasn’t that optimism precious?" asks Dr. Roth. "She should consider becoming a fiction writer.
"Then we have our aloof and ever so confident commander and chief talking rather curiously of the conservatives as ‘racists’ ‘just stressed and angry due to our pressures with the economy’
"Not only has Obama minimized every tanking poll and anger of the American people, Obama was said to have not even watched or paid attention to election night. I guess Mr. Coolness was above that or had a rock concert to go to."
"The ranks of conservatives," writes Mark Alexander, "in our national Congress, and in our state executive and legislative branches across the nation, were greatly strengthened in the midterm election, but those campaigns were just the beginning of a movement to restore liberty.
"Thomas Jefferson wrote, ‘Excessive taxation will carry reason and reflection to every man’s door, and particularly in the hour of election.’
"Indeed, taxation was a factor in the seating of House and Senate conservatives, as was the case in December of 1773.
"Of course, Obama and his leftist cadres can’t comprehend it either. He insists, ‘The reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument do not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we’re hard-wired not to always think clearly when we’re scared. And the country is scared.’
"He says that those who do not support him have an inability to ‘think clearly,’ and that his detractors’ ‘basic political strategy has been to count on you having amnesia.’
"May Obama and his ilk continue to cling to those delusions," writes Alexander.
"Likewise, there are some so-called ‘moderate’ House and Senate Republicans who are nearly as delusional – those who think they’ll be able to return to ‘business as usual’ with a restored Republican majority.
Is the mission accomplished?
"If they try to do just that, they’ll face the same formidable challenge Democrats now face, because the ranks of conservatives in the House and Senate have been refortified with outspoken constitutional constructionists like Allen West, Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio and dozens of others. Some of these Patriots unseated Democrats who had held office for decades, and others tossed Republican moderates onto the trash heap of mediocrity.
"Establishment Republicans in the GOP are poised to declare ‘Mission Accomplished’ and insist that the ‘New and Improved GOP’ will hold to its stated principles this time around. Patriots won’t adopt a ‘wait and see’ strategy, however. Establishment Republicans had their opportunity when they held both the House and Senate under George W. Bush – and they failed miserably. Instead, we’ll insist that they revitalize the Reagan model for restoration now."
Restoring the cause of liberty
"The re-energized movement for liberty demands that our elected representatives, regardless of their political affiliation, act in accordance with their sacred oaths to ‘support and defend’ our Constitution, and that they reduce the bloated size, function and cost of the central government to comport with its limited constitutional mandate and limited authority.
"In the 2012 election and those which follow, we will root up and toss out Democrats and Republicans who fail to honor their oaths. There can be no doubt, though, that Obama and his party will do everything in their power to prevent the decentralization of the socialist regime they have created.
"Beyond these entrenched threats posed by the adversaries of liberty, there exist other more subtle dangers.
"We have much more ground to take if we are to restore the cause of liberty."