Why We Lost

Thursday, November 09, 2006
Dafydd does a thorough job with which I agree in great part. There are some issues regarding the Keating 5 McCain/Feingold legislation that affected the election that are important but they actually deserve a separate post.

The reductionist version:

1. If you promise less government and deliver more, you lose.

2. If you get caught stealing more than you can carry, you lose.

3. "Compassionate warfare" is worse than "compassionate conservatism" - See 1.

UPDATE: Michael Barone's take.


loner said...

The election was more than marginally nationalized and the nationalizing issue was Iraq. The only question come September was as to whether or not the structural protections the Republican Party had worked so hard to put in place would be enough to hold enough of the seats being seriously contested to retain majorities in both houses.

Most of the news, polling and commentary was of the same uselessness as always, but there were the occaisional moments when a glimpse of the backroom was allowed because messages were being sent.

Republicans had fair warning. The President would have won in a landslide in 2004 had it not been for Iraq.

David Thomson said...

"Republicans had fair warning. The President would have won in a landslide in 2004 had it not been for Iraq."

President Bush would have also likely added another couple percentage points to his total if the Valerie Plame slime job had not occurred. I concede that this would have resulted in a landslide---but a 5-6 point victory would have been a lot less stressful.

This election is a another cruel reminder that the MSM are our enemy. We must do everything possible to bankrupt them. They have the First Amendment right to exist---but we are not obligated to subsidize these clowns.

Bostonian said...

"The President would have won in a landslide in 2004 had it not been for Iraq."

Don't be so sure.

Well, I would not have voted for him. I would have been voting for Democrats, same as I always did (because the WOT forced me to rethink my politics rather severely). I think this is true for lots of the regulars here.

loner said...


The GWOT and Iraq are not, in my opinion, synonimous. I was sure when I was posting under a different pseudonym and as myself at Roger's blog in 2004 and 2005 and I'm sure now.

Something with which I agree...

During the Q&A session at the Roundtable on Forecasting the 2004 Presidential Election, a distinguished member of the audience, Thomas E. Mann, W. Averell Harriman Chair and Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution, criticized the forecasts for November made with the quantitative models presented therein, as well as by Ray Fair (all of which, and others besides, are factored into the Pollyvote). Asked to reconstruct his remarks for Polly, Dr. Mann had this to say via e-mail:

"I made three points at the APSA panel. (1) Ray Fair's model has very little economics in it. He generates a 55.57 % Bush share of the 2-party vote simply on the basis of an incumbent Republican running for reelection after his party has been in office only one consecutive term. His three economic variables produce less than 2 points additional vote for Bush. And the Iraq war apparently doesn't qualify for his war dummy variable. I pleaded for truth in advertising. Very little economics. Nothing relevant to the context of this election. Remarkably unhelpful for understanding presidential elections. (2) I noted that none of the forecasting models dealt directly with the 800 pound gorilla of this election: the war in Iraq. Some capture it a bit indirectly, through presidential approval or trial heats. But the effect of the models is to turn attention away from the most significant factor in the election. (Without a war in Iraq, Bush would be cruising to an easy reelection.) (3) The Bush campaign doesn't believe the forecasts. They understand that Iraq and the economy are working against them. That is why they are moving aggressively to raise the salience of terrorism and to try to structure the election as a referendum on the challenger, not the incumbent."


This campaign is about 240 days of not making a big mistake and then 5 days of going for broke and...someone will win by some margin on 11/2. Who, still isn't clear.

50 days to go.

As you were.

Posted by: Goof at September 13, 2004 07:15 PM


The fiasco to which you refer is fallout from Iraq.

I'll leave this alone now as I'm decidedly not part of the "We" referred to in the title. I'll try to get an e-mail together, Rick.


Bostonian said...


The war in Iraq has always been intended as a front in the GWOT, by every single person who supported it, I daresay.

Similarly, at least some of Al Qaeda sees the same connection we do, but naysayers universally ignore that fact.

You're entitled to think we're wrong, of course, but ignoring the enemy is foolish.

terrye said...


I doubt it, the Democrats would probably have gone after Bush for not dealing wi3th Iraq. After all Clinton wrote the Iraqi Liberation Act, and the situation with Saddam was falling apart because the sanction regime was corrupt which means Bush would have been forced to let Saddam go. I think that would have created problems of its own.

That is the problem with trying to go back and figure out what went wrong, you can not for sure where the alternative path would have lead you.

Does anyone think that Saddam would have behaved himself? No. He never did before.

Syl said...

The Democrats won because of the lie: "the Iraq war is a failure".

The Republicans lost because they put the war behind other issues.

(I also think history will show the loss of Rumsfeld was one of the worst mistakes of the initial stages of the Terrorist War.)

terrye said...


Rumsfeld is over 80, he can't last forever. I don't want to see him go, but it just might be that he has had enough and it is not up to the daily grilling. This might have been his idea.

ex-democrat said...

"The Republicans lost because they put the war behind other issues."

nice point, syl; nobody gets excited about voting for someone in a defensive crouch. where were the republican politicians lambasting the MSM and their callow misreporting? and demonstrating the truth of that position in the way that bloggers do every day.
Nowhere, that's where.

loner said...


The war in Iraq has always been intended as a front in the GWOT, by every single person who supported it, I daresay.

I supported it, but not for that reason. For that reason, I would not have supported it.


Benjamin Gilman (R-NY) and Christopher Cox (R-CA) introduced the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 in the House on 9/29/98. An election was a little over a month away. Bill Clinton signed it on 10/31/98. An election was a few days away. As cheap political gestures go it was one of the cheapest.


They lost because it's still a war. Where was Bush welcomed. The Republican Senate candidate in the State of Washington was running commercials on getting Iraq done however necessary and getting out last weekend. Don't delude yourself. Iraq was a loser for Republicans.

Syl said...


Iraq was a loser for Republicans.

You're making the same mistake all Democrats are making. In YOUR mind Iraq was a loser so you voted the way you'd vote anyway.

In Republicans minds the corruption and spending were THE issues so many of them voted Democrat or stayed home or voted libertarian.

If the Republicans had prioritized the war (of which Iraq is a PART) as their number one issue, the Democrats would not have won.

From the exit polls, even in very Republican districts, the Reps came out in force--and didn't vote Rep.

loner said...


I'm not a Democrat and I didn't vote because I just moved here and didn't know much of anything about anything local. I think you're mistaken about other things as well. So be it.


Bostonian said...

Like I said, ignoring the enemy is foolish.