BEDFORD: The Three Most Laugh-Out-Loud Explanations For Dems’ Midterm Defeat

Christopher Bedford Former Editor in Chief, The Daily Caller News Foundation
Font Size:

No event on Earth generates more spin than a disaster.

And so it was in the midst of Tuesday’s carnage and the hungover aftermath. In the hours since the GOP took the Senate, the worser hacks of the progressive movement have emerged in print and television, where they have gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and shown their terrible excuses for why they had so decisively lost.

So here, The Daily Caller presents the top three spins floating around on the Internet, from dumbest to stupidest:

1) President Barack Obama Is Just Too Damn Smart For All Of You Idiots (Democrats Included), Courtesy Of The National Journal

People who take the time to read the National Journal were in for a real treat Wednesday morning, when they were taught that the problem with 2014 is that Mr. Obama is a sort of philosopher king, suited not for the world of campaigning and technology, but for some misty Avalon, where “deliberation, nuance, [and] reason” protect him from all that sham and drudgery of the campaign trail.

This thought is from National Journal’s White House correspondent– the man they charge with accurately reporting on the president.

“As he’s made clear over the past six years,” James Oliphant begins without a trace of humor, “his political style isn’t one suited to hot-blooded rhetoric and emotional appeals.”

It’s the kind of opener that generates Ebola-like symptoms in the literate.

No “hot-blooded rhetoric,” Mr. Oliphant claims, from a president who in one single speech last year called his political opponents “ransom takers,” “hostage takers” and “ideological extremists” who are “insane,” and want to “burn down your house,” “cause a recession,” “cause economic chaos” and “crash the global economy.”

No “emotional appeals,” Mr. Oliphant claims, from a president who in one single speech in 2008, said “generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.” (RELATED: Remember When Obama Was The Messiah?)

“He prefers, instead, deliberation, nuance, reason—and incrementalism above narrative,” Mr. Oliphant gently explains, parroting one of those more recent explanations of the president’s lack of decisiveness, communication or leadership of any discernible kind (see stupid #2).

“All are commodities with little currency in the hyper-polarized, Twitterized world of 2014,” Mr. Oliphant continues. This, on a president whose mastery of social media has been the subject of countless articles and studies (including by the National Journal), as well as a bookand even its own Wikipedia page.

Mr. Oliphant signs off with just one more gem: “That may be Obama’s ultimate legacy– more technician than tactician, and a man who, perhaps, had more faith in the American public’s ability to discern substance from style than was warranted.”

“But another legacy was assured Tuesday night: The man who promised to fix politics was instead buried by them.”

Again, this is from the National Journal’s White House correspondent– the very man charged with reporting on the president.

And being a White House man, as it were, we suppose it isn’t surprising that Mr. Oliphant neglected to mention outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who had a few of his own opinions about what went wrong.

2) Mr. Obama Didn’t Give Mr. Reid Enough Allowance Money, Courtesy Of Senate Democrats

Over at the Washington Post, Philip Rucker and Bob Costa manage to produce a story that is the polar opposite of Mr. Oliphant’s White House excuses, pulling back the curtain to actually report the going-ons in Democratic and Republican midterm battle camps. And perhaps the most striking figure is David Krone, Mr. Reid’s chief of staff and a man very unhappy with the White House.

Mr. Krone gave a lot of reasons for Democrats losing the Senate, but to summarize, he blamed the president for not raising money for their Senate Majority super PAC, he blamed the president for being unpopular and he blamed the president for not coordinating with Mr. Reid’s campaign messaging.

The White House did not give Senate Democrats enough money to spend, Mr. Krone complains, citing a reluctance to transfer millions of dollars to the Mr. Reid’s Senate Majority Fund, a reluctance to fundraise for the Senate Majority Fund and a reluctance to share high-dollar Obama donors with the fund. The casual reader might walk away thinking that poor PAC was going broke, but report after report highlight the Senate Majority Fund as “the top spender among independent groups in the 2014 election.”

And that money got spent, too.

“If Democrats lose control of the U.S. Senate, it won’t be because they didn’t fully unleash the powers available to them in a post-Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission era of politicking,” began a report from the left-leaning Center for Public Integrity.

Indeed, throughout the election, Mr. Reid’s super PAC aired 45,000 advertisements– more than any other PAC, committee or candidate.

Mr. Obama might not have been the best partner here, but money and resources weren’t a reason for defeat.

Another reason bugging Mr. Krone was Mr. Obama’s approval rating: “The president’s approval rating is barely 40 percent,” Krone told the Washington Post. “What else more is there to say?”

But the problem isn’t just the president’s ratings, it’s the gridlock Mr. Reid has imposed on the Senate, refusing to allow Democrats or Republicans to even vote on legislation important to the American people. And one more awkward truth: The outgoing majority leader’s own approval ratings currently hover at around 25 percent– far below the president’s.

And third, Mr. Reid is angry the president wasn’t on board with the Reid machine’s campaign messaging– something that may prove to have been a wise choice by the White House.

Because Mr. Reid’s strategy to retake the House and hold the Senate was one of the biggest bombs in modern political history. Since the start of the year, the majority leader has hammered down on two private businessmen, Charles and David Koch, attempting to push Republicans out of office by demonizing two of their donors. The problem is, no one had heard of the brothers Koch, and despite long, winding speeches from the Senate floor calling them “un-American” and demonizing them as puppet masters for a New World Order, the messaging failed to penetrate. (BEDFORD: Harry Reid’s Ingenious Plan To Retake The House)

“It’s a curious gambit, attacking American businessmen most people have never heard of,” we wrote in September, “but when the national conversation is as dire for Mr. Reid as it appears to be, it may be that the only shot is changing the topic completely.”

Of course, it didn’t change the topic. Voters Tuesday cared about a whole lot of issues, foreign and domestic, but one thing a large majority of Americans did not care about was, and still is, Charles and David Koch. (RELATED: Harry Reid’s New Enemy)

“I don’t think that the political team at the White House truly was up to speed and up to par doing what needed to get done,” Krone said.

And the White House pushed back on Mr. Krone’s theories, saying “David was complicating things significantly in our ability to work with the Senate” in a number of ways, including leaking White House meetings to press– an accusation he denied, saying that the administration “likes to cast aspersions and point fingers at us.”

Curious denial. Just about a dozen paragraphs earlier in the story, the reader (and the White House) were treated to this little tale: “This past Sunday, two days before Election Day, Krone sat at a mahogany conference table in the majority leader’s stately suite just off the Senate floor and shared with Washington Post reporters his notes of White House meetings. Reid’s top aide wanted to show just how difficult he thought it had been to work with the White House.”

Indeed, Mr. Krone blames just about everyone but himself. And racists– he didn’t blame them today. But some people did.

3) Racism, You Racists, Courtesy of Salon (And Friends)

Some folks don’t even try to come up with the sorts of elaborate psychoanalysis or insider baseball that Messrs. Oliphant and Krone attribute to their loss.

Some folks just went with racism.

In an article entitled, “It is all still about race: Obama hatred, the South and the truth about GOP wins,” one Salon author writes, “All the conventional wisdom you’ll hear tonight is wrong: Republican gains are really proof of age-old ugliness.”

Beneath this cute intro, there’s a picture of a lot of Confederate flags. It goes on for paragraph after paragraph explaining why Americans are the worst.

Rep. Charley Rangel agrees. At a campaign rally just before the election, he warned a New York audience, “They don’t disagree– they hate. They think if you didn’t come from Europe 30 years ago, you didn’t even make it. Some of them believe that slavery isn’t over, and they think they won the Civil War.”

And on Wednesday, Mr. Rangel doubled down, saying, “They all come from the South and they all have these feelings about superiority and that’s true whether you’re picking cotton or whether you’re president of the United States.”

On top of divisive and mean spirited, the argument is as false as the rest. The president’s party lost in a midterm rejection of Washington and its policies, as well as a likely protest against scary global events (and Washington’s handling of them). There is plentiful evidence that Republican gains were not an embrace of Republicans’ ideas so much as a rejection of Democrats’ policies, so the reasons to so furtively grasp at phantoms are, well, difficult to grasp.

But what else is new.

Follow Bedford on Twitter and Facebook

Full Disclosure: Christopher Bedford was an associate at the Charles G. Koch Institute in 2010.