First Principles

In search of the Unified Theory of Conservatism

First Principles header image 2

Final Pre-Election Thoughts

November 5th, 2012 · 6 Comments

One day away.  I’m feeling good about this election, and even better that it’s almost over.  But nothing is certain, and it ain’t over ’til it’s over – GO VOTE!!!!!

I think Romney wins tomorrow, and the “why” boils down to this:  Romney isn’t simultaneously demolishing Obama among independent voters and losing the race.  Those two things are just not compatible.  And while the polls have been all over the map, there has been one tremendous consistency – Romney wins big with independent voters.  Even in polls where it’s showing things tied, like in this CNN poll, Romney is winning Indies by 22 points.  22!  And the poll, like many others, assume Democrats will have an even greater electoral advantage than they had in 2008.  No thinking person thinks the electorate will look like this tomorrow.  Couple that with Obama failing to breach 50% pretty much anywhere, along with the tendency of late deciders to break hard for a challenger, and I feel like my cautious optimism is pretty well justified.

The other reason, beyond all others for me, is that Obama is acting like a losing candidate, and Romney is acting like a winning one.  Good polling is very, very expensive, which is one of the reasons there are so many bad ones out there.  Major campaigns are one of the few entities who can afford the better ones.  Obama wouldn’t be talking about getting “revenge” if he thought he was winning – indeed, that word suggests he’salready lost.

But still – VOTE!  A win is good.  A mandate is better.


But what about Nevada?

For my non-Nevadan readers, this is (l to r) Senator Dean Heller, some guy who blew in from the parking lot, Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Congressman Mark Amodei, Governor Brian Sandoval, and Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki.

Today I had the honor and opportunity to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at a campaign stop by Condoleezza Rice here in Reno.  Scheduled to speak before her were my Governor, my Lt. Governor, my Senator, and my Congressman, and we were all in a back room waiting for the former Secretary of State to come.  Four of the most powerful men in Nevada were relaxed, happy, and having fun with each other.  They were warm, respectful, and gracious to harried staffers, volunteers, and almost-3 year-olds who could have slept more last night.

(The Governor lit up when he saw my little girl – someone who didn’t care who he was and wanted nothing from him, which is a breath of fresh air for a politician who hasn’t forgotten who he is.  He gave her an official Governor’s Coin, which she clung to the rest of the day – I’m grinning from ear to ear just remembering what a sweet little moment that was!)

A little trash talk about various native high schools was tossed back and forth in between scheduling discussions unrelated to campaigning.  Family news was shared – Senator Heller’s daughter was there as well.  But most striking was the underlying, unspoken, and genuine respect that these men had for each other, and for the work they were doing.  You don’t get into politics without plenty of ego, but these are people who know who they are, are comfortable in their skins, and don’t rely on their jobs for their identities – which always frees anyone to do the best job they can, without fear.

Our state is in good hands with these folks.

What’s more, the campaign staff and party volunteers were professional, competent, and confident.  A young Team Nevada staffer named Elizabeth Heng coordinated this particular event (as well as Romney’s big stop in Reno last week), and if she’s any indication of the quality of staff a President Romney will bring to the White House (and I suspect she is), then America will be well served indeed.

The confluence of a solid ground organization in Nevada and strong GOP elected leadership willing and able to get involved with that organization can – and I think will – pay big dividends for conservatives in Nevada in the coming years.  If there’s a silver lining in some of the nonsense that’s bedeviled our party in the last year, it’s that the disruptive elements have obliterated their credibility and relevance, and others who I might have put in that category before are seeing the light.

Will it be enough to win Nevada for Romney?  I don’t know, but I bet it’s closer than anyone anticipates.  There are a lot of “ground glass” voters in Nevada, and no doubt plenty of softer Democrats who believe the pre-mortems and won’t feel quite so compelled.  Here’s hoping.  I think Romney can win Nevada, but if he does, he’ll have already won big in states like Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, and maybe even Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Minnesota.


Here’s the thing, though – I’ve been a terrible prognosticator in the past, and I’ve gotten smart enough to know how much I don’t know since.  (On the other hand, this post from 4 years ago seems remarkably prescient today.)  Obama could well win.

Four years ago, just before Obama was elected, I wrote that I hoped first and foremost that if he won, I hoped he would succeed (oh, and how I do sincerely wish Obama was cruising to reelection on the basis of a screaming economic recovery!)  But I wrote that if had to fail, as I was worried he would, that he fail spectacularly so that the nation had adequate understanding of that failure and also had time to change course.

That presupposes an essential wisdom (not to be confused with infallibility) of the American people.  Obama’s failures are indeed spectacular, after all, and nothing whatsoever could possibly lead any rational person to think those failures wouldn’t continue on into a second term.  Obama has shown himself to be imperious, petty, thin skinned, and small.  He cannot reach across the isle, and he cannot command the respect it takes to lead in Congress, even among his own party members.  He is neither respected nor feared abroad, and when our nation was attacked on 9/11, he spent the next two weeks lying about what happened in an attempt to convince us (and probably himself) that the world isn’t as scary as it actually is these days.  His entire attitude towards women is that they need Big Daddy Government to run their lives, otherwise they’re helpless.  He has no concept what will happen to big government entitlement programs once the national credit card he’s been putting them on reaches its limit.

Far from his “no red America or blue America” days, he now openly sees me – a mere political opponent – as an “enemy” against whom he should seek “revenge.”

If the American people really chose to stick with all of this, hoping they are merely the last to be eaten by the crocodile of debt and over-regulation, then my presupposition was wrong, and we’ve already adopted an unsustainable culture of dependence that we won’t relieve ourselves of until we’re forced to give it up when we realize we’ve done a Wile E. Coyote off the fiscal cliff.  But if that’s the country I learn I live in, well, that will be good to know for certain so we can plan accordingly.


Either way, it will be nice to have a break from it all, and some certainty going forward.  And who knows – I have tremendous friends who happen to be Obama voters, people I know to be hard working, industrious, and self-reliant – people who, when push comes to shove, will do everything they can to keep this country decent, good, and prosperous.  We can survive another Obama term (which I confidently predict would turn off even more of his remaining supporters than his first term did), it will just be a lot harder to dig back out after another $6 trillion in additional debt.

I always marvel that we still transfer power in this country in “fights” with words and ballots – to everyone who thinks political ads on TV are bad, just imagine the alternative.  But just because we’ve had a good thing going for a couple of centuries doesn’t mean it will last forever, and scary things happen when we run out of other people’s money.

So let’s save ourselves all that trouble.  Go vote.  Vote in swing states and non swing states.  Make the repudiation of failure as big and loud as possible.

I believe that underneath it all, America is still America, and the spirit which has made our destiny is alive and well from sea to sea.

Please join me in proving that to be true tomorrow at the polls!

Tags: Campaign '12