Well it seems that every other conservative blogger has done their election post-script, so here is mine. I prefer to think of it as the after-action report of a battle. After all, Clausewitz said that "War is the continuation of politics by other means," so I prefer to think of politics as war. Unfortunately, not everyone on the conservative, nee Republican side thinks so. Let's look at this election through the lens of a battle analysis.
I. HISTORICAL SETTING
This was a in all likelihood a Democratic year and McCain faced an uphill battle from the start. Getting a 3rd term for the incumbent party is very difficult unless you are succeeding someone as popular as Ronald Reagan. Even Al Gore couldn't capitalize on a 3rd Clinton term, and many Democrats now pine for the 90s as the "good old days."
II. STRATEGIC SETTING
Strategically, all McCain had to do to win was take all the states that Bush took in 2004 and that should have been the Republican strategy all along. I will discuss leadership factors later, but the bottom line is that strategically, the Republicans should have been organized to protect their territory at all costs.
III. OPERATIONAL SETTING
Operationally, the Republicans did not lay the ground work for a successful campaign. Obama has so many skeletons in his closet that if Lee Atwater had been running McCain's campaign, Obama would probably never have made it past the convention. The fact that McCain and the Republicans were not pounding everyone with Rev. Wright, Rezko, Ayers, ACORN, and every wacko sound bite that came out in the last 2 weeks for at least 6 months (since McCain sewed up the nomination) is poor strategic thinking and a massive intelligence failure of the highest order. POLITICS IS WAR, so don't assume because you are nice that your enemy will be. ALL TOOLS must be used to defeat your opponent, whining about dirty campaigning aside, if you use your opponents own words against him, how much dirty campaigning is that? And don't worry about being called racist, because no matter how true or fact based your criticism is, the LLM will ALWAYS support the Democrats in playing the race card which they will ALWAYS use to deflect any criticism. Obama has been more guilty of this than people realize, he's just more subtle about it. BTW, anyone who doesn't think that race was a huge, probably the defining factor in this election is very naive. If Obama had been accused of murder, the press would have spun it away and 99% of blacks would have still voted for him. (Does the name Marion Barry ring any bells?)
IV. ADDITIONAL KEY FACTORS
The key factor in this race was the enthusiasm of the troops and quite frankly, the Republicans did not have it this year. It was only after Palin became the VP that McCain became competitive. I would be sorely disappointed to see the so-called Republican leadership cast blame on her for their defeat. McCain should have been kissing up to the conservative base since last Christmas to get the troops motivated. He had the nomination sewn up months before Obama and should have been getting the grass-roots out to counter ACORN and their fraudulent voter efforts. The failure to use this time was a criminal mistake by the McCain campaign. One bright spot in all this is that the RINOs should be purged from the party (politely of course) and encouraged to just go ahead and register as Democrats.
V. TACTICAL SETTING
Terrain analysis is key to any military victory. By this I mean the media environment that a campaign plays out in. Let's face facts, the LLM (legacy liberal media, I don't consider them mainstream) was completely in the tank for Obama FROM DAY ONE of his campaign. So, screw'em, instead of whining about it, McCain should have pumped up talk radio, Fox News, bloggers and very selected LLM appearances under tightly controlled circumstances. The media is almost a co-belligerent in any political campaign and should be treated as such. Sending Sarah Palin to ABC and CBS was a monumental blunder. She should have been on Chris Wallace or Sean Hannity or even Bill O'Reilly first before charging up the hill into the media machine guns. She actually did very well considering she was ambushed from the start. Republicans owe the LLM nothing and should never, ever, ever, expect a fair shake during a political campaign. Anything else is just foolhardy.
By the way, if any Republican supports campaign finance reform or public financing of campaigns, they should be immediately expelled from the party. The use of public funds was McCain's #1 strategic and tactical mistake. Obama had money to burn and buried McCain in advertising, including those ridiculous infomercials. If this doesn't convince Republicans of the foolishness of not raising money, money, money by any means possible (not illegally, of course, since the LLM would crucify them, unlike the Obamasiah). MONEY TALKS, and limiting yourself to a fixed amount is like trying to hold fixed defenses, it is strategically stupid.
VI. TACTICAL PLAN
Here is where everything could have come together if the Republicans had prepared the battlefield. Depending on the heroic efforts of Joe the Plumber to salvage a shambles of a plan was just stupid. McCain should have been pounding Obama on taxes, health care, and socialism long before Joe the Plumber came along.
VII. TACTICAL EXECUTION
Given all the above, McCain-Palin made a heroic effort to make a bad plan work. I believe that Palin could be the silver lining in this campaign, if Republicans are smart and don't try to pin their poor planning on her "negative press" believe me, this woman could have cured cancer and AIDS while holding Trig and the press still would have savaged her. THE PRESS HATES CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS. I think this should be on the wall at RNC headquarters.
Still, all in all, I can't wait to see how this all plays out. Expectations are not the same as performance and I don't seriously think that Obama can cure world hunger, solve global warming or pay people's mortgages and gas bills. So he basically has two choices, either of which is likely to blow up in the Democrat's face and give Republicans an opening in 2010.
a. He actually does what he says, and scares the crap out of the white middle class and blue collar voters. I don't care how you dress it up, his economic and social plans are just another welfare give-away to minorities. That may seem like a racist comment, but it is nonetheless true. The US is also likely to suffer another serious terrorist attack, which will finish Obama with the average voter.
b. He tries to be pragmatic and not scare the crap out of the white middle class and blue collar voters and his base goes nuts, accusing him of "betraying their principles." He then has to put down a revolt by the loony left wing of the Democratic party, which is, in reality, the mainstream of the Democratic party of the 21st century.
Let's face it, even with 99.999% of the black vote, Obama needs white voters to stay in power, so who does he choose to annoy? McCain took just over 50% of the white vote, so a few more percentage points and Obama is done.
Now, I am betting on A, which means that those blue collar voters that won Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana for Obama will be voting Republican again in 2010.....stay tuned....