The end of a week

The other night I wrote on Facebook that I was physically and mentally spent, and I meant it – the combination of a grueling work week at my outside job and the climax of the 2012 campaign was all I could handle and then some. I still don’t feel caught up and it’s been four days since balloting ended.

But I did get to see a story in the Washington Times about Maryland being a lonely state for Republicans. I don’t know how many years in the wilderness we have to go, but I am tired of the Fall Convention immediately after an election being like a wake.

What really took the cake, though, was a comment I received on Election Day post, haranguing the conservative movement for believing the re-election of Barack Obama was about free stuff. Well, what else could it be? Oh wait, perhaps it was that whole “war on women” bullshit mixed in as well, with a healthy dose of class warfare for good measure. As she (at least I think it’s a she) notes,

Did you lose every swing state because people in those states “want stuff”, setting aside the fact that people in the red states absolutely “get stuff” in higher percentages from the federal government than people in blue states? It is this patronizing attitude that will bring down the Republican Party – you cannot possibly fathom that people who voted for the other guy might have other motivations than “they want stuff.”

I’d love to see the proof of her assertion, but I’d also love to know what motivated the other side besides the items I brought up. It certainly wasn’t Obama’s economic or job creation record.

Yet it’s worthy of note that about 10 million fewer people believed the Obama story this time; sadly, about 3 million believed Mitt Romney less than they did John McCain. To me that’s the most worrisome part. I voted for Romney even though he was far from my first choice in the primary; those who were behind him from the start generally felt that he was the most “electable.” Obviously for the second time in a row they were wrong because Mitt Romney isn’t taking the oath of office come January. We’re stuck with another four years of this nightmarish regime, which will likely be detrimental on steroids given that Obama doesn’t have to face the voters again and has more “flexibility.”

Obviously the only perfect candidate in my eyes would be me, and I’m not running for president. You’ll be lucky if I run for Central Committee again the way things are going.

In this country, though, we have to face the fact that our current path is unsustainable. The problem is anyone with that message won’t be elected (ask Ron Paul followers.) The time for a band-aid approach is long past, but here we are treating the skin blemish of jacking up taxes on the so-called wealthy when there’s a gaping financial wound of entitlement spending which won’t be addressed.

If you had that motivation and still voted for the other guy, I’m not sure I or anyone else can talk you back from that state of delusion. Recovering from that generally takes a proverbial smack upside the head by a 2×4 – just don’t be surprised when that day comes.

Election Day 2012 in pictures and text

To be honest, the picture part of this will be pretty lean. But here’s one of all the signage lined up along Glen Avenue:

Signage along Glen Avenue.

This Election Day was a little unusual because I had to work – in previous years I was able to use a vacation day but my outside job is extremely busy this time of year. So I didn’t get to my assigned polling place (which happens to also be my voting location) until about 2:30.

As I noted on Facebook, the Obama representative was already there.

Obama's empty chair in full force.

It is worth noting that in the time I was there I had only a few campaigners keep me company: one from the Bongino campaign who was there throughout, one volunteer representing the Maryland Marriage Alliance who was there about 3/4 of the time (and had also been there in the morning), a Democratic operative who was there for perhaps a couple hours, and at the tail end this guy:

Libertarian candidate Muir Boda.

Truthfully, by the time Muir got there I’m not sure it did much good, nor did about half of the 130 or so palm cards I had regarding the ballot questions. But he did get almost 4% of the vote, in line with previous LP candidates here.

One thing I noticed about this polling place – perhaps as opposed to the Delmarva Evangelistic Church where I had worked a couple times before and perhaps due to early voting – was that business just died after 6 p.m. or so. Once the rush of people coming from work subsided, we had little to do but talk among ourselves.

According to the state Board of Elections, just about 32,000 people came to vote on Election Day in Wicomico County after around 6,400 took advantage of early voting. So only about 1 in 6 voters decided to vote early here, but I think part of that was the crowd who used to come after 6 previously.

One thing I have heard in the post-election discussion, though, is how bad the turnout was nationwide compared to 2008.  Barack Obama lost about 10 million votes overall while Mitt Romney failed to meet John McCain’s total by a couple million votes. Give or take, about 12 million people sat this one out and the question is why. But that’s one for another day and perhaps another analyst.

What I knew, though, was when I arrived at Republican headquarters to watch the votes be counted I could tell the mood wasn’t joyous. It simply didn’t have the sound of a victory celebration, and most likely it’s because so many of us were sure and assured that Mitt Romney would pick up about 52% of the vote. Instead, it seems like Rasmussen, the group out in Colorado whose economic math forecast a Romney victory, and even the Redskin Rule were all wrong.

Instead, the evening was a disaster for conservatives in Maryland and elsewhere:

  • Despite the thought that Romney could outperform John McCain, the final totals once again reflected a 62-37 landslide for Obama. Instead of losing by 25.4% Romney lost by 25.1%, meaning that we’ll catch up by the 2264 election.
  • The good news: Ben Cardin only got 55% again. Unfortunately he won by 28 points over Dan Bongino. But even with upstart candidate Rob Sobhani taking away more votes from Dan than Ben, it’s likely the final margin would have been comparable to the 2010 U.S. Senate race between Barb Mikulski and Eric Wargotz had Sobhani saved his millions.
  • All the time and effort getting signatures to place various ballot issues on the docket seems to have gone for naught as all three of those efforts passed. The closest ballot issue was Question 6 but the destruction of traditional marriage still passed with 51.9% of the vote.
  • Far from taking advantage of the Democrats having to defend 23 of 33 Senate seats up for grabs, the GOP lost 2 seats in the chamber and now sit at a 45-55 disadvantage. While poorly considered remarks by Republicans Todd Akin of Missouri and Richard Mourdock of Indiana were played up in the media, they somehow failed to notice the holes in the record of Elizabeth Warren (a.k.a. “Fauxcahontas”) of Massachusetts, who won.
  • Black conservatives took a hit as well: Allen West is trailing his Democratic opponent pending absentee ballots and Mia Love lost narrowly in Utah. While the House stays in GOP hands, the margin will decrease slightly so Obama had some minor coattails.

So what do we do? Well, on that I have to ponder some more. I just know I left the GOP party once Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were called because those were the linchpins of Romney’s strategy. And it will forever be debated locally whether the Maryland GOP’s insistence on helping elsewhere may have hurt the cause of local officials, but given the large margins of defeat it likely would have made no difference.

I’ve said before that Election Day is my Super Bowl and right now I have an idea of how those who were on the wrong side of the blowouts common during the 1980s and 1990s felt in the days afterward. I have a low opinion of many in my adopted home state who eschew logic and rational thought for free stuff and feelgood policies which will be detrimental in the long run.

But there is always hope and another election coming around the corner. The work has already started for that one.

After all the shouting

We’re just about through the last weekend of the 2012 campaign, and hopefully by late Tuesday night we will have a good idea of where the country will be heading over the next four years (or perhaps four decades, should the incumbent win.) Of course that’s assuming we have no protracted recounts such as we endured 12 years ago – the prospect of two such occurrences in a lifetime boggles the mind.

Yet regardless of what happens Tuesday life will go on, and the sun will come up Wednesday. I’ll still have my work to do as will most of the rest of us who don’t toil for candidates.

I’ve always been about thinking two to three steps ahead where possible, which is why I’m writing this postmortem of sorts on the Sunday before the election. (It’s also why I wrote my book and eschewed the normal publishing process to get it to market prior to the campaign season hitting high gear. Did it cost me some sales? Perhaps, but readers can remedy that situation easily enough as I link to the sales sites from monoblogue.)

Just in the next three months there are a lot of political stories still to be written, from the local to the national. Here in my adopted hometown of Salisbury, the mayoral race will take center stage. No one has formally declared for the office yet, but it’s highly likely we’ll have at least two (and possibly three) candidates: incumbent Mayor Jim Ireton will go for a second term, realtor Adam Roop made it known almost a year ago he was seeking some unspecified office – his two choices are a City Council district seat or mayor – and recent transplant and blogger Joe Albero has made his own overtures. At least he’s invested in the shirts:

That will probably begin to play out in the next couple weeks.

After that we begin the holiday season, which may be politicized to a certain extent as well. My thought is that if Barack Obama wins, the early predictions of a modest year-over-year growth will hold true or end up slightly lower than imagined. I seem to recall last year started out like gangbusters on Black Friday but tailed off once those big sales came to an end. On the other hand, a Mitt Romney win may open up the purse strings and result in an increase twice of what was predicted. I think seeing him win with a GOP Congress will boost consumer confidence overnight as they figure the long national nightmare is over.

Once the holidays are over, it’s then time for both the 113th Congress to get started and, more importantly for local matters, the “90 days of terror” better known as the Maryland General Assembly session to begin. In the next few weeks I will finally wrap up my annual monoblogue Accountability Project for 2012 in order to hold our General Assembly members accountable for all the good and bad votes they made in the three 2012 sessions. With so much written about in 2012 on my part, I had to put that project on the back burner for most of the fall.

At the same time, state races for 2014 will begin to take shape. Unlike the last three gubernatorial elections we do not have the prospect of a candidate named Ehrlich in the race, which leaves the field wide open. While the three who have made overtures toward running on the GOP side have already made their presence known, only one (Blaine Young) has formally announced and the conventional wisdom (such that there is for Maryland GOP politics) labels him as the longest shot of the three most-rumored candidates, the other two being early 2010 candidate Larry Hogan and outgoing Harford County Executive David Craig.

But there are also down-ticket statewide races to consider as well, and there’s a decent chance that both Attorney General and Comptroller may become open seats as Doug Gansler and Peter Franchot, respectively, consider a race for Governor. (While there are three hopefuls so far for governor on the GOP side, there may be at least five on the Democratic side: Gansler, Franchot, current Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, and Delegate Heather Mizeur.)

The GOP bench is a little shorter for the downticket positions at this time, but I believe William Campbell is willing to reprise his 2010 Comptroller run and wouldn’t be surprised if Jim Shalleck doesn’t make sure he’s on the ballot this time for Attorney General. Another intriguing name for the AG position would be 2010 U.S. Senate candidate (and attorney) Jim Rutledge, who obviously has the advantage of having already run statewide. On the other side, I’m hearing that State Senator Brian Frosh (who generally serves as a dictatorial Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee) is one name in the mix for AG, but another intriguing one is former First District Congressman Frank Kratovil, who is now a judge in Queen Anne’s County.

So the beat will go on after this year’s election is over. It’s not surprising to me that I’ve had some great readership numbers over the last few weeks, but the last couple weeks in particular have blown me away. The trick, though, will be maintaining the audience through a period where fewer discuss politics and more concentrate on friends and family during the holiday season. I won’t be so presumptuous to believe that my humble little site should be uppermost on everyone’s mind, but I hope to roll into year number 8 of monoblogue in grand style.

Is your Congressman protected?

Fresh off the latest fundraising scalp claimed by Barack Obama, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Institute has publicized a report called “America the Vulnerable: Are Foreign and Fraudulent Online Campaign Contributions Influencing U.S. Elections? Among its key findings are a number of disturbing facts about the President’s online contribution reporting, including these which should give advocates of good government pause: Purchased By An Obama Bundler In Shanghai, China With Questionable Business Ties to State-Run Chinese Enterprises: In 2008, was purchased by an Obama fundraiser living in Shanghai, China, whose business is heavily dependent on relationships with Chinese state-run television and other state-owned entities.

68% Of Traffic To Anonymously Registered Is Foreign: According to industry leading web analytics site Markosweb, an anonymously registered redirect site ( features 68 % foreign traffic. Starting in December 2011, the site was linked to a specific donation page on the official campaign website for ten months. The page loaded a tracking number, 634930, into a space on the website labeled “who encouraged you to make this donation.” That tracking number is embedded in the source code for and is associated with the Obama Victory Fund. In early September 2012, the page began redirecting to the standard Obama Victory Fund donation page.

So as not to pick on Barack Obama, the group also found fault with Marco Rubio’s 2010 Senate campaign and also nearly half of the Congressional campaigns which accept credit card donations. Among Maryland’s nine members of Congress running this cycle, Dutch Ruppersberger (2nd District), Donna Edwards (4th District), Steny Hoyer (5th District), and Elijah Cummings (7th District) do not use this protection.

But another problem GAI noticed was the lack of accountability in federal campaigns, where amounts under $200 need not be reported unless a campaign was audited; moreover, amounts under $50 aren’t even recorded. (This is why fundraising appeals from both sides often use tiny amounts, like $3 or $5. If Barack Obama can get a million people to enter a celebrity contest, that’s $3-$5 million he collects but doesn’t have to account for. And if it’s not accounted for, the money could come from anywhere.)

It’s worth pondering that Barack Obama gets a much more significant portion of his funding from small donations than Mitt Romney does. Certainly the vast percentage of those contributions are on the up-and-up, but what if even 20% of the $600 million Obama has collected in small donations came from foreign or fraudulent sources? Erick Erickson of RedState did just that as a test, and the Obama campaign failed.

Obviously this group, led by Hoover Institution Research Fellow and author Peter Schweizer, would tend to skew toward a conservative, good-government point of view, but they bring up a lot of valid points. They dug up several examples of Obama donations being promoted and encouraged on foreign websites in their report, which runs over 100 pages.

This story is attracting notice in a lot of conservative corners (like this piece at, which could provide another plate for the mainstream media ignorance court jesters to keep spinning.

Thoughts on a debate

I attended two debates tonight; well, I shouldn’t say “attended” for the latter because I wasn’t at the University of Denver.

As for the earlier of the two on the Maryland DREAM Act, I’m going to hold on that until later today. But I did want to talk about watching the Presidential debate tonight in the company of about 30 other Republicans at our local headquarters.

The group watching the debate at Wicomico County's Republican headquarters.

We were a rather comfortable group.

And it was a group which wasn’t overly loud or boisterous during the debate. Sure, they clapped a little at the appropriate times but no one did their best Joe Wilson impersonation and shouted “You lie!” at Obama, although he told a couple whoppers here and there.

Generally the feeling was that Romney won the debate, of course, but no one I spoke with thought it was an overwhelming victory. My feeling is that certainly it will be spun as at best a draw in the media, but the king of the teleprompter showed once again how he can verbally stumble around in search of a coherent sentence to say.

While I liked the format, I wasn’t always impressed with Jim Lehrer’s moderation. He could have run a tighter ship, although I suppose the way it turned out both candidates had their say. They covered most of the main points.

But I get the sense that Mitt Romney ran a little more to the center and I’m not sure he doesn’t run the risk of losing a little bit of his base by doing so. Granted, not many truly believed Mitt Romney was a rock-ribbed conservative but he sure didn’t embellish those points tonight either. It means we are going to need a very conservative Congress to work him in the right direction, particularly if he’s going to sit down with Democrats when he wins on November 6.

It’s worth noting that a lot of the Obamaphiles in the media aren’t very pleased tonight. I can understand why.

Upon further consideration…

After stewing on this for a few days, I’ve come to a conclusion: Jim Messina, Campaign Manager for Obama For Against America, is a total douchebag.

In reaction to the Romney statements surreptitiously taped and taken out of full context by Mother Jones magazine, Messina said the following:

Today we learned that Mitt Romney said this about Obama supporters to fellow millionaires at a closed-door fundraiser:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income taxes …

My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

The man who spoke these words — who demonstrates such disgust and disdain for half of our fellow Americans — is the other side’s choice for president of the United States. He wants to lead our country.

If we don’t come through for President Obama right now, this will be the guy making big decisions that affect us and our families every single day. (All emphasis in original.)

First of all, Romney was absolutely right. Sadly, we have an element of society (who will likely vote for Obama if they vote at all) who believes they’re entitled to every single morsel of government goodies because there are people who have things they want and they don’t. That selfish attitude lies in stark contrast to the attitude of many Romney supporters who are happy to be charitable but would prefer to make their own choices about who they donate to.

So we have remarks that the other 53 percent of us would likely listen to and nod our head in agreement with (not to mention some portion of the 47 percent who still have some semblance of pride.) Thing is, if the economy hadn’t gone in the tank a half-decade ago we may be looking at only 40 percent of the population being in the class Romney speaks of rather than 47 percent. That would be a huge electoral difference, although on the other hand if the economy were good Barack Obama would have had no chance of winning in 2008.

But the other question is why this video is important right now. Since it was apparently taped in the spring, it’s possible some turncoat – a double agent of sorts (remember, this was a fundraiser that attendees had to pay $50,000 a head for) – came and taped Romney’s remarks. At this point it was pretty obvious that Romney would be the GOP nominee so anything he said would be fair game. In a regular campaign, this tape would likely be the October surprise, but events in the Middle East have forced the Obama campaign and their allies in the press to go to the well a little early as yet another diversion. They couldn’t let the press narrative of Middle East protests sparked by an obscure filmmaker’s video fall apart as more evidence of an organized attack on the Libyan embassy leaked out, so this video becomes the new narrative: “Romney is out of touch and uncaring.”

Even if Romney is correct and Obama gets 47 percent of the vote, the good news is that leaves 53% of the vote for Mitt Romney. Depending on which states fall into each category, we can even allow Gary Johnson 3 percent and give Romney 50 percent and 270 or more electoral votes. Works for me.

Then maybe we can work on paring back that 47 percent on the government dole by growing the economy the right way, through job creation in the private sector and not “independence cards” from the public one. Funny how Jim Messina isn’t taking credit for all those new food stamp recipients.

The Ryan pick

Well, Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential candidate was probably a safer choice than Sarah Palin was in 2008 and those of us who are Miami University graduates are thrilled to have a fellow alum with a chance at the second-highest office in the land. (He graduated six years after me, so we weren’t on campus at the same time.) But there are some who are fretting that Paul Ryan’s not conservative enough or too much of an establishment choice. Personally, I thought Lt. Col. Allen West would have been an interesting selection.

Yet you can’t deny that Paul Ryan knows his stuff about budgeting, and even though I was disappointed that his budget blueprint took decades to work the federal budget into balance it was at least acknowledging the largest domestic problem we face. Hopefully we elect a number of good conservatives to the House and Senate to pick up Ryan’s pace of motion toward fiscal sanity.

And Democrats naturally tried to seize the narrative. This e-mail blast came from David Axelrod:

In Ryan, Romney has selected a running mate best known for designing the extreme GOP budget that would end Medicare as we know it, and — just like Romney’s plan — actually raise taxes on middle-class Americans to pay for an additional $250,000 tax break for millionaires and billionaires. As a leader of the House Republicans and a Tea Party favorite, Congressman Ryan has led the relentless, intensely ideological battle for these kinds of budget-busting policies that punish seniors and the middle class.

Today, Romney doubled down on those policies.

But most Americans don’t know Paul Ryan. In the coming days, the other side will spend a lot of time trying to define Romney’s choice and what it says about his candidacy — so we put together a brand-new website on Romney-Ryan with everything you need to know. (Emphasis in original.)

But I love this howler in Axelrod’s screed:

Ryan talks tough on balancing the budget, but his own plan would fail to do that for a generation. The burden of balancing any Ryan budget falls squarely on the backs of seniors and middle-class families — while no one at the top is asked to pay even a dollar more.

And Obama has made progress on balancing the budget when? Please inform me of this, Mr. Axelrod.

To Obama, a budget deficit is a small price to pay for maintaining the levers of power and “spreading the wealth around.” That argument of “no one at the top is asked to pay even a dollar more” conveniently forgets that the wealthiest taxpayers already pay more than their fair share and, even if they were taxed at 100 percent and all their assets seized, wouldn’t come close to solving the total indebtedness (including unfunded liabilities) of our nation. That’s what happens when the national debt exceeds annual GDP.

And it’s sort of funny that the Obama crew has dubbed Romney/Ryan the “Go Back Team.” I wouldn’t mind going back to unemployment under 5 percent and a shrinking annual budget deficit – how about you? America has two choices: it can fall for the class envy propagated by a current regime desperate to avoid discussion of its real record, or it can vote for a chance at a way out of our mess.

If Obama wins, it’s likely we will never see unemployment below 5 percent again unless they change the way the numbers are calculated to make “President Choom” look better. Nor will we come anywhere close to a balanced budget because that’s not what this administration wants – I’ve become convinced they’re looking to hook as many people on the narcotic of government handouts as possible, and even if taxes are raised on the wealthiest taxpayers (and they would be) what little benefit is accrued will be far less than the new spending desired.

It’s the sign of a campaign which can’t rely on the exhausted mantras of hope and change anymore that they immediately go on the attack. Quite simply, Obama and Biden have nothing good to say about themselves or a positive record to defend. It’s going to be a long 2 1/2 months to Election Day.

Democrats: Maryland is in the bag for Obama

They don’t say it in so many words, but I found this e-mail I received from the President’s campaign intriguing:

Next weekend, we’ll be 100 days away from Election Day.

We’ve got a lot of voters to get registered and ready for this election — and that’s part of why First Lady Michelle Obama just launched a new effort called It Takes One.

The idea behind it is pretty simple: One person reaching out to others, bringing in one person at a time, is what will make all the difference. She’s challenging us all to bring one new person along every time we take action for this campaign — whether that’s chipping in a few dollars, registering to vote, or showing up at the It Takes One weekend of action in Virginia and Pennsylvania on Saturday, July 28th, and Sunday, July 29th.

Folks from Maryland will be traveling to Pennsylvania and Virginia for the weekend of action, to register voters and reach out to folks there to talk about President Obama’s accomplishments — alongside that one new person they asked to join them for the day.

If you skip the first paragraphs of community organization garbage – although we have a lot of voters to get registered and ready for this election, too – you’ll notice that Jeremy Bird of Obama For Against America wants to use Maryland people to work in Virginia and Pennsylvania, figuring those states are more important to work in. It’s sending the message that they consider Maryland as their territory. But I’m stubborn and agree with Dan Bongino and other thoughtful Republicans: we cede no ground.

This e-mail also gave me an important piece of electoral information, as I now know the local Democrats will have a headquarters in the old Mail Movers building (the one which used to be a bank before that) on Old Ocean City Road. They must not want a whole lot of visibility – although that location is conveniently close by the teachers’ union headquarters. I happen to know the local Republicans will have a headquarters as well, with an official announcement coming soon. (It will be nearby to the locations we used in 2008 and 2010, along that stretch of South Salisbury Boulevard.)

Now it’s time for a little fun. You know, since the Obama forces created an #ItTakesOne Twitter hashtag, I have some suggestions for its usage:

  • #ItTakesOne entrepreneur to create a job – and one President to take all the credit for doing so.
  • #ItTakesOne more high-dollar fundraiser among the 1% for Obama to extend his class warfare rhetoric and pander to the rest of us.
  • #ItTakesOne call to Harry Reid to move job-creating legislation from the House. Obama won’t because he wants to “spread the wealth” via gov’t.
  • #ItTakesOne speech to show President Obama doesn’t get it when it comes to job creation. “You didn’t build that”? Yes we did.

Maybe I’ll toss those on Twitter this afternoon as I’m working. I’m sure my readers can come up with many more and show the real truth about our current regime. I look forward to reading them – feel free to share in the comment section.

Republicans respond to Obama Maryland visit

President Obama came to Maryland to attend three of the six fundraisers he had slated yesterday. But before Obama laid the blame for “this mess” that we “haven’t seen since the 30s” on George W. Bush and his administration, state Republicans held a conference call for interested bloggers and mainstream press to state their case and tie together the failures of both President Obama and Governor Martin O’Malley.

(continued at…)

On a personal note, I’d like to thank David Ferguson and the Maryland GOP for thinking of me. I would have preferred a little better handling of the call logistics, but the information given was just fine.

The real life of ‘Julia’

In a blatant pitch to woo female voters – presumably the base of the Democratic machine – the Obama re-election campaign came up with the “Life of Julia” concept. Poor Julia is seen suffering through a life of government dependence from age 3 when she’s enrolled in Head Start (I suppose by Julia’s unseen parents) to age 67, when she “retires comfortably” on Social Security.

Of course, this little slideshow has been unmercifully (and rightfully) parodied by Lee Stranahan into the Life of Rover, given a conservative rebuttal by the Heritage Foundation, put under a libertarian remix, and become fodder for endless Twitter shots using the #Julia hashtag, some of which are featured at the tail end of this article by Meredith Jessup in The Blaze. It seems like every time Obama tries to go viral with a hashtag, conservatives have a ton of fun with it.

My question, though, is why Obama’s so worried about the female vote. One thing the President has going for him is a fair amount of personal likability, as the First Family has been carefully scripted to appeal to women as a happy nuclear family. Granted, the Obama children are far younger than President George W. Bush’s twin daughters, but it seemed like every time one of the Bush twins misbehaved it was made into news – on the other hand, a recent Mexican trip for Obama’s older daughter Malia had its accounts scrubbed and sanitized after word got out about the 13 year old’s journey south of the border.

But women have been hard hit by the poor economy, and oftentimes the female handles the bills in the family. Whether they’re a single mom or part of the rapidly disappearing nuclear family of Mom, Dad, and two kids, women have found that over the last three years it’s been getting harder to make ends meet.

And there’s also intention behind making ‘Julia’ a single mom – you may notice that there’s no husband in the picture when she has ‘Zachary.’ (Does that sound like a focus-grouped name or what?) Of all the women who voted in 2008, it was single women who came in most heavily for Obama – a 70-29 margin. If he loses even 10 percentage points on that total, Barack Obama has to know that his re-election bid is toast. But single women haven’t been exempt from the stagnant economy, either.

In reviewing the ‘Julia’ slides, there’s also no question that the Obama campaign is playing the class envy card to the hilt, even in this example. At 17 Julia could lose her public education funding to “pay for tax cuts to millionaires,” for example. And Julia’s life is doomed if we even cut one penny from these bloated federal programs or dispense of Obamacare, as several slides warn.

But would it? What if Julia’s parents didn’t send her to Head Start but took the time to read to the child – or better yet, made the investment of time and effort to homeschool her – even as they sacrifice the tax burden of helping to support the public education they aren’t using? Chances are Julia would still be able to enroll in that college. (I’m also curious: if Julia’s going into web design, is a four-year degree even required? It seems like she could acquire those skills in a two-year associate program at a community college.)

And perhaps her parents, if they raised her right, would instill in Julia the work ethic to get her to avoid taking out thousands of dollars of student loans because she would have learned to be responsible for the results of her own education while working her way through college, along with the moral compass to wait until the right stage of life to marry Zachary’s father before they have the little rugrat. Until that point she would pay for her own contraception, thank you. (Needless to say, abstinence is free.)

That work ethic would come in handy when Julia opens her own business because she will have to work twice as hard to overcome the roadblocks in her way – not because she is a woman, but because of all the red tape an overbearing bunch of pencil pushers throw in her path. She would also have the pride to not accept work simply from the set-asides given to a female-owned business, but because she does a damn good job of it. It’s the only way she would know.

And Julia would retire comfortably because she lived a reasonable but frugal lifestyle, investing wisely in her future despite government’s best efforts to confiscate every dollar she made. Julia and her husband of over 40 years would enjoy the sunset of their lives despite never receiving a Social Security check from a bankrupt system.

But perhaps my favorite parody of Julia came from the Facebook site AttackWatch:

The Gaps of Julia

At 1 year old: Under President Obama, Julia’s posts “I hate Obama!” on her Facebook page. She is investigated by the Secret Service for threats against the President. (That’s one precocious child!)

At 16 years old: Under President Obama, Julia goes goth and changes her religious affiliation to “Wicca.”

At 18: Under President Obama, Julia realizes she’s learned more on her own than she ever has at public school and registers as a Republican voter.

At 19: Under President Obama, she realizes her Pell grants don’t cover anything but a small tuition, so she takes out student loans to supplement her income.

At 23: Under President Obama, Julia begins her career as a web designer. Despite what Obama said all those years ago, she’s still paying hundreds a month on her student loans. She makes her payments on time, but rising taxes have made it difficult to eat much more than rice, beans, and ramen. She’s happy to know she can sue for wage discrimination, except that she’s making more than her male coworker who regularly attends Occupy Wall Street meetings. Since he’s known to go into work stoned, she’s inclined to believe the pay difference is because of her performance.

At 25: Under President Obama, Julia has worked as a web designer for the past four years. She’s chosen to be responsible with her health and family planning, and doesn’t want to drain the system by using other peoples’ money for her sex life.

At 31: Under President Obama, Julia and her husband decide they’re financally secure enough to have a child. Julia wishes she could be a stay-at-home mom, but she can’t because men’s wages have been stagnant for 50 years now and they can’t live solely on her husband’s income. She slips and lets the tax payers pick up the tab for her maternity leave. Both her and her husband’s taxes go up the following year. They consider selling their house to move into a condo half the size.

At 37: Under President Obama, Julia’s son Zachary starts kindergarten. She’s there to see him off at the bus stop because she quit her job, deciding the slight bit of extra pay wasn’t worth it since taxes and highly-regulated child care costs were so high. She and her husband fight more than they’d like, but remain close. Zachary eats better than they do, they make sure of that.

At 42: Under President Obama, Julia decides to start her own at-home business to try and bring in at least a meager extra income. She finds that Obama’s tax cuts for small businesses help, but his extra excise taxes on manufacturers and healthcare and income do not. It’s not a zero-sum game; she’s losing money. She wants to help people, so she hires another worker, but has to lay him off after a year because she can’t afford the healthcare costs.

At 65: Under President Obama, Julia submits an application for Medicare. She’s eagerly granted acceptance.

At 66: Under President Obama, Julia develops a brain tumor. She submits an application to Medicare, which is denied. “Due to age,” and “See Quality of Life (QoL) Regulations” stick out through her watered eyes. She chokes and sobs. She hugs her 70 year old husband when he returns from work. They cry together, in bed, just holding each other. “We tried,” Julia whispers to her husband.

At 67: Under President Obama, Julia passes in her husband’s arms. Full of anger that his ailing wife was denied care from the Obamacare Government because of costs, he takes his wrath to Facebook. He writes, “President Obama, I can’t stand everything you’ve done!”

At 71: Under President Obama, Julia’s husband is investigated by the Secret Service for threats against the President.

President Obama has now been president for at least 67 years.

You might laugh, but the sad fact is that millions of gullible voters will lap up the Obama Kool-Aid and believe he’s only trying to help the middle class. He’s helping them, all right – helping them become poor and dependent on government handouts of some sort.

A fork we stick in Rick

So it ends, not with a bang but more of a whimper.

The news that Rick Santorum has opted to suspend his campaign just two weeks before a multistate primary where opponent Mitt Romney would be expected to do well in all the states – except possibly Santorum’s home state of  Pennsylvania – coupled with the withdrawal in all but name by Newt Gingrich over the weekend (“he had more things to hit with than I did”), means that Mitt Romney will be the GOP nominee come September. Sure, Ron Paul is still in the race but he hasn’t won a primary yet.

Obviously that’s frustrating news to Santorum backers (like The Other McCain) as well as residents of the five states (including Delaware) who were expectantly awaiting their turn in the national spotlight, but it also brings up a couple interesting questions.

  1. Who will be the second banana on the ticket? We saw a rejuvenated Republican Party for a brief time in 2008 when Sarah Palin was selected, so one would hope Romney assuages conservatives with a strong pick.
  2. Will the electorate in the remaining states which have not conducted primary elections embrace Mitt as the nominee?

I don’t know what the rules are for ballot withdrawal in the remaining states, but it’s quite likely that the last four standing (Romney, Paul, Gingrich, and Santorum) are on the ballot in 17 of the 19 remaining states (Nebraska and Montana are caucus states.) And we can look back at Virginia for a case study in just how much anti-Romney sentiment was out there – in a contest limited to Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, Romney couldn’t even carry 60 percent of the vote. Had it been Santorum or Gingrich on the ballot straight up against Romney, Rick or Newt may have carried the state.

It would be quite surprising now if Romney didn’t get a clear majority of the votes, but the depth of anti-Romney sentiment may be most expressed in states where Santorum or Gingrich were thought to be strongest (most likely Texas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Indiana, and South Dakota among remaining primary states.) But this ceding of the Presidential field could also have a detrimental effect on conservatives in downticket races as well – one example being the U.S. Senate primary in Indiana where moderate Senator Richard Lugar faces a primary opponent in Richard Mourdock.

But all the talk of a possible brokered convention and a white knight coming in to save the GOP will now be replaced by emotions from anger at the establishment to outright despair from the Right that Romney can’t win and we’re doomed to another four long years of Barack Obama. Yet if every conservative in the country came out and voted, we would win because Democratic turnout tends to lag behind Republican regardless of whatever tricks the Democrats try to pull. It’s simple math – around 40 percent of the country self-identifies as conservative while only 20 percent or so self-identify as liberal. Even if the squishy middle splits evenly, we win.

And it’s not like the incumbent has much of a record to run on, unless you define record deficits, record number of adults out of the work force, and record high gas prices as records to brag about. Obama has those.

So here we are: Obama vs. Romney. It wasn’t my personal choice (since I voted for Santorum after all my other good choices split the scene) but that’s the way it’s going to be.

And now for something (almost) completely different:

I have it on very good authority that someone familiar to local voters is going to jump into the First District Congressional race. That’s all I’m going to say for now, but watch this space for more details.

Where I went wrong (and right)

Okay, the results have come in and I got some sleep and a day at my outside job to consider them, so let’s go back to my prediction post and see how I did.

I was actually correct in the order of presentation on the top four Presidential candidates statewide, but Mitt Romney exceeded even the pollsters’ expectations when he won just under half the vote. I suppose that inevitability factor may have affected the results because it appears our turnout in 2012 will end up about 20 percent less than it was in 2008, when the race was effectively over by the time we voted. Because few people like to admit they’re backing a loser, I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of voters changed from Gingrich to Romney at the end while other Newt backers stayed home. It also proves Ron Paul has support a mile deep but an inch wide since both well underperformed what I thought they might. I actually missed Santorum by less than a point, although it surprised me that Rick only won two counties (Garrett and Somerset.) I would have thought Rick would carry 4 to 6 of the more rural counties, including Wicomico. But once Romney outperformed it was over.

And you may wonder why I had Fred Karger at 2 percent. I thought he would do better because, as a gay Republican candidate in a state which was bound to be a Romney state anyway, voting for him may serve as a message about the gay marriage referendum likely to appear in November. Instead, he got only less than 1/10 of my predicted total and finished dead last. I also managed to garble up the exact order of the also-rans, but with such a small sample who knew?

That same statewide trend seemed to affect my Wicomico result too because Romney outperformed and Gingrich/Paul suffered for it.

And while I didn’t predict it, I find it quite fascinating that 12 percent of the Democratic primary voters selected “none of the above” rather than Barack Obama. However, that statewide average varies wildly from under 3% in Prince George’s County, about 5% in Baltimore City, and just over 7% in Montgomery County to fully 1/3 of Democrats in Allegany County and a staggering 34.7% in Cecil County. In the last comparable election with a Democratic incumbent (1996) President Clinton only received 84% of the vote (onetime perennial candidate Lyndon LaRouche got 4%) but no county came close to getting 1/3 or more of the ballots against the President.

I didn’t miss the “barnburner” aspect of the Senate race by much as it wasn’t called until nearly midnight. But Dan Bongino carried 34% of the vote and won by 6 points over Richard Douglas. (I called it for two points, but I underestimated the impact of the little eight.) I think Joseph Alexander gets the advantage of being first of the ballot, and that accounts for his second straight third-place finish. The rest? Well, the order wasn’t all that correct but they were mostly only off by a percent or two and I got last place right. And to prove it was a close race, both Bongino and Douglas carried 12 counties apiece.

What mystifies me the most isn’t that Rich Douglas carried Wicomico rather easily, but how much support the other eight received – they collectively picked up almost 100 more votes than Douglas did! I would love to know the mindset of the people who voted for most of these minor candidates. I can see a case for Robert Broadus based on the Protect Marriage Maryland group, but what did the others really do to promote their campaigns? At least I know Douglas had radio spots and reasonably good online coverage.

But I did peg Ben Cardin to within 4 points statewide.

On some of the Congressional races: despite the fact I screwed up the percentages, at least I correctly called the Sixth District winners as Roscoe Bartlett and John Delaney. Both did far better than I expected, and I think part of the reason was that both their key challengers’ campaigns imploded in the last week or two. A week ago we may have had something closer to the numbers I predicted. Think Rob Garagiola and David Brinkley may commiserate anytime soon?

The ‘relative ease’ I suspected for Nancy Jacobs was even easier than I thought. I guess Larry Smith didn’t have nearly the campaign as I believed because he came up short on my prediction about as much as Nancy Jacobs was over – I wasn’t all that far off on Rick Impallaria.

While there is a slim chance I may have the First District Democratic race correct, I was surprised that Eastern Shore voters didn’t get all parochial and support the one Eastern Shore candidate, John LaFerla, over two from across the Bay. He only won Worcester, Kent, and Queen Anne’s counties, and I would chalk most of that up to Wayne Gilchrest’s endorsement. Kim Letke was about 6 points better than I thought and LaFerla was six points worse because he way underperformed on the Eastern Shore. I suspect no small part of that underperformance by LaFerla was his extreme pro-choice stance, as getting the NARAL endorsement doesn’t play well among local Democrats. There is a 136 vote margin out of about 23,500 cast.

Out of the rest, the only one I got wrong was the Eighth District, and I think that was a case of better name recognition than I expected for Ken Timmerman and less of a vote split among the three candidates from Montgomery County.

As for the Democratic incumbents, I could have wrote “over 85%” and still been right, with the minor exception of Steny Hoyer getting 84.8%.

So this is how the races for November will line up. Sometime this evening I will update my sidebar to reflect this:

  • U.S. Senate: Dan Bongino (R) vs. Ben Cardin (D – incumbent)
  • District 1: Andy Harris (R – incumbent) vs. Wendy Rosen (D – pending absentees and possible recount)
  • District 2: Nancy Jacobs (R) vs. Dutch Ruppersberger (D – incumbent)
  • District 3: Eric Knowles (R) vs. John Sarbanes (D – incumbent)
  • District 4: Faith Loudon (R) vs. Donna Edwards (D – incumbent)
  • District 5: Tony O’Donnell (R) vs. Steny Hoyer (D – incumbent)
  • District 6: Roscoe Bartlett (R – incumbent) vs. John Delaney (D)
  • District 7: Frank Mirabile (R) vs. Elijah Cummings (D – incumbent)
  • District 8: Ken Timmerman (R) vs. Chris Van Hollen (D – incumbent)

So out of 19 contested races I predicted 15 correctly, and I stuck my neck out on percentages a few times as well. I missed Romney by 8 points statewide and 9 points here in Wicomico County. I think the “inevitable” mantle made the difference.

But with Dan Bongino I was only 2 points off statewide. Probably my worst guess, though, was being 19 points off with him in Wicomico County. It’s worth noting that the Douglas late-game media strategy seemed to pay off on the Eastern Shore since he carried six of the nine counties and would have carried the nine-county Shore if he hadn’t been blown out in Cecil County by 1,250 votes. Bongino carried five counties with over 40 percent of the vote (Cecil was one along with Anne Arundel, Frederick, Queen Anne’s, and Montgomery) while Douglas could only claim two such counties (Dorchester and Talbot.)

I saw this possibly ending up as a rerun of the 2010 race where Eric Wargotz had more money while Jim Rutledge had more grassroots (read: TEA Party) support. Obviously media reaches a LOT more people quickly than grassroots efforts do in a statewide race, and the money to buy media is a key element of a successful campaign. That’s where Eric Wargotz succeeded, because Jim Rutledge didn’t raise a lot of money and Eric had a sizable bank account to tap into.

But as it turned out the Douglas bankroll wasn’t all that large, and an abbreviated campaign with a spring primary didn’t give Rich quite enough time to build a support base of his own. Those three or four extra months Dan worked on his campaign (at a time, remember, when better-known prospective opponents like Wargotz and Delegate Pat McDonough were considering the race) turned Bongino from an also-ran into a nominee. By succeeding enough to nationalize the campaign Dan made himself into a formidable opponent to Ben Cardin. Had this been a September primary, though, the result may have been different.

Now we have just under seven months until the general election, a chance for the campaigns to take a quick breather and begin to plot the strategy for November victory. For Democrats, it will be a hope that Obama can fool people into believing he’s an effective President and having long enough coattails. On the other hand, Republicans need to point out the Obama record while spelling out their own solutions – that’s where we’ve been lacking in some respects. We need to give people a reason to vote FOR us rather than AGAINST the other SOB.

So start working on those platforms, ladies and gentlemen. If we are to win, we need to not be a pastel Democrat-lite but present bold colors to Maryland and the nation.