It is depressing to see Fox News so desperately flogging the Benghazi attack in the last moments of the election.  Is that really the best that Romney and the Republicans have at this point?  It is a sideshow to the real problems facing the country, and the idea that the State Department under Obama is less concerned than heretofore about the safety of its personnel, or that our intelligence agencies are systemically less focused on preventing terror attacks, is fanciful.  This should have been a campaign fanatically focused on the unsustainable growth in entitlement obligations, government spending, and debt, all of which are drags on the economy, and yet, astoundingly, even after the promising selection of one of the most eloquent analysts of the federal budget as VP nominee, the Romney campaign avoided any serious discussion of entitlement reform.  Perhaps it is naïve to expect otherwise in a democracy, but I think that there is real value in an electoral  mandate.  If Romney didn’t have the guts to speak forcefully and honestly about the hard budget choices that will need to be made, and assuming that that reluctance stemmed from his pollsters accurately reading the national will, we’re in big trouble. 

Hard to tell if the seeming conviction of virtually the entire Republican punditocracy in a Romney victory is sincere or mere cynical strategy to try to convince the undecideds to vote for a winner.   If the pundits really do believe that Romney will win (and I know at least one who seems utterly confident that he will), they seem to be following the logic of so many matters of faith: It would be nice if it were so, therefore it must be so.

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22 Responses to Pre-mortem

  1. WmarkW says:

    Romney ran an unfortunate choice of campaign in my view — he got sucked into telling swing voting blocks what they want to hear, instead of that we have to reverse course NOW. I hope there’s a future in which conservatives can rally behind the idea that small government should include the military. As Bradlaugh pointed out on TakiMag, America is the most secure nation in the history of the world; we don’t need to spend 40% of its defense on 20% of its GDP. But as long as Virginia and North Carolina are swings, Defense will continue in its role as Welfare for Southerners.

    Romney pandered to immigrant interests for the sake of Florida (even though that state’s Puerto Rican and Cuban populations don’t care a fig about the issue.) No one outside the alternative right blogosphere seems to be talking about how the illegal ones undercut the wages of the lowest-skill workers; or that even the legal ones are often short-termers who send their earnings out of the country quickly, reducing the velocity of money on which the economy depends. Somehow, no one else connects the dots from “income inequality” to “wage competition.”

  2. What gets discussed is not a question of what the issues are, but what the issues are that voters can understand. As with all things democratic, the person who doesn’t get it can be assumed to be hostile from that point onward.

  3. Steve Cardon says:

    Secular Traditonalist – yep, you are on the money. Sorry Heather you absolutely are missing it here. First of all, I promise you that those in the military do not consider Benghazi a “side-show”. Right now there is Massive mistrust in the military of Obama. He and the State Department are seen as having sacrificed those lives, then lied about and engaged in all manner of obfuscation purely to save his reelection.

    He has removed an Admiral and a General from command “apparently” because they wanted to launch the rescue, had the capacity to do so, but were told to stand down. This did not sit well with them. It does not sit well with me.

    Unless you have really taken the time to follow this story , read consistently not only conservative news sources in the US, but also in the middle east… as information has come forward, and unless you have friends and family in the military both current and retired (as I do) from whom you are getting a read on this, then you would be wise not to mininimize the scope of what is going on. It is very important to a lot of americans who put their lives on the line and wonder if their president is in any way competent to serve as Commander in Chief.

    Yes there is conflicting information. But the House, State Department, and CIA have been changing their stories continuously and dramatically since the first news broke. What we now know is that there was no “fog of war” as Hillary claimed. They all knew even as the attack went down that it was not a “protest” over a stupid video. And yet they unequivocally and knowingly claimed that it was.

    If you are Okay with this, then you might ask yourself how much you care about having a military defense. If you think that an investigation commissioned by the administrations own people to “get to the bottom of this” sometime after the election is sufficient, then I am afraid you are displaying a surprising depth of naivete.

    I am also surprised and dissapointed that you have lumped together The Romney Campaign, The news outlets who are following this story, and “Republicans” as if this were all some kind of conspiratorial or petty contrivance on their part, rather than treachery on the part of some of those we have elected to lead.

  4. Steve Cardon says:

    To add quickly,BOTH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS DISPLAY COMPLETE CONFIDENCE OF WINNING. It is silly to just point out the Republicans. It is a time tested strategy in politics to display this certainty going into an election. Apparently some memories fade faster than others.

  5. Bill K says:

    Sorry, but Heather has it right. Your portrayal of the military is way off, and Republican’s insistence on pursuing Benghazi as an issue has hurt them.
    You don’t know anymore about what happened in Libya than most people. By all means there should be a thorough investigation, but this rush to judgement by Republicans demonstrates a desperation to find any way to derail an Obama victory.

  6. liz says:

    Far from being a “sideshow”, the reaction of this president to the Benghazi attack is an important revelation of just how incompetent and unqualified he is as Commander in Chief.
    And there IS a major difference in how our State Department and entire administration operate since Obama took office – under his direction we are now appointing to positions of influence, and taking advice and counsel from, Muslims with terrorist ties.

  7. Steve Cardon says:

    BillK – “You don’t know anymore about what happened in Libya than most people” Ridiculous. “Most people” are either not following the story at all, or simply accepting what the liberal-biased media is telling them.

    I, on the other hand have searched out news since this story first broke. I scan over 20 papers (internet obviously) around the globe every single day.

    I have many friends who are currently, and were previously in the service as was I. We don’t have “all” the facts. We have a continuous stream of gathering information that points to gross negligence and massive cover-up. We have a lot of weasel words out of the white house.

    I stand by what I said. Time will prove one of us out

  8. D says:

    For this election campaign, Benghazi is absolutely a sideshow because of the context.

    Republicans are seen as war-like, and that had disastrous consequences in 2003 and continues to be a major strain on our military. Raising hell about Benghazi combined with loose talk about Iran just reinforces the view that Republicans are cowboys who shoot first and ask questions later, which in guerrilla warfare is typically when the bullets really start flying — see 2004 to present.

    You may well be right that there is more to the story and that there will be new revelations…

    BUT. The goal of a campaign is to win!

    The goal of Fox News, however, is ratings.

    Don’t confuse the two.

  9. John says:

    Dammit, dammit, dammit. It’s over.

    It would be nice to blame this all on Hurricane Sandy, but that would not explain all of the Senate losses. Nope, this was a makers vs. takers election, and the takers won (at least the electoral vote–Romney might win the booby prize of a popular vote win).

    Steve Cardon and Liz are totally right about Benghazi. National Defense is important, and a commander-in-chief who’s stupidity lead to the deaths of several Americans, and then lied about it, should automatically disqualify him for office. Of course, most of the press pretty much ignored the story.

  10. Steve Cardon says:

    …As is the goal of msnbc and every other network, and rush limbaugh, and bill Mauer… etc. We like our respective echo chambers. I didn’t like Bush, he is the reason I voted for Obama last election. Sticking around in Iraq once we couldn’t find the “WMD’s obviously made no sense, we got rid of saddam so Iraq could have “their” Arab spring I suppose, but staying longer didn’t change the inevitable power vacuum when we left. The Senate is still Democrat, so Benghazi will probably be successfully buried. What will be revealed is that The Russians are supplying the Assad regime, and we have been slipping weapons to the rebels, that was what Libya was about. We were trying to move weapons from Libya to Syria. I guess the general population doesnt care, so if a tree falls and “most” people didn’t hear it then the sound was negligable.

    Anyways Heather called it, this pundit admits his optimistic hopefulness went down in crashing defeat. I will still make money. I am still 4 out of 5 for picking stocks this year, and I didn’t bet on the election… not in monetary currency anyways.

    So, United States of Greece here we come. Thanks for putting up with me everyone.

  11. Steve Cardon says:

    D is right, the truth wasn’t important, it was all about optics and narrative. Obama won at both. He is a very clever politician, and in the end much more ruthless than Romney. Goes to prove that whoever shovels it faster wins. The country got the president it deserves.

    If this doesn’t prove there is no god I don’t know what does….

  12. Steve Cardon says:

    Okay, pity party’s over (for me at least). The Republicans shot themselves in the foot again for reasons presciently (or seemingly so for dullards like me) enumerated by Heather, D, and others. The Rebublican punditry (myself not included) will now predictably wail about how “thats what they get for picking a moderate” but thats not true. They failed to put forward someone more charismatic and ruthless than Obama.

    Anyways, This was my last trip with the Republicans. The right wing Christians can now well and truly go hang themselves and I wish they would. They never fail to make what is already difficult (overcoming an incumbents natural advantages) into something much more diffioult.

    Therefore I am in the market for any new emerging party (however startup they may be) who has Libertarian leanings, futurist philosophy, but is not bent on scrapping, diminishing, or demoralizing our national defence. Our military, however poorly used at times, none-the-less keeps the other wolves of the world at bay.

    All right Heather, I am prepared for my own flogging… proceed with the Post Mortem.

  13. Steve Cardon says:

    How many people are really stupid enough to believe that General Petraeus is resigning over an “Extramarital Affair”… my bet is his wife forgives him. I guess they felt under the circumstances that “to spend more time with the family” just wouldn’t cut it.

    Hey, but what do I know? No more than most people.

  14. D says:

    What a bunch of nonsense. You really think he’d rather sacrifice his personal honor for politics?

  15. Steve Cardon says:

    A soldier… or head of CIA is honor-bound to be completely loyal to the commander in chief. I believe he was ordered to do the cover up, and it was proper for him to do so.

    Men in his position do no have the choice. My guess is he tried to tender his resignation sooner, and was refused, because of how it would obviously look in the lead-up to the election.

    As I have said, time will prove who is right. If my guess is correct, more will come out in the investigation than the investigators want to.

    … but thanks for answering my initial question;-)

  16. Steve Cardon says:

    Post script:
    Here is a strange echo that occurred yesterday as well. This guy was set to take over as CEO of major defense contractor “Lockheed Martin “Note that he is an “incoming” CEO… was supposed to take over, as opposed to being a standing CEO… and it is a major defense contractor hmmmm

    He resigned supposedly over an improper relationship with a subordinate. See!!! obviously this sort of thing happens all the time.. except I have not seen a similar announcement in recent memory… and I tune into CNBC all day long while I am trading. So here is a weird three way (more actually) coincidence… but I avoid conspiracy theories preferring “possible” strategic planning.

  17. Steve Cardon says:

    Seems out of nowhere there is an epidemic of “improper relationships” causing high profile people to “step down”:

    It seems Romney should have sited “Elmo” rather than “Big Bird”

  18. Steve Cardon says:

    Paul Kranz, Mrs Broadwell’s father, suggested that his daughter was being targeted as part as part of a broader cover-up.

    “This is about something else entirely, and the truth will come out,” he told the New York Daily News outside the family home in North Dakota


  19. Steve Cardon says:

    If one simply lets the administration slide (as opposed to beating a horse that is far from dead), why do we need any checks and balances at all? Obama will win every war of attrition, and have Carte Blanche to spin and obfuscate his way out of every contraversy. Sure, let him do what he wants and not be answerable for the consequences. Who cares right? If you allow every redirection to succeed you will wind up concluding what he wants you to conclude, and go exactly where he wants you to go. “Baaaa”

  20. Steve Cardon says:

    Kinda funny how Romney himself tried to stick to talking about the economy, yet still got accused by the left and some of their conservative apologist allies on the right of over-playing the Benghazi issue.

    “It is depressing to see Fox News so desperately flogging the Benghazi attack in the last moments of the election. Is that really the best that Romney and the Republicans have at this point?”

    Lets face it, the left succeeded in unifying themselves, and dividing the right (apparently not a difficult task). Voices on the right were busy slamming the “Romney/Republican/Fox News” monolith as if they were coordinating on one continuous conference call


    …being contemptuous of any suggestion that there was a coordinated coverup of the Benghazi issue, and saying “well Bush did it too”!! And through incorrecly comparing the failure to protect a consolate where previous attacks had taken place that very summer, and AL QAEDA UNITS WERE KNOWN TO BE OPERATING IN THE AREA, with relatively unpredictable attacks elsewhere.

    To all those who spent their time during the election run-up sowing seeds of disunity and feelings of hopelessness amongst peers on the right… those who spent more time slamming conservatives than liberals (who outsmarted the Conservative “intellectuals” apparently), thanks.

    Those who might have aided their own “more important Issues” by contributing to, rather than undermining, the efforts to provide someone else a chance to forge compromise within Congress where Obama has failed and will continue to fail miserably.

    Those who might have used their visibility and erudition to persuade others to get behind just getting someone else elected… but elected instead to continuously flog their own issues which have already been thoroughly and more cleverly flogged by other Atheist thinkers…

    …You got the president you deserve. Maybe next election you might consider doing conservatives a favor and switch to the “Secular Left” which might be more “intellectually” honest anyways.

    At least THIS clumsy, unsophisticated, and unlettered “pundit” spent most of his time within his relatively limited sphere argueing to anyone who would listen, that they should not give up, and should endeavor to persuade others of the same. I allowed myself a few hours of despair “after” the election, then shook myself off and am now advocating others do the same.

    I will probably now put forth efforts to contribute to an emerging third party. We had a chance for a free-market capitalist who has experience in forging compromise to get into the White House.

    Unfortunately some of us claiming to be conservatives were unable to hold their collective noses for the good of the economy. Therefore our divisive president will continue to make a solution that much harder to reach… the Liberals are having a grand old time laughing at us.

  21. JC penny says:


    You always amuse me. Seems as though your statement, “I allowed myself a few hours of despair “after” the election, then shook myself off and am now advocating others do the same,” was bit premature. Your post indicates nothing of the sort. Not complaining, just noticing. 🙂

    As for the issue of the pre-mortem and the resistance of the right doing the right thing and voting for someone from the right, I totally agree with you. It is hard to understand how it happened, but we must. Simply put, there is a lot more energy in this country to cast a feel good vote than a do good vote. The left has far more huge blocks of citizenry that are more dedicated to their block than we do. Blacks, women, the naive youth, the I’m-not-a-racist-I-voted-for-the-guy-whose-dad-was-black-crowd (only they actually believe he’s all black).

    I have to admit, I did not like Romney during the primaries and liked him little more after the convention. Not enough to be running around telling everyone he was the guy that would save us. Quite the contrary, his bluntness regarding those on the dole that will vote to stay there (47% is a bad number) was spot on. During the debates, I wanted to see more of that straightforward, in your face commentary that would be more John Wayne than Pee Wee Herman. Unfortunately, his focus on talking points reduced his third debate to a matter of the “strong and experienced Commander-in-Chief” talking down his nose to the next contender. That’s when Romney began to unravel and lose the interest of his base. Then, Sandy hit and the press went into full court press to prop up the reputation of the Narcissist-in-Chief as being the right guy for the job. They won.

    The sad part about all of this is that every time Romney mentioned we were headed the way of Greece, only 10% (perhaps less) of the electorate understood what he was talking about – too many socialist bills not enough bill payers and riots, inflation, unemployment, and worse to come.

    I am not optimistic. There are far too many people that have bought into the politics of envy. Far too many Americans that believe winners are bullies and therefore bad. That the government is the sole source of charity. It will get a lot darker before the light. No third party will get us out of this.


  22. Steve Cardon says:

    JCP – Thank you for an excellent reply… and for replying at all (its seems a little like a ghost-town around here lately). Your amusement is well warranted;-) Shaking off the defeat has turned out to be more of a process than simply the decision to flip a switch. I appreciate the “Secular Right” for having indulged me.

    Romney was far from being the first choice for the republican candidate, and I can certainly say that about Paul Ryan. Unfortunately Romney was better than other Primary candidates, and that is a sad statement. I think Jim Cramer of CNBC would have been a MUCH better choice, but I don’t think he is crazy enough to subject himself to the level humiliation required.

    What the Democrats did was to say “we will win at all costs” and initiated a ground game more ruthless, clever, and understanding of the ignorance and pettiness or their fellow Americans than did the Republicans. That is how they won. That said, I think that there were enough lazy Liberals who did NOT go to the polls that there was still a Republican win possible had not many Arch Conservatives of various stripes decided they would stand on their various “principles” and abstained from voting.

    Had conservatives united more completely around the more vital imperative of voting Obama out office, it could have been done. We would have gotten a less than ideal, but much better than the alternative, President.

    That is why when Romney was nominated, I deliberately shut off (or at least held at bay) all the inner objections of a Libertarian leaning Atheist (though I obviously part company over national defense), and focused on the desirable aspects of the man. He was/is foremost a business man who saw himself in the messianic role of righting the “corporate ship America”, and going down in history as being the man who did so. We could have used someone with that focus.

    You are spot on about the problem of Americans not being able to understand even the most basic concepts that might otherwise protect them from lies of the left. Therein lies the problem of trying to conduct a campaign based on reason rather than slogans. Who do we entrust to educate children on the basic principles of how our country and the economy function?

    Obama is a brilliant politician, he and his close advisors understand Machiavellian principles chapter and verse… and the employ every last one of them. They understood that one more often loses by overestimating the intelligence and due diligence of the voting population. They played the most simplistic of identity politics and it worked.

    All that being said, I feel there was not enough ground game on the part of conservatives trying to stem the tide. It was not simply the responsibility of the Romney campaign to galvanize us into action, it was incumbent upon each us as individuals to do our individual parts to attempt to persuade our fellow conservatives to put aside differences and see the big picture. We failed individually and collectively. I blame myself for not doing more, even as engaged as I was.

    I know you are passionate about the rising tide of radical Islamicism in the Middle East, as am I. It is unfortunate that our president is so tolerant and receptive towards this very backwards religion. It is the bad programming that needs to be eradicated, not the people, but one can not effect such a reprogramming without removing the persuasive countervailing influences who are already locally entrenched. If you could reprogram without violence it would be ideal, but does not appear to be succeeding. Unfortunately time is running out and the “Arab Spring” has handed the Islamic clergy golden opportunities to establish more theocracies… just what we need.

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