Political Animal


November 07, 2012 2:35 AM Nite Owl Notes

By Ed Kilgore

Just watched the president’s speech, and thought it was a very impressive effort for someone who had to be bone-tired. Critics will call it non-substantive, but it provided about as thorough a “communitarian” message as one can imagine, in recognition that he defeated a candidate and a party that rejected government as an instrument for solving problems, and rejected the relevance of many millions of Americans to growth, prosperity, and even democracy. Besides: give the guy a break. He can get practical next week.

I haven’t had a chance to really assess the conservative reaction, other than the very public freakout of Karl Rove to network projections that Obama had won Ohio. Some will blame Romney, some will blame Sandy, and some, of course, will claim fraud and vote-buying. It was not a good sign that John Boehner made a point of reiterating the fanatical opposition of any tax increases, a position that makes a mockery of all of Mitt Romney’s professions of bipartisanship, late in the campaign and in his concession speech tonight. I still see no signs of any serious reflection among Republicans of the shortcomings, moral and political, of conservative ideology. But we’ll know more in the next few days.

In terms of late returns: Obama has moved well ahead in the national popular vote and should continue to gain as late urban boxes and the Pacific Coast states check in. So there will be no “split decision.” The networks have called Virginia for Obama, putting him over 300 electoral votes, and it still looks like he’ll eventually win Florida, which means that Obama took every state he won four years ago other than Indiana and North Carolina. I think we know now that the polls were more accurate than the pundits and the spinners during the last few weeks, and that the Obama GOTV effort was indeed as good as advertised.

In other late returns, Heidi Heitkamp still has a tiny lead in North Dakota with virtually all the votes in; Jon Tester still has an impressive lead with a lot of votes in Montana remaining out. Dean Heller has taken the lead over Shelly Berkley in Nevada. Democrats have held onto the governorship of Montana, and Republicans held onto the governorship of North Dakota.

Jay Inslee has a narrow lead in the Washington gubernatorial race, but as we know from past elections, that state counts mail ballots postmarked by Election Day, so the final results could be a long time coming.

Here in California, the momentous struggle over the gridlock-busting Prop 30 is, as expected, coming down to the wire, but it’s now narrowly ahead with a little over a third of the vote in (one might expect the earliest counted votes, mail ballots, to be somewhat more conservative than those cast today). It also looks like the union-busting Prop. 32 will lose. It’s too early to call a number of close congressional races in California, where the House map was roiled by a new nonpartisan redistricting system. But at the moment, several incumbent Republicans are in potential trouble, including Dan Lungren, Mary Bono-Mack, and Brian Bilbray. Vulnerable Democrats Jerry McInerny, Jim Costa and Lois Capps seem to be in good shape. Republican Tony Strickland has a tiny lead over Democrat Julia Browning in a hyper-competitive open Republican district. It’ll all be clearer in the morning.

That’s it for a few hours, but we’ll have plenty of final election coverage and post-election analysis on Wednesday.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Anniecat45 on November 07, 2012 3:09 AM:

    It would be so wonderful if we could lose Dan Lungren. He's been slime since he was Attorney General.

  • N.Wells on November 07, 2012 8:13 AM:

    One of the sweeter outcomes is all the money that a bunch of rich people blew on the Republicans with absolutely nothing to show for it. I was really afraid of what a few billion would be able to buy in terms of elections, but on the whole the electorate seems to have developed an immunity to all the lying political ads.

    Among the winners are the non-partisan pollsters. Among the bigger losers (besides the Republicans and people in Republican-gerrymandered congressional districts) are the partisan pollsters, and most of the media pundits. The last time the media failed this badly in its responsibility to report critically and evaluate honestly was in the run-ups to the Iraq invasions, and the Gore-Bush election and its aftermath, and the Kerry/Bush election, and the whole Republican/Washington politics mess during Obama's first term. Hmm, guess there's a bit of a pattern going on there.

  • J on November 07, 2012 8:59 AM:

    I agree with N. Wells, but there is a downside. The huge industry of liars, professional slanderers, propagandists and mountebanks to whom all that money went isn't going away.

  • Oh my on November 07, 2012 9:31 AM:

    I havenít had a chance to really assess the conservative reaction

    Conservatives needn't react at all. Their mouthpieces in the corporately owned US media seem to be happily telling everyone who voted on Tuesday that there is no mandate for Obama to govern. You see, Obama only won/will win 332 electoral college votes when he really needed to win 286 electoral college votes. THAT would have given him a mandate like Bush in 04.


  • Karen on November 07, 2012 9:35 AM:

    May we please have one thread devoted to pure schadenfreude? I can't gloat to my family, friends, or coworkers, but I really want to go somewhere and just enjoy the right wing's collective gasket-blowing.

  • del on November 07, 2012 9:41 AM:

    It's really telling that pundits this morning is still repeating the lie that the president have to step up and reach across the isle like he has not done this and tried to do this his entire presidency. Instead of talking about how before the election was over we had the Repugs restating their total game plan to stay the same as Boehner came out with that statement and so did McConnell. When will they start holding them accountable? Seems like never. And a number of pundits should be ashamed for themselves as they still putting forth the republicans positions. Trying to say because his margin of victory wasn't by a large percentage point then somehow this does not mean America agrees with and want the presidents view to move forward. How pathetic.

  • boatboy_srq on November 07, 2012 9:44 AM:

    @Oh my:

    Anti-colonialist, Kenyan, IslamoFascist, uppity usurpers never have a mandate to govern. Mandates are reserved for heterocentric, Caucasian, FundiEvangelical (possible exception for Mormons, though 2012 voting results may void that), 1%, spend-without-taxation types.


  • berttheclock on November 07, 2012 9:50 AM:

    Dick "May I borrow your Loofah, O'Reilly" Morris was on early AM FAUX demanding the Congressional Republicans not give in to President Obama on anything.

  • bos'n on November 07, 2012 10:16 AM:

    Me so, so happy. Reading about Rove's freakout makes me wish I had the stomach to watch Fox News at times.

  • anongal on November 07, 2012 4:01 PM:

    Rove portrayed one truth--that he runs Fox News.
    Despite anything she subsequently says, Megyhan Kelly had to lower herself yet further by making the trek to carry Rove's hysterical complaints to the Fox numbers crunchers. It was laughable and pathetic.
    I just happened to switch to the channel and watched that travesty-- and she looked pissed. Even complained later that Rove himself would have to go if he needed it again.
    Most people felt Rove and Romney's combined big delay seemed like a denial of facts of reality that they lost.

  • Eva Cyrus on November 07, 2012 11:27 PM:

    I still see no signs of any serious reflection among Republicans of the shortcomings, moral and political, of conservative ideology. But we’ll know more in the next few days. House Removals london