In a conference call to donors on Wednesday, Mitt Romney said that Obama won because he gave "gifts" to women, young people, blacks, and Latinos, in effect that they were bribed to vote for him. This tone-deaf comment brought instantaneous and near universal condemnation from Republicans, who quickly realized that insulting the voters you want to get is not a good strategy. On the facts, when any President carries out his campaign promises, this results in "gifts" to some people. If Romney had won and had reduced taxes by 20%, that would have been a big "gift" to people who pay high taxes, that is, the very rich. In a sense, "gifts" are an essential part of democracy. People support particular candidates because they hope he will give them what he promised.
The problem with Romney's remark is that it is an echo of the "47%" remark he made at a fund raiser earlier this year. What he was really implying both times is that 53% of Americans are hard working and the 47% have managed to get laws passed to take away some of their hard-earned money and give it to lazy people who don't deserve anything. The responses to Romney's most recent comment were swift and harsh. Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), said: "I absolutely reject that notion, that description." Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM) said: "We have to start electing people who look like their communities." At this point, Republicans want Romney to exit stage right and never be seen or heard from again. It is rare for a party to reject its own candidate so strongly and so quickly after a loss. John McCain and John Kerry certainly were not told to shut up and leave after their respective losses.
The newly elected NRSC chairman, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), is going to have to make some tough decisions in the course of the next year. One of the main jobs of the NRSC chairman is to recruit challengers to the 20 sitting Democratic senators who will be up for reelection in 2014. After the disastrous candidacies of Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, and Ken Buck, all tea party candidates who defeated an establishment candidate in a primary and then went on to lose a general-election battle the Republicans should have won, Republicans are coming to realize that candidate recruitment is the key to winning.
Many Republicans feel that the key to winning is to avoid extreme tea party candidates, who do well only in extremely red states (think: Rand Paul in Kentucky, Jim DeMint in South Carolina, and Ted Cruz in Texas). For this reason they want Moran to recruit moderate candidates in states that aren't as red and especially states where a Democrat managed to get elected. The problem is that Moran himself, is extremely conservative, in fact, a member of the Senate tea party caucus. This puts him in a bind. He can follow his own instincts and try to find very conservative candidates and then support them in the primaries (and have the party establishment screaming at him), or he can look for candidates he thinks are too moderate and shouldn't be in office. It is a fine line for him to walk.
If Sen. Patty Murray wants to remain as DSCC chairwoman, she would be reelected by acclamation, but after having held the post twice, she has apparently decided it is someone's else's turn. There are rumors that majority leader Harry Reid has offered the job to Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). If true, this would be an odd choice, since Bennet is new to the Senate and lacks the strong partisan drive that previous DSCC chairs, including Murray, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), have had. One of Bennet's strengths, however, is that he survived a heated race in a swing state. With half a dozen vulnerable Democrats to defend in red states, including Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, and South Dakota, Bennet might just project enough of a moderate image to help them.
At the start of the year, almost everyone expected the Republicans to capture the Senate. Instead, the Democrats picked up two seats. How did this happen? The Democrats got a few lucky breaks, with inferior candidates winning Republican primaries in a few states, but a lot of the credit goes to the team at the DSCC. Charlie Cook takes a look at it.
Yesterday, the AP called a Sacramento-area congressional race between Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) and physician Ami Bera in favor of Bera. However, there are still five House races where the winner is not known. Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ) and Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC) hold small leads. Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) is trailing Democrat Scott Peters. Rep. Allen West (R-FL) has probably lost but refuses to concede. Finally, a runoff will be held in December between two Republicans, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) and Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA) in Louisiana.