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Monday, November 12, 2012

Shorter Danny Westneat: If Only Republicans Hadn't Been So Forthright About Who They Are and What They Believe in, They Would've Won the Election. Or something.

Posted by on Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 8:44 AM

I have a lot of nits to pick with Danny Westneat's post-election analysis, not the least of which being the unstated Part II of his thesis: If in fact, as Danny says, the Republicans "could've, would've, should've" won the election had they not "botched it, big time" by being the God Loves Rape-Babies Party or something, it kinda-sorta implies that Democrats had nothing to do with their own victory. Certainly, Danny's column doesn't give them any credit.

Yes, Republicans contributed greatly to their own defeat, but the Democrats put up strong candidates, campaigned strategically, and conducted a helluva GOTV effort. And many of them won their elections while being substantially outspent.

But my bigger nit is with Danny's presentation of public perceptions of Obamacare:

And then this contrary factoid: Here in the supposed Soviet of Washington, 53 percent of voters told exit pollsters they want to scrap either all or parts of the health-care-reform law. Only 41 percent said they want to keep it or expand it.

[...] Remember, the voters of the state tend to agree with McKenna about the health-care law. But I bet they were looking for a more mature approach. Such as: How can we fix this law?

Except, I betcha, Danny, that the majority of state voters don't actually understand the health-care law. Explain to voters the provisions on pre-existing conditions and portability and keeping adult children on their policies, etc., and voters will support these overwhelmingly. Of course, they hate the mandate. Who likes a mandate? But if they actually understood how it worked, they wouldn't hate it so much.

Come back in four years—after Obamacare has been fully implemented—and poll voters about whether they want it repealed. It'll be a different story. That's why Republicans fought so hard to repeal it before voters could start enjoying its benefits.

That Republicans "could've" won this election, I don't dispute. That Rob McKenna "should've" won by misrepresenting to voters both Obamacare and the real-world impact of the lawsuit he pushed, strikes me as an awfully cynical analysis. Or awfully simple. Or just plain awful.


Comments (27) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
people who disagree with goldy must just not understand what they are talking about.
that's the only possible explanation....
Posted by Goldy:Full of Shit;24/7 on November 12, 2012 at 8:51 AM · Report this
I was continually shocked this election season by how often the Rs said outrageous things and never walked them back. I kept thinking, "You have every right to think those things, but do you realise you're saying them out loud?" It became OK to say the most extreme things, and the mainstream media barely challenged them. I presume the Dems decided that they couldn't spend all their time saying, "That's not true" to everything, and I wondered if that was Republican policy, to try to get the Dems to waste their time arguing straw men. The Dems refused to do it.
Posted by originalcinner on November 12, 2012 at 9:03 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 3
I always thought the term "Obamacare" was used as a slur for what was The Healthcare Reform Act. Attach Obama's name and "you know who" gets their panties in a bunch.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on November 12, 2012 at 9:05 AM · Report this
pfffter 4
Please, just let them go on believing such things so they continue to lose elections.
Posted by pfffter on November 12, 2012 at 9:07 AM · Report this
What is up with your obsession with the Times? We all hate the Times, we don't want to read it and we don't come here to have it shoved in our faces.
Posted by moomia on November 12, 2012 at 9:13 AM · Report this
prompt 6
What I've noticed people have the most problem with is that healthcare premiums have gone up a few thousand dollars. That's what people have a problem with, not the law itself. Get those premiums to go down, and they'll have no problem with it.
Posted by prompt on November 12, 2012 at 9:26 AM · Report this
prompt 7
Let's try to pretend that people are at least somewhat aware of the affect that this program is having on their lives. A few thousand dollars is not an inconsiderable concern for many people.
Posted by prompt on November 12, 2012 at 9:28 AM · Report this
Just Jeff 8
Oddly, Westneat's column has all but disappeared from the Times web site. No active links unless you do a search.
Posted by Just Jeff on November 12, 2012 at 9:29 AM · Report this
Goldy 9
@6 Actually, a lot of people have started seeing their premiums go down, while others have actually gotten refunds.
Posted by Goldy on November 12, 2012 at 9:39 AM · Report this
cressona 10
I can't fault Westneat for the facts he recites. Yes, voters in deep blue Washington approved yet another Eyman initiative. And I'm not surprised that, when asked, Washington voters say government does too much, and they say they're not happy with the Affordable Care Act. In a terrific NY Mag piece a few weeks ago, The Tea Party Will Win in the End, Frank Rich cites much the same statistics about American voter sentiments.

What I have to fault Westneat for is his willingness to accept the present-day GOP's framing of all these issues. Locally, Republicans ran a strong (with a few exceptions), mostly moderate slate of candidates.

When you actually get to the substance, there was nothing moderate about the GOP's flagship candidate in this state, Rob McKenna. Against the wishes of the current governor, he sued to have the Affordable Care Act repealed, even though it took some legal contortions to make any case it was unconstitutional. Against the will of the voters and despite the economic benefits, he has repeatedly tried to sabotage light rail in this region.

Well, Westneat goes on to acknowledge that McKenna wasn't so moderate after all, contradicting himself in the process. In this respect, maybe I shouldn't fault him so much. By contradicting himself, he's a lot like the American voter.
Posted by cressona on November 12, 2012 at 10:00 AM · Report this
"Except they botched it, big time. By spending much of the year suicidally insulting huge swaths of the voting public."

WHY did they keep insulting people?
Is it because they BELIEVE those insults were appropriate?

"That Washington state finally has become a proper extension of the People's Republic of Seattle."

Wait for it.

"When what people wanted was some adults in the room."

So you talk about how the "people" wanted "adults".
Then you shift to an insult.
And then you shift AGAIN to how Republicans kept insulting people and how this hurt their elections.

"Soviet of Washington"
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on November 12, 2012 at 10:01 AM · Report this
Goldy, you should go back and read the "Truth Needle" the Times did about the TV ad attacking McKenna for his Tea Party speech. They said the ad was mostly untrue or something and picked it apart to make it seem like Democrats were exaggerating McKenna's ties to the Tea Party. But Danny then says that connection -- just as presented frankly in the ad -- may have cost McKenna the election. That truth squad was b.s.
Posted by Truth squading the truth squad on November 12, 2012 at 10:05 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 13
Affordable Care Act. My error.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on November 12, 2012 at 10:05 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 14
If you create a society of the 1% and have a democracy based on majority rule, eventually it catches up to you.

(Well, unless you can hypnotize everyone...)

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on November 12, 2012 at 10:26 AM · Report this
DOUG. 15
Also, George W. Bush. (Never forget).
Posted by DOUG. on November 12, 2012 at 10:29 AM · Report this
@ Goldy please don't give any publicity to the idiot simpleton, Westneat, he doesn't know squat about Seattle, and even less about all other subjects, the guy's a total douchebagging moron!

The article below is talking about you, Goldy, you!…

You aren't supposed to question more halfwits, lowbrows and simpletons at The Sleazattle Times, son.

Posted by sgt_doom on November 12, 2012 at 10:39 AM · Report this
The Westneat article cites Esser, McKenna, Finkbeiner and Dino Rossi as Moderates!! Yikes! Maybe Dan Evans was a moderate, but not those 4! I'd like to see a citation for the "53% of WA voters would scrap Affordable Healthcare Act". That seems doubtful in a state that was a given for Obama. (Note: my auto-correct changed Dino Rossi to dump tissue-I kid you not-and that sums it up for the current GOP!)
Posted by pat L on November 12, 2012 at 10:51 AM · Report this
What exactly does he mean by "voters told exit pollsters" when talking about WA state? Was I supposed to talk to an exit pollster on my way to the mail box?
Posted by JonnyH on November 12, 2012 at 10:55 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 19
OK, 53%, but a large portion of those folks want something MORE socialist: Single-Payer, National Health.

There is an opinion on the ACA that's to the LEFT of the Democratic Party, Westneat.
Posted by Max Solomon on November 12, 2012 at 10:59 AM · Report this
Just Jeff 20

Yes, we had exit polls. Not even all such polls were literally conducted outside polling places when we voted in person. The term simply refers to polling of those who voted - not to the physical means of voting. Sheesh.
Posted by Just Jeff on November 12, 2012 at 11:08 AM · Report this
Original Andrew 21
@ 18,

That's exactly what I was thinking. How does a vote by mail state have exit polls?

Maybe Westneat polled the Seattle Slimes' editorial staff as they were exiting a Conspiracy to Declare Rob McKKKenna Dictator for Life meeting.
Posted by Original Andrew on November 12, 2012 at 11:12 AM · Report this
Original Andrew 22
@ Goldy,

Some people's premiums went down?? My Group Health premiums shot up 15% just in July. The premiums have more than doubled since I signed up a few years ago, and now I'm required by law to pay them. That's the reason the "Affordable" Care Act makes me apoplectic.

I'd have preferred for Congress to drop the age restrictions on Medicare and increase Medicare taxes, or alternatively allowed us to buy into the system. But President Obama conspired with the greed-crazed, blood-sucking, private insurance industry to keep those choices off-the-table. It's just another scheme to siphon off dollars from the (former) middle class to the wealthy.

Posted by Original Andrew on November 12, 2012 at 11:21 AM · Report this
Posted by sgt_doom on November 12, 2012 at 11:28 AM · Report this
I thought that this Westneat column was one of the weakest he's ever done--poorly argued, not well written and just kind of weird. Perhaps he was trying to make the point that Washington isn't as deep blue as some may now be assuming - but if that's his argument he did a crappy job of it
Posted by Fluffy on November 12, 2012 at 11:34 AM · Report this
prompt 25
@9 You're probably right. But many people have had their health insurance costs go up. If I'm voting with my wallet, I'm taking those cost changes into account.
Posted by prompt on November 12, 2012 at 12:10 PM · Report this
@10, @17, the exact problem with today's Republican party is that these people (from what I know of Washington politics, mostly from reading Slog) ARE the moderates. Sure, twenty or thirty years ago, they'd have been the lunatic fringe, but that GOP is dead and gone (except for Susan Collins).

Hell, a couple weeks ago, Sam fucking Brownback, who aside from being the theocrat par excellence, has led Kansas into a fiscal disaster through tax cuts that have utterly failed to produce the economic recovery promised by the Norquist wing and bankrupted the state (I'm sure it's all Obama's fault), was called a moderate by one of the otherwise more thoughtful conservative writers I read. That's how far the GOP has lurched to the right. The actual moderates have been almost entirely purged from the party.
Posted by Corydon on November 12, 2012 at 2:17 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 27
I agree with Westneat.

Yes, Obama ran a great campaign, and Westneat should have pointed that out, but the nature of the Republican primaries doomed any Republican candidate from the start, since they were forced to verbalize policies that are too extreme for the public at large but indeed are part of the Republican platform. (E.g., no abortions, period, no exception for rape, incest, or the mother's/child's viability; no amnesty or path to citizenship for any immigrant here illegally. Etc.)

And from the "Romney wan't conservative enough" drumbeat over at RedState, it sounds like they'll put up an even worse candidate next time around.
Posted by Free Lunch on November 12, 2012 at 10:00 PM · Report this

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