Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Campaign 2012 ~ Defining Hometown

Downtown Janesville, Wisconsin

For years Republicans have enjoyed pointing out that if Al Gore had won his home state of Tennessee in the presidential election, he wouldn't have needed Florida, and the vote wouldn't have been decided by the Supreme Court in favor of George W. Bush.

Let's ignore the fact that Gore was much more a citizen of Washington D.C. than Nashville, plus the fact the he knew he seemed further to the left than Bill Clinton on most issues so Tennesseans wouldn't vote for him. He never had an illusions of sweeping all areas of the country, and some would say that Gore actually won Florida, but moving on . . .

This year, Obama won not only his birth-state of Hawaii, but his adopted home state of Illinois. Hawaii matters because of the crazy birthers who seem to forget that Hawaii IS a state of the union, but also because it is a diverse state reflecting the demographic changes that are coming for the rest of the country.

Romney lost Michigan, his birthplace, where he bragged no one needed to ask for his birth certificate. He can blame it on his previous statement that "Detroit should go bankrupt," but the fact remains that he made multiple trips to Michigan and named-dropped his father George, who was once Governor of Michigan, yet it did him absolutely no good.

Romney lost Massachusetts where he was governor once back in his "moderate left-leaning" days. Once Romney swung far to the left and began rubbing elbows with Donald Trump and quoting Rush Limbaugh, he was never going to win the Bay State.

Romney lost New Hampshire where he has the "lake house" even though he campaigned hard there and never took it out of his equation to get to 270 electoral votes.

Romney lost California where the cars in his special elevator garage live. But obviously - he was never going to win there in Blue Land.

He did win Utah, where he graduated summa cum laude from Brigham Young University and "saved the Olympics" as they say. But seriously - any Republican on the ticket was going to win Utah, a solidly red state full of Mormons. Did I mention Romney is a Mormon? So yeah, he won Utah.

But his running mate Paul Ryan had even more trouble connecting with the hometown crowd, if that's possible.

Part of Ryan's stump speech for months - and really for all of his career - was "I'm from the small-town of Janesville, Wisconsin, where my family has lived for decades," or something of that nature. He said it in every interview, in every town-hall meeting, in every speech. His wife and kids live in Janesville instead of Washington and I suspect part of that is so his children can grow up there and use it in their own campaign speeches someday.

But on election night, Janesville said "thanks but no thanks" to Paul Ryan. He not only didn't win the town of Janesville, he didn't win the district, or the state of Wisconsin.

Yet in post-election interviews Ryan is blaming the "urban" voters for his loss, which is ridiculous. Janesville isn't "urban" and I assume most of the town is as white as Paul Ryan. He can't accept that he is out of step with his own hometown.

The L.A. Times Story
. . . the Romney-Ryan ticket didn’t exactly connect with the voters back in Janesville, either.

A struggling blue-collar manufacturing town of 63,575, Janesville lies on the eastern edge of Rock County, Wis., and unofficial election tabulations from the county clerk there show that only 37% of Ryan’s hometown neighbors voted for him and his running mate. Meanwhile, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden got 62% of the Janesville vote.

The results were even slightly worse for Ryan from his own polling place at the Hedberg Public Library. Out of 1,428 votes cast there, 65% went for Obama-Biden and just 34% for Romney-Ryan.

. . . in Janesville proper, Ryan fared only a little better in his congressional run than he did in the vice presidential one. Zerban grabbed 54% of the Janesville vote to 44% for Ryan. And at the Hedberg library polling spot, Ryan was the choice of just 41% of voters to 58% for Zerban.

Ryan explained it this way, admitting he lost Janesville due to being too far right, but coming back to this "urban" thesis to explain it away (I guess he is talking about Milwawkee?. Whatever - the truth hurts.

Huffington Post
"Well, as you know, Janesville is a very Democratic town, but I'm a Republican," Ryan said in an interview with Janesville radio station WCLO. "But I've always done very well here, because more people saw me not as a Republican but just as a Janesville guy."

"When you join a national ticket for a party, you become more seen as a Republican guy than necessarily a Janesville guy," he continued. "So I think my image, or the thought people had in their minds of me once I joined the Republican ticket, was more 'Paul Ryan, Republican,' than 'Paul Ryan, Janesville guy.'"

At 11.5 points, Ryan's congressional victory margin in the state was the smallest of his eight House campaigns.

During the interview, Ryan also admitted that President Barack Obama's reelection team ran a better campaign than the Romney/Ryan folks, chalking the Democrats' win up to their ability to mobilize the "urban" vote.

"What the president and his campaign excelled at doing is mobilizing turnout in their critical base areas, and they expanded the turnout above the norms," he said. "They had record turnout in urban areas and all of our polling did not project that kind of turnout, and that's why we thought we had a very good chance at winning this race going into election day."

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