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Romney Should Have Learned from Harper

November 7th, 2012 · 22 Comments

At 10 million square kilometres in size, you would think it’s pretty hard to not notice Canada: but we all are often amazed …and sometimes bristle … at how little our neighbours to the south know about our country, including their leaders.

Too bad for Mitt Romney and the Republicans, because Prime Minister Stephen Harper could have shown them how to achieve majority government and power with conservative fiscal and social policies:  keep the radical right-wingers at bay!

Harper learned very well, in his three years as leader of a minority government, that the road to victory north of the border was by sidelining … or silencing … and NOT advocating on behalf of  the anti-abortion, anti-women’s rights, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-medicare  rednecks on the right.

After all, he would get their votes anyway (not likely they’d opt for the Libs or NDP!), but Harper knew moderation was the key to success.

Romney and the Republicans went the other way: embracing, adopting policies, advocating and even promising to overturn social and political policies that should have been left behind.

They learned NOTHING from Conservative Harper’s success …probably never even thought about it or examined it … and lost.

The entire election campaign in the US ultimately came down to the eleven or so battleground states … populated very heavily by moderates, urban progressives, unionized and industrial workers, blacks, Latinos and other ethnic minorities and a large demographic of younger, educated voters … the America of the 21st Century.

But Romney instead catered largely to the old white dinosaurs … the Tea Partiers, the religious right, the anti-choice,  those with anti-minority and anti-immigrant, anti-gay biases ….  demonstrably a declining species in modern US.

And he paid for it dearly. Years of strategizing, 18 months of intense campaigning, thousands of miles of travel, hundreds of speeches, and billions of dollars spent …all lost because moderates rejected the far right message and meanness.

The election results clearly show President Barack Obama was ripe for the picking: the results in the popular vote and even so many swing states that the Democrats carried showed defeating him WAS quite within reach.

If only the Republicans had put forward more moderate policies and an agenda acceptable to middle of the road America …and had not catered to and fallen for the America represented by Fox News.

The voters spoke in the swing states … where it counted most, at the ballot boxes, and in no uncertain way rejected the radical right wing policies put forward for the past four years 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year by the Fox News’ dinosaurs: Hannity, Dick Morris, Charles Krauthamer, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump and the three stooges who host their morning show.

They may be popular with those old white right wingers of the South and much of the mid-West, but they would have still voted Republican, even with more moderate policies. But they scared away those the GOP most needed: the moderates who were up for grabs.

Speaking of Fox, I must say I enjoyed watching their election coverage best: flipping back and forth between the networks, I found myself constantly going back to Fox.

Their reports were fast, accurate, and they had clear, attractive graphics.  But those were not the main reason I watched.

For ONCE, Fox had to keep it real:  real numbers, real facts, real truth  .. in voting numbers and results.

They couldn’t twist, mislead, lie, twist and propagandize like thay have for the past four years; they could no longer pretend Obama was going down, almost everywhere, Republicans were way ahead in the polls, the GOP would make all kinds of gains; Obamacare would soon be overturned etc. etc.

So I enojyeed watching them all squirm, pull all the egg from off their facees, and start saying what WAS REALLY WRONG (there was a FOX FIRST!!!)with Romney, the Republicans and their campaign: that “legitimate rape” quote;  push to repeal Roe vs. Wade; anti-union legislation; failure to fully articulate economic solutions; move to the right on immigration legislation; overplaying Obama as a Marxist/Socialist; failure to take into account fewer Americans go to church regularly; fewer are married; lack of outreach or policies towards Latinos; Romney’s refusal to go on radio/tv talk shows; inability to convince middle class the GOP cares about them; changing social attitudes …moving closer to European views; and favorite… they had “a weak candidate field to choose from” … they ended up with  Romney.


If Fox was an HONEST news station, they would have AND should have pointed all these weaknesses/problems out BEFORE the polls closed, during the campaign.

Instead what they have broadcast was the closest thing in North America to what it must have been like in Communist Russia, watching Pravda: a news organization delivering the PARTY line … in this case, the Republican line …  regardless of truth.

I could not help but laugh …rare for watching election night coverage … imagining what it would be like for loyal Fox viewers, who believed ONLY the word and the world according to Fox …to wake up and see the voters keeping it real, and giving Obama not only another term, but vistory in the popular vote as well.


The truth is, the US will continue to move AWAY from the old white anti-anything-progressive Republican mythical America.  If the GOP wants a chance at EVER winning those key swing states, they have to start embracing the new reality.

And push aside or at least put a cap on the radical right wingers, the anti-women’s policies, the anti gays, the anti-immigrants, the Fox News agenda and reach out to Latinos, blacks who increasingly make up the new voter base.

Maybe they should ask Stephen Harper how it’s done.

Harv Oberfeld





Tags: International · National

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 DM Johnston // Nov 7, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Beware of those selling the FOX kool-aide, they drink so much of it, that they become believers.

    What happened in the USA was historic, by a bare margin, those not so well off, those who are not white, and those who are just different, cast more votes than the white establishment elites and those who think they are.

    Nothing will greatly change in the USA, as the political status-quo remains.

    The real question that will be answered soon is: “Will the elected Republican Congress men and women, still be held hostage by a few Tea-Party whack-a-do’s, which will lead them into oblivion during the next round of congressional elections?”

    That quote came from a Republican Party Strategist last night. He feared if Republican obstructionism of the Congress were to continue and because the Republican Party has a constantly diminishing Republican base, may lose big in the next round of elections.

    Sorry LB, even the Republicans are waking up to the demographic disaster before them and all the Tea party fanaticism and FOX kool-aide will not be able to save them.

  • 2 Larry Bennett // Nov 7, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Congrats boys and girls, you got what you wished for – As the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for, cuz you just might get it”! Enjoy the next 4 years!

  • 3 G. Barry Stewart // Nov 7, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I don’t know if Fox could have swayed more voters by keeping it real before the election. They have a style of broadcast that only a certain type of viewer watches seriously: the hardcore Republicans.

    But yes, there was lots of low-hanging fruit to be picked up by Romney, if he had stayed more moderate — and said next to nothing when challenged by the media, Mr. Harper style.

    Even closer to home, the BC Conservatives could have taught Romney a thing or two.

    During the U.S. race, one pundit proposed that this could be the last chance for a white guy to be president. That still leaves room for Hillary….

    (Response: The problem is …jusging by positions taken and the campaign thery ran … is that Romney?R/publican strategists believed and followed their lead. Wrong! h.o)

  • 4 ron wilton // Nov 7, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Not only were harpers concealmement of his hard right ideologies and secular leanings ignored by Romney, but he seems to have also ignored the robocall frauds, duplicated voters, voter suppression, storm trooping intimidation at all candidates meetings and various other Manning Institute tricks and treacheries designed to subvert the democratic process.

    (Response:Actually they seem to have their own dirty tricks here in Florida: in Miami Dade there were only six places for absentee voters to leave ballots on the day they could do that, in an area where there are normally 560 polling sites…causing absolute chaos, long lines; then on polling day, again not enough places to vote, so there were waits up to SEVEN HOURS to vote …last votes cast at 1:30 a.m.; and today at Noon, still counting the vote..expecting it will take several more hours. Incompetence …or deliberate attempts to discourage people from showing up? h.o)

  • 5 Beenie // Nov 7, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Harvey, why didn’t you tell Romney that his campaign was off track? Besides we don’t need copycats from the south of us. I like being different.
    The real winner was Romney. Who would really want to be President of the US and A? The looser is Obama who now has to deal with a divided government.

    (Response: So let’s understand your logic: a candidate runs so he can lose and not have take on the difficult job. Maybe you should send him a note of congratualtions. h.o)

  • 6 harry lawson // Nov 7, 2012 at 8:54 am

    harvey some great points,

    if the mitt romney that gave his concession speech showed up and behaved that way thru out the whole election ,we may have a new us president.

    however this was not a clear endorsement of obamba, he has a lot of mending fences

    it will be interesting if he offers mitt romney a role in his administration.

    (Response:Yes…the Romney we saw concede would probably have won! h.o)

  • 7 kootcoot // Nov 7, 2012 at 9:24 am

    “Too bad for Mitt Romney and the Republicans, because Prime Minister Stephen Harper could have shown them how to achieve majority government and power with conservative fiscal and social policies: “

    I agree with many, maybe even most of your points in the above post, however there are two points of contention in the above quote.

    First Stephen Harper can
    not teach the Republicans anything other than how to suppress the vote, techniques like robo-calls and how to try and exploit wedge issues. But these are all things he learned from watching them (especially KKKarl Rove ) that work better here in Canada than they do to our south, though for awhile they worked well for the Repubs.

    The reason these tactics don’t work anymore in the US is primarily demographics and the fact that third parties are so irrelevant. In my lifetime only Ross Perot and possibly Ralph Nader in 2000 have affected electoral results and in 2000, Fat Tony Scalia and Katherine Harris were more relevant than Nader.

    One cannot win in the US with less than forty percent of the vote, as Harper managed in 2011. Harper’s days are numbered and his only hope going forward is that the Liberal Party comes back strong enough to again split the non-Harper vote (6 out of 10) but not strong enough to retake their position as the natural governing party.

    The other point of disagreement above is the fantasy that right wing governments practice “conservative fiscal and social policies.” That is what they say, but invariably conservative governments run up previously unimaginable deficits and left in power long enough generally create a Great Depression or a situation like 2007-2008. Reagan set new standards for running up the debt, in spite of double digit tax hikes, Bu$h the Lesser squandered Clinton’s surplus (actually Clinton governed more like a conservative than credit-card wielding war-monger Bu$h) and both Mulroney and Harper did it here (not to mention the Campbell Crusty Crew here in BeeCee).

    Yeah, yeah, Obama has grown the debt, but like FDR, he took office during imminent economic chaos created by the previous years of so-called “conservative fiscal policies!”

    Also, if you hadn’t noticed, now that he has his majority Stevie has been allowing his equivalent members like Raping for God Mourdock and Legitimate Rape Todd Akin loose more and more lately. If only they would discuss aborting the JSF-35 as much as they try to defy science and define life using a two thousand year old document.

    BTW, I confess that I too peeked in on Faux, I would imagine that this morning Faux is negotiating with the Comedy Channel, to buy the rights to their name. Thanx for doubling up on the good wishes too, Larry and I will do my best to enjoy the next four years, that’s what I do every year!

  • 8 frosty // Nov 7, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I agree with all of the above but….racism is a huge part of the story.

    Anyone see Trump’s latest tweets?

    (Response: I don’t follow trump’s tweets. See him enough on tv already. h.o)

  • 9 teririch // Nov 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    @frosty #8:

    I think Trump’s comb-over has afffected his brain – the man has lost the plot. He needs to take the whole pill and quit cutting them in half.

    I followed his ‘Tweets’ last night (until some disappeared….) Supremely a*sy.

  • 10 beenie // Nov 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Harvey, Romney didn’t know what he was getting into. That’s why he ran. Who said he was smart? He got lucky that he lost.

  • 11 kootcoot // Nov 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    ” then on polling day, again not enough places to vote, (in Miami-Dade)”

    Betcha up in the racist red panhandle there was a polling station on every block…………….

    (Response: Yes…I’m sure. It was horrible in Miami Dade … people had to wait seven hours to vote ..(who would wait that long in Canada?)and they’re still counting 24 hours after the polls closed. Awful! Deliberate? h.o)

  • 12 Diverdarren // Nov 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I don’t see how the Republicans reconcile this problem.

    At nomination time the candidate has to play to the membership, and that means suck up to the Tea Party. You would look two faced if after securing the party nomination you then hit the campaign trail with a moderate message.

    Besides a party schism, where you drop the Tea Baggers how can you silence the radical right?

    (Response: Well, unless they find a way, they are in for a bleak electoral future, because the US demographic is moving forward to increasing diversity, not back to the “good ole days”. h.o)

  • 13 Mo // Nov 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Never watch Fox news…they are just this side of being Whores. For sale at the right price…. despicable

  • 14 Larry Bennett // Nov 7, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Oh, and apparently in Philadelphia they had the Black Muslims or somesuch threatening voters outside the polls again. There never were any charges laid last time this occurred, 4 years ago, even though the authorities were informed. Did you hear this one? Do you know why so many Blacks were killed in Viet Nam? Cuz everytime the Sarge shouted :Get down! they all jumped up and started dancing!

  • 15 Barry Stewart // Nov 8, 2012 at 5:33 am

    On CBC radio this morning, a reporter was in Bellingham to get reaction to the passing of the gay marriage bill and legalizing of recreational marijuana.

    An apparent Romney supporter said, “Well, you know… now we’re going to have a bunch of gays smoking marijuana.”

    LOL! Once you get gold like that, you might as well pack up and head for the border.

    Link: play tape at 2 hours 30:40

  • 16 Ed Seedhouse // Nov 8, 2012 at 10:06 am

    The far right of the republican party basically took it over in 2010, and were still in control in 2011/12 primary season.

    Say what you want about them, they turned out their people and the moderates didn’t. So basically you had to be a “tea party” candidate to get nominated in many positions (or at least do a credible imitation of one).

    Don’t forget the US has it’s primary system which is open to this kind of takeover.

    So the reason Romney didn’t follow Harper’s strategy is that he couldn’t. By the time he had the nomination he had moved so far to the crazy right that he didn’t have time to move back to the center quickly enough to win.

    The strategy you suggest would have been quite likely to work if implemented, but different systems require different strategies. Harper got to be in total control of his party for several years, and had the time to implement it. Romney did not.

    (Response: We now see the danger …and the consequences …when extremists gain control of the nominations and the agenda: imagine the social conflicts (protests, marches, even violence)in the US if they had won and tried to roll back those things they oppose! h.o)

  • 17 Wholyman // Nov 8, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Larry B , please , ‘Deliver us from evil “

  • 18 Edgar // Nov 8, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Two different systems and two ways of moving economic agendas forward.

    In the Canadian multi-party system you create coalitions of interest to control Parliament, the Liberals created a coalition between federalist Quebecois and Ontario to maintain power, the Progressive Conservatives between Quebec Nationalist, and Western Canada, and the Harper Conservatives between suburban Toronto and Vancouver, and the Western Provinces. On the policy side minor adjustments are made to social justice issues to give the impression of progress while the economic interests and agenda of the so called 1% or the plutocracy are protected and advanced.

    As witnessed by the recent election in America the campaign was not about vision, policy, or legislative agendas, in fact it is hard to figure out what it was about other than electing a President who is softer on the progressive social issues. The difference between President Obama and Romney as one analyst has pointed out is that Obama gives the appearance of being inclusive and non-threatening, whereas Romney was exclusive.

    If there was truly a change in the America electorate as the MSM would have us believe it would have been reflected in the congressional elections, as this where the powerful influence groups know the real power resides in the US. With the current structure of the Supreme Court, the Senate in a deadlock because of the 60% majority rule, Congress controlled by Republicans and a President a captive of Wall Street and the business interests and with no vision or legislative agenda the 1% will sleep easily knowing they have little to worry about for the time being, at least.

    (Response: Any system that has its leader to come from one party but its congress to be ruled by another sets itself up for gridlock ..and it’s been made worse in recent years, when cmapigning for the next election begins the day after the previous one ends. h.o)

  • 19 kootcoot // Nov 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Larry, your racist (and retarded) tendencies are flaring up bad. Opening a door for nice white old ladies is not voter intimidation and telling Vietnam Era racist jokes is just so……………..outdated not to mention tasteless, even in the 1960’s. I’m pretty confident you would have been much happier in some earlier time when you could have been a real genuine serf!

  • 20 Larry Bennett // Nov 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Crazier than a coot: it would be an outright lie to say that these thugs were holding open doors for white voters – On the other hand, it would seem that a little humour, is seen as racist, but Catholic jokes are okay eh, Coot. But yours aren’t jokes., they are out and out hatred of the institution, its Pope and its clerics and its teachings, and …evident here, its adherents. Take a long look into the mirror buddy!

  • 21 Larry Bennett // Nov 9, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Sorry about the Latin response, didn’t realize it frightened you Harve, I wonder if a little Greek would cause a retreat? Kyrie eleison!

  • 22 Gilbert // Nov 11, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Mitt Romney came very close. Unlike Barack Obama, he knows how to run a business. I think the secret videotape with the comments about 47% of Americans hurt him as well as the media’s failure to cover Barack Obama’s deception and incompetence with respect to Libya.

    Another reason for the loss was his failure to respond to the president’s ads that made him look like a cold businessman who only cared about the rich. He needed to talk about Bain’s successes.

    I also have to mention the comments on rape by two Republican senators. They obviously hurt Mitt Romney. What pro-life Republicans need to understand is that they must express compassion for all survivors of rape and acknowledge that abortion is a sensitive subject where many hold an opposing view. I predict that by the end of President Obama’s second term, the national debt will be over $20 million. He’s excellent at wasting money!

    (Response: I agree with your assessments of Romney’s mistakes. As for the growing deficit, I think it will come down …barring any new wars… because BOTH parties realize it MUST ort the US’s intl credit ratings could be damaged. h.o)