- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 4, 2014

For analysts and thought leaders, the day after Election Day is just as good as Election Day itself. They get to tell us what it all means. Or doesn’t mean.

“The main focus for the next two years must be to lay out the conservative worldview, in contrast to President Obama‘s — namely that a strong U.S. presence in the world is critical to maintaining our way of life here at home,” former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton tells Inside the Beltway. “We must hold the Obama administration accountable and set the table for dramatic change in the next presidency; 2016 can’t come soon enough. I expect to be at the center of the debate on economic, energy and national security.”

Indeed, many heavyweights will square their shoulders on Wednesday and weigh in on momentous midterms — Ralph Reed, for example. The chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition joins ace pollster Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies at the National Press Club in midmorning to talk over the impact of faith-driven voters and release a survey of same. Republican brass, meanwhile, assemble at high noon in an unusual display of force for press and public; the event will be carried live by C-SPAN at 12 p.m. EST. On hand at Republican National Committee headquarters: Chairman Reince Priebus, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran and Republican State Leadership Committee board member Luis Fortuno.

A few hours later, longtime conservative maven Richard Viguerie moderates yet another discussion at the National Press Club, parsing the effect of conservative might on the final results. “The 2014 election will determine whether America returns to a center-right country or continues to move leftward. The election results also tell us whether the GOP will continue its six-year move to the right or will seek compromises with Obama Democrats to grow government,” says Mr. Viguerie, founder of the FedUp PAC.

Joining him for the discussion: David Bossie, president of Citizens United; Brent Bozell chairman of ForAmerica; Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List; Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. This event is also on C-SPAN beginning at 2:30 p.m.



But wait, there’s more. Later in the afternoon, Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint and Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham will anchor a webcast about the big election doings, seen at 5 p.m. EST at Dailysignal.com.

DAYS OF YORE

“The only problem with running for office is once you’re elected, you have to serve.”

J. Marshall Coleman, upon his election as attorney general of Virginia in 1977.

TIME TO PRACTICE POSTELECTION PRUDENCE

Even for Republicans, there may be, oh, five minutes in a postelection world before it’s time to get back to work. And that’s the way it’s always been. Consider the aftermath of the 2010 midterms, which found the GOP in a rosy mood. Nevertheless, the call to arms went out immediately.

“We’re determined to stop the agenda Americans have rejected and to turn the ship around,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said at a bristling press conference on the official day after, surrounded by then-newly minted House Speaker John A. Boehner and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. “We’ll work with the administration when they agree with the people and confront them when they don’t.”

What with social media, instant polls and a voracious, somewhat paranoid press, the game has gotten a lot trickier. There is some early wisdom out there. “Win or lose, the Republican Party will have to do some serious thinking about next steps,” says Ben Shapiro, political columnist for Breitbart News, who advises the party to “stop alienating the base” and to “exploit the fissures” in Democratic pet issues. Fissures, incidentally, is a swell word choice, Mr. Shapiro.

The GOP should also polish and stick to their narrative and, most interestingly, “don’t let cash substitute for passion,” he advises.

“Don’t let passion substitute for brains. There will be a substantial push by members of the base to punish President Obama. That push may lead to tactics that are likely to fail dramatically, ignoring the presence of an adversarial media looking for opportunities to boost both Obama and Hillary Clinton,” Mr. Shapiro adds. “Every legislative target must be carefully chosen and considered, establishment types must not hope for media support, and conservative hard-core base types must not pretend that media spin doesn’t matter.”

ALLUDING TO CIVIL WAR

Something else besides an election happened on Election Day Eve: Jon Lovett, a former speechwriter for both President Obama and Hillary Clinton, acknowledged that he will soon pen an entire dramatic series based on partisan discord and the collapse of political institutions for Showtime.

“Very excited to be working on this. Election Day could be worse,” Mr. Lovett tweeted late Tuesday after Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and other industry publications broke the news.

He has already written an NBC prime-time political series titled “1600 Penn,” which was a testimony to the reality that even clever political premises must have compelling reasons for viewers to linger. His new project is titled “Anthem,” and it is meant to begin on a presidential Election Day in the future, which ultimately leads to a civil unrest and then a civil war. Interesting, because talk radio host Michael Savage has just released a book titled “Stop the Coming Civil War: My Savage Truth,” which has a similar premise.

“This is a series about an unraveling, about what happens when our political system collapses under the weight of mistrust and partisan division. The pilot begins on a typical presidential Election Day. When it ends, America is on the brink of a second civil war,” the cable network says in its advance production notes.

A CAUTIONARY TALE FOR ALL

Regardless of all the talk about political branding and voter micro-targeting in recent days, Americans remain disappointed with Congress — both sides of Congress. No one is immune, and the reputation recovery process should be part of 2016 thinking. Or else.

How bad is it? This is how the citizenry describes lawmakers in a YouGov poll released Tuesday that asked respondents “What one word would you use to describe Congress?” Among the answers: useless, dysfunctional, incompetent, partisan, corrupt, confused, obstructionist, greedy, selfish, childish, indecisive, arrogant, conflicted, uncaring, stubborn, inefficient, morons and overpaid.

Strategists worth their keep have a new assignment: Target descriptors for politicians. Authentic, thoughtful, steadfast, intrepid and truthful would be a good start.

POLL DU JOUR

80 percent of Americans say leaders in Washington are out of touch with the rest of the country.

76 percent agree that “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”

76 percent agree that “the people running the country don’t really care what happens to you.”

57 percent agree that “people in power try to take advantage of people like you.”

53 percent agree that what they think “doesn’t count very much anymore.”

30 percent agree with the statement “you are left out of things going on around you.”

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,082 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 15-23 and released Tuesday.

Prognostications, pleasant memories to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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