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Major Garrett, National Journal columnist, says the GOP needs to change

Nov 8, 2012|

Does the GOP need to adopt a more moderate view in order to appeal to the electorate?

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Welcome back to the corner report from Boston or Boston. We are now joined by Major Garrett from the National Journal. Major thanks for coming on the corner report. It's great to be with you more good morning -- majors so. What went wrong with the Romney campaign why do you think he lost. Well there are a lot of reasons but let's start with what the Obama campaign did they out organized out. Hustled. The Romney campaign and they knew with a credible political universe of votes far better than the Romney campaign did. Down the stretch I wrote about this and National Journal the Obama campaign was. Supremely confident in understanding -- their voters were white they would turn out and how they would turnout. The Romney campaign relied on. More atmosphere can't. Quality. Enthusiasm intensity the sense that the electorate had changed its mind about President Obama. In that respect we did the president has nine million fewer voters this reelection campaign and he got. The first time around that historic shrinkage of popular vote support for reelected president we've ever seen that before but it was enough. And it was just -- the Obama campaign always knew it would be the Romney campaign never really truly understood with the political universe was that the tactical answer. The larger. Strategic answer is I think the biggest problem for the Romney campaign as they allowed it and the governor to be defined. In a climate where the economy everyone knew it was going to be the most important issue. That became secondary to what she -- about the economy and what -- -- level of perceived empathy or sympathy was about the economy. The president won the sympathy empathy. Argument Romney lost that and that was just enough to make the difference. We're talking Major Garrett from the National Journal. Major he said that Obama did a better job in targeting his voters and Romney did. What did he do in particular I mean the mental. -- -- -- -- Let's look at this state that certainly looked as if they were coming into play down the stretch Pennsylvania Minnesota Wisconsin. -- -- -- The Obama campaign would never for an instant nervous about those can't those states shifting to Romney never at all. -- a little -- defensively. Just to keep themselves. On the high side of victory but if you look at the margins in those states they were comfortable. There are smaller than 2008 but comfortable. Obama campaign never -- what about that why because they've been organized in those states for five years they knew their voters they need to voter contact list. They knew everything about the shape of the electorate all the states they knew would it Ohio also they knew it in Colorado. They knew it in Florida they -- -- in Virginia. A week and a half ago the Romney campaign thought they'd put Virginia and Florida in the bag and were prepared to say the -- about Colorado. The Obama campaign told all of us covering this race you just watch. When we get closer we're gonna close and we're gonna close strong and we're gonna surprise people and that's exactly what they did in Florida. Which is still outstanding but the -- gonna win it. Virginia they want in Colorado they want the same thing and Iowa. You know every place that run we thought he was going to closed because of all the intangibles he didn't. What was true throughout the campaign is what you Obama campaign that would be true. Data matters. Emotions don't. And they were right. What do you think Republicans need to do going into the future there's a lot of talk now. Charles cross -- on Fox News yesterday said. That Republicans need to embrace some form of amnesty. Do the Republicans now have to soften their message. Put some water in their wine and adopt a more moderate positions on social issues are on a more on on on immigration. Well look I I I'm not an advisor to any party but I can tell you this. If the Republicans. Guys within the first thing Republicans have to decide is it structural. -- do you want to be a congressional majority party meeting largely in the house. What you ought to be a national presidential party. Several Republicans -- content themselves were only being a house party using the redistricting advantage created after the 2010 cents -- they can do that. They can be a small associate yet legislatively important party that doesn't have grand national ambitions but can check any democratic president with the power of the house. But the structural choice to automate that but you can -- what exactly what you're doing. If you wanna be a presidential party don't have aspirations of control in the senate and being part of a broad national coalition. You can no longer limit your advocacy and limit your outreach. Two white America and older America and those Americans with whom you feel most culturally comfortable. If you wanna be a national party and compete presidentially. You have to attach yourself to some of the demographic changes in this country and cultural changes and that person has to be an internal party conversation. Will you resolve what you gonna do what you're not gonna do which you reduce bull. Values are that can't be changed and ones that are slightly more flexible I don't know what those are. But immigration is gonna require serious conversation of the -- the party hasn't had. Construed to be bush Billiton immigration reform 2005 and 2006. And 2007. Once they resolve those things then they can have an external conversation with the country but first it has to be done in the tent that'll decide whether or not they can enlarge. Major is there anything you think. That Mitt could have done. That would have put him over the top. Possibly but it you know we we need here contraction popular vote total but the president had you can see that these things were credible it was a large electoral vote. Majority not a large popular vote majority by the way I think they should stand forever. The democratic criticism of the electoral college and Al Gore can continue to get farther and farther off the reservation disease -- which eliminated. Electoral College isn't significant important part the American presidential system. I would think now Democrats will embrace it was a -- that they didn't before because electoral vote victory and whatever mandate comes Torre is much larger for the president -- the underlying part devote one is. So I get this race was get a ball. But I think the Romney campaign delude -- thinking that one presidential debate. The debate in Denver could actually transform an entire race you need more moments and that you need a broader more sustained conversation. Then that to completely change. But presidential campaign and topple on non primary incumbent president historically not primaries incumbent presidents in our country win. Is we're talking a Major Garrett from the National Journal. Major did he make a mistake in picking Paul Ryan could Ryan have did he help or hurt Romney. Well here's here's part of that answered -- questions for the first time in American history of the running mate and the the nominee lost their homes state. But it never happened before American presidential politics. Paul Ryan did nothing to change the outcome and was -- I think they would have lost by seven points if Rob Portman had been on the ticket senator from Ohio. But I would say this. I -- element April predicting that Ronnie -- -- Portman for the reasons. Like Ohio and that I thought he would close his campaign on a moderate bipartisan. Message which is exactly what he did we notice when Ronnie was most emphasizing bipartisanship. -- -- was nowhere to be seen -- obvious reason -- that's not Paul Ryan's reputation that -- where he is or it's within the Republican. Or democratic matrix on Capitol Hill. I think to Rob Portman would have emphasized and reinforce that message and put a pile much more strongly in play. Given -- something he never really had an Ohio which was -- there. Portland would have given those fruit and -- saying that Portman would've carried Ohio Forbes but he -- brought -- lot closer. And made that more competitive earlier and given the chance. Major now that the dust to settle it. And we're now heading potentially for a showdown on these budget negotiations. Do you think Obama and now comes in with a strong hand in terms of a mandate to raise taxes. To get some kind of a deal with Republicans. In other words does he have now the elect moral momentum. That he needs to break Boehner and get a deal done. What what the president has is the reality of reelection what John Boehner has is the reality. Of reelected house majority so neither one can look at each other and say Europe -- know your -- -- to Luke. They're they're because voters chosen to be there and they repeated that choice that's a reality that the verdict. And professional politicians understand an internalized. Verdict. If they don't they expire they become extinct. Now the fiscal cliff is real the choices are real and the imperative. Israel and I would be the most important thing that happened yesterday. Was what the president did or didn't do this phone calls what John Boehner said or didn't they order -- -- didn't. Say there was a 300 point selloff on Wall Street. Some of that was related to judicious about Europe but much of it was related to anxiety about the inability of our political structure. To accomplish that. When the market sell off its biggest -- the day after president reelected that is not a good sign. When that its verdict initially on the status quo that's a very strong signal to Washington it'd better change its methodology. And I think everyone understands. That that anxiety is only going to increase. If it appears that gridlock. Is in the war buddy get more right now trying to be quiet. Not to send signals of obstruction or hostility and he would they can work out behind the scenes before presenting it to the country are predict this will be resolved. It's small measures. Before the end of this year the biggest issues defense cuts the bush tax cuts and it definitely will be resolved and I'm sort of framework will be presented for debate. And it's 4013. But I don't believe. That this reelected president or the reelected house majority -- -- -- on the Republican side of and allow the country. To drive off a couple of. We -- talking a Major Garrett from the National Journal major let me ask you one last question. You make. -- you make a very good point about Democrats. Some ways now on a stronger position elect morally they now dominate the Electoral College. And Republicans needing to somehow changed their message to accommodate these new demographic changes however when you look at the electoral map. There is a sea of red especially in the middle. County after county is red red red. Wine is it that nobody talks about Democrats. Needing to appeal more Republicans. You're gonna end this gridlock you're gonna end his bitter polarization and division. Do you mean do you think Democrats need to do a better job to appeal to Republicans. Why you I think I think any any. President that that he's and I and I made this point earlier -- -- -- I -- -- basically sound as if I think the president some sort of political colossus he is not. I mean never before American history have we seen a re elected president. Lose so many popular votes mean it is staggering amount they are never before seen. To the president has only a mandate which he create that the the popular vote this country did not convey a -- in -- delivered to him. Something that is structurally more powerful than he had before a -- as a popular vote verdict he's weaker than he was in 2009. When he was first inaugurated. Okay so he had to take the signals. From the country. That 2010 was real. And that they want him to actually listen to Republicans and actually create handshake deals with then which means he has to give. Republicans have to give. And he does too and part of that is that he read in the middle. Because of the president also Democrat demographic advantages. The -- sixteen map could look blue or in Florida could look blue or in Arizona. Could look -- or in Texas or -- purple I mean those are also realities of Republicans have to deal with but for now. The president has to move and Republicans have to move how far they -- how fast they -- the great question. We've been talking to a Major Garrett from the National Journal. Major I wanna thank you for your time your analysis your expertise not just today. But for the last several months you've -- -- don't work thank you so much major. Daycare. Major Garrett from the National Journal. Will break right now but -- do Republicans have to change. Do they have to become more like Democrats. And in particular. To appeal to the Hispanic. Vote to the growing Latino vote it's the fastest growing demographic in America. Charles crop farmer says it's -- Cook says crap timer okay crop -- says. Crop hammer says. It's time to embrace amnesty. Should Republicans embrace amnesty. Should they adopt some democratic proposals. I wanna hear from you Jeff co owner.