The traffic should have been the first clue.
After I left the Nashoba Club Restaurant for dinner (the best decision I made of the night) I headed down to the convention center, when I hit I93 south the traffic was bumper to bumper with police stopping people on the side. I had to make my first call in to WCRN from the road. My contact in the Romney campaign told me that my credentials would be at the center waiting for me.
When I finally got toward the center
that turned out not to be the case, I informed them of the confirmation of my credentials and was told they would look into it but was misinformed that credentials were to be picked up here.
I was then informed that my credentials were waiting at the Campaign HQ but wasn’t in a position to go there a very nice guy named Craig said he would work on it, I called my connection who said he would see if he could get them down there.
It was pretty cold but I had my trench coat & my inborn insulation finally Craig returned and said he would take me to the Weston next door where I could charge up and wait for my credentials to show up.
I spoke to several people there, a young fellow from Texas was also waiting for credentials as everyone around me drank about 15 min later Andrew showed up and I had my credentials.
You’ll note that credential said “attendee” rather than “press” there are 1200 reasons why that was the case, all of them dollars that was the fee assessed by the campaign for members of the press. For a major media organization that’s No Big Deal, for me that’s a Mortgage payment coming out of what is left of my savings after four years of Obama.
The bad news was I didn’t have access to the same set-up as the press on the risers of the top floor, so I found myself a wall with a plug to charge my phone and laptop and starting searching the results.
I was not surprised to see North Carolina & Virginia called, My thought was of course, the idea is to hold back.
My first disappointment was PA, but it was not a huge surprise, connections not withstanding with Black Panthers and the voter id law not being enforced.
New Hampshire WAS a surprise, but then again I wasn’t aware of this:
New Hampshire Democrats appear to have taken advantage of Judge John Lewis’ decision to scrap the domicile rules. The end result was that busload after busload of out of state students were ferried to the polls to vote in New Hampshire. They killed the constitutional amendments. They elected a Democrat governor. And they gave New Hampshire to Obama. (I recall suggesting that exactly this would happen as a result, and that it was in fact the entire point of choosing Lewis to toss out the rules).
The Grok crew will be following up on this btw.
Now in terms of business the smart thing would have been to be upstairs mingling and passing out cards, but I went straight to the phones the first call was to Stacy in Ohio and he was saying bluntly that while turnout in GOP areas in Ohio were not looking good it’s moot if Florida or VA doesn’t come through, I called bloggers across the country and things were not sounding good but all that can be done once the polls close is to count and wait.
It was apparently that the crowd was not all that level-headed and panic seemed to come in very fast, a video from Ohio to reassure folks really spoke volumes, you don’t have to issue stuff like that if you’re winning.
Michigan didn’t surprise me that much either but Wisconsin? That was a shock when it was called, I spent a lot of time looking online to see what the raw vote was and seeing little or nothing.
What was really bothering me was Florida ( I heard insiders talking that Florida & VA were OK but Ohio was a worry) but polls had shown a solid lead for Mitt in Florida if it was still not called that was a real issue and might depress the GOP vote further west (I suspect that had plenty to do with the Utah result of Mia Love).
But I wasn’t really bothered until I bought a Diet Pepsi, I didn’t take the time to ask the price and found myself paying $4.75 for a can poured into a plastic cup with ice.
On some of the calls people were becoming angry, it was a bad sign, but amid the smoke as I watched returns seeing Liz Warren pull farther & farther ahead (apparently dems learned from Jan 2010 and the full get out the vote effort of Nov 2010 was in play) there was one light, they had “called” Q2 early as a win but the numbers started to reverse until it was too close to call. The race I figured we would go down fighting on turned into our only win of the night.
Finally Ohio was called and it was pretty much all over. It was pretty clear who the only people happy in the room were
Some half-hearted attempts at cheers were made then Mitt Took the stage
His speech was not memorable and as I heard him speak I remembered what a very wise person told me about Mitt who had worked with him, saying his sin was Narcissism.
I spoke to some young republicans who posed for me
that night for their take
I spoke briefly with Eric Fehrnstrom
He declined an interview, but was holding up pretty good.
I can’t say the same for many of the others, I talked to people from all over and there was a sadness and more than that a shock, it was not the resignation of a McCain vs Obama where victory was not expected, it was the shock of the Yankees in the 1st inning of game 7 in 2004 when the Sox took the lead they would never relinquish, it was the Shock of democrats when Scott Brown won in 2010.
The democrats took the lessons of Scott Brown in Massachusetts and learned them, they took the lessons of 2010 and learned them. It remains to be seen if the GOP will do the same.
As I was leaving Hong Kong TV took me aside and asked me about the race on camera, we talked for twenty minutes. At the time I did not know if the Obama voters had turned out, (not generally he had millions fewer votes nationwide but in the right places) or if the GOP had stayed home (which it turned out they did in droves) and I made two cases:
1. If you nominate moderate to lead a conservative party you will fail because he will run away from the party instead of making the case for it.
2. Conservatism like anything else needs to be TAUGHT and Sold and you can’t stop teaching or selling
But to both them and French Radio with who I spoke to I described the United States as “two countries within one border” That being the case the only hope to go to the people.
Go to the Latinos and Black Americans, explain WHY conservative economics work for them. Explain why an open border hurts THEM and theirs and explain why the entitlement society makes them peons and slaves to the state as sure as if they were in the plantations of South America or the old South.
Go to women explain WHY not only conservative economics works for them but WHY conservatism in social issues benefits them, their children and themselves.
Let Americans know that WHY a strong America makes them safer than a weak one, make the case and do it every single day.
That is a better investment than any dollar to any superpac, until that is learned by the GOP we will see this again.