Paul Bedard, in the WE:
Norquist book: IRS assault on Tea Party saved Obama’s presidency
The administration-ordered persecution of Tea Party groups shut down the movement in time to save President Obama’s reelection and starve Republican Mitt Romney of the 4,262,296 votes needed to take the White House, according to an explosive new book from tax foe Grover Norquist.
Okay, now it’s time for that inside-the-box thinking that I’m famous for.
1. Establishment Republicans were as much of a driving force behind IRSgate was were Democrats-Obama.
2. The TPM was never hot for Romney. Even if they were at full strength, they would not have wanted to mobilize in favor of Willard. Besides, the hundreds of millions of dollars budget Romney campaign had enough money and people to do its own GOTV such that it never needed to rely on the nickel and dime budget TPM groups’ pavement pounding operations. That the Romney campaign didn’t and couldn’t is its own fault entirely.
3. The 4,262,296 people who did not vote for Romney who did vote for McCain four years earlier would not have been more likely to vote for Romney even if the TPM was at full strength and all in for Romney. About two weeks ago, I wrote as a comment in this space:
It all comes down to this: There were around 4 million people who did vote for John McCain in 2008 who did not vote for Mitt Romney in 2012. These are the famous “four million missing Republicans” that lamestream conservative talking heads talk about and go on and on about.
And it is the severe misinterpretation of who they are, where they are, why they are, and why they didn’t vote in 2012, that’s going to drive the Republicans into yet another loss in 2016.
The conventional wisdom among lamer con talking heads is that the four million missing Republicans were lamer cons who gave Mitt Romney a lamer con purity test which he somehow failed, so they stayed home. Therefore, the “solution” is merely to run a more “pure,” more articulate, better credentialed lamer con up the flagpole, and everything will be fine. And that’s why Ted Cruz thinks he can win this whole shooting match.
Except for? Well, everything.
First off, John McCain was even less conservative than Romney, so it’s strange for people doing lamer con litmus tests to think that McCain passed it but Romney didn’t.
Second, Sean Trende already did the difficult leg work (or rather, finger work) and found out who the 4 million missing Republicans are. As it turns out, on a county by county basis, there is a very very strong correlation between the percent of voters in the county that consists of these missing Republicans and the county’s percent vote for Ross Perot in 1992. Meaning the missing “Republicans” aren’t doctrinaire conservatives, not even strong Republicans. They’re working-middle class white independents, once upon a time they were called “Reagan Democrats.” Their non voting means that Romney couldn’t win the Great Lakes states’ white voters by the landslide margins he needed to to overcome the black elderly women deluge. And it should be no surprise now that working-middle class whites in the Great Lakes had no desire to turn out for someone who, if he had never gone into politics, would be a hedge fund multi billionaire by now.
Back to Norquist’s theory:
First, he cited a study on the Tea Party movement that found it pushed up to 5.8 million extra Republican voters to the polls in 2010 when the GOP took control of the House, essentially shutting down Obama’s agenda.
I have no doubt about the veracity of that. But, “extra Republican voters in 2010” compared to what? It can’t be compared to 2008, because Prez years have bigger turnouts than midterms. It has to be 2010 delta 2006, the previous midterm. And if that’s the case, then of course it would be much easier to motivate Republicans to turn out, because 2006 was the sixth year of a Republican President, and the second midterm of a two-term President is almost always great for the “opposition” party. While 2010 was the first midterm of what turned out to be a two-term Democrat President. What I’d like to know, but what only God Himself knows, is how many of those 5.8 million Republicans 10 delta 6 would have voted anyway even if the TPM never existed, that they did just out of pure partisan reaction, and how many were actually a result of TPM pavement pounding.