Editor's Note: This column was coauthored by Bob Morrison.
Many of our friends continue to register shock at the election returns of last month. How can it be?, they ask. It’s not so hard to figure out, we reply. The first Romney bumper sticker that appeared last year bore a startling resemblance to another famous corporate logo. What were they thinking? The first bumper sticker for the President’s re-election said simply: “ObamaCares.” Brilliant. We are not saying that President Obama does actually care about “people like me.” But voters polled on that question chose Mr. Obama over Mitt Romney by a whopping 81-18 margin. That’s fatal in politics.
The American Enterprise Institute’s Henry Olsen shows that voters want a President who cares about them. This certainly helped the GOP when Ike swamped the cold and cerebral Adlai Stevenson, when Reagan trounced Carter and Mondale, and when George W. Bush beat sighin’ Al Gore and windsurfing John Kerry.
The 2012 election resembled Harry Truman’s come-from-behind “Give `em Hell” campaign of 1948. That year, too, Republicans could almost taste victory. They had taken over Congress for the first time in a generation on a TEA party-like slogan: “Had enough?” The Republican 80th Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act—which organized labor hated—over Truman’s veto. Labor unions then were a much greater slice of the workforce.
Truman had few enthusiastic partisans. The late President Franklin Roosevelt’s son, Jimmy, a California Congressman, even tried to dump Truman at the party’s Philadelphia convention and run Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower in his place. Ike nixed all such efforts. “I’m just mild about Harry,” was a slogan of the Democratic Left. It played off the popular hit: “I’m just wild about Harry.” The Republicans told the rest of the country: “To err is Truman.”