Democrats have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving–and some rather unlikely people to thank:
10. Republican governors – In many of the important swing states–Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nevada–Republican governors who were elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010 had made such strides that it was difficult for Mitt Romney to gain traction against Obama by criticizing the state of the country. They did their jobs all too well.
9. Jimmy Carter – In recent years, the party held him at arm’s length, with his comments about “apartheid” in Israel and the uncomfortable parallels between his administration and Obama’s. But his grandson, James Carter IV, vindicated Carter and helped save Obama by finding Romney’s “47 percent” remark on a secret tape made at a fundraiser.
8. David Cameron and Boris Johnson – The current and purported future leader of the Conservative Party in Britain, who elevated Romney’s truthful remarks about poor security at the Summer Olympics into a major “gaffe.” Cameron and Johnson outdid each other in slamming Romney, and largely negated any benefit from his foreign trip.
7. Chris Christie – He offered excessive, effusive praise for Obama’s performance during Hurricane Sandy, and gave Obama the chance to play president in a 90-minute photo-op a week before the election. (In fact, federal efforts have been nearly as bad as during Hurricane Katrina, and Obama largely neglected Hurricane Isaac the month before.)
6. Candy Crowley – She had corrected Obama officials before on their distortions about Benghazi. Yet she robbed Romney of victory in the second debate when she weighed in–incorrectly–for Obama, who claimed he had called the attacks terrorism instead of lying to the world about an anti-Islam video. Benghazi was a dead issue after that.
5. George W. Bush – He was apparently responsible for everything that went wrong in the Obama presidency. But the Iraq War and the use of intense interrogation techniques–both opposed by Obama–yielded the intelligence that led to Osama bin Laden, allowing Obama to claim big success on national security despite an utterly failed foreign policy.
4. Ben Bernanke – The Bush-appointed head of the Federal Reserve gave the economy the appearance of being less-than-disastrous with his quantitative easing policies. By slipping vast quantities of new money into the economy, he propped up asset prices and helped Obama hide the failures of super-profligate Keynesianism and crony capitalism.
3. John Roberts – The Chief Justice was attacked by liberals, and by then-Senator Barack Obama, for years. He came under vicious attack as the Supreme Court considered Obamacare. Then he invented a way to uphold Obamacare, protecting the worst “achievement” of the Obama presidency and restoring vigor to the Obama campaign.
2. Todd Akin – He was a good congressman, mistreated by the Republican Party for his gaffe on rape and abortion, for which he apologized. Nevertheless, he cost himself the most winnable Senate pickup in the nation, and boosted what had been a pathetic “war on women” narrative by Democrats, who used him to hurt GOP candidates nationwide.
1. ORCA – It’s not yet entirely clear who was responsible for this get-out-the-vote debacle, which crashed on Election Day and left thousands of Romney volunteers doing nothing. The Obama campaign suffered a similar crash in 2008 and resolved not to let that happen again. The GOP failed to learn, and inadvertently suppressed its own vote.