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Knives To The Gunfight

Understanding the political tenor of our current environment, I am not sure that there is a better visual image of the 2012 election.  Anything approximating an honest measurement between the two campaigns and how they were executed highlights just how much work is ahead for Republicans, especially Conservatives.  
In interview-after-interview and panel-after-panel, campaign officials for Obama appear altogether dumbfounded at their own accomplishment.  They are not surprised at the result.  They knew what their strategy was.  They just seem amazed that Romney's campaign was so inept in executing their own strategy or even one in response to theirs.  With an Aussie accent, many of them could be Mick "Crocodile" Dundee saying to the urban punk: "You call that a knife?  This is a knife!"
Articles from opposing sides of the political spectrum have been highlighted this week that begin the painful process of giving weight to the ineffectiveness.
Newt Gingrich introduced his "Lessons Learned Project" in a blog article detailing some of his most recent panel discussions with other Republican campaign officials and consultants.  See here.  On occasion after occasion, the campaigners & consultants seem to grasp part of the reality, but fail to understand just how far behind they were (and still are).
Joe Trippi tweeted a link to a New York Times article that went to even deeper detail of tu he disconnect between the Democratic & Republican campaigns as relates to messaging and use of technology.  See here.   There have been a number of  reasons suggested for why Republicans overall have been laggard in engaging with more up-to-date campaign methods & practices.  Numbers of more tech-savvy Republicans (me included) look with amazement at the sheer incompetence on display.  Good practices that have been well-known standards in industry (like testing prior to release, sampling & measure results to promote decision making, and understanding you target) seem like foreign ideas. 
Too often as noted in both articles, the leaders in charge seem beholden to the conclusion that they ran out of time or lacked the resources to fully execute their plans.  This is laughable.  One could argue that the best thing the Obama campaign might could have done late in the election would have been to donate money to Romney's campaign and support their efforts to dig themselves deeper!  One can imagine some among Obama's inner circle chuckling over drinks on some evenings regaling each other with "Oh, Oh, Be quiet.......their announcing another strategic plan!" to the squeals of laughter. 
Conclusions in both articles ring true.  There needs to be evaluations of strategy and campaigns measuring against results.   There are new voices and new areas of focus that are going to have to get an audience if Republicans are to move forward.  For some, it is time for visits to the desert to self-reflection and self-development.  For others, it is time to step up and be leaders. 
The days of campaigning via the couch and ad buys are past.  Republicans got outworked in an absolutely winnable election.  We need look no further than the mirrors for whom to blame.  That said, one reality provides Hope:  Things are rarely as good OR AS BAD as they appear in the moment.  I call this "The Rule of Proximity".  Often times, your greatest periods of growth come from some of your most painful losses. 
Let's get to work!