• With: Kim Strassel, Jason Riley, Dan Henninger, Peggy Noonan, Collin Levy

    GIGOT: And if you want the investment down the road.


    GIGOT: All right.

    Coming up in our second half hour, a promise of bipartisanship on Tuesday, but are we likely to see a different President Obama in his second term?

    Plus, a good day for Democrats, but not necessarily for unions. Big labor had some big losses on state ballot measures. We'll have an update.



    GIGOT: Welcome back to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.

    Coming up in this half hour, the president's second-term agenda, from taxes to energy to immigration. Are there any signs that Mr. Obama will move to the middle?

    And Tuesday was a good day for Democrats, but not always for unions. Big labor suffered some big losses on ballot measures across the country. We'll tell you where.

    But first, I'm joined by Wall Street Journal columnist, Peggy Noonan.

    So, Peggy, why do you think Mitt Romney lost?

    PEGGY NOONAN, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Oh, I think already we know some of the usual suspects even just a few days after the election, the get out the vote effort on the Democratic side was, appears to have been a small masterpiece that will probably have impact on national elections going into the future. Republicans have a lot to learn there. There have been demographic changes in America. At the end of the day, I think my surprise about the election was that it was not so close in a way everybody was thinking we'd all be up until 4:00 in the morning or maybe we'd be counting Ohio votes for two weeks. That didn't happen. This was a solid win for the president, and I think the Republican Party has much to think about here going into the future.

    GIGOT: Thinking is always good. Maybe step back and give it at least some time to think. But you wrote in your column this week, the Republicans really don't need to change their principles, their fundamental principles, belief in small government and so on, but maybe the way they present those principles. What do you ...

    NOONAN: The way, the way they -- the way the party goes forward sometimes, it is the way -- is the way that unnecessarily, I think, occasionally turns people off. I also think something big, a big lesson for the Republican Party in this election is to look at America, see the Republican base, the famous Republican base ...

    GIGOT: Right.

    NOONAN: And see that, oh, this is not expanding anymore. This is where it is, maybe it's beginning to contract. The attitude of political professionals since I was a pup on the Republican side, has always been, every election is an opportunity to turn out the base, that's what we do, excite the base, press their buttons, that's the story. Well, long-term that's just never a strategy that will work. One of the things I think the party will have to do now is listen to certain voices, such as up here in New York, Heather Higgins of IWV.

    GIGOT: Independent Women's Forum.

    NOONAN: Yeah. Yeah. Sorry, IWF. She has been saying for some time to party political professionals, the answer is not to drill deep into the base. The answer is to expand the base. And that is through going to people, that's through conversation, that is through talking to them about - about the issues they care about. It is not operating from up here with big ads that just press people's buttons, it's operating in a way like the Obama campaign did, it's going down on the ground and talking to people, it's labor intensive, but it's a way of growing. It's a way of persuading people ...

    GIGOT: So ...

    NOONAN: Which, I think the Republicans have gotten kind of bad at.

    GIGOT: Is it a way of saying, I mean, that at its simplest almost crass terms, we actually care about you, in a more fundamental way than Republicans have been doing that, I mean Republicans talking too much in abstractions, you know, we want to cut this tax or that tax or we have this grand reform idea without being able to connect it in some tangible way to voters lives?

    NOONAN: Yes, all of what you said, I think, is true, but it's also just this top down thing where we are communicating from you on high, through big buys of advertisements, that say things that are sometimes essentially banal, that aim to move you or get you mad, that's not how to talk to people. You've got to go down there and talk from the bottom up.

    GIGOT: How do you think president ...

    NOONAN: And also as Jason Riley said, make people welcome. Let them know that they are welcome in this party.

    GIGOT: Yes.

    NOONAN: Don't give this hectoring tone, I don't know, about things like marginal tax rates which is sort of a language normal humans don't speak anyway.

    GIGOT: But we speak that at the Wall Street Journal.

    NOONAN: Well, we do.


    GIGOT: How do you think President Obama emerges from this? I mean it was a negative, relentlessly negative campaign in many ways, to see him emerge enhanced other than the fact that he was reelected. What lesson should he take in terms of governing for a second term?

    NOONAN: Well, I'll tell you, he was an incumbent president, he just won by a smaller margin than he did the first time out, this is the first time since Woodrow Wilson ...


    NOONAN: A second termer won by fewer votes. In a funny way, it is possible that the president, looking back now on everything, might, might feel a growing humility, and that would be a lovely thing. Yes, I know, I do ...


    NOONAN: Let me -- let me try this.

    GIGOT: It's not his trademark.

    NOONAN: No, it is not. Never has been.

    However, a shrewd political move right now would be magnanimity ...

    GIGOT: Right.