Everything is over: my brother Rick’s memorial and the elections. Well, not everything is over. The East Coast, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut in particular, are still reeling from Superstorm Sandy and now a Nor’Easter dumping even more misery on the area. That situation won’t be over for a long time. Parts of the Jersey Shore are literally gone.
Yeah, people make it to the polls on Election Day during tragedies of all types, but in the micro scheme of things, i.e. what’s going on in “my” life, elections, presidential and otherwise, are fairly low on the priority list. Personal situation always trumps the “bigger” issues. For me, nothing was bigger than mourning the loss of my Dear Brother Rick. I love you brother.
But, I stayed up all night Nov. 6 watching the election returns and it was exciting to see the numbers roll up. As of now we are waiting on the returns from Florida, but thanks to the rest of America (which in the micro scheme of things means Ohio), the Sunshine State is irrelevant. But it looks like it will roll for the president as well.
The best entertainment of the evening though was watching the conniptions by the Republican network, FoxNews, trying to flip results and put Romney in the lead, especially as it became clear Ohio was breaking for the president. Karl Rove, once called “Bush’s Brain,” was possibly the best contortionist, so much so that FoxNews Host Megyn Kelly literally asked him if his arithmetic was just his spin: “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better, or is it real?”
Rove twisted and turned, spinning this way and that, explaining exit polling results from districts that traditionally lean Republican … and then Megyn, the reporter she is, walked over to the actual numbers crunchers who basically assured her that indeed, there was a “99.9 percent” probability President Obama would carry the Buckeye State.
The anchors and reporters at FoxNews may lean Republican, but apparently this particular anchor knows a load of bullshit when she hears it and called out one of her network’s own contributors on his.
Not that the MSNBC crowd was completely devoid of nonsense. There are a lot of reasons President Obama won a second term, but the people deciding Obama’s policies were working was not chief among them. Yeah, lots of people sense thing are slowly getting better in America, but when you stack that up against the president’s campaign strategies of targeting specific demographics and geographic areas, along with defining his opponent before Mitt Romney could do so for himself, it’s clear what contributed the most to the Democrats winning another term in the White House and taking back some seats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Substance, as many have reported over the past two years, was conspicuously under-represented in this election cycle. Can’t remember the last time I heard or read of any candidate talking about global warming, except when Romney flip-flopped on the issue during the Republican primaries. And infrastructure improvements didn’t get much face time either. Specifics like telling us about improvements in national and state parks, fixing highways, bridges and public transportation. Starting, finally, a high-speed rail system in the U.S. Fixing schools and hospitals. In other words, putting millions of Americans to work fixing America.
The Republicans, if you are listening, will tell you the president was re-elected because the Democrats focused on all the distraction issues …
To be fair to the president and the Democrats, the Republicans stepped into the distracting issues themselves. Congressmen Todd Akin (R-MO), Richard Mourdock (R-IN) and Joe Walsh (R-IL) all said incredibly stupid and insensitive things about rape and abortion, all but assuring their Democratic opponents would win. They cost the GOP two seats in the Senate and that one seat in the House of Representatives.
The Republicans kept blaming the Democrats for focusing on these hot button issues, but the GOP itself kept putting these issues into the debate! Starting with Romney’s flip-flop on supporting a woman’s right to choose. And then the GOP’s presidential platform that explicitly stated its goal was to overturn Roe v Wade, opposing abortion in all cases, including the health and life of the mother.
You can’t tell people, “Here’s what we stand for … but don’t pay attention to that …” and expect people to ignore your core principles. The GOP embraced the extremism of the Tea Party and the 1 percent as well as asserting their long-held extremist views on social issues like abortion and even contraception. The GOP lost the female vote, 55 percent-45 percent.
Here’s the chief complaint from the GOP: the Democrats campaigned against the Republican Presidential Platform. Duh! This might be the first time a political party has tried to run away from its own platform during a presidential election. The problem the Republicans have isn’t that Congressmen Walsh, Akin and Mourdock said extremely offensive things about rape and childbirth; the problem is the GOP promotes the views that begat those comments. Their vice presidential candidate even said, during the campaign, there was never a good reason for a woman to have an abortion — but of course he supported Romney’s view that it should be available in these cases of rape, incest and the mother’s health.
Right now that’s the litmus test for being a Republican: a lock-step opposition to a woman’s right to choose. And this year they are against contraception too.
Then there’s the Hispanic vote. Yeah, opposition to the Dream Act and this theory of “self deportation” went over really well with Latinos. President Obama got 71 percent of Hispanics and that voting block has expanded from 2% of voters in 1992 to 10 percent in 2012. Telling them to basically “get the Hell outa here” isn’t going to win over voters.
The GOP even lost the Asian vote, which had traditionally been in their column. The president got 73 percent from that, the fastest growing ethnic demographic in the nation.
It’s a new day in America demographically. Four years ago African-Americans found out they have some serious political muscle, enough to turn an election and in this election they flexed it: 95 percent voting for the president. That’s almost all the voters who make up nearly 20 percent of the electorate.
Karl Rove, the leading brain behind the fantasy world of the new GOP, was nearly verkelmpt, a state one must avoid if you’re hired to be an analyst on television. The employers are expecting you to have something to say so what did Turd Blossom say? Among other claims, Rove said President Obama won the election because Democrats suppressed the vote.
OK, I understand your confusion. Wasn’t it the GOP that trotted out all those voter ID laws and restrictions on how and when people could vote? Why yes that’s true, but in Roveworld that wasn’t voter suppression. Karl Rove’s version of voter suppression was this: when campaigning the Democrats’ TV and radio ads convinced people NOT to vote for Mitt Romney.
The man who took negative campaigning to new lows in 2000 and 2004 was complaining because his guy lost the election and the other guys used his own tactics to do it — and the biggest insult of all: they did it better then him.
But calling campaign advertising “voter suppression” is ridiculous. Despite all the negativity spewing from both sides of the aisle, people still came out to vote. It doesn’t even compare to the practice of trying to legally disenfranchise voters with I.D. laws and changes in early and absentee voting. It’s not even a close association. Creating laws to block people from voting would, if they were legally upheld, physically stop people from going to the polls. Negative advertising mainly just make you want to spit once you get to your polling location.
But, Rove had to create a narrative for all those billionaires who contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to his two PACS: Crossroads and Crossroads GPS. Which is still ironic! Between those two PACS Rove spent over $300 million to defeat President Obama and other Democratic candidates — with negative ad campaigns — and lost. Every race in which Rove invested his PAC money failed to win.
The Republican PAC’s outspent their Democrat counterparts by a margin of 10-1 and still lost. As Ricky Ricardo would say: “Karl! You have some splainin’ to do!”
For you youngsters out there, “Ricky Ricardo” was the character Desi Arnez played on the hit TV show from the 1940s-50s, I Love Lucy.
Then there’s poor Bill O’Reilly. Wednesday Night you could see the sadness creep down his face as he sadly admitted what the GOP had so long railed against: us white men were no longer the ruling class in America — even though White men are vastly over represented in government.
He was positively forlorn acknowledging the new reality: a presidential candidate no longer needs at least 50 percent of the white male vote to win an election. The rancid cherry on the top of that shit sundae being all those people who voted for President Obama wanted stuff, things. He didn’t spell out what that stuff or those things were, but you know, you get the message. The code isn’t that opaque—the Obama voters want government handouts: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and (gasp!) food stamps!
Not to mention free meals for poor school children.
Poor Anne Coulter lamented to Laura Ingraham that it’s all over for the good ole U.S. of A. because now there are officially (according to Coulter) more takers than producers in America. Coulter said, “People are suffering. The country is in disarray. If Mitt Romney cannot win in this economy, then the tipping point has been reached. We have more takers than makers and it’s over. There is no hope.”
Later in the program Coulter said, “Mitt Romney was the president we needed right now, and I think it is so sad that we are going to be deprived of his brain power, of his skills in turning companies around, turning the Olympics around, his idea and his kindness for being able to push very conservative ideas on a country that no longer is interested in conservative ideas. It is interested in handouts.”
This from the woman who, at the beginning of the Republican Primaries, told the GOP faithful that if they chose Mitt Romney (instead of Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey) as their presidential nominee, they would lose the White House. You’d think she would be giddy over her accurate prediction. I guess we get no “I told you so’s” from Anne Coulter, not yet anyway.
How will this play out in the next four years? The next two when the House of Representatives and some Senate seats come up for elections? My guess is the GOP will continue down this same road, alienating the voters who put Obama over the top and they will probably lose more House seats and possibly a Senate seat or two.
But making predictions for future elections is futile, if not foolish. After Sarah Palin and John McCain lost in 2008 (let’s get real: it was Palin’s campaign the moment she was announced as McCain’s running mate), the conventional wisdom was that Palin would become the new power in the GOP and the clear frontrunner to be the party’s nominee in 2012. Look how that turned out. Today she’s just an afterthought. Hell, she can’t believe the majority of Americans chose Obama over Romney.
Maybe Palin is waiting for the right conspiracy theory to float; there’s a few of them out there. Maybe it’s time for Sarah to go have pizza with Donald Trump. I’m sure the two of them could come up with some crazy idea. The comedians could use the material. It would be good for Palin’s career. She and the Donald can be irrelevant together.