One might think this would be a good time to re-examine one’s failures as to why an election was lost, but I’m seeing precious little introspection. What I’m seeing is the GOP and their media minions pointing the fingers of blame every which way but at themselves.
It’s mind-blowing that they are complaining about the popular vote… I mean, before we even get into the relevant facts, unless they complained about the Electoral College when Bush lost the popular vote to Gore, but won the presidency anyway, their opinion is null and void. Just like with the Tea Party… unless you spoke up when Bush ran up the deficit, (which no one did) speaking up now is duplicitous, because it shows you don’t care as much about the deficit as they do about who’s doing the spending.
Ultimately, the fact of the matter is that Obama won the popular vote by around 3 million (as of this writing), which is the same margin by which GW Bush beat Kerry, prompting Karl Rove to claim a “mandate.” You think anyone from the Right thinks 3 million votes is a mandate now?
So what went wrong for the Republicans this year? The issues are plentiful.
- They preached top-down economics again, meaning give the tax breaks to the rich and let business function without consumer protections, and then they will trickle the wealth down to the unwashed masses in the form of creating jobs. Unfortunately for them, there are too many voters alive right now that experienced that form of upper crust “benevolence” during the Reagan and Bush years, and know it doesn’t work. In fact, it created the environment for the massive economic collapse that Obama inherited. So why would anyone in the abused 98% want to try it again?
- They ran a chameleon that was either a severe conservative or a moderate pragmatist, depending on whom he was addressing. Voters want to know what you stand for, so they can make a decision. No one wants to put an Unknown Commodity in the White House. The “Etch-a-Sketch” campaign strategy might make for a slick, cynical retort, but in this age of instant information, it insults the voting population.
- The chameleon was also a Silver Spoon baby with no concept of what it’s like for the rest of us that don’t have trust funds, the best schooling, housing or cars. Like the saying goes, “He was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.” George W. Bush grew up with the same advantages, but he also had a certain folksy charm that connected with people. That quality was severely lacking in the chameleon, who exhibited all the charm of an automaton. It should have been no surprise that people don’t warm to stiff, charmless fakes.
- Throughout the primaries, the other GOP candidates spent months (and zillions of dollars) airing pointed charges and characterizations at Romney, calling him out on his upbringing, his “vulture capitalism,” and general flip-floppery. So when they in turn had to throw their support behind the nominee, their praise didn’t ring true. Plus, it provided the Democrats with an arsenal full of ammunition. Every time you hear the GOP complain about how negative the Democrats went, just remember where they got the material.
- Their nominee pursued policies of tightened immigration and harsh sanctions on illegals, which invariably would harass those that WERE here legally. While appealing to the “Law and Order,” (read “White Male”) voter, it completely alienated Hispanic voters, whose population and influence are growing. Through the policies they pursue, the GOP is actively pushing Hispanics away.
- Republican state governors were pushing bogus voter suppression “reforms” under the guise of fighting voter fraud (of which there has been found to be none.) Want to ensure that your opponents turn out to vote? Use a bunch of shady legal maneuvers to try to prevent them from doing so. They’ll trample any barrier to exercise their right to tell you to stuff your “reforms” up your ass.
- Lastly, there is the issue that hogged the headlines for months… Even though the statements didn’t come from their candidate, Republican Senators and Congressmen (White Males, naturally) repeatedly demonstrated their ignorance and insensitivity towards women, but pushing blatant untruths about reproduction and uncaring attitudes toward rape. While they were castigated by the party leaders, the candidates themselves held back, lest they offend the far right. And the funny thing is that the basis of all those misogynistic statements could be found right there in the GOP Platform. Party Leaders weren’t upset about the content of what they were saying; they were upset that it was getting headlines. They wanted to talk about the economy, not re-fight women’s rights, birth control or Roe versus Wade. When you anger and insult over half of the country’s voters, it’s not a recipe for victory.
So now that the election is done and the GOP lost the presidency, as well as seats in the House and Senate, do you think they did any soul searching? You think they’re realizing that their espoused positions are actively alienating a segment of the country whose numbers are steadily increasing? Naaaaah…
They’re blaming everyone else, that’s what they’re doing. They blame Hurricane Sandy for rudely interrupting their guy’s momentum and allowing the president to “look presidential.” They’re blaming Chris Christie for actually doing his job as governor and having the audacity to give the president credit where credit was due. They’re blaming more supposed voter fraud. They’re blaming the voters for wanting “stuff for free,” like clean air, good roads, good schools, firemen and policemen to protect them and a viable Social Security system, to which they’ve paid into all their lives. And they’re blaming the “liberal media,” of course, whose fault it is for reporting on facts when they inconveniently differ from GOP party dogma.
This election has shown that if the Republicans want to remain a viable party, they’re going to have to widen the door to their tent, because angry, straight, white, Christian men are not enough to fill it up any more.
And it’s going to have to be policy change, too. Running a brown face out there to spout the same top-down policies is not going to change anything. And having a woman go out and actively propose things that diminish the rights of other women, will not work either.
You’ll have to excuse me if this last bit was a tad day-dreamy. Those things would require a degree of introspection, which is not something I’ve seen even a shred of, coming from the Right. It’s far too easy to blame others.
This post wraps up my thoughts on the 2012 Election. While I may chip in later on the coming “Fiscal Cliff” negotiations, I now return to my regularly scheduled bullshit.
Director’s DVD Commentary: I’d been planning on marking the date of my 600th post, but it didn’t quite seem appropriate. It ended up being my grand “Election Summation” post, which laid out the specific reasons why I (and everyone) should vote Democratic, and I didn’t want to detract from the message. But hey… 600 posts… that’s a lot of words, especially when you consider how long I ramble on. I think my fingertips are a quarter-inch shorter than they were in 2009 when I started. I’ll have to do something nice for myself to celebrate my 4-year blogiversary in February.