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Saturday, November 10, 2012

The men in the funny hats failed...and other thoughts

I think I've read just about every article, blog and musing posted about the 2012 Presidential election results.    Here's what I've gleaned from it all, along with some of my own observations.

1) It was as much a Romney loss as it was an Obama victory.
Pretty self-explanatory actually.  Romney moved too far to the right to win the primary and then when he tried to pivot to the center for the general election he just demonstrated for the country to see the worst that his critics charge about him:  that he has no core, that his positions are written in sand.

The President had a lot NOT going for him in this election, but was fortunate in having a less-than-stellar opponent, no bruising primary, and a rapid far right always nipping at Romney's heels.  Every time the news reported on "Republican Senatorial candidate and old white guy Mr _______ said in an interview that only tramps get raped and have abortions..." (or some nonsense like that)  it was as if a magical fairy just gave the Democrats $100 million in free anti-Romney advertising.

2) You can't win an election by hoping people will not vote.
Nope, sorry, and many in the GOP (including Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett) seemed to hold this as some kind of Bizzaro-world strategy.  Human nature 101:  people are not always so predictable.  What's more, cynicism is a really, really, REALLY bad thing to peg your election hope on.  They deserved to lose just on account of this point alone.

More people voting is ALWAYS better.  Period.  End of debate.

3)  The men in the funny hats failed.
Romney was counting on the Catholic vote, but lost it to the President.  Citation HERE.  Note that this was despite EXTREME lobbying on the part of the church hierarchy, basically telling the faithful that you can't be both a good Catholic and an Obama supporter.  Heck, from the literature I read, you would think that the President himself actually, personally performed abortions in the Lincoln bedroom.  Newsflash:  something like 90%+ of adult Catholics violate Church teaching on contraception.  Catholics are NOT this monolithic group that only does what their older white bosses in funny hats tell them to do.

Note that I was raised a practicing Catholic, was an altar boy, attended Catholic high school and was the president of my college campus Catholic Students group.  I know Church teachings.  I also know what I was taught by the good sisters, servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary:  that Catholics must think and use their brains, which is why God gave them to us in the first place.  Morality isn't something that is dictated to you from a Bishop...morality comes from inside of you.  

4) You must have a plan - simply being "against him" isn't enough.
Classic point:  Romney was going to repeal "Obamacare".  Okay.  With what?  I'm sorry, but "market based reforms" isn't a thing you can replace standing legislation with.  On so many fronts the GOP fell into the trap of letting its disdain for the sitting President get in the way of developing and articulating actual policies that could be sold to the American people as credible alternatives to what the President has done.

5) Romney's immigration plan suffered from being tragically stupid.
I can't stress enough how RIDICULOUS a policy of self-deportation sounds when it comes to immigration.  Say it to yourself over and over again:  "Yes, I expect that millions of illegal immigrants are just going to turn themselves in and go back to the countries they (sometimes) risked their lives to leave".  This doesn't pass the common sense test.  Rick Perry and George W. Bush have been right from day one on this issue, namely that there must be some kind of path to legal citizenship.

6) Self-deception is self-destruction.
When you never leave your own political house, it's inevitable that you miss things.  Deceiving yourself into believing that polls, which are science-based things (not ideological concepts), are wrong because they tell you something you don't want to believe is a fatal mistake.

Now I've already heard the wailing and mashing of teeth at Fox News and other conservative media types about bias.  To that I have one word in response:  Bull$hit.  If you add up all of Limbaugh's listeners and Fox News viewers you have basic equality with "main stream" media.  Yet another example of self-deception.

7) Money can buy air-time but it can't buy votes.
Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers and others poured hundreds of millions of dollars into this election and made no one happy other than TV and radio stations.  See point #6:  repeating an ineffective message over and over again will not make it somehow effective.  Most Americans (especially Tea Baggers) can't define Socialism, so claiming that Obama is in favor of it seems pretty silly to me.

8) You have to control your Loonies.
Hear much from the Occupy Movement during the general election?  Did you say "no"?  Funny, I didn't either.  I did, however, hear lots from the lunatic fringe of the GOP, also known as the Tea-Baggers.  Simply put, Obama didn't let the far left fringe of the Democratic Party control his campaign or his stands on issues.  There was no talk about raising corporate tax rates as a part of Obama's campaign, for example   Yet on the Republican side, Tea-Baggers were practically wetting themselves with joy over the selection of Paul Ryan as the Romney VP.  Yes, I know that Joe Biden's breath probably still smells like shoe leather, but that's not the point, as Joe Biden isn't perceived as being some card-carrying Occutard...but Paul Ryan is perceived as a card-carrying Tea-Bagger.  The Tea-Baggers insisted on far-right stands in the GOP platform, including no amnesty  (they must have forgotten that their hero, Ronald Raygun, actually offered it), and no abortion (not in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother), ever.

Detecting a pattern here?  It's a pretty sad day when the Democrats are seen as being the moderate ones, but give it up to the Tea-Baggers (who I also believe have cost the GOP something like 5 U.S. Senate seats) for making them look so very non-extreme.  Another example of the GOP basically funding Democratic commercials.  Another example also of self-deception, as you get the impression that Tea-Baggers actually think that most American's agree with them.

As I said before the election, I will be fine no matter who won.  Oh, and I am who the GOP should be appealing to:  Middle aged white guy, I have a great PRIVATE SECTOR job, I earn a decent living, I get NOTHING from the Federal government (does that mean I am a "maker" as opposed to a "taker"?), I pay A LOT in taxes and I basically just want the Federal government to not make my life worse.  Yet despite all of this, they really offered me nothing as an incentive to vote for their candidate last week.

In the words of the current generation: epic fail!


Karla said...

Stephen - This is punchy, analytical and fun. It's my fave NCFE post ever. Keep blogging... ~Karla

P.S. I'm in the middle of one and I'm going to link your post =)

Stephen Albert said...

Thank you for the comment Karla. I look reading your post.

Big Dan said...

Steve: good analysis, especially the "LOONIE" part. The GOP talks about: abortion, contraception, gay marriage, religion, birth certificates, Benghazi (WAY to much on Benghazi to the point it hurt them), and frankly they SCARE people in the middle, which is most of us. That is extreme talk, people don't want to hear that. And the right can thank for their losses: FOX "news", Rush Limbaugh (SANDRA FLUKE IS A SLUT, etc...), Mike Savage, stations like WILK with their KOOKY callers, etc...etc... And they just don't get it.

They are in a bubble, their world is a bubble of closed off "news", then OF COURSE they are shocked Obama won. If you hear 24x7 on your "bubble news" that ROMNEY will win by a landslide, of course they are shell shocked and in disbelief. They think everyone's like THEM. And they are the minority, and they really don't think so.

Big Dan said...

And Steve, here's the kicker: I really DON'T think Romney (and the mainstream GOPers) even BELIEVE this, but they ramp up this rhetoric to frenzy up the extreme end of their base. I really DON'T think Romney is as extreme as he portended to be. He seemed (believe it or not) quite LIBERAL in Massachusetts. He installed Obamacare in Mass., before it was called Obamacare. So they seem to not learn to, EXACTLY AS YOU SAID, reign in the "crazies" during election time. They did not. Good catch and analysis, my friend!