Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Why Mitt lost: A parable

For a couple of hours, I watched the early election returns in a McDonalds. (My ladyfriend had sent me into the doghouse. The local doghouse serves fries.)

Two other patrons got into a discussion. One was a young fellow in a Coast Guard uniform. Very clean, very crisp; he sat ramrod straight and wore mirror-shiny patent leather shoes. The other guy looked -- well, a bit like me. Older, frumpy, paunchy. But not only that: He conveyed that indefinable aura of a man bedeviled by an inchoate dissatisfaction with life, by the nagging sense that nothing had worked out as planned.

Young Coast Guard Guy said that he had voted for Romney. Old Man Frumpy said that he had done the same. This factor should have acted as a bond, since they were probably the only two people in the room who had voted Republican. (Maryland, for all its faults, is a blue state.)

Yet Old Man Frumpy severed that bond quickly by going into a furious Fox Newsy rant about Benghazi. "Obama as good as KILLED that ambassador! He musta PLANNED it that way! We shoulda sent in the Marines! It's 'cause Obama loves Muslims more than he loves Americans..."

That clean-cut Coast Guard Guy turned away, not wanting to engage in further conversation. Everybody in the room regarded Old Man Frumpy the way you'd regard any conspiracy-crazed ranter. Don't make eye contact...no sudden moves...don't say one word, even if he addresses you directly...

I tell you this story because Young Coast Guard Guy and Old Man Frumpy represent two ways of being conservative, two ways of being Republican. Only one of those ways wins elections.

Fox News continues to be the Old Man Frumpy Clubhouse. The man who runs Fox News, Roger Ailes, is now quite old, and he is so very frumpy that he annoys even Rupert Murdoch. If Roger and Rupert and Rush and Rove still insist on transforming the GOP into Frumpyland -- well, speaking as a liberal, I can only offer my sincerest encouragement.

I am happy to say goodbye to Allen West, happy to see a quick end to Richard Mourdock, happy not to have to think about Todd Akin. I'm happy that the Dems -- almost unimaginably -- gained two seats in the Senate. And while I'm not happy that Obama won, I am overjoyed that mendacious Mitt Romney lost.

By all of the laws normally governing politics, none of this should have happened. Our "Democratic" president (I feel obligated to put his party identifier in quotation marks) had created the conditions for a Republican tsunami.

Obama was, is, a failure. But he failed because he was overly conservative -- not because he's a socialist. Yet the GOP insisted on running against the Marxist Muslim of their fever dreams, and they simply couldn't convince a majority of Americans to share that hallucination.

Modern conservatives are rage-addicts. They forced Mitt Romney to adopt an extremist persona which may or may not reflect his true self (presuming he still has a true self). Arguably, Romney lost the general election during the primaries. He forfeited the country when he won the base. The rage-aholics scared America into going blue in a year that seemed destined for crimson.
Comments:
Excellent points, Joseph. The Repubs have cast themselves as the party for the chronically angry, and that's a very exhausting emotion. They may wake up to the fact that in embracing the Tea Party they have clasped a viper to their breasts for some of the reasons that you pointed out. When you bring the crazy and add lots of anger and flying spittle, you have a product that's hard to sell. Demographics are not their friend either. In the next few years many of the angry old white people who consistently vote Republican will be dead, senile, or otherwise nonparticipants, which will leave the party a future like the one Oldsmobile faced.
 
He has the perfect opportunity to regain some FDR creds.. rebuild the East Coast infrastructure and storm proof it. Something he should have pushed in February 2009.
 
Did the Coast Guard guy ever say a word about why he voted for Romney? Sounds like he didn't. Great story. Perhaps our industrial-military overseers who run this country decided they didn't want Romney's backers' death squad going wild in this country and possibly going after anyone who backed the enemy, Obama supporters.

By the way, I worked a polling place in San Francisco, one of 543 precincts, and most of my time was spent helping voters track down where their new polling place was--precincts had been changed due to the 2010 Census but many didn't get notification of their new polling place--and worse, many voters who hadn't voted in many years were no longer on the voter reg rolls. In one case, the SF Dept of Elections sent a notification to the voter in May, and when the voter didn't reply back, their registration was cancelled. Many new voters' who claimed they registered were not registered--their voter registrations for whatever reason didn't go thru. It was a very long day from 5:30am to 10pm.


 
On the advice at another site, which sees this election as the end of traditional windbag/hate power[ the talking heads and right-wing radio vs social media], I tuned in Limbaugh at noon. I was only able to tolerate the first segment but if Limbaugh is any example, the GOP will be losing for quite some time.

The reason the Republicans lost, according to the Rush? They were running against Santa Claus. This is still the us [makers] vs the them [takers] argument. Nor does the Rush see the demographics working against the GOP because after all they have the likes of Rubio and a handful of other minority pols [Condi Rice, for instance] that proves their grand outreach and soundness of message. And of course, THE STORM was a false narrative according to the ditto heads. What exactly did POTUS do but show for a photo-op? Btw, Chris Christie is dog meat for reaching out, standing up for his constituency. I've read several articles this morning by disappointed Republicans suggesting Governor Christie should become a Democrat because he's dead to them. Also the Rush was 'astonished' that over 50% of the electorate blame GW for the financial mess we're in.

No kidding Sherlock!

I listened to Michael Steele this morning. He's disgusted by this attitude coming out of his own party. Facts are facts--The population looks more like him than the angry frumpy white guys the GOP woos every election cycle But then, there's Mark Halperin claiming that what the GOP needs is another 'compassionate conservative.' Like George W. Bush!

The arguments are too much. But one thing is sure--the Republicans are dazed and stunned by this loss. The hate machine and faux rah-rahs didn't work this time. Nate Silver and his number crunching has been redeemed. Plus I received real pleasure watching Karl Rove in major meltdown last night and Megyn Kelly, running from the Fox Newsroom and confronting their own stat guys when Ohio was called.

The hate meisters appear to be in a death spin. And that's really, really good news from where I sit.

Peggysue
 
It's certainly much easier to be chronically corrupt than chronically angry: something the old Republicans and the new "Democrats" seem to know pretty well.

Oh, and say what you like about the old coot, Joseph, but he had a point: Obama dithered for hours while an American consulate was under fire (and then tried to pin the blame on a video). It doesn't make him a murderer, but it sure as hell makes him incompetent.
 
There were two interesting articles in the Times today. One was a story about Obama's meeting with presidential historians periodically duriing his first term. It was clear to the historians that his primary interest in this meetings was pursuing his quest to go down in history as transformational president such as Lincoln or FDR. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/07/us/politics/now-a-chance-to-catch-up-to-his-epochal-vision.html?ref=todayspaper)

Another article in the business section asked what corporations were going to get for the $2 billion they plowed into various political races. It featured several studies that showed by a variety of measures that corporations that spent money on campaign and political pac donations as well as high-powered lobbying, did not fare as well as businesses that did not participate in these activities (and expenditures). But the quote from this article that intrigued me was this:

"As Wall Street knows well, the pitfalls of political spending start with picking the wrong horse: the financiers who broke so decisively for Barack Obama in 2008 changed their minds after the president started labeling them fat cats and supported a financial reform law they hate. This time they put $20 million in the campaign of Mitt Romney, more than three times what they contributed to President Obama’s re-election. Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, once one of President Obama’s favorite bankers, now calls himself 'barely a Democrat.'"

(http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/07/business/pitfalls-of-spending-on-politics.html?ref=todayspaper)

From the above paragraph, I gather that corporate donations to Obama were in the range of $6+ million. The crotchety grandmother in me wants to whisper in the President's ear:

"Dear, these people are not your friends. They're fickle. They'll throw you under the bus without batting an eye. You should think about that."

And about his historical legacy, granny has this to say:

"If you want to be known as a transformer like FDR, then why not emulate him. Invite some Keynesian economists over for dinner and listen to them. What have you got to lose?"

Sigh. Unfortunately, grannies are usually patted on the head and told "there, there."
 
He has the perfect opportunity to regain some FDR creds

He's had four years of perfect opportunities. What he hasn't had is the inclination and I don't see that changing in a lame duck term.
 
Oh, and as for "death squads" - let's not forget who legalized them, shall we?
 
I think we'll see both parties move further Right as a result of this fiasco. The super-wingnut branch of the Republicans will take he defeat as evidence that sanity is a recipe for failure, and the Democrats will take the results as proof that liberals will vote for any corporate con artist who mouths the appropriate platitudes and invokes the Roe v. Wade bogeyman.
Social security and Medicare (as well as any meaningful financial regulation) are toast.

As an added plus, we now have a mandate for unrestricted drone warfare and "kill lists".
 
Progressives are rage-a-holics as well.

SOMEBODY, and I mean lots of SOMEBODIES LOST BIG TIME when GM was restructured, so, Obama pulled a Bain to get GM going again, but was not accused of doing such a thing.

Voter repression accusations for being required to have a picture ID??? Doesn't anybody who applies for anything government related need to show a picture ID? Voter ID probably helped untold tens of thousands of people get much much closer to using government programs they in past might have shied away from.

Not only did Romney go soft on those two issues, his renewable energy position was dumb and dumber, anything that burns or is radioactive, is good, anything that derives energy directly from the suns rays, is bad.

There is an intellectually sound position to take on Gay Marriage that does not offend gays and does not bring religion into the discussion either, but Romney and the conservatives just can't fathom the idea of there ever being a reason that is valid, that is not market economy or religion based.

There is a joke about a guy stuck on his roof after a flood and he keeps praying to God for salvation, three times people come up to him and offer help, and he says he is waiting for a sign from God. Finally God speaks and says, I sent you three different people to help you!

Well, the Republicans have had TWO consecutive
republican conventions punked by God posing as a hurricane, and then, the final week before the election, a massive hurricane to drive the point home...how many times does God have to warn the republicans that their anti environment and anti renewable energy planks, stink.
 
November 02, 2012
-> http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/us-intelligence-denies-libya-embassy-delay/story-fn3dxix6-1226509103230#
"The Journal suggested that the security lapse may have been caused by miscommunication between the CIA and the State Department,
with the latter assuming the annex security team was a sufficient backup for its own guards.
"They were the cavalry," it quoted a senior US official as saying."
"The Wall Street Journal said on Friday the mission was mainly a CIA operation, adding that of the 30 American officials evacuated from Benghazi following the assault, just seven worked for the State Department."

 
Any president who is so delusional and narcissistic he consults historians about what he needs to do to be the "great man" in political history, needs a team of SHRINKS, not a team of historians. Obama is nuts.
 
Susan, don't Obama and Michelle have a record number of "advisors"?
 
Apparently some Republicans think doubling-down on crazy is the way to go:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/332862/nice-guys-finish-second-michael-walsh
 
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