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.