The results (and what now?)
Well, if you are (were) a Mitt Romney fan it is going to be a long next four years. The election was very very close (popular vote-wise); however, Mitt just couldn't snag enough swing states even though, again, the results were close in those as well.
So, what now?
- Obama set a precedent: No incumbent faced with an economy such as what we have now has won re-election, save FDR. Why's that? Well, partly because the exit polls I saw throughout the day said that most still blame George Bush for the economy. I find this fascinating; Obama and crew sure did a good job selling that particular nugget.
- MSM bias. As I've previously noted, some (like Bill O'Reilly) have posited that mainstream media bias can account for several percentage points in an election. Consider the second prez debate where moderator Candy Crowley interceded on the president's behalf -- that he indeed called the Benghazi, Libya attacks "terrorism." Yet we now know via a squelched "60 Minutes" segment that the president refused to assert the "terrorism" label regarding Libya. Not to mention the recent fawning over the president due to his supposed "superb" handling of the Hurricane Sandy situation. Just ask the thousands of New Yorkers, though, how "superb" it has been.
- Extreme elements. Although Romney himself is hardly an "extremist," he had to fight off associations with the likes of Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock and even his own running mate, Paul Ryan. (Akin and Mourdock both lost very winnable Senate pick-ups for the GOP.) Though groups like the Tea Party have been successful at getting some sensible and rational candidates elected (like Marco Rubio), too often they've also nominated some real, well, WTF candidates -- like Nevada's Sharron Angle and our own Christine O'Donnell. In an increasingly blue nation, hardcore social conservatism isn't going to cut it. The GOP needs to adopt a more libertarian attitude -- be fiscally conservative and leave the social worries to individuals. And isn't that supposed to be politically conservative anyway -- getting the government out of our personal lives? National GOP candidates who adopt this view can be successful where it counts electorally. Do you really think it is a "negative" to state regarding, say, gay "marriage" that "I don't think that's any of the federal government's business. Let the states and localities decide"? Or, that abortion in cases of rape or incest (hello Akin and Mourdock) is perfectly acceptable?
- Changing demographics. We hear that the GOP is "the white people's party." And while that is true, it doesn't entirely have to be. The party does not have to sacrifice its core principles, either, in order to woo more minorities. What it does have to do is be more vigorous in countering "progressive" propaganda about the GOP in areas such as civil rights, immigration, and education. Taking the latter first, consider the films Waiting for Superman and Won't Back Down. These are huge indictments of [mostly] inner city education systems which are the result of decades of Democrat Party control. The GOP should campaign heavily for school choice and vouchers, but concentrate on the former within the public system -- show that they can do it better. (It certainly can't get much worse in many areas.)
With immigration, the GOP has to willing to offer more than just clamping down on illegal immigration, building a huge fence, and deporting all who are here without permission. Keep in mind, it isn't just the Democrats' fault we have the number of illegals here now that we do. With an estimated 10-15 million illegals already in the country something realistic has to be considered. A guest worker program (a favorite of Bill O'Reilly) and expedited paths to citizenship are just two suggestions. However, it is an insult to assume that all, or even most, Hispanics are of like mind and believe that the borders should be completely open, and that anyone who comes across the border should automatically become a citizen. Indeed, "a March 2011 poll by Moore Information found that Republican economic policies were a stronger turn-off for Hispanic voters in California than Republican positions on illegal immigration." John Echeveste, founder of the oldest Latino marketing firm in southern California, said,
"What Republicans mean by ‘family values’ and what Hispanics mean are two completely different things,” he said. “We are a very compassionate people, we care about other people and understand that government has a role to play in helping people."
This shouldn't be a conundrum for the GOP; conservatives can address this by emphasizing that government does have a role, but that local governments, not the feds, are best equipped to deal with the helping of people. And, this doesn't just apply to Hispanics, of course; the same message applies equally to African-Americans.
- Weariness on the war front. Not that Mitt Romney actively campaigned on going to war with Iran (or anyone else), but the spectre of George W. Bush still hangs around with his "war of choice," Iraq. President Obama has whittled down our commitment there pretty much as he said he would do, and that war still leaves a sour taste in many Americans' mouths. Many wonder what we could have done here at home with all the cash spent on that conflict, as well as the "nation-building" efforts in nearby Afghanistan. A good portion of Americans are fed up with us having to play policeman to the world, spending cash which we don't have on foreign adventures, and losing American lives for causes even the natives in other countries don't seem to care much about. Obama's more cautious approach with regards to a possible scuffle with Iran -- compared to Romney's more straighforward "they cannot be allowed to develop a nuke" -- I'm sure resonated with a lot of war weary Americans, rightly or wrongly.
- The Supreme Court. "Progressives" should be particularly cautious, however, if Obama gets to adjust the political make-up of the high court. As Hans Bader laid out, a shift in the court could lead to, among other things, limitations on so-called "offensive" speech, a striking down of all state photo [voter] ID laws, and an outright ban on individual possession of guns. Many "progressives" lamented decisions such as Citizens United; however, they overlook how any potential bans on specific types of speech would affect them -- in particular their allies in the mainstream media. I can think of no better way to reverse the American cultural shift to blue than via an overzealous "progressive" high court.
I may be wrong, however, particularly on the third bullet point. Maybe we've changed so much demographically and philosophically the last 20+ years that, no matter what, the people want the federal government to "solve" their problems -- despite the fact that we've run out of money ... and despite the fact that the feds waste our tax monies with wanton abandon ... and despite the fact that it relies on a "one size fits all" strategem to resolve pressing issues. Maybe we do want to be like Europe. If accurate, the Grand Old Party faces an even greater reassessment of its goals and focus. The greatest danger, though, is for the GOP to dig its heels in deep ... and deny what's going on around them.
That being said, for Barack Obama, there is no more blaming George W. Bush. What we see -- what we face -- is yours now, Mr. President. I personally do not see how your proposals will seriously deal with the billion dollar deficit, the $16 trillion (and growing) national debt, and growing energy costs. Raising taxes on the wealthy will only make an insignificant dent on the former two. Do not delude yourself otherwise. You'll have to make some serious decisions and some tough calls these next four years, else the growing populace that is friendly to the federal government will soon be in for a very rude awakening.
UPDATE: I neglected to mention a BIG item pertaining to the results: "Progressives" can STFU about "racism" now. Obama was not only elected but re-elected. So, again -- STFU about it already.
Posted by Hube at November 7, 2012 04:20 PM
But conservatism isn't about merely getting the government out of people's personal lives. That's really just Randite-Rothbardite libertarianism. The old conservatives were about preserving tradition, religion, family and all that jazz. Big government interfered with those things, so they opposed it. Unfortunately Kirk and Co were tossed aside in favor of the neocons and libertarians in the 80s.
These things were maintained partially through the law. This was the case throughout most of the history of Western civilization. The bad old days you could get tossed in jail for sodomy, hawking porn or doing abortions. The leftists and the libertarians tried to tear all that down in the 60s. The state that adopts some crude sexual agnosticism isn't 'conserving' anything. It's actually rather revolutionary and destructive.
God bless Akin and Murdock for trying to be logical and not make Magic Murder Exceptions for kids whose dads are assholes. If only Todd hadn't gotten into that whole rape conception mess.
No way in hell am I voting for the proposed New Romneyfellerbard Party.