Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fairy tales and mischief.

Apparently Republicans were totally blind sighted by their Election Day defeat — Mitt Romney is said to have written only a victory speech.  Given the consistent polls forecasting an Obama victory that, to say the least, seems mystifying.  Well, speaking on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, former Minnesota Congressman and Romney advisor Vin Weber clears it all up. Apparently Karl Rove and others had convinced the campaign that all the polls predicting an Obama win were based on erroneous modeling.  Speak of wishful thinking or selectively reading into the numbers.  But the story was so convincing that everyone, Weber included, gladly drank what he described as "the Kool-Aid".  That may also explain Rove’s own meltdown on Fox election night.

Romney conceding defeat
Well, following his embarrassment in delivering a totally unexpected concession, Mr. Romney has apparently moved into the next phase of grief.  He is explaining away what happened.  As reported by Ashley Parker in the Times, the vanquished candidate shared his analysis with members of his finance committee.  Why did he lose?  Well as Parker reports, it was because “the president had followed the ‘old playbook’ of wooing specific interest groups — ‘especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people,’ Mr. Romney explained — with targeted gifts and initiatives.” 

And what were these gifts with which Obama bought the election?  For “young people…a forgiveness of college loan interest”.  For college age women, “free contraceptives” and “…Obamacare also made a difference for them, because…26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan”.  That’s why “young people…turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.”  Wow.

But Professor Romney wasn’t finished.  According to Parker he went on, “…imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity,  I mean, this is huge.  Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus.  But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.” 

One can read these remarks as a fanciful explaining away, but to me are nothing less than a déjà vu experience.  It was also before a group of donors that Romney let forth with his 47% tirade, again targeting moochers.  At least this time the man is consistent (including continuing to lie, $10,000 in perpetuity).  It isn’t only that he is totally out of touch with the real America, but also that he clearly disdains those who aren’t part of his “class”.  In Romney’s view, it would seem that all these people should be left to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps like, for example he or his sons did or his grandchildren will do.  Right.  We should also feel incredibly relieved that Romney never got to give that victory speech.

Perhaps the Romney campaign drank Rove’s Kool-Aid, but one would hope they are not buying their standard-bearer’s spin.  Yes young voters (who did turn out in large numbers), African Americans, Hispanics and Women — the people Weber cautions his fellow Republicans are really today’s voters responded to Obama’s message.  But they didn’t see it as dispensing gifts or bribes.  They just thought this is the way America should be headed in the years ahead.  Part of that of course is leveling the currently very uneven playing field.  They want to have the same opportunities as the Romney clan.   Any one who doesn’t understand that is likely to be yesterday’s news not tomorrow's.

Obama in his press conference laid out an olive branch to Romney, looking forward to hearing his ideas when they meet at some undetermined time in the future.  Not so with another the man he vanquished, John McCain, and his sidekick, Lindsey Graham.  The duo served notice that they will do all in their power to thwart the President’s second term, much as Republicans were intent on paralyzing and then destroying Bill Clinton.

Invoking the four fallen “great Americans” at Benghazi, the Senators laid out a two-fold strategy of obstruction.  First, they both vowed to block the possible appointment of Susan Rice as State Secretary.  In his press conference, a clearly angry President called their characterization of Ambassador Rice, “outrageous”, so we’ll see where that goes.  Second, they are proposing a select committee to investigate the Benghazi deaths.  Let’s remember that it was the then Congressman Graham who led the charge in impeaching Bill Clinton. 

Romney seems unable to accept that his defeat was legitimate — it all can be attributed to bribes.  McCain, four years later, is still flailing like a wounded dog.  Both gave graceful concession speeches on their respective election nights, but one wonders how sincere they really were.  In the same way, Lindsay Graham still can’t get over being bested by Bill Clinton.  His assertions during the Sotomayor hearings that “elections count”, seems now to be forgotten. Didn't get Bill, doesn't mean I can't get Barack.  Pathetic.

If the American public was hoping for some spirit of cooperation in the aftermath of the vote, they may be disappointed.  These three Republican “leaders” have gotten us off to a bad start.  One of them, destined for the dustbin of history, is mired in a fairy tale.  The other two, hopelessly mired in the past, are full of destructive mischief. 

I call them Transcenders.  To brand them nonbelievers is to assume religion and its particular belief system the human default.  Worse it suggests that those who have left religion behind lack beliefs.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  For more read my book.

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