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Tag Archives: 2012 Election

Why Obama Won

It’s pretty simple actually.  The Republican brand is tarnished and more and more of America is becoming moderate to liberal.  In other words, contrary to the Fox News spin, we are not a center/right country.  We are a center/left country.  More and more every day.

George W. Bush fought two wars on a credit card, lying his way into one of them, failing to have an effective plan for either of them.  He cut taxes, but increased spending, and pretty much spent eight years being a doofus.  The single biggest reason we are in the mess we are in today (although, as discussed below, it actually isn’t as bad as all of the doomsayers insist) is the result of GWB’s presidency.  This is not about blaming him for what is happening now to escape any responsibility Obama and the Dems may have.  It’s simply a reality.  He was not a responsible steward of the nation’s resources and as he left office he left our country in the worst place it has been in in decades.  Have no doubt, the man will go down as one of our worst Presidents in history.  And Americans, most of them anyway, know this.  Why go back to that?  If he was the end of the downward spiral of the Republican Party, they might have had a chance this year.  However …

It didn’t end with him, though.  In response to Obama’s victory in 2008, the Republican Party became, not just the party of no, but the party of the extreme right wing.  Yes, there are still moderates in the party, but the face of the Republican Party — the leaders in Congress and in statehouses around the country — has become a screaming, tantrum-throwing ensemble of the worst the Republican Party has to offer.  There are too many examples of this, but the best are the statements of Republican Senate candidates regarding rape.  Maybe those comments make sense to a subset of America, but to the rest, they sound extreme, dangerous, and, well, loony.

Put another way from Thomas Friedman in the NY Times:

Many in the next generation of America know climate change is real, and they want to see something done to mitigate it.  Many in the next generation of America will be of Hispanic origin and insist on humane immigration reform that gives a practical legal pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants … Many in the next generation of America see gays and lesbians in their families, workplaces and Army barracks, and they don’t want to deny them the marriage rights held by others.  The GOP today is at war with too many in the next generation of America on all of these issues.

In its reaction to the election of the first black President, the Republican party has sunk to the depths of reactionary fear.  They have become the party of older white men and are experiencing their last angry gasp.  As a result, the Republican brand isn’t just tarnished, it is become more and more irrelevant in ever larger parts of the country.

As well, while the Republicans ran around the country telling us how horrible things were, I think a lot of people were looking around and thinking “what are they talking about?”  Yes, the unemployment level is still too high.  Yes, the economy is not growing as quickly as we would like.  But the simple reality is that there are still a lot of people who are doing OK.  The demise of the American economy is an event that hasn’t actually occurred.

Into this world the Republican Party nominated Mitt Romney and allowed Clint Eastwood to engage in the most bizarre convention speech ever — the same Clint Eastwood, by the way, who narrated the Chrysler commercial during the 2012 Super Bowl which touted its comeback — made possible by Obama’s auto bailout.  Anybody see any inconsistency there.  I do.  It shows tough guy Clint to be nothing more than a shill — giving his name and voice to whoever will pay.  Clint’s a sideshow, however.

Mitt Romney was the first, second and last act of this year’s Republican effort to re-gain the presidency.  Let’s see … wouldn’t disclose his tax returns.  Primary claim to fame was running a hedge fund responsible for the destruction of jobs and companies.  Millionaire with dollars coming out of his pores and elevators for his cars.  A man who “struggled” while in college, while living on the $100,000 in stock given to him by family.  There are far too many examples of why he didn’t fit the American mood this year — but, it’s really pretty simple.  The party with a tarnished brand nominated as their standard-bearer a man out-of-touch with most of America (witness his 47% comment) and who represented so much of what is wrong with the system for those of us who are working and struggling to make a living.

Add to this the following from Real Clear Politics summary after the election:

After calling the president to congratulate him, a spent and disappointed — but nevertheless smiling — Mitt Romney made a brief speech to his supporters in Boston.  Afterward, numerous pundits noted that his remarks were uncommonly gracious.  But Democratic consultant Paul Begal and former Republican White House press secretary Ari Fleischer also found the speech notable for what was not in it:  There was no list of issues and causes that he’ll fight for in the future, no real discussion of the specific choices Americans will have to make in the future.  It was simply not, Fleischer and Begala observed, a concession speech from a movement leader.

This shouldn’t have been a surprise.  Romney’s critics on both the right and the left often accused him of lacking ‘a core” but those who are close to him believe this misses the essence of the man utterly.  ‘Core” values to Romney are his church and family, and to them he is a consistently devoted servant.

The point being, I believe, that not only did Romney represent so much of what is wrong with the system, he also failed to offer a vision of the future because he has none.  He’s comparable to Mondale in 1984 and Dukakis in 1988.  Technocrats.  Wonks.  Candidates who have all the facts and none of the vision or passion people want as their … ready for it … leaders.  Mitt Romney may be fine at running the Olympics, or managing a hedge fund, but that does not make him the kind of leader people choose to run their government.

Finally, I offer two things.  First, although the Republican Party tried relentlessly to suggest that President Obama had done nothing in the past four years, I think more Americans saw through that lie.  And, seeing that was a lie, questioned the rest of the foundational claims made by Romney and his party.  The man he accused of an apology tour killed Osama Bin Laden when GWB couldn’t.  He ended the Iraq War when GWB couldn’t.  He took strong action to ensure the overthrow of Qadhafi.  On the economy, while Republicans were claiming we were doomed, the rest of America saw a President who bailed out the auto industry, saving millions of jobs.  They recognized he had inherited an impossible situation and didn’t expect overnight miracles.  The list of accomplishments could go on, but I’ll leave it at that.  Most Americans, rather than seeing the doomsday scenario of the current Republican Party, actually recognize the progress being made and the value of the man who is President.

Second, there are plenty of other events that took place this week to support the thesis that we are becoming more center/left than center/right.  How many states’ voters approved marriage equality?  How many states’ voters approved the legalization of marijuana (something I oppose)?  Here in California, the voters agreed to tax themselves and approved a rational loosening of three strikes.  The extremism of the Republican Party was rejected in enough states that the Democrats actually gained seats in the United States Senate when all predictions were for the opposite.

Which brings us back to the title of this post.  Why did Obama Win?  As Thomas Friedman suggests … at a time when this country is becoming more and more diverse and more tolerant, the Republican Party is becoming the complete opposite.  Either they figure out that America is filled with the most diverse population ever put together in the history of this planet or they don’t.  And, if they don’t, they will become less and less relevant as time goes on.

As a lifelong Democrat, I hope they figure it out.  I don’t believe in one-party rule.  I believe in compromise and moderation and the value in two strong political parties that force that compromise and moderation.

Last One … I Promise

My last pre-election post.

For your viewing pleasure.  The wit and wisdom, as well as intelligence, of at least one group of Romney supporters.

Sunday Scraps (Hockey, the Election and a NaNo Update)

Thanks to a friend, I had three tickets for the Stockton Thunder hockey game last night.  The Thunder are a minor league hockey team playing their season even though the NHL is on strike.  After spending the day refereeing soccer and then watching my youngest play his game at 4:30, I wasn’t entirely thrilled with making the 45 minute drive to Stockton for a 7:30 game.  I’m glad I did.

Took the Pr incely Midgetsand had a good time with them, although it started with this.  As soon as we got in my car,  my oldest who usually has his phone in permanent text mode, but who didn’t last night because his girlfriend is backpacking in the mountains and doesn’t have cell service wherever she is, pulled his ITouch out and started to play a game on it.  He knows that when I have them with me for events like this I want to actually be with them and not just be a side show to his technology.  As soon as he pulled his ITouch out, I told him to put it away.  He didn’t.  I told him he could put it away or not go.  He kept playing with it.  Before we left the neighborhood I turned around and went back home.  Pulled up in front of our house and said, “It’s your choice.  Either you go or you don’t.”  He smirked at the ridiculousness of my demand and did nothing.  “Decide now.  Put it away or get out of the car.”  He put it away.

We had a good time after that.  The Thunder were having a promotion last night to raise funds and awareness for cancer, focusing primarily on breast cancer.  The ice was pink, there were 8,000 fans for a game that usually only draws half that number.  The Stockton players had pink on their uniforms.  There was pink everywhere.

The kiddos enjoyed it.  There were even a couple of small fights to thrill them.  Not being huge hockey fans, we benefitted from a kind woman who sat next to us, educating us about the rules of hockey.  I finally know what offsides is in hockey and how it differs from offsides in soccer.  I know a little bit more about face-offs and why they boot people out of them.

The fast pace of the game makes it a fun game to watch.  What I liked most, however, were the sounds.  In baseball, you have the crack of the bat and the pop of a fastball hitting the catcher’s glove.  In hockey, there’s the loud ‘whack’ of the puck hitting a stick on well-placed passes, the swoosh of skaters stopping and changing course, and, of course, the shudder of the walls when somebody is slammed into the boards.

It was a fun night.

* * * *

On to the election … I’ve stopped posting daily about this because there isn’t much more to say.  It’s Sunday morning as I write this.  Two days before the election.  Less than 72 hours from now we’ll have a winner (barring an electoral college tie, of course, which remains a remote possibility).  It’s clear who I support this year and that support is just as strong as it was four years ago.  Barack Obama is an adult amidst political children.  He exudes a calm confidence and works towards not what will get him a win today, but will achieve long-term objectives.  He has always been about the long game — keeping his eye on the prize of what he can accomplish over the long-term and not what he can do just for political expediency.  On so many issues, uninterested in short-term gain, he has taken risks to achieve what he believe would achieve the best long-term consequences, frequently against the counsel of his own advisors.  I firmly believe that if we are fortunate enough to have Barack Obama re-elected, years from now he will be considered one of our finest Presidents.

On the other hand, I shudder to imagine what a Romney Presidency would lead to.  If he were to accomplish half of the things he has promised, that he has claimed he believes are the right approach (although as I’ve written, it’s impossible to really know what he actually believes), we will continue further down the fiscal and foreign policy slide we have been on since GWB took office.

* * * *

It’s day four of NaNo.  Which means I should be at about 6,500 words.  I’m at about 2,200, all on The Irrepairable Past.  Yes, woefully behind.  This is the problem with me achieving a real NaNo goal.  There is too much life in my life.  Yesterday, I was basically out of the house from 8:00 in the morning until 11:00 at night, with only two hours in the middle of the afternoon.  My Saturday nap is far too important to sacrifice it to the demands of NaNo.  😉

It’s Sunday.  I have nothing except for laundry to do today.  Let’s see if I can do what I haven’t done for a number of years now.  Churn out a few thousand words in one day.  If I get bogged down on Option #1, I have a list of 40 words to propel me forward on Deviation.  Oh, and there’s this blogger out there who posted about a woman in New Orleans who sits on the street with her manual typewriter and offers to write Abrupt Erotica for a fee.  The blogger challenged her readers to offer 55 words of Abrupt Erotica.  So, I did, and well, I started something with that and I need to finish it now … otherwise, it would be somewhat interruptus, if you know what I mean.

I wonder if the 900+ words of this post should count towards NaNo.

I’d like to know

How the Catholic Church maintains its tax exempt status.

Day 4

Day 4

Obamacare.  That really should be all it takes on this topic.  After Presidents (including such conservative luminaries as Richard Nixon, during his Presidency, and the Heritage Institute, which supported the individual mandate before Obama adopted the idea) and politicians have spent decades talking about providing a health care system that ensures everybody has access to health care, President Obama enacted the Affordable Care Act, a program designed not to provide health care for all, but instead to require that all Americans have health care insurance.  For those who cannot afford it, there are tax credits and subsidies to help cover the costs.  For those who refuse to purchase insurance, there are penalties, the revenue from which will help fund the program’s costs.  In addition, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions and insurance will be portable, so you don’t lose your favored insurance just because you switch jobs.

To witness the response to this, however, one would think that Lenin, Stalin, and Mao have completed their takeover of our country, while Idi Amin runs the death panels.  The outrage over this program is the perfect demonstration of the non-reality-based world in which far too many Americans live in.  If employed we are required to contribute to the Social Security system, with a few exceptions.  We are also required to contribute to the Medicare program.  Every State has laws requiring drivers to obtain insurance.  Many locales require flood insurance or earthquake insurance because of particular risks those locations face.  Where is the outrage over these programs?

And, why do I bring them up here?  It’s simple really.  Every American should pay for their health care costs, just like every American should be required to pay for the costs of damage or loss they cause when driving a vehicle, contribute to a retirement system, etc.  Why?  Because these are costs that are born by society whether you have insurance or not.  Here’s the thing that amazes me about the Obamacare craze that suggests it is horrible for the government to have done this.  That it somehow reeks of socialism, communism, or who knows what evil it is the right-wing is afraid of.  Almost all of the people who are outraged about this are people who already have health care insurance.  What does that mean?  Through their insurance premiums and the ever-increasing cost of health care, they are already paying the health care costs of the uninsured.  Wake up people … those who don’t have health insurance are taking money out of your pockets!!!  It’s that simple and yet the anti-Obama’ers froth at the mouth at the idea of a program that addresses that problem.

Obamacare doesn’t require the already insured to pay more.  In fact, if it works the way it should, by expanding the pool of insured, it might actually result in lower insurance premiums.  Instead, what Obamacare does is force individuals to take responsibility for their own health care costs and penalize them if they don’t.  Stunning that people would object to this, especially when you consider the typical political views of those individuals.

If Obamacare is wrong, let’s jettison auto insurance, home insurance, social security, medicare, and every other government program that requires individuals to take responsibility for a cost of living in the modern world.

And, if you don’t believe me, here are a few recent pieces endorsing Obama’s re-election.  Two of them from decidedly conservative sources.

Mayor Bloomberg

The Economist

E.J. Dionne

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