A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Now that the 48 hour news cycle is over and the shrill voices of victory and defeat have shut the hell up (almost) it’s safe to take an adult look at what happened last Tuesday. How did Barack Obama snatch victory from the jaws of Mitt Romney’s defeat? Partisan politics aside, President Obama was not only beatable, he should have been beaten. The Obama administration’s accomplishments can be counted on one hand: it “got” Bin Laden. One the other hand, you need more hands. After four years of Obamanomics, the economy is still staggering around as if it’s been pistol-whipped. Despite a gabillion dollar taxpayer-financed smackdown, unemployment remains standing, smirking defiantly at nearly 8%. Yet, even as consumers are losing their ability to pay, prices are increasing. Gas, for example, is up 75% in some places. American debt is over 16 trillion dollars — an unfathomable amount that could have financed the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Age of Reason and both World Wars. Plus, that debt is increasing faster than even the government bean counters can count — over 3.8 billion dollars – per day. Half the country doesn’t want Obamacare, there are more illegal aliens in America than regular ones, there’s been a fatal Al Qaeda attack that’s getting covered up, Iran is about to go nuclear, Syria is not responding to Hillary’s harsh words and on and on and on. I’m going to stop here because it looks like I’m ragging on the guy. I’m not; these are just the un-spun facts. Looking at them objectively, there’s no way Barack Obama should still be president: they threw Hoover, Carter and Bush (41) out for less. Yet there he is — back in the Oval Office — and you’ve got to wonder why?
The answer’s quite simple, really. The Republicans look like idiots. What started out as a serious campaign about policy and ideas disintegrated as if it’d been hit by the Death Star – and it was all self-induced. You know you’re in trouble when the biggest name brand guy at your national convention is talking to a chair! From there, everything just went downhill so fast even Lance Armstrong couldn’t have caught it — and he was taking elephant hormones. For the next nine weeks (aside from the one brief, shining moment of the first presidential debate) Republicans played “Where’s Waldo?” with their credibility — and lost.
It is very difficult to carry on a reasonable discussion — even with people who want to listen — when you’re busy justifying, excusing and, finally, apologizing for “God’s infinite plan for legitimate rape” or some other such nonsense. Under these circumstances, it’s impossible to elaborate on anything more than a face plant. And that happened twice! All the people blaming Romney for the Republican loss should take at look at Akin, Mourdock and a few others before they pass judgement. Where did they find those guys? Hanging out back in 1951?
Then there’s Donald Trump, the gasbag with hair. Right in the middle of everything, this guy goes snarling Daddy Warbucks, waving a check for 5 mil in the air, and talking to the President of the United States as if he were some hotel maitre d’. First of all, Donald, what makes you think Barack Obama is going to be swayed by five million dollars when, as president, he can pick up the telephone and give any charity he likes ten times that much – or more – and he doesn’t even have to dial the number? Secondly, give it a rest; even if the guy weren’t an American, it’s too late now. You’re a day late and several million dollars short! The only thing Trump accomplished with his comic book theatrics was to join Fox News in making everyone who is even slightly further right wing than Winnie the Pooh look like a moron.
Furthermore, Americans are a live-and-let-live kind of people. They value their independence. They fought a revolution over it. It’s written in their constitution. How Republicans, of all people, forgot this is mind boggling. Yet, straight out of the gate, they start telling everybody that the road to hell is paved with abortion, same-sex marriage and marijuana. From that moment on, it was the Democrats versus the “I’m-Your-Dad” party and nobody in the GOP did anything to tarnish that image. Even if the Republicans aren’t the party of old white men, you’d never know it.
Despite what the pundits are telling us, the 2012 election was not a rout. In fact, it was relatively close. The Republicans fell a few hundred thousand strategically placed votes short of sending Romney and Ryan to the White House. The reason they lost is not, heaven forbid, they weren’t conservative enough (if that’s possible) nor that they were too conservative. There are plenty of fiscally conservative voters in America. The problem is Republicans have become the mirror image of the lockstep, politically correct fascists they so love to hate. For every strident liberal attitude, there is an equal and opposite Republican reaction. And that’s all the average voter thinks they have to offer.
It’s time for the Republican Party to quit experimenting with social engineering. That day is over. They need to stop relying on the worn out “thou shalt not” social agenda of the religious right for their party platform. They need to end their dependence on the “remember when” Tea Party for their political punch. And they need to listen to people like Christie, Walker, Huntsman, Graham, Rubio and, yes, even Jeb Bush — to hear there are new ideas out there — new and better ways to do business. They need to offer America new solutions that don’t involve telling Americans what they can and cannot do. They need to do all this because you can’t govern if you can’t get elected and you can’t get elected if you’re quagmired in social controversy.
It’s either give up the social agenda or resign yourself to go soul-searching every four years for a long time.