Monday, November 12, 2012

Week of 11/12/2012

The 2012 Presidential Morass Is Over!
– by David Matthews 2

It’s over!

The 2012 Morass is done with!

Our long-running nightmare has finally come to its conclusion.

And… shocker of all shockers (all sarcasm intended)… the status quo remains intact.

Much like the ending in “The Matrix Revolutions”, this commentator is left with this somewhat numb feeling, of being told that it’s “over” and trying to be elated by it, but still being puzzled by the outcome.  Sorry “Kid”, you may be saying “The war is over”, but it doesn’t feel like that’s the case.

President Barack Obama has won his re-election campaign.  As I said in a previous column, this was always his race to lose, and he proved it.

But I’m not going to gloat about it, mostly because I didn’t vote for him.  I voted my conscience instead of according to a party script.  I’m also not going to throw a temper tantrum over his win, for pretty much the same reason.

Am I happy that he won?  There’s a part of me that says “yes”.  I won’t deny that. 

There is a part of me that is happy that Obama won because of the naked narcissistic arrogance and blatant hypocrisy of those in the GOP that were shoving their candidate down our collective throats.  The egos of a political faction that has been pompous and self-serving even back when I was a card-carrying member of the GOP is something that has they have never been able to address.

And why the conservatives and neo-conservatives and theo-conservatives indeed lost, it wasn’t a truly “humbling” loss for them.  It wasn’t a clear loss for them.  They still hold the House of Representatives in their hands.  They still have filibuster power in the United States Senate.  Congressman Paul Ryan, aka “Mister Budget”, still has a job in Washington.  So does fellow Representative and Presidential Wannabe Michelle Bachman.  They can still create trouble for Obama’s second tenure, and they vowed to do just that long before the first ballots were cast.

So, no, they’re not humbled, and many of them truly need to be.

But let’s see where they went wrong.  Let’s start with…

The Man They Had:  Willard “Mitt” Romney was not the man that the GOP really wanted on the ticket.  He’s the man that the voters in the primaries and caucuses chose over all of the others; even though the diehard evangelical GOP extremists vowed on a stack of bibles the size of the Washington Monument that they would “never” have him on the ticket.  Not only did they go back on their promise from this past January, but they then carried on and championed his campaign as though they were on his side from day one.  The word “hypocrisy” in this regard would be an understatement.

“It’s My Turn”:  Once again we have a candidate that believed that it was simply “his turn” to win, as though the Office of President of the United States was a matter of “paying your dues” and “waiting your turn”.  John Kerry thought this was the case.  So did Bob Dole.  So did Vice-President Al Gore.  Mitt Romney just found out that it just isn’t so.

“Birth Certificate” Meet “Tax Returns”: While Romney tried to stay away from the whole “Birther” issue… operative word being “tried”… Romney wasn’t as transparent when it came to his tax returns, only deciding to make the most recent ones public and staying away from anything connected to his former workplace, Bain Capital.  This was a sore spot from the primaries that never went away, and from the same political party that made a whole mountain pass out of Obama’s birth certificate.  Again, the word “hypocrisy” would be an understatement.

When will they learn?  Everything brought out in the primaries can and will be used against your nominee in the general election!  That’s the Political Miranda Rule and it is proven time and time again!

October Mega-Storm Surprise:  Who would have thought that the “October Surprise” of this election would be Mega-Storm Sandy?  It certainly gave Obama the opportunity to demonstrate how he handled a natural disaster compared to his processor, not to mention give him some unexpected public kudos from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. 

Oh, and word of warning to President Obama: you need to follow through with that support now that the election is over, lest you back-end yourself into making the mistakes of your predecessor.

Etch-A-Romney:  Romney’s leaked-out “Etch-A-Sketch” tactic - while far from being new, original, or surprising - did make public something that was long talked about by pundits under their breaths; namely that a candidate will pander to the extremists in the primary season and then “flip-and-shake” and start all over again by pandering to the moderates.  It’s one thing for the audience to figure out how the magician does his trick; it’s another to stand on stage next to the magician and walk the audience through how he does it.

Picking on Big Bird: Imagine sitting down next to a friend of your boss and this “friend” tells you “I like you.  You’re a great person.  You do great work.  I have nothing but praises for what you do, but I’m going to get your boss to get rid of your job so he can fund my pet projects.  Nothing personal.”  That’s what Mitt told Jim Lehrer during the first debate when he said he would de-fund public broadcasting, and thus supposedly “fire” both Lehrer and Big Bird on “Sesame Street”.  Maybe that kind of cutthroat attitude is normal for Wall Street, but not for Main Street.  You don’t tell the moderator of your debate that you’re going to have him fired if you get elected, and you don’t tell kids that you’re going to take away their TV show. 

Oh and for the record, the folks at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting said that “Sesame Street” is funded by corporate sponsors, not through Congress.  But the imagery was more than enough to turn people away from Romney.  This outrage has been sponsored by the letters “F” and “U”.

Corporations Are People Too”: Sorry, Mitt, but you are out-and-out wrong.  Corporations are not people.  Corporations are business entities run by people that are able to use money that is not theirs.  Sound a little familiar?  They are no more “people” than you could proclaim that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts – which you once governed and you couldn’t even carry in this election – was a “person”.

That was, though, just one of many Romney-isms that did him in, and not all of them came from his own mouth.  The “Etch-A-Romney” was another example.  So was the proclamation that “This campaign will not be dictated by fact-checkers”.

Speaking of corporations, it also didn’t help Romney’s campaign any to have his friends in Corporate America try to intimidate their employees to vote for him or face possible layoffs.  This was unprecedented, folks, and a more-capable Attorney General might even call that a violation of federal RICO laws.  Oh, and just a word of warning… should that happen, it’s not the corporations that end up getting arrested and their assets seized.  It’s the actual people behind them.

The Company Mitt Kept:  This election was more than just Mitt, much as Mitt would probably like to think otherwise.  Mitt Romney represented the GOP, and that dominant party was just chock full of “colorful characters”… like Congressman Todd Akin, who believed that women had the same kind of “rape prevention” biology as a duck.  Or Richard Mourdock, who believed that pregnancies caused by rape are things that “God caused to happen”.  Or Congressman Allan West, the expelled Iraq War officer that invoked the ghost of disgraced Senator Joe McCarthy by claiming to have a list of known “Communist Party” members.

I haven’t even gotten to Super-PAC contributor Sheldon Adelson, who funded Newt Gingirch’s primary run that loaded him up with all of those anti-Romney nuggets and then funded Romeny’s campaign.  Think about it: a casino magnate funding a Mormon, whose own church condemns gambling… and nobody called “BS” on it!  I’m sure that convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff was bouncing off a few walls over that bit of realization.

Oh, it should also be noted that Akin, Mourdock, and West were each shown the door by the voters.

But perhaps the biggest thing that did Romney in was…

Romney’s World: Mitt Romney’s biggest enemy was his own bubble of delusion.  A delusion bubble that said that Obama started his tenure with an “apology tour” that never existed.  A delusion bubble that said that Romney could create twelve million new jobs before turning around and proclaiming “Government doesn’t create jobs”.  A delusion bubble that said that Obama coddled terrorists when Obama actually green-lit the mission that killed Osama bin Laden and had the Navy cracking down on Somali pirates, not to mention doubled-down on the PATRIOT Act in ways that even liberals are crying foul over.  A delusion bubble that accused Obama of not willing to work with Congress when it was Senator Mitch McConnell that proclaimed that it was the primary mission of the GOP to make Obama a one-term president.  A delusion bubble that said that Obama “had no plan” on dealing with unemployment when Obama would offer program after program that would be shot down in Congress.

It’s not hard to see where this delusion bubble would come from, of course.  Fox News, the late Andrew Breitbart, talk radio, conservative think-tanks, take your pick; any or all of the above will suffice.  It’s the same bubble from 2008 only with an extra dose of bitterness.

When you put all of these things together, though, you can see just where Romney went wrong.  Mitt Romney was a flawed candidate in a flawed party operating on a flawed premise that anyone – even a flip-flopping delusional Mormon – was better than Obama.

But while I’ll admit that there is a part of me that is glad to see that pompous arrogant faction lose, the rest of me is very bothered by the outcome.

Let’s get brutally honest here… despite the rhetoric, despite the outrage, despite the frustrations, despite the misery we have been enduring these past four years… the American people voted to maintain the status quo… again!

Yes, the really extreme members of the GOP are out.  Or, some of them, anyway.  The “Rape is God’s Will” and the “Legitimate Rape” and the “McCarthy was right” fundamentalist extremists are out.  The truck-driving conservative Scott Brown got replaced with the former TARP overseer Elizabeth Warren.  Even liberal Allen Grayson got his job back in Florida.  But Congresswoman Michelle Bachman still has her job.  So does Congressman Paul Ryan, even though he lost his brief run to be Vice-President. 

House Speaker John Boehner still keeps his job and his grasp of power in the House.  So does the perpetual surrender monkey, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  Both legislative halves retain their respective party dominance and still with the filibuster threat looming over them to guarantee nothing passes.

If there was a fundamental shift in party dominance in Congress, that would have been one thing.  Then the claim could be made that the voters “accepted” or “rejected” any one party or philosophy.  As it is, the only thing that the voters seemingly rejected was Willard “Mitt” Romney and his delusion bubbles bought and paid for by Super-PAC money.

That is probably the biggest of the insults in this whole sordid Morass; the sheer volume of money wasted.

Quite literally billions of dollars were spent by K-Street and C-Street lobbyists and Corporate America on this election.  Billions that could have been spent on jobs.  Billions that could have been invested in other businesses to get Americans working again.  Billions that could have been put into expanding current businesses and improving employee conditions, thus raising the tax revenue base, and providing the revenue needed to reduce government dependency.  Instead, that money was wasted on TV ads and on overpaid and over-exaggerated political consultants like Frank Luntz and Karl Rove and Dick Morris.

Money that could have turned the Great Recession around was instead wasted on an election season that ultimately changed nothing.  Billions wasted to feed elitist egos instead of getting us all out of our economic death spiral.  Those aforementioned egos won’t see it that way, of course.  And now we all have to pay the price for their stubbornness. 

But don’t worry… the same people behind the 2012 Presidential Morass are already hard at work setting the stage for the 2014 Mid-Term Morass, and also for the 2016 Presidential Morass.  After all, overpaid consultants still need to make their money, and pompous egos still need to be stroked.

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