Unbelievable! I have just begun to settle in on a nice long Thanksgiving break. Ten days off, gonna watch some football, eat some bird, nod off from time to time, maybe do a little shopping. Relax, or chillax, what the “cool” people say now. Gonna forget about politics for a short time, wait for the ramp up to the fiscal cliff, recharge and renew.
Crap…on the TV I hear the Mitt Romney is now claiming that President (that’s gotta hurt Mitt) Obama somehow bribed millions of people by promising favors and incentives. Mitt, I realize that as the second member of the exclusive OKMA (Obama Kicked My Ass) club with charter member John McCain (who is carrying his vendetta farther than Michael Corleone) you have a slight readjustment period. Maybe take a ride on the car elevator, or take a cruise to see your money in the Cayman Islands. But no…Mitt the twit goes into a conference call and tosses about 10 pounds of sour grapes. So..with no popular demand, I am back to throw some cold water on the former leader of what Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal calls the “stupid Party.”
Post election, the “soul searching” by the Republican party is in full on Oprah mode. True confessions. The nation got a glimpse into what the Republican party really thought of Mitt Romney with at once doing a sprint to get as much distance as possible from old Mitt as possible, and at the same time talking about re branding or re tooling the GOP message for the 2014 mid terms. But…more on that later.
First, the notion that somehow this was a razor thin election is nonsense, and I am gonna prove it right now. 62,611,250 votes for President Obama versus 59,134,475 for Mitt the twit. About 3.5 million difference in the popular vote. OK, looks close right. But…lets really look at the numbers. Subtract the vote in the following states that haven’t voted Democrat since I had hair: Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In those states Mitt garnered roughly 1,750,000 more votes than the President. Figure it this way, minus those states, Mitt got less than 50 million votes versus the President staying near 58,000,00 in the rest of the nation. Add South Carolina and the Western States and Mitt did horribly in almost all other states other than the swing states. OK…I can hear some say: What about New York? Or California? Or Illinois? Romney had no chance there did he? Well, consider this: The average Romney vote percentage in those states was about 40 percent. About the same as the President’s total from the above named conservative states.
So, let’s ask this question: Are only 36 percent of New York voters Republican? Or 41 percent in Illinois? Or 38 in California? Funny..never thought of Los Angeles and Orange County as a hot spot of the Democratic Party. And, I live in Upstate New York that habitually elects Republicans to the house in most districts here. Yet, Mitt barely broke 40 percent in those states and Illinois. In fact, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand got 72 percent of the vote in New York. Hmm..so lets reframe the discussion. How many registered Republicans in all but the solidly conservative states turned on Mitt Romney and voted for President Obama? More than a few is what I think. Does anyone believe that Democrats alone led to those blowouts? And in other states the President won by more that 5 points, it appears that some registered Republicans turned on the GOP.
Why? Simple. They did not trust Mitt Romney. He was vague on policy, deceptive on his personal finances, outright venomous on the opposition, calling anyone who benefits from anything from the government freeloaders, void of ambition and morals. But wait! He paid 14 percent Federal tax on the income he “earned” on the one full tax return he released. Hmmm…so someone who gets huge tax breaks, shelters his fortune off shore, and gives vague explanations about his personal finances is not a freeloader? The American people smelled a skunk, and that skunk was named Mitt. I speculate that when left to the intense solitude of the voting booth, many Republicans got cold feet, rather choosing to vote for the devil they knew, President Obama, knowing most of everything there was to know about the man’s politics, rather than voting for the stealth candidate whose campaign slogan degenerated into the famous “trust me.”
Initially gracious after the election, Mitt probably had some toadies buzzing in his ear, “Mitt, you was robbed.” Probably Eric Ferhnstrom. Also, reverting to the Bain Capital board meeting mentality, Mitt handled GOP donors, like a shareholders meeting. Giving a financial statement-like analysis of why he got beat. He looks like the guy whose team lost an NFL game blaming the referees. No one wants that guy again.
Hell, even his own party started to turn Mitt into the famous Soviet “unperson.” Most of all of the established Republican power brokers barely mention old Mitt by name. And..when his little board meeting conference call with the large mmm…donors..ne stockholders became public, his “adopted” political party was screaming for him to STFU!!!
So…what to do? Probably a quick exit into the night for Mitt. No real political future left for Mitt. And for the Republicans? Here’s a cup full of unsolicited advice. Don’t resort to re branding, re inventing, or throwing a fresh coat of paint over the same tired ideas. Do these things ASAP.
1. Get Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now! Look, George W. Bush initiated the effort, and Ronald Reagan before him. This is a reform whose time has come. Hispanics, whom GWB gathered 44 percent of the votes from in 2004, are hard working, christian, moral people. Getting past this insanely racist attempt by the far right to vilify Hispanics is KILLING you! Get reform, border first, pathway to citizenship next, etc…Look humane, compassionate, and genuinely interested in their well being and that 44 will return.
2. Stay out of the corner. The fiscal cliff negotiations are crucial to a 2014 positive showing by the GOP in the midterms. Whether you believe a change the tax code that makes the wealthy pay more is good or not, remember that the political capital raised by the Democrats in the 2012 election was gained by the public’s wish to see cooperation in Washington and NOT confrontation. The “my way or the highway” political strategy of the Tea Party has been summarily dismissed by the majority of the country. In fact, the Tea Party ideology borders closely on a dictatorship strategy, which the country will never accept. Actually, you could see in many Republican leaders in Congress, a palpable sigh of relief over the fact that the mandate of this election was a renewed call for bipartisanship. House Speaker John Boehner looked almost giddy in many clips. finally being unshackled from the Grover Nordquist straight jacket he had been locked in for the last two years. Smae with many others. Haley Barbour calling for a GOP proctology exam was a less than veiled analogy to the fact that the old ways of doing business was in the metaphorical toilet.
3. Make the case that the GOP is for all Americans. The reason the 47% comment resonated so well to so many people was because the GOP for years has been associated as the party of the well to do. Remind people that freedom and justice are not Republican or Democratic principles, but American principles. Let Americans know that our government is done by consensus, by intelligent debate, compromise, and deliberations. Stick to your core principles. stay away from the screaming heads on talk radio, have respect for all ideas and allegiances. A baseline reason that so many Democrats turned out to vote was simple. One person, one vote. The perception (whether real or not) was that the Republican party was trying to suppress the vote. So, remember this: don not poke the bear. Encourage voting, and work to win the argument.
4. Vetting candidates at all levels. Having Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, or Sharron Angle running for Senate is a 100% formula for failure. The country wants as many smart people with Gravitas as possible. The GOP candidates in many races in 2012 looked like a reversion to a Beverly Hillbillies type campaign.
Now, as I prepare to return to my well earned Thanksgiving break, I will leave the Democrats with a final thought. Don’t gloat. You won. The DNC, especially the Obama campaign did a magnificent job. But 2014 can, and probably will, be a completely new experience. Do the work of the people and don’t strut. Remember the mandate of this years election: work together and get good things done.
Now I am gonna go back to my nap, and maybe talk a nice walk in the late fall air.
And to Mitt Romney: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!