I meant to write election thoughts out over the weekend, but the time was spent getting last minute stuff done outside in anticipation of this week's cold snap. It was a brisk 18° when I got up this morning. I think it's going to be a hard winter. Last year the jet stream kept the really cold air bottled up in Canada for most of the winter. An early dip like this makes me think that blocking force won't be in place this year. The only question in my mind is how much moisture will make it here. If that pattern changes too we're in for it this winter.
Now that it has been a week and the emotions, high and low, have settled down a bit, here are a few observations about the 2012 elections.
-Obama won a strong victory in the Electoral College, but other numbers tell a closer story. The right swing of less than 500,000 votes across only four states and we would be talking about President-elect Romney's cabinet picks right now. Out of about 120 million votes that is a smaller margin of victory than many Democrats want to admit. I understand the urge to claim a mandate, it comes naturally to the partisans on both sides in such situations. It doesn't actually exist though, and to try to act as if it does is only going to lead to political sorrow for Democrats.
-I find it interesting and pleasing in a way that voters in Missouri and Indiana , especially Republicans in those states, went for Romney and yet rejected the Republican nominees for US Senate. Lord knows I would much rather have those seats filled by Republicans, but at least it shows that Republicans are not the unthinking monolith that some on the left try to make them out as. Are there any comparable statewide results for Democrats this year?
-As of yesterday morning, Obama lost a staggering 7.5 million votes from his 2008 total. Retaining those really would have meant a mandate. Instead, it just means that disillusioned voters simply couldn't bring themselves to vote for Romney and stayed home. And a big reason for that is because Obama's strategy of division, demonization, and character assassination worked. It also left Obama with what I believe will be something of a Pyrrhic victory. Such tactics leave an awful lot of hardened hearts and only a brief window to try bring people back together. It will take deeds, not words, and I don't think Obama is up to the task. It's not what he campaigned on and besides, he's too much of an ideologue.
-If it didn't sink in after 2008, this year's election cycle should make it crystal clear to conservatives/libertarians that the big legacy media, NY Times, WaPo, CBS, NBC, ABC, NPR, are our political opponents every bit as much as the Democrats. Don't call them the enemy, because that has far more deadly connotations, but it's time to act like they are the opposition. No more of this BS about "journalists" moderating debates. No more acting as if they are objective. That doesn't mean disengaging from them or being impolite, it's simply recognizing that they are an opponent and letting them know it.
That also means nominating people who can survive in that environment because they aren't morons who say stupid stuff about, I don't know, rape. Mourdock's gaffe in Indiana was a clumsy attempt to articulate a religious belief that is consistent with the position that all life is sacred. Agree or disagree, it was not driven by ill intent. But the media will not give a break to Republicans like they will for Democrats. It's the way it is, so nominate candidates accordingly. As for Akin in Missouri, he's not only an idiot, he's an asshole for not stepping down.
-I have no pick right now for who I want to see run as the Republican nominee in 2016. What I do want though, is for that person to spend the next three years speaking and writing about what they believe and their vision for America. Reagan did that for many years before being elected in 1980. Whoever wants the Republican nomination in 2016 needs to get cracking along those lines now, because I think we are really, really going to need a Ronald Reagan by then.
-Much is being said about demographics and the future of the GOP right now, but much of that is through the hyper-racial prism of Democratic politics and it would be a mistake for Republicans to get sucked into that when there are two things they can do to attract youths of all races. They aren't easy things to do, but they are necessary or many young people will not listen to anything that the GOP has to offer. The first deals with evolution/creationism and the second is about abortion. Both are probably best addressed in separate posts.
-The world did not end last week and I have the mortgage payment receipt from today to prove it. And while I wish that Romney had won because I think he is far better equipped to deal with the current mess, perhaps it's best that Obama inherits the results of his own administration. No more whining about Bush, no more woe is me bullshit. It's now or never. He can cease continue being our first special needs president or he can get the job done. There's really no other choice.