The 2012 Presidential Election

I have had a couple of days to savor what took place on Tuesday and I think I ready to share my thoughts.

I realize most people are burned out by election coverage and the last thing they want to read right now is one more person sharing their thoughts. Even I, the guy who usually cannot get enough of this stuff is suffering from election fatigue today. But I think this is too important to not say something.

I think the first thing that needs to be said, and this comes as no surprise to me, Nate Silver had this thing locked down. I cannot count the number of right-wing people I spoke with or read about on Facebook or other outlets who were convinced, Convinced!! that Romney was going to win, and it wasn’t going to be close. Go back, read what I wrote, I had absolutely zero fear that President Obama was not going to win, and the reason for my optimism was Nate Silver and 538. This wasn’t some magical guess, there was no surprise Tuesday night, the state-by-state polls were right from the beginning and Nate’s formula accurately reflected that.

The problem for the Fox News crowd, and the people who I read on Facebook (I am so tempted to rub this in to a few people) is that they refused to believe that Silver was right, that their simply are more people who self-identify as Democratic than there are Republicans.

I predicted on Twitter Tuesday that President Obama would win 326 electoral votes. He will have 332 when Florida is (finally!!!) called for him. This wasn’t some wacky projection coming from a hopeful liberal. I read 538, I believed in Nate Silver’s math and I won the Electoral College portion of our ReElection Party board (more on this later).

I have dedicated myself to listening to Rush Limbaugh and watching Fox News over the course of the last few days. What I heard prior to the election was a group of people who believed with absolute certainty that their candidate was going to win, and it wouldn’t be close.

A really interesting dynamic has started to take shape. Both sides, right and left have found news sources and information that reaffirms their world view. For Conservatives this is Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, The National Review, Drudge etc. They build a narrative. Put it out, and it bounces around in their echo chamber, being repeated over and over by each member of the group until it becomes “fact”. Benghazi is a perfect example of this, and I will circle back to it.

The same thing happens on the left to a degree, but with an important difference. For me, I know I am Progressive. I cannot stand prolonged exposure to the right wing echo chamber, because their version of reality is so frustrating for me  that I retreat to what I like, Maddow, Chris Hayes etc. In doing so, I am going to have my perspective reaffirmed, as I am going to hear things from a similar perspective to what I already believe. Therefore, it is incumbent upon me, as a curious and engaged citizen to seek out alternative news sources, or to fact-check those that I read to ensure that I am getting the full picture.

This last part is where right-wing media fails people who are consuming it, and those who are consuming it fail themselves. Anyone who believes that President Obama has doubled the deficit, or cut work requirements for welfare, or has raised the unemployment rate or taken people guns, or wasn’t born in this country simply has not fact-checked their sources. These things did not happen. Period. Every person on this planet has their own unique perspective on events that take place on it. Each person forms their own opinion based on what they perceive. This is human nature and it happens. Two people can witness the same event and walk away with two completely different views of what happened.

But, and this is the key to the 2012 election, Facts do not have two sides. Facts are not biased. Our interpretations of those facts carry our personal biases, but the fact itself has no bias. We may not like it. It may run contrary to our world view, but a fact it remains.

The fact is, President Obama was leading in the polls in September. He was leading in the polls after the Debacle in Denver on October 3rd. He was leading following the 2nd and 3rd debates where he wiped the floor with Mitt Romney. He was leading following Hurricane Sandy. These are facts. Mitt Romney may have had some momentum following the 1st debate, but by the time election day rolled around, President Obama was the clear favorite and the results of the election bear this out.

Steven Benen at Maddow Blog describes this phenomenon

Anyone who watched Fox News Tuesday night saw the collision that took place between a group of people who had so insulated themselves within their bubble that they were convinced of a Romney win, and Facts. When Fox News called the election for Obama, they literally did not know what to do or say, because for months they had been told by every pundit on their channel that Romney would win. It was their opinion that Romney would win and it was based on gut feelings and hopes. The facts said something very different.

The Election of 2012 was a win for facts.

John Stewart says it far better than I can:

Watching Fox News and listening to Rush Limbaugh yesterday after the election I heard a group of people struggling to come to grips with how they could squeeze reality until it fit into the world view that they maintain. Conservatism at its core looks to return America to simpler time. Old White Men have run this country from its inception. Old White Men have been the power brokers in the country since day one. Old White Men are watching as the base of that power is eroding under their feet.

Our country is becoming younger, and (excuse this term as I don’t like it) browner, and more feminized. There are a group of people in this country for whom this is a literal nightmare. That group of people listen to Rush Limbaugh and watch Fox News. Rush literally could not understand how this happened on Wednesday. In the 20 minutes I listened to, I heard him say at least three times: “How did this happen?” The exit polling shows that Obama increased his share of young people, Latinos, African-Americans and women, and more of each of those groups voted than did in 2008. This is why right wingers thought the polling data was favoring Democrats, they could not believe that these groups would turn out in the numbers they did.

I listened to Rush, and Bill O’Rielly try to figure out how to do a better job pitching the Conservative message to these groups. Both Rush and Bill-O correctly stated that without gaining some portion of this electoral groups, the Republican party cannot win on a national level anymore.

But in saying that they reflected their fatal flaw. Rush listed Michael Steele, and Herman Cain, and Marco Rubio and basically said, “what’s wrong with our minorities?”. From Rush’s warped perspective simply looking like someone is enough to get people to vote for them. He is saying “Hey Latinos, we have Marco Rubio, he is Latino, vote for us!”

What they fail to grasp is that it isn’t a matter of doing a better job of selling the Republican Brand to minorities and women to get them to vote. The problem is with the brand itself. You cannot, as a party, support platforms that alienate entire groups of the American electorate, then try to sell yourselves to those same people by parading a line of token representatives of those groups. This is small-minded, 2oth century thinking and it cost the Republicans the Presidency. Adding Sarah Palin to the ticket in 2008 didn’t cause a wave or women, liberal or otherwise to say to themselves: “Fuck reproductive rights, and equal pay, and all that other stupid shit we have been fighting for for 200 years, Palin has a vagina, I have a vigina… John McCain!!!!! GO!!!!” John McCain lost in a landslide and it was due in large part to Sarah Palin, not despite her.

I wrote about this back in September. There is a coming Civil War within the Republican party. If they want to ever win a Presidential election again, they are going to have to find a way to divorce themselves from the wing-nutty conservatism of Todd Aiken, Richard Mourdock and Paul Ryan. Telling women that they do not have the right to choose, telling immigrants to self-deport, telling black people they are welfare-queens who don’t care about their future is a recipe for many more nights like Tuesday.

Tuesday night was a blood bath for Tea Party, Wing-Nut Conservatism. I am not talking about small-government Laize-Faire, free market conservatives who just want lower taxes. I am talking about the 44% of people in Missouri who voted for Todd Aiken. Your brand of “small government when it comes to taxes, government intrusion into a woman’s uterus and a homosexual couples home” is a loser on a national level.

Tuesday night was a dramatic win for the Progressive Movement.

Think about it this way. In a country as divided as we are, and bad as the economy has been, and negatively as the President has been portrayed by the right, Barack Hussein Obama won a second term and it was a landslide. Less people voted for Mitt Romney than did John McCain.

Having said all that. Watching Sean Hannity last night, you would have thought the President lost. He clearly decided to take the “this election doesn’t change shit” tact, and spent the better part of the night talking about Benghazi as if it were “Obama’s Watergate”. As elated as I am over the results Tuesday, not because it means I was right, but because what I think it means for the future of our country, I am realistic in that I know that the right-wing is not going to do what I personally think they should do and spend some serious time reflecting on what Tuesday night meant for their brand of fantasy. They are going to do what Sean Hannity did, and go on as if Tuesday never happened.

Let me finish with this.

As a student of history, I am fascinated by the importance of speeches. I say this with as little hyperbole as someone as prone to it can muster,  President Obama’s speech Tuesday night (Wednesday morning) will go down in history with the greatest Presidential speeches ever.

What Obama is calling for here is the kind of Progressivism that gave us the New Deal, 80 years of American prosperity based on the important role that Government plays in laying the foundation for a strong economy. Listen carefully to what he said, this is an absolute repudiation of Ayn Rand, pull-yourselves-up-by-your bootstraps, every man for themselves conservatism. This speech lays out a vision for progress through government action.

It is interesting that he references Kennedy here. Growing up, I remember hearing about the love affair that America had with the Kennedy’s. That there was something special about watching children grow up in the White House. I never understood this, until now. I cannot look at pictures of the Obama family, or hear him talk about Michelle and the girls without tearing up. Perhaps it is that I am the father of a little girl, but when he talks about them, I fall to pieces.

The inauguration is going to be amazing.

I realize I am an Obama partisan, and therefore, what I am about to say will most likely be taken with a grain of salt. But I am going to say it anyways, and I am going to say it because I mean it.

I think when all is said and done, long after the Obama Presidency has been laid to rest, Americans will look back and the question will not be was Barack Obama among the greatest Presidents that we have ever had?

I truly and honestly believe the question will be, was Barack Obama the greatest President in American History?

The Second Presidental Debate

I didn’t post following the Vice presidential debate, so I will include some thoughts from that as well.

Let me first state clearly and concisely (before I get long-winded and vague) that last night was as clear, decisive and powerful a win in a debate as perhaps we have ever seen in national politics. If Mitt Romney won the first debate, Barack Obama won last night in a landslide. Going into last night, the President needed to regain some momentum and put a halt to the progress that Romney made in the weeks following the Debacle in Denver (if you read my thoughts, I still disagree with the narrative coming out of that debate).

I used this analogy on Facebook this morning, and I will repeat what I wrote here:

This is my analogy and I am sticking to it: Going into the first debate, the President was up a touchdown with 5 minutes to go in the game. Much to the frustration of his supporters, he went into prevent defense, which is agonizing for the winning team to watch. Romney drove the field and kicked a field goal closing the score to four. He recovered the onside kick when the media decided that the President’s performance in the first debate was the worst thing that has ever happened to this country. He once again drove the field with the support of polls showing a surge in support. He brought in Tebow (Paul Ryan) on the goal line thinking he would put it away. The Biden-led goal line defense forced a four and out with their backs to their own endzone. Last night, with first and ten from his own one yard line, the President methodically moved the ball down the field baffling the Romney defense and with one minute on the clock, scored the 47% touchdown that effectively puts this game out of reach. Despite what Fox News (and Morning Joe) has to say this morning, last night was a decisive win for the President and a reminder why this man was able to beat both the Clinton Political Machine and the Republican Party in 2008. It was no accident.

That is what I posted to Facebook this morning and I stand by it. I was in a time crunch before work, so I had to rush through what I wanted to say.

I teach a Participation in Government (PIG) class where we watched the first hour or so of the debate this morning. I spent the first 10 minutes of class discussing the concept of bias and the importance of my students feeling empowered to disagree. I was a high school senior taking PIG in the fall of 2000 when Bush beat Gore. My teacher (who was female) was an unabashed Bush supporter. I did not feel like I had no voice in the class simply because I disagreed with her. I understood then, and I hope my students understand now, that she was a human being with her own personal biases. We all view the world through the lens of our experiences. I bring into my classroom the collective experiences of my life. So when President Obama states, in regards to the Arizona “Papers-Please” law, that some police officer will have the power to stop his daughters because they might look “illegal”, and that Mitt Romney supports that law, and in fact, has the author of that law on his campaign committee, how am I, the fiance of the daughter or Ghanaian immigrants whose children with that woman may very well end up looking like Sasha and Malia Obama, the uncle of an inter-racial niece, the brother-in-law of a Chinese-American immigrant NOT supposed to react strongly. I bring those bias with me everywhere I go. Including my classroom.

There were any number of moments from last night that I could highlight as the moment that Obama won the debate (and in my opinion the election) but I am going to focus on two. The first is the question on the response to the attacks in Libya on September 11th of this year. Here is the video:

This gets really good at about the 1:00 minute mark. The President, clearly pissed at the accusation that he has not taken responsiblity and that he doesn’t take his job seriously, turns to Romney, looks him right in the eye and calls his behavior offensive. Look at the look on Mr. Obama’s face when he says “That’s not what we do.”

Romney, thinking he had backed the President into a corner jumped up (or as close to “jumped” as he can, why does he walk like he is squeezing a tennis ball between his ass cheeks?) and said that the President waited two weeks to declare it an act of terrorism. Romney says: “you said in the Rose Garden that it was an act of terror?”  and he raises his eyebrows and sticks his chin out. Obama, with a sly smile on his face says: “Please proceed Governor.” Romney should have known something was up (I will say more on this later). The moderator then reminds a clearly flustered Romney that the President did in fact refer to the Benghazi attack as an act of terror on September 12th when he gave an address from the White House. He wasn’t at a political rally in Nevada as Romney stated. And lets remember, it was Romney who went on TV the night of the attack, before any of the details were released and attacked the President, during a national incident. You simply do not do this in national politics. The crowd actually cheered the on-the-spot fact checking of Romney.

Romney was left reeling after this and never recovered.

The second moment I want to hit on here (and like I said, I have watched the debate twice now and there are any number of these moments I could highlight from the “Binder full of women” to tax-cuts etc.) is the President’s closing remarks. Romney went first and put the ball on a tee for the President. Romney said that he wants to be President for the 100%, opening the door for the President:

Romney put it on a tee and the President hit the ball out of the park, across the street and through the parking lot. This is the clearest explanation of the President’s view on the role of Government and his vision for this country that I have seen him make. I have no idea what Mitt Romney was thinking saying that (actually I do, and I will get there in a minute). This was the President at his finest and in my opinion it effectively ends this campaign. Everything that Romney thought he left in September, the 47% comments, the disaster with his response to the Benghazi attacks, everything came crashing back on top of him last night. And while it was happening he was becoming increasingly irritated, red-faced, and aggressive with both the President and the moderator.

Let me jump to two points that I want to make and this leads me right into the first one. I paused the debate this morning to remind my students that agree or disagree with the President, he is more than simply Barack Obama from Chicago Illinois. He is the President of the United State of America. He represents the most important office we have in this country and perhaps the world. You will notice as you read through this post and others that I capitalize “the President”. There is a certain level that is acceptable when it comes to (and I shutter to use this term) disrespecting the President during a debate. Romney clearly doesn’t like him, and I don’t care. What I do care about is when he is disrespectful both of the man himself and of the office. When John McCain pointed at then Senator Obama and called him “That one” it was bad. When a red-faced, tennis ball squeezed between his ass cheeks Mitt Romney tells the President of the United States of America “Sit down, you’ll get your turn”, I start to become not just annoyed because I disagree with the policies (I am open to a policy debate on any topic, I am not right about everything and I never claimed to be). I start to become annoyed with Mitt Romney the man for his disregard for the office that Mr. Obama holds. I thought Obama was pitch-perfect in how he handled these kinds of outbursts from Romney, including when he looked him in the eye and called his behavior on the response to Benghazi offensive. John McCain would not have behaved like that. Hell, I don’t think George W. Bush would have behaved like that. John Kerry certainly didn’t.

And my second big point, and I think this was an overarching theme. A number of my student’s pointed out that Romney was evasive in answer direct questions. I was sure to point out that the President also pivoted off of topics that were difficult for him to answer, but that yes, it did appear that Romney had a script in his head, and that he was going to stick to it.

I have a theory. I think Mitt Romney is Ron Burgundy. Mitt Romney is clearly talented when it comes to memorizing lines and delivering them. He did it for 90 minutes in Denver two weeks ago and cheered as a conquering hero, regardless of the blatant untruths he was spouting. Last night, Mitt Romney had a script. He was going to nail the President on Benghazi and the response, no matter what. No matter whether or not the line he memorized was true or not. No matter whether Candy Crowly told him, uh actually, Governor…. he did call it an act of terror the next day. In the clip above, right before the end of the video, Romney repeats the lie, even as the crowd is cheering and clapping the fact that he was wrong. Mitt Romney is Ron Burgundy:

The same thing happened in the closing remarks. Romney had clearly scripted that line about the 100% and he was going to use it. Well, use it he did. What he did was put his entire candidacy for the office of the President of the United States on a tee for Barack Obama to drill out of the park. He can’t think on his feet and he cannot respond effectively if he doesn’t have a pre-packaged line memorized for the occasion.

Mitt Romney was out classed, out matched and out debated last night. It is that simple. I watched Morning Joe this morning where Joe and Mark Halperin were trying to collect themselves and claimed that the President failed to lay out his plan for the next four years.

Watch the debate again gentlemen. What Barack Obama did last night was politely, forcefully and energetically debunk the entire candidacy of Mitt Romney, call him on every lie and untruth that he continues to spout on the stump and in debates, lay out exactly how we got where we are, and what he intends to do in the next four years. Obama was sprinting laps around the track smiling over his shoulder like Usain Bolt while Mitt Romney was limping behind him, shuffling like he was squeezing a tennis ball between his ass cheeks.

The Democratic Party is fired up and ready to go. We saw last night the man we voted for in 2008. As I referenced above, this was the guy who dismantled the supposedly unbeatable Clinton Political Machine in the spring and summer of 2008. Go back through the archives of this blog and read what I wrote then, it’s all still true. This is the man who despite his name, his background, the color of this skin and the fact that his former pastor said “God Damn America” beat a respected member of the Republican party, a war veteran, and a man who appeared to be more than qualified to run this country. We all freaked out in 2008, and Obama reminded us:

The First Presidential Debate

I am not going to go into a long explanation about my feelings concerning the two candidates. Use the archives.

I will admit that in the minutes after the debate, I felt exactly as Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz did. I felt as if the President should have more aggressively defended his policies as well as attack Romney on both his previous statements and lies as well as the ones  he was saying last night.

When Mitt Romney made a statement that was patently false, which he did more times than I could count last night, the President flashed that awesome smile of his and moved on. What he was banking on, I think, is that American people to be smart enough to know when  used car salesman is lying his ass off to get you into the driver’s seat of the bucket he his trying to pitch to you.

I will say this. I wish the President had been more energetic and aggressive. A little.

However, the only universe that Mitt Romney “Won” that debate last night is the alternative universe from which Mitt originates. One where facts do not matter. Basically, Mitt Romney “etch-a-sketched” his way through 90 minutes last night. Nearly everything he attacked the about the President was something that he previously supported. And everything that the President has done that has worked, well… That’s in his plan. Everything is apparently in this “Plan of his”. The problem for Mr. Romney is, in this universe, there are things like fact checkers, who have stated both last night and today, that Romney either lied or misled on a number of occasions last night.

I am (now) teaching Participation in Government and U.S. History and Government (yes, this liberal is shaping young minds). So of course we discussed the debate this morning. I was really pleased to hear that many of the students not only watched the debates, but watched some of the coverage of it, and were able to articulate what the pundits had to say. What I said to my students this morning was this. If you put the TV on mute, and watched but did not listen. Mitt Romney won that debate last night in a landslide. He looked directly at the President, was forceful and energetic. I don’t know what the smile/grimace thing is that he does, but it is terrible. But aside from that, Mitt “Looked” strong. The President in comparison looked down a lot (was taking notes I think), nodded when Romney was talking as if he agreed with him, and looked at the camera, not at Romney when he was talking.

If, however, you were to read the transcript, i.e. take away the visual and just have the words, the President won this thing going away. Romney only wins when you suspend disbelief. The substance, as has been the issue for him from day 1, was not there. I don’t know what the polls will show following this debate. The general consensus is that Romney “won”, big. I suppose that means the polls will tighten. If however, the electorate is smart enough to know when they are being lied to, repeatedly, I don’t think their will be much change.

I am disappointed that this is the post I am writing today. I think the President had the opportunity to shut the door on Romney last night. If he hit him on the 47% comments, on the Ryan budget, on the lies and distortions, on the etch-a-sketch nature of the Romney campaign etc., if he put Romney on the defensive, it could have ended this campaign.

I do think that the incumbent is at a disadvantage. There are four years of Obama policies, some successful, some not, from which to attack. Romney has the benefit of sitting back and saying, “this failed, that failed, I’d keep that, I’d replace that, I do this and that”, but never had to actually say how he would do so. Meanwhile, the President is in the position of defending the record while simultaneously stating what he is going to do better. It is a tough spot. One that in a lot of ways President Obama put himself in, but still tough.

ADDED:

Pay particular attention to the part about the ’84 election at about 10 minutes in:

Watch THIS VIDEO

Who Will Vote For Willard?

It is fair to say at this point the President Obama is winning this election.

According to Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com, as of this writing, the President is expected  to win 319 electoral votes (270 are needed to win the election) and gives him a 83.9 probability of winning the general election. (I started writing this post the other day and those numbers were 309 and 77.9 respectively, it has been a bad few weeks for Mr. Romney)

Unless something catastrophic happens, Willard (Mitt) Romney is going to be calling Rupert Murdoch for a job in November.

The first of three debates is next week. I have a very difficult time picturing Romney coming out of those debates in any better of a position than he currently finds himself. Even if he “Wins” the debates (does anyone really think the guy who doesn’t know why airplane windows don’t open is going to “win” a debate with President Obama?) The chances for Mitt to change the dialogue about this campaign are becoming fewer by the day. Early voting has begun in a number of swing states. Which means, today is election day, tomorrow is election day. Every day between now and November 6th is election day. Therefore, every day that Romney does not change the narrative, is a lost election.

So the question I find myself asking is, who exactly, is going to vote for Willard?

(On a side note, I call him “Willard” because I have a pet peeve. I have a problem with grown men who refer to themselves by nicknames. Most people who know me refer to me as “Bear”, but you don’t see me introducing myself as Bear Gilmore. This has been less of an issue in politics than in is in the sports world, and ESPN has done nothing to stem the tide. Let me tell a quick story… I was working for a small non-profit as my first job out of college. My boss was a huge Atlanta Braves fan, and being a Mets fan, we had a lot to argue about. One day I was going on a rant, very loudly, about how Chipper Jones should grow up, ditch the nickname, and go by his adult name “Larry”. So my boss and I are sitting in his office having this loud discussion and I am pulling a typical Terry and talking really loud and making a scene. In my mind at the time, and still today, I think grown men should ditch the nicknames. Little did I know my co-worker “Chip” was actually my co-worker Larry, and he heard the whole thing. The lesson I learned that day was that at work, don’t yell about things that might offend others. I chalk this up to me being 22 years-old. I was reminded of this a few years later, when at a new job, one of my co-workers went on a full-throated tirade about how immoral divorce is, and how only “bad” people get divorced. I’m divorced. Don’t yell about stuff at work.

What bothers me isn’t that people have nicknames. I think nicknames are great.I love my nickname. What bothers me is when those nicknames become the given name of an individual. For instance, Chris Wells is Chris Wells, not Beanie. Beanie is a nickname. Why, does ESPN display his name as Beanie and not Chris “Beanie” Wells. Same goes fo Adam “Pacman” Jones, “Boom” Herron, and Chipper Jones. I realize this is probably irrational, and someday I may grow to realize that I am wrong. I was once told by my boss at a job I worked at in high school that as I grew older, I would grow more conservative in my political views. I disagreed then, and I disagree now. If anything I am more liberal now than I was at 16. So I don’t see myself changing my views on this.

The thing about Romney is, he came up with the “Mitt” thing himself. He just decided he wanted to be called Mitt. Other people bestow nicknames on people. Driving home from the hospital the day I was born, my older sister Kate said to my mom: “Mom, I have a Care Bear and you have a Ter Bear”. It stuck. I didn’t make it up. Neither should Willard.)

ADDED: I have been informed by Wikipedia that “Mitt” is actually his middle name. He decided after kindergarten that he “preferred” Mitt. This actually makes me like him more, as I famously announced to my mom that I was quitting Pre-K. The crazy part is that she let me.

That was a three paragraph sidebar, but I have been meaning to say it for a long time.

Back to my point. I was mowing the lawn on Monday when I conceived of this post. It was one of those times (like this morning in the car when lightning struck my brain and I had a moment of clarity about the Plague of Poverty Parenting… hopefully I can get those thoughts out in a coherent way later) when I wished I had written down what I was thinking. Basically what I conceived of was a hilarious list of demographic constituencies that Willard “Mitt” Romney has alienated and or lost during the course of this campaign. I had a hilarious line about losing the Latino vote when he made a comment to his gardener about deporting “illegals”. I had a one about losing working-class, white, midwestern voters when he was born in the northeast with a silver spoon shoved up his ass. A line about losing the evangelical vote when he was born a Mormon. I had a line about losing the black vote when… well, when he wasn’t President Obama. In my mind it was hilarious. Now, almost a week later it just isn’t as funny and I cannot make it so.

The reality is, in the five days since I imagined this post, Romney has fallen further in the polls. All of the “Swing States” (Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Wisconsin… etc.) are all going for President Obama by margins varying from 2-15 points. I watched Joe Scarborough this morning looking forlornly at the Electoral Map and saying, “well, if Romney can pull out a win in North Carolina, Nevada and New Mexico…) That is what it has come down to. Romney has to win states that really, should not even be close. And even if he does, he still doesn’t really have a chance. Without Florida and Ohio (ironically, two states W. stole) he has no clear path to electoral victory.

This election was meant to be a referendum on the last four years under President Obama. The Romney campaign thought this was going to be a walk in the park. They thought that angst towards the President would be enough to carry him. That he could be a cardboard cutout of a Republican candidate, never really say anything or put forth any real ideas, and hatred of the President would be enough to sustain him through November 6th. That simply isn’t the case.

There are still people who, no matter what, hate the President and his policies. But I don’t think there are enough of them. This is just anecdotal, and maybe it doesn’t mean anything, but I have not seen a single political post from anyone on Facebook, aside from people complaining about commercials and polling phone calls. For all the supposed hatred of Obama that is out there, not a one of my conservative Facebook friends has uttered a word of support for Romney.

I think this is more than just anecdotal. I think it is a symptom of a larger problem. John McCain did something that proved to be tremendously stupid in 2008 when he selected Palin as his running mate. History tells us that it was a mistake. But at the time, in September and October of 2008, before the wheels came off and Sarah went Rouge, there was real excitement among conservatives. People were talking about it, and I don’t just mean talking heads on CNN and MSNBC, regular people who are not as plugged-in to the political process were paying attention. Mitt Romney is not trending. People care more about replacement NFL officials than the race for the Presidency. And that is a win for Obama. There is not a mistake in the polls, as Fox News would purport (even though the Fox News tracking poll has Obama up by 5, are they in on the conspiracy as well?). The President is winning this campaign because Willard Romney is not a good candidate and at this time, the Republican party does not have any new ideas. Romney’s staff is basically all former Bushies. We had 8 years under W., it didn’t work. Tax cuts for the top 10% and unpaid-for-wars do not help America prosper.

I wrote a post last week about what happens to the Republican party following the election. Because I feel like there is going to have to be some serious soul-searching. The Republicans are suffering from Bi-Polar disorder, which is part of the problem for Romney. He cannot make a declarative statement on basically any topic because he will alienate a portion of his base by doing so.

So to answer my own question. Who will vote for Willard? Not enough people to get him elected. That’s who.

The GOP and the Southern Strategy

Chris Matthews calls out Jim Crow tactics in 2012

Similar to what I wrote the other day concerning the history of racial division, specifically in the south, Chris Matthews lit into the tactics of the GOP yesterday, stating that voter ID laws and the stirring up of racial resentment are being used by the right in a disgusting attempt to win back the Presidency.

As Rachel Maddow pointed out last night, there have been literally ZERO cases of in-person voter ID in recent years. No one, literally no one is attempting to cast a vote, in any State under a false name. To say that these laws are being put in place to protect the integrity of the vote is beyond laughable. The people who are pushing for these laws are in my opinion the lowest of the low. They are attempting to find a solution where there is no problem. In doing so they are effectively disenfranchising thousands of American citizens. And aside from a few voices on MSNBC, I haven’t heard anyone talking about this. This should be the number one story in the country right now. Not Willard “Mitt” Romney and his “47 Percent” remarks.

The fact that this is happening in 2012 is almost unimaginable. We fought this battle, and it wasn’t all that long ago. Teaching in a high school, one of the hardest things that I have had to convey to young people is that American history is not ancient history. These things happened, recently. Just because a video or picture are in black and white and not HD does not mean that they are not recent history.

There Will Be Blood…

I started this post last week, when the worst thing Mitt Romney had done in a while (aside from ignoring Veterans or the war in Afghanistan during his convention speech) was his epic screw up following the attacks on the American Embassy in Libya.

Since that time, things have gotten considerably worse for the Republican nominee for the Presidency.

I think there is a very good chance that Barack Obama wins the election in November.

This election is very similar to 2004 in that there is an incumbent President who is loved by a group of the base and hated by a majority in the opposing party. People in Romney’s party hate the President more than they love their candidate. Many on the right were hoping that vitriol directed at President Obama would be strong enough to overcome the glaring weaknesses that Romney represents. Similar to John Kerry, this looks like a losing proposition.

I thought last week’s handling of the Libya situation was enough in and of itself to undo Romney’s Presidential hopes. That was well before this video was released:

Aside from being patently untrue, 47% of Americans are not living off handouts from Obama, This video gives voters a very real look into the true belief system of Mitt Romney. Romney believes that there is a population in the country (53% by his math) that does all the making, and there is a population that does all the taking. This of course is coming from a man that despite his tremendous wealth, paid 13.5% taxes on the returns he was nice enough to release. There is a very real chance that Romney paid NO income tax in many of the last 10 years.

Romney paints 47% of the American population as unreachable to him as a candidate, because they are too busy watching MTV and sucking at the tit of Obama’s government handouts. What Romney fails to mention at this fundraiser, is that the States with the highest number of people paying no income tax, are all Red States:

I have only been truly following politics for 10 years or so, but Mitt looked like a defeated man last night in his “Press Conference” where he attempted to explain his remarks. He didn’t apologize, and I wouldn’t expect him to. He didn’t make a mistake saying what he said. The only mistake was that it leaked. These are Mitt Romney’s true feelings (and the feelings of many on the far right). There are many conservatives that are thrilled today with what Romney had to say. The problem is, the people who agree with Romney were already going to vote for him.

I fear that these comments are going to do nothing to draw in that 10% of voters that Romney claims in the video he is trying to appeal to. It is my belief that this campaign is over. Something catastrophic would have to take place for President Obama to lose this election. I am concerned about the voter ID laws that are being pushed in swing states and the attempts by Tea Party affiliated groups the have the voter rolls purged in Ohio. But I think that the fact that these things are real concerns speaks to how clearly this election is over. These people would not be doing these things if they didn’t know that the election is over if they don’t. The very fact that they are resorting to these tactics illustrates just how Over this thing is.

The debates are going to be interesting to say the least.

When I originally began this post, it was meant to be a place to discuss what I think will happen to the Republican party following the election. Typically, following a losing election, the party that lost will regroup and decide on a path going forward. It is clear to me that following the Midterm elections in 2010, when the Republicans embraced the Tea Party in order to gain votes in the House, the Republicans made a tactical error. By embracing the platform of the wingnut far-right, the Republican Party has painted themselves into  a corner. They will have to do one of two things. They can either continue to move further to the right, embracing the policies of the Tea Party and move further to the fringe of American Populism. Or, the Republican party as a whole can distance itself from those policies that have radicalized the entire Republican party. In 2010, the Republicans traded their political beliefs for a win in an election and it is going to cost them a presidential election. No Republican nominee will win nationally when they consistently have to pander both to the upper echelon of society (Mitt Romney types) and Tea Party wing nuts who continue to drive the conversation further to the right. The Republican party is suffering from bipolar disorder. It cannot simultaneously be the party of big business, deregulation and tax breaks for the top 10% while also being for the little guy, small government, guns, god and NASCAR. The two sides are diametrically opposed and until the Republican party rediscovers itself, I think it is going to continue to be difficult to compete nationally. Hatred of President Obama is not enough to win elections. Not when you stick a guy like Romney at the top of your ticket.

On a side note. In the 47%-53% debate about who is the makers and who is the takers. There is a very real problem of people thinking that they are among the 53%, when actually they are in the 47. Very few people pay “income” taxes, but are taxed in other ways (payroll, sales, property etc.). People tend to view themselves as better off than they are, and naturally don’t want to be associated with the free-loading 47% Romney clearly disdains so much.

ADDED BY ME:

There are going to be a lot of people who are going to claim that Romney’s comments in this video (and those in the series that have yet to be released) are no worse than what President Obama said when caught on tape claiming that poor people “cling to their guns and religion”. The reality is, that is not what the President said. This is what he said:

But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you’ll find is, is that people of every background — there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you’ll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I’d be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you’re doing what you’re doing.

I think this is important so read it carefully because there is one very serious difference here. The case the President was making, and I agree with him, was that which divides us is less important than what unites us and that he wanted to be President of all of America, even those people who may not agree with him. The reality is, there is a segment of the American population that has been duped by Republicans into believing that filthy rich politicians like Mitt Romney represent their values. George Bush and Karl Rove were masters at getting these people to the polls and then completely forgetting about them after being elected, twice. What Romney had to say last night was completely the opposite of what Obama said four years ago. Romney is saying that which divides us (the Makers and the Takers) is what is most important and that he cannot reach those people.

This idea of dividing and conquering the lower class has deep roots in the country. It dates back to Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676. At that time, the landed white aristocracy realized that if poor whites and poor blacks united in rebellion against those at the top of the economic ladder, they stood no chance of maintaining control of the colonies. Following Bacon’s Rebellion, racism was written into the laws of Virginia as a means of dividing poor blacks from poor whites. As a result, poor whites (who had far more in common with poor blacks) began to identify with white aristocrats. The progression of racial division in Virginia was a brilliant move by those in power and the ripple effects continue to this day. No matter how bad people have it, they will always be better off than Them. This is the sentiment that Mitt Romney is trying to tap into, Us versus Them. Whereas the President was working to transcend those differences.