Lipstick on a Pig
Demographics Oppose Electability
Please read the following for background:
That Romney performed well in the first presidential debate can't be disputed. [Was it just me or did Obama seem tired, bored, almost disinterested with the whole affair? He was abysmal.] But the key word for Mitt was "performed." After months of gaffes and the infamously ill-advised "47 percent of the country" insult, he got it together on-stage and managed to come across as human if not quite humane. He managed to "warm-fuzzy" up his persona with semantics that avoided emphasizing his policies.
My friend Chris is right when he says that Mitt Romney's comments about 47 percent of Americans being lazy parasites, paying no taxes, et al, wasn't a verbal gaffe. It's the real MItt. He wants to govern a country that he clearly doesn't understand and just plain can't stand. Post-convention, he had pretty much gifted Obama a win, until B.O. mailed in the extremely lackluster first debate effort. That Mitt would backpedal in an attempt to recast his image was a wise move and one that Obama failed to capitalize on.
But it's too late for Romney to truly court any remaining moderate votes. Consider his choice of budget-slashing Paul Ryan as VP, the Clint Eastwood senility rant to a vacant chair during the GOP convention, the poorly-received comments regarding ambassador Chris Stevens' murder in Libya, the "47 percent put down," and Romney has buried any pretense of appealing to moderate, undecided voters.
But that's fine with Romney's top campaign advisors. They've given up on the undecideds and merely hope they don't vote at all. Their strategy is clearly to energize - that is, piss off - their hardcore base and to legally bar enough blacks and Hispanics from voting to sneak in the backdoor of the White House.
The GOP in its current incarnation would be laughed off the ballot in any other developed country. The Birther movement, the Tea Party petulance, burn-the Qu'ran far-right Christians, Romney's top advisor stating this campaign would not be dictated by "fact checkers," all point to a party that largely only angry, older, rich white guys could love - see Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Terry Jones, et al.
Consider the entire set of Republicans who sought the presidential nomination: Michele Bachman, Rick Santorum, Newt, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and Romney. That roster reads like the attendance at a group meeting of the Bat Shit Crazy Alliance. Meanwhile, other GOP stalwarts rail on: Limbaugh asserts that women who use contraceptives are "sluts" and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor contends that Labor Day celebrates "the entrepreneur," not the American worker. The Republican candidate for governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, claimed that when the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, it was was a national calamity on par with 9/11. And he was serious. Mitch McConnell long-ago stated that his entire political existence is predicated on sabotaging the Obama presidency. Competent, analytical adults they are not.
Tampa and the Voices Heard from an Empty Chair
The platform that the GOP adopted at its convention reads like the theatre of the absurd: We heard that it's "class warfare" to broach the subject of billionaires possibly paying more in taxes. Gutting regulation is the other key to economic recovery, GOP-style. That that recipe landed the U.S. in its current economic quagmire was apparently lost on the conventioneers. On science: global warming is a hoax, but God created the world in six days. On abortion: no woman should be allowed to control her own reproductive destiny; even in the case of rape or incest, she must deliver a child. But no worry, gals! As the Republican candidate for the US Senate (Missouri) said, if it's "legitimate rape," your body will shut down and you won't get knocked up! Bonus. On the economy: billionaires should pay a lower percentage in capital gains taxes than the working class does on income tax and the be-all, end-all, above all else, is to slash spending - except on Defense, which would be increased mightily - during the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression in order to 'balance the books.' [That both Reagan and W. Bush doubled the deficit during their tenures predictably never came up.] Economic downturns are when government programs and spending are most needed to spur recovery, but hey, if you're Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, Bill O'Reilly or Ann Coulter, you got yours and anyone else who didn't is parasitic and simply lacks motivation. As Romney recently told an incredulous audience of students at Ohio University they should each start a business upon graduating. "Just borrow the money from your parents if you don't have it yourself," he added. Welcome to Mitt world.
What They Really Really Want
Republicans often say they love this country. They may love America, or at least their notion of what they think it should be, but they clearly hate Americans. It's the difference between theory and reality: Limbaugh: women who use contraceptives are sluts; Ann Coulter: "Single women who vote for Obama are stupid"; Romney: by definition, retirees, who pay no federal income taxes, are lazy and have a "victim complex," leeches on the system. Mitt, as you might know, was born the son of the president of General Motors. He fails to perceive that his ascension financially and politically didn't occur on a level playing field. He who is born with a silver spoon is far more likely to attain lofty heights by merely being born there in the first place.
Conservatives seem really angry because it isn't 1957 anymore and however hard they try, they can't wish it back. Gays are out of the closet, Hispanics are the country's main minority, a black family occupies the White House, women are out of the kitchen, and the nuclear family no longer serves as the social model. How do they react? With a fixation on such policies as banning gay marriage and denying abortion, building a wall on the Mexican border, trying to prove Obama was born in Kenya, voucher schemes to promote religious education, promoting increased use of the death penalty, etc. If this party existed in the Netherlands, Britain, Japan or Canada, it would be labeled as extremist or far-right on a par with marginalized, xenophobic 'national front' movements in those countries.
The demographics of America in 2012 ensure that Romney can't win. Add up the votes of most college students, most working white women, most Hispanics, most blacks, most gays, plus other typical Democratic constituents [labor] for Obama and it tops most working white men, most older white men and women, plus hardcore GOP constituencies [management and the Christian right] voting for Romney every way you figure it. It's simple math. Republicans know this, so a Plan B was formulated: limit suffrage for assumed Democratic constituencies wherever possible.
Voter ID laws have been instituted by Republican-controlled legislatures in Indiana, Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and New Hampshire. Federal courts blocked the laws from taking effect for this year's election in South Carolina, Texas, and Pennsylvania. In Ohio, early-balloting, which is believed to benefit Democratic candidates more than Republicans, was limited by the legislature. In Florida, thousands of Hispanics - another assumed Democratic voting block - were removed from voting registrars' lists, resulting in contentious legal battles. See the excerpt below from InsightNews.com:
Voter ID supporters say, "We have to prevent voter fraud! You need a State ID to cash a check or fly, so, what's the problem?" But, people living in poverty often change residences multiple times a year and cannot afford to replace their ID with each move. College students often only have state ID from their parents' address---not the campus where they live on Election Day, yet, college ID won't count for voting purposes. With disproportionate poverty, many people of color, students, the disabled, all face losing their voting rights if Voter ID passes.
Every study shows actual "voter fraud" is practically non-existent. Why is this "solution" being pushed for a problem that doesn't exist? Since 2006, escalating since the 2008 election, Republican state legislators across the country have prioritized Voter ID and other voter restrictions that primarily target people who tend to vote Democratic.
If the GOP want to be electable on their merit and not simply pull another 2000 where they take the White House by hook or crook, they need to grow-up, moderate their more extremist views, and realize that 1957 is never coming back. Dubious voter ID laws might stall the inevitable for an election cycle at most, but true reform is the long-term answer.
The Conservative Party in Britain did this, realizing that its Margaret Thatcher incarnation was no longer electable in the 21st century. Far from the our-way-or-we-sabotage-all-legislation approach of the current GOP, the Conservative Party led by David Cameron formed a coalition with the left-of-center Liberal Democrats in 2010, thus winning a national election for the first time in thirteen years. Similarly, by reforming into a more centrist, less recalcitrant entity, the GOP will become more electable by recruiting a better batch of candidates for one. Sure, Clint Eastwood and Rush Limbaugh delight in the GOP as it stands, but they represent the past, not the future. Extremists like Michele Bachman, Mitch McConnell, or even Paul Ryan represent an increasingly shrinking portion of the American electorate. To be electable without resorting to electoral alchemy, the GOP needs to offer mainstream America a more realistic alternative. If they had done so now, Barrack Obama, who should be vulnerable given the results of his administration to date, would more likely be a one-term president.
Epilogue- Every eight years since 1988 one party or the other has fielded such a poor candidate that it basically handed the election to the other side. The Democrats in '88 with Michael Dukakis and in 2004 with John Kerry; the Republicans in '96 with Bob Dole and again this year, with a candidate the party itself seemed not to like, trust, or endorse enthusiastically. In the effort to gain GOP support Mitt has transformed wildly since his term as governor of Massachusetts: He was pro-choice then but now is pro-life; in Mass. he instituted the health care model that Obamacare was predicated upon but he now disavows it; in '94 he said, "I'm not trying to return to Reagan-Bush"; This year on the campaign trail, "Ronald Reagan is my hero." He did about-faces on stem cell research [then for it, now opposed], and raising the minimum wage [then for it, now opposed] as well. It's interesting that another Massachusetts politician, Kerry, was labeled a flip-flopper but not Romney.
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