Now that the dust has settled from the 2012 presidential election, which saw Barack Obama become only the 17th president – and second Democrat in the last 75 years – to be elected to a second term, it is time to assess the damage. My Truth Magazine colleague Robert Kelsey takes the high road and does a nice job of summarizing the winners of this past election cycle (read Opinion: America Won!). But I have come to rub salt in the wounds of the biggest losers, and they are as follows:
Let’s start with the obvious. Having failed to fulfill the legacy of his father, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 1968, Mitt Romney’s political career is effectively over. As hard as I tried, I could not generate much antipathy for Romney. His heart never really seemed into the anti-Obama rhetoric he was spewing rather robotically on a daily basis. But that’s the problem with Mitt Romney. It was painfully obvious that he would say or do anything to be elected. Romney is a decent man and has been extraordinarily successful in just about every endeavor he has undertaken, but he is fatally flawed as a politician. He is overly ambitious and completely devoid of principle. In some ways, his campaign is a cautionary tale for future presidential aspirants. You have to level with the American people. We may not always agree with you, but we at least need to know where you stand. Romney tried to be too many things to too many people. In the end, he just came off as being a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Through his Super-Pacs, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, Rove, the political mastermind of George W. Bush’s two successful presidential campaigns, raised over $300 million in support of Mitt Romney and various other Republican candidates for the House of Representatives and Senate. Despite this deluge of cash, things did not go according to plan. Not only did Romney lose decisively, but the Democrats also picked up additional seats in the House and the Senate. In sum, candidates supported by Rove and Crossroad lost the vast majority of races around the country. By some estimates, the mega-wealthy donors funding Rove’s efforts received approximately one percent return on their hefty investment. Not exactly money well spent.
Yes, I am talking to you, birthers, Donald Trump, Fox News, Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter, Glenn Beck and all of the other paranoid extremists who suffer from Obama Derangement Syndrome. You have done everything in your power to undermine, obstruct and discredit this president. Your tactics have been nothing short of despicable. For your crimes, you are hereby sentenced to four (more) years of hard labor under a certain radical, Muslim, Kenyan-born, socialist prison warden by the name of Barack Hussein Obama. Some words of advice – don’t drop the soap!
Americans learned a very important lesson about black people in this country: we don’t take too kindly to having our constitutional rights trampled upon (been there, done that). To put it another way, as my friends are want to say, “What you NOT gonna do is tell us that we can’t vote.” Republican governors and state legislators around the country tried to use every dirty trick in the book – voter ID requirements, restrictions on voter registration and early voting and purging of voter rolls – to suppress the turnout of blacks (and other minorities), who tend to vote overwhelmingly in favor of the Democrats. The problem for the Republicans is that they were so brazen and so transparent in their efforts to disenfranchise black folks that they ended up pissing us off! In other words, their devious strategy backfired. Many black people endured ridiculously long lines and waited until the wee hours of the morning to cast their votes. Turnout in minority communities was actually higher this year than it was 2008. As a result, President Obama received support from 93% of Blacks, 71% of Hispanics/Latinos, 73% of Asians and 55% of women. Next time, the Republicans might be better off letting sleeping dogs lie.
I saved the best for last. In the interest of full disclosure, I feel compelled to inform my readers that there are few things in this world that I despise or distrust more than the Republican Party. This party has long been out of touch with the shifting demographics of this country. They yearn for the days of Mad Men, Norman Rockwell and the 1950s. They either don’t know or don’t care that minorities, women and gays are not exactly nostalgic about that period in American history. Like the American version of the Taliban, the Republican Party harbors racists and homophobes, who operate with impunity within their ranks. They are anti-immigrant and have never faced an international conflict that they thought they couldn’t solve with military intervention. I could go on, but I think you get the point.
The bottom line is that after the shellacking they received on Tuesday night, the message to the Republican Party is clear: they need to modernize and broaden the tent. Otherwise, they will face extinction. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham described their dilemma most aptly when he said, “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.” So, we shall wait and see if the Republican Party does some serious soul searching and reinvents itself going forward.
In the meantime, however, you will have to forgive me while I indulge in this glorious exercise of schadenfreude.