“As it turns out, you can’t buy a different electorate, or a better candidate, no matter how much money you throw at it.” ~ Paul Blumenthal, The Huffington Post

                   

“From the evidence provided by the past two years of outside spending in the presidential race, you can, however, buy a bit of anarchy, a certain amount of time and a megaphone that only really works when it is joined with a compelling narrative.” ~ Paul Blumenthal, The Huffington Post

Of all the Monday morning quarter-back regurgitations of last night, this particular article in The Huffington Post by Robert L. Cavnar best sums up my own contentions regarding the GOP and why they were spanked. Overall, the Republicans need to ditch the extremist Tea Party people who live to obstruct; they need to acknowledge that the face of America has changed dramatically, and they need to understand that denying facts does not make said facts any less factual. Oh, and they need to tell Trump and Rove to shut the hell up. Last night proved that money doesn’t always win, thank god.

People, in general, regular people, are tired of the divisive nature of politics, and even if the whole Change You Can Believe In is not to your liking, and even if that change didn’t happen as quickly as you would have liked in the past four years (speaking for myself here), most of us agree that we need change. This isn’t 1950’s America in which father knows best, women have no say, and homosexuality is considered an illness.

Consider:

  • Women favored Obama by 55 percent and unmarried women preferred him by 68 percent.
  • The Hispanic voting block went 70 percent to Obama.
  • Citizens United is an oxymoron; it is not composed of citizens, but rather, million and billionaires.
  • That 47 percent that Mitt disregarded came back to bite him in the ass.

As pundit Howard Fineman said, Obama’s “victory signaled the irreversible triumph of a new, 21st-century America: multiracial, multi-ethnic, global in outlook and moving beyond centuries of racial, sexual, marital and religious tradition.”

                   

Lessons the GOP Need to Learn From the 2012 Election

by Robert L. Cavnar, founder of this-small-planet.com and DailyHurricane.com

It became apparent fairly early in the evening last night that the Republicans were going to get thumped.  As state results began to march across the map, with major battleground states turning blue, and Tea Party candidates losing, Republican hopes waned.  Their plan simply didn’t work.  The hundreds of millions of billionaires’ money didn’t work.  The politics of division didn’t work.  The Tea Party revolution of 2010 failed. Despite almost unanimous prognostication that the race was going to be close and that we were going to be up all night, Obama won handily during prime time. Even though they did win some key races and keep control of the house, the GOP lost almost every hotly contested race, sometimes in a spectacular fashion.

What were the lessons here that the GOP should learn before 2014?  Well, I have few thoughts:
  • Unlimited dark money doesn’t necessarily buy votes.  Karl Rove’s and others’ Super PACs poured hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars, much from anonymous sources, into key races to win Congressional seats, Senate seats, and the presidency.  Now working in Colorado, I became a victim of this unlimited money, where 100 percent of the ad time was bought up, and I was carpet bombed during morning news shows, evening news shows, and primetime programming.  The electorate here became numb, and I believe all those millions had little to no effect in major races.
  • Voter participation matters.  The GOP became complacent and over-confident after the 2010 mid-term “landslide,” and badly over-reached.  They won in 2010 not because the electorate suddenly became more conservative with the addition of Tea Party members; they won because regular people didn’t vote that year.  In presidential years, turnout is around 60 percent (which is deplorable), but in off years, turnout is an anemic 40 percent or less.  Candidates are often picked in the primaries by 5 percent or less of the electorate.  In 2010, turnout was 41 percent nationwide.  With only 20 to 25 percent of the electorate’s support, the Republicans claimed a landslide mandate, thumping their chests about how the country had suddenly become extremist, and introducing radical social legislation by the truckload.  Freshmen Tea Party darlings almost drove the economy into the ditch by trying to hold it hostage over simple debt limit votes.  Their problem, though, was that the mandate they claimed didn’t exist.  They had simply benefited from low voter turnout, and had hoped that no one noticed.  In 2012, however, results were vastly different.  The voter ID laws and other voter suppression efforts by Republicans in 2011 and 2012 generally failed and/or were thrown out by the courts.  Voters turned out.  I haven’t seen voter turnout numbers yet for this election, but based simply on reporting of long lines on election day and in early voting, turnout was big.  When turnout is big, Democrats do well.
  • Candidates matter.  Especially after the 2010 mid-terms, GOP leadership has been hijacked by the Tea Party, and as Steve Schmidt said this morning, ran “loons” in key races, especially for the Senate.  In the last two cycles, Republicans lost six Senate pickup opportunities by running nutjobs like Sharon Angle, Richard Mourdock, and Todd Akin.  Neanderthals don’t get elected by normal people, at least most of the time.  If the party wants to start winning again, they have to run people who are actually qualified to hold office by killing off the candidacies of crazy people in the primaries.
  • Non-white voters don’t support candidates whose issues important to them are used as weapons against them.  Some sources this morning are reporting that 75 percent of Hispanics went for Obama last night.  To get nominated during the clown show of the primaries, Romney lurched to the right of even Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, idiotically declaring that we need to make things so bad for Hispanics that they would “self deport.”  He played to the worst proclivities of his base, and it cost him big time in the general.
  • Lying doesn’t work.  The most shocking strategy of the Romney campaign was a conscious decision made by the candidate that winning was more important than truth.  He freely lied about the president, the economy, welfare reform, the auto bailout, major companies, history, and even Americans themselves.  He flipped on every single social issue that he had advocated as governor of Massachusetts and stridently concealed his own tax records.  Almost without exception, he doubled down on his lies and shifting positions when publicly called out.  In the end, he badly damaged his reputation by the freeform lying, reducing confidence in his candidacy.  Many other Republicans followed suit.
  • Pandering to an immoral base doesn’t work in a general election.  The GOP, driven to the extremist fringes of our society by screwballs who have taken over the party carries a cost when you have to appeal to normal people in a general election.  The base now consists of Bible thumping, gun-toting, war mongering weirdos who squawk about being pro-life while advocating for capital punishment, starting new wars, destroying personal rights, and country music.  They were actually successful at re-opening long settled issues like contraception and equal pay for women, scaring the hell out of millions of potential voters.  This pandering threatens to turn the Republican party into a regional body dominated by hillbillies, rednecks, bigots, religious zealots, and simpletons.
  • You have to live in the reality based world.  The GOP’s response to every single bit of bad news during the campaign was to impune either the data or the people generating the data.  During the campaign, the candidate, or his surrogates, accused the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Congressional Research Service, the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget of “cooking the books” whenever any of these non-partisan agencies issued reports with which they disagreed.  They engaged in free character assassination of every analyst, blogger or pundit with whom they disagreed.  Nate Silver of the New York Times 538 blog, who is a well-respected statistician, was openly attacked for his conclusions, even though he has a spotless track record in calling races (and baseball).  Their other dimension existence was put on full public display last night after Fox News statisticians called Ohio for Obama when Karl Rove, a paid flack for the GOP and Romney, demanded to be put on the air to retract the call, making a fool of himself and his network in front of millions of viewers.  I believe Rove’s attempt to alter the results caused the awkward hour and a half delay before Romney finally conceded.

In order to stay a national party, the GOP must abandon the politics of fear, division, xenophobia, and religious extremism.  They have to abandon absolutist ideology in a number of areas including social policy, religion, taxes, and spending.  They also have to acknowledge that the electorate is changing and that they can no longer win by simply cornering the market on old, white, male bigots.  States like Texas, which can easily become a Latino majority in the next decade, are prime hunting ground for the Democrats in coming years, especially if the Republicans don’t drop their xenophobic platform.  There simply aren’t enough Bible thumping rednecks in the state to maintain their stranglehold, and bright, young Latino Democrats like the Castro brothers from San Antonio could very well be politicians of national stature in the next few cycles.  In fact, Joaquin Castro was elected to Congress just last night.

I’m not naive enough to think that the Republicans are suddenly going to become more compassionate, kind, caring, less white, less racist, less strident, and more female overnight.  However, if they don’t embrace these truths, they will imperil their own future relevance or even existence.

Music by Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne, “Changes”

I had never seen the video clip above (from “The Newsroom”) until Sunday when I found it on Izak Mak’s I Want Ice Water, and boy did it do a number on me. This guy is saying all of the same things that Brett and I have been discussing on the way to school all summer: America is not the country it once was. As I told him, he is unfortunate enough to be witnessing the decline of a nation, and I was fortunate enough to come of age at a time when this country was riding high.

What happened to us? Way too much for me to go into in just one short post. But this I do know: We are our own enemy. We do not have the best interests of our citizenry at heart. We do not place value on education for all. We do not work towards a common good. Everyone is angry at everyone else. Everyone is to blame and no one is to blame. The system is broken, and still we hear the same things over and over and over.

When Barack Obama ran on a platform of change, I believed him. I believed the idealistic young Senator, and I think that he truly believed as well. Then he was elected. Then everything changed. That’s how our system works: wear everything down until nothing happens. Change? Screw that. Status quo all the way. Change means that we can’t have things the way we want them to be. Change means that we cannot continue to do what we’ve been doing all along. Change implies that something is wrong, and in our collective xenophobic minds, such an implication is an impossibility: America is never wrong.

Yes, I’m ranting. But dammit Jim, I’m doing the best I can . . . The engine is still going to blow.

Here’s some food for thought (also found on I Want Ice Water):

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.” ~ Ernest Benn

Rush Limbaugh as seen on The Daily Show (3-5-12)

                   

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” ~ H. L. Mencken

I must confess that I haven’t thought about Rush Limbaugh too much in quite a while. I mean, El Douchebag is not on the top of my things to think about. Unfortunately, maggot-head opened his mouth recently and spewed forth some vile that simply cannot be ignored. I’m referring to, of course, the Sandra Fluke tirade.

Sandra Fluke

For those of you who don’t know, let me summarize (for a full timeline, click here): Sandra Fluke is a Georgetown law student. Georgetown is a Jesuit school, by the way. Fluke, a co-president of the Georgetown chapter of Law Students for Reproductive Justice, testified before a Democratic forum on February 23, having been denied by Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) the opportunity to speak before House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s session on health reform law’s mandated coverage of contraceptives. The committee was probing whether the provision violates religious liberties. In her testimony, Fluke shared experiences by other Georgetown law students regarding access to female contraception, something the Jesuit institution does not believe that it should provide for its non-Catholic students seeking access:

Students who pay as much as $1,000 a year out-of-pocket for a birth-control prescription, a married woman who stopped taking the pill because she couldn’t afford it, and a friend who needed the prescription for a medical condition unrelated to pregnancy but gave up battling to get it.

“We did not expect that women would be told in the national media that we should have gone to school elsewhere” to receive contraception coverage, Fluke’s testimony stated.

“We refuse to pick between a quality education and our health.” (Washington Post)

Enter El Douchebag.On February 29, Limbaugh joined other right-wing politicos who likened Fluke’s testimony to women wanting to be paid to have sex. Said Limbaugh:

“She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.”

The next day, Limbaugh again brought up Fluke on his show, saying to Fluke and other women, “Here’s the deal: If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. And I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.” (Washington Post)

Really Rush? Are you really that stupid or have the past decades all been an act? I would like to think that no one can be that stupid, but I know better, especially since you were not alone in the rush to judge the law student as sex crazed. Witness a headline on Hot Air: “Georgetown co-ed: Please pay for us to have sex … We’re going broke buying birth control.” In this particular post, Tina Korbe states the following:

Craig Bannister at CNSNews.com did the math — and discovered that these co-eds, assuming they’re using the cheapest possible contraception, must be having sex about three times a day every day to incur that kind of expense. What Fluke is arguing, then, is that her fellow law students have a right to consequence-free sex whenever, wherever. Why, exactly, especially if it costs other people something? When I can’t pay for something, I do without it. Fortunately, in the case of contraception, women can make lifestyle choices that render it unnecessary.

Five Male Witnesses Testifying Before House Oversight Committee

Hello? Again, really? Lifestyle choices? I know two young women who began taking birth control not so they could have sex but because they had health-related issues that could be eased with contraception.

To put it plainly, this issue, which until recently was being discussed by a group of men, is about women’s health (for more on how this issue is being discussed, click here). Women, informed women, are asking that they have access under their health insurance coverage to birth control, which is still legal in this country as far as I know. These women are not asking for someone to hand them money when they have sex. These women are not suggesting that access to birth control will make it easier for them to have sex with a wild abandon and without any thought to the consequences.

Under President Obama’s compromise, the religiously affiliated institutions that do not wish to go against their principles are not being forced to do so. The compromise calls for the contraceptives to be made available directly through the health insurer. Of course, this compromise is not good enough for those who view the issue as religious rather than health-related.

“We must . . . guarantee women control over their own reproductive decisions.” ~ Henry W. Kendall

And as for picking people’s pockets to pay for something they don’t support, let me put this in a way that you might be better able to understand:

Viagra. Yep, I’m going there. Viagra is available under prescription coverage with almost every health plan. Viagra is taken by men to help them to get and sustain erections. I’m pretty sure that erections are used for . . . shall we say sex?

And hey, I can do math too, and unlike some people, my math is based on facts: Viagra costs between $10 and $11 per pill. Using information found on just about any site on birth control pills, I calculated that the average of cost of one month’s worth of pills would be $32.50; divide that number by 28, the number of pills in a pack, and the average cost of one birth control pill is $1.16.

Now, I pay a lot for my health insurance each month. I know that my insurance plan covers the cost of both bc pills and Viagra. This means that if I look at it in the same way as Limbaugh and his cronies, which I don’t, my pocket is being picked so that some man can get an erection and have sex.

Ewwww. But let’s continue in this vein:

If I’m helping to pay for unknown males to get erections, then by Limbaugh’s logic, these same men should make videos of their sexual escapades and make them available to everyone for viewing, just like Sandra Fluke. Personally, I have no desire to see such videos.

And further, since my health insurance prescription coverage includes my medications for health issues over which I have no control, I’m not going to complain about the people who have access to Viagra any more than I’m going to complain about women having access to birth control.

As Jon Stewart points out in the video below, we all pay for things we don’t support. Our taxes are used for all kinds of things that we might find abhorrent. But trust me when I tell you that paying for birth control is a lot cheaper than paying for unwanted pregnancies. Paying for birth control is a lot cheaper than paying for surgeries to remove ovarian tumors. Paying for birth control is a lot cheaper than the time lost in productivity in the workplace by women who are completely incapacitated by their monthly periods.

And just remember when you accuse women of wanting special treatment: Viagra, for men only.

More later. Peace.

                   

Jon Stewart takes on Rush Limbaugh:

Vodpod videos no longer available.