Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hope and Change 2.0

The 2012 presidential election is two days behind us and I'm still giddy. The thrill of victory is all the sweeter by my appreciation for the agony of the GOP's defeat. Last Sunday, while watching the Fox News show with Chris Wallace, I was worried. Fox's talking heads were predicting an Electoral College landslide for Mitt Romney. For weeks, my conservative friends had been sharing analysis demonstrating that President Obama's support among young and minority voters did not approach anything near 2008 levels. The continuing high unemployment rate and slow pace of economic recovery made it impossible for the president to get re-elected. Wisconsin was a shoe-in for Governor Romney as evidenced by Governor Walker's repudiation of recall efforts. Elizabeth Warren was a fraud whose success germinated from lying about her heritage on her resume. Nevada's concentration of Mormons and foreclosed real estate assured placement in the Romney column. Florida's Jewish voters had received the message that President Obama had thrown Israel under the bus and the state's governor was doing his best to suppress the vote of likely supporters of the president. Constitutional amendments on the ballot in Minnesota designed to bring conservatives to the polls would threaten Minnesota's traditional blue status. The multi-million dollar final blitz by GOP Super-pacs was going to eviscerate support for the president.

It was all too much to bear. It made it impossible to rationally believe in Nate Silver's 538 Blog assessment that President Obama was strongly favored to win re-election. Now, how sweet it is!

The reality is that the GOP campaign was based on inflammatory rhetoric rather than substance. The governor's supporters drank their own Kool-Aid  and (to mix metaphors) believed that the seeds of hate for the president they'd been sowing for four years would take root and wipe Democrats off the Electoral map.

Don't get me wrong. The country has serious problems facing it at home and abroad. All of us need to be concerned about them. But the GOP strategy of spending four years obstructing every effort the president made to address those problems and then smearing him for being ineffectual ultimately did not sell. The efforts to rile up the under-educated white male base with racist dog whistle references to the president's heritage, religion, Socialist leanings and past associations failed to bring enough lemmings in to make a difference. Attempts to manipulate the electorate by suppressing likely Democrats and baiting conservatives with inflammatory constitutional amendments backfired. Democratic turnout was enhanced in response to these not-so-subtle attacks on the moderate/liberal electorate.

I have a lot more to say about the election and about the frustrations felt to my core with the direction conservatives want to take us. That's for later. Several friends have commented that, in the weeks leading up to the election, I seemed to be getting cranky and condescending in my online exchanges in social media. I plead "guilty" and owe them an explanation. It's coming. Now that Obama 2.0 is uploaded, I am no longer willing to sit silently while uninformed Fox News ventriloquist dummies tear down our country and its president.

For now, I'll just leave you with this: I want to believe that Hurricane Sandy played a major role in undermining Governor Romney's campaign efforts and results. The poetic justice of a natural disaster enhanced by climate change and referred to as an Act of God being responsible for the defeat of a climate change mocker whose base claimed God as their own is too marvelous for words.