In the early spring of 2008, rightwing talk radio hosts sang the praises of a young and rising star. His name was Barack Obama.
No, not because they agreed with him ideologically, but because they were on a mission to prevent Hillary Clinton from capturing the White House that fall, and they thought if only Obama could topple her for the Democratic nomination, he would be the kind of George McGovern candidate whom the Republicans would trounce in the general election.
What they didn’t realize – exposing their utter ineptitude as prognosticators – was that 2008 Candidate Obama was a more formidable opponent than Hillary could ever be.
Not surprisingly, Obama won the nomination and coasted all the way to the White House in a one-sided laugher.
Two years earlier, the Republicans tasted their first defeat of the new millennium. In 2006, President George W. Bush’s second midterm, the Republicans took a “thumpin’,” in his own words, and much to his complete surprise.
In 2012, Bush’s guru, Karl Rove, crowed all through September and October that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney would beat Obama “in a landslide.”
What should have been plainly obvious to anyone who has a smidgen of common sense and an iota of political knowledge is that Rove was either lying or clueless.
Probably the latter, because why would anyone go out on a limb to avow something that will be proven false shortly thereafter? In 1992, George H.W. Bush (the father) said of then-candidate Bill Clinton and his running mate, Al Gore: “My dog Millie knows more about foreign policy than these two bozos.”
Perhaps Millie (were she still alive, she died in 1997) would have known more about the American voter than Rove does, too.
Is it really so hard to figure out that Romney never had a chance? That the Walter Mondale/Bob Dole/John Kerry/John McCain/Mitt Romney strategy of nominating a lackluster candidate who will inspire only the party-line voters doesn’t work?
This time around, something different has happened. The Republicans won. But just as they had no idea why their last relevant moment was when the younger Bush beat Kerry in 2004, they have no clue why ten years later they’re back on top again. And without having a clue, they can just as easily lose again the next time around.
THROW THE BUMS OUT
Media outlets delighted in pitting Democrats against Republicans in post-election analysis. The former, refusing to acknowledge their rapidly-deteriorating significance, insisted the results were “anti-incumbent,” not anti-Democrat. The gleeful Republicans, however, wasted no time in retorting that most of those incumbents were Democrats.
So, was this an anti-incumbent election? Yes. Was it an anti-Democratic election? Yes, it was. One more question: was it an anti-Republican election, too? Yes, indeed!
The 2014 GOP electoral victory “masterminds” are probably patting themselves on the back right about now, thinking that their strategy of bad-mouthing Obama and tying all-things-Democrat to him worked like a charm.
It didn’t. For them to take credit for the Republican coup would be like someone claiming to have killed a dangerous outlaw by firing bullets into a body that had already been dead for over an hour.
Here is the actual story: 1) the American people are wholly dissatisfied with their individual economic situation, despite all the positive macroeconomic data; 2) every now and then, they acknowledge that it is Congress, not the president, that makes the law; 3) they know the Democrats are in charge of Congress – and their opinion of Congress overall is a record-low in American history; therefore 4) as for those in charge of Congress, they want to “throw the bums out.” This time around, those “bums” happen to be Democrats. Also, it didn’t help that neither Obama – perhaps the president least interested in party-building in modern history – did not work hard on the campaign stump, not to mention that too many Democrats turned their back on him, anyway.
A DEAD ENGINE IS A DEAD ENGINE
Have you ever been in a situation where you and three other people are stranded in a car with a dead engine? The driver tries and tries and tries some more to get it started, but finally gives up. “Let me try,” a voice is heard from the back seat.
For a fleeting moment, all faith to start the car is lost in the original driver – not least of which lost by the driver as well – and some momentary hope is placed on the backseat passenger to get everyone out of the jam.
That is exactly what happened on November 4: the voters tossed the Democrats out of the driver’s seat, just to give the Republican passenger a try. But if the engine is dead, all the effort in the world isn’t going to revive it.
How, then, can the Republicans make the most of their resounding victory? How can they hold on to power and reclaim their prominence – not to mention win back the White House? How can they prevent from squandering yet another opportunity?
But, for openers, here are two: 1) stop saying “we’re going to sue Obama in court,” and 2) stop electing the likes Gordon Klingenschmitt, who just won a seat in the Colorado State House. What’s wrong with Klingenschmitt? He is a pastor who has publicly performed exorcisms to cast the demons out of President Obama. Nuff said.
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