Friday, November 9, 2012

Surprise! (Not)

The only thing that surprises me about Tuesday night's election is the giant number of older white men, including the failed GOP nominee himself, who seem genuinely, deeply shocked that their guy lost got shellacked.

The talking heads will spend the next several days pontificating, but ultimately only two reasons matter.

First, Romney was a super crappy nominee. He exhibited four fatal flaws, the first three of which might have been within the campaign's ability to control had they wised up to the problem early.

1. Mitt Romney is a liar with no modern equal, even by the lax standards we allow for politicians. His relationship with the truth bordered on the pathological. This is not a matter of debate. He was fact checked throughout his campaign by various watchdog groups (and the chairmen of GM and Chrysler).

2. He embraced a misogynist agenda and got in bed with anti-choice zealots such as his running mate. Be warned: A national politician chips away at abortion access at his peril. On Wednesday morning, Romney was still sulking that he doesn't oppose "all" abortion and contraception. The women of America don't give a damn about his personal views on the pill. A majority of women view any attempt to rollback access to reproductive health services as an assault on our civil liberties and we're not having it. Romney also did himself no favors by refusing to embrace equal pay laws.

3. He told the fastest growing segment of the American population to fuck themselves self deport.

4. Nobody liked the guy. He never broke 48% in a swing state. His own party flirted with Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum before settling for Mitt. Simply put, his personality sucks and that counts when you run for president. The long primary season saved the Obama campaign lots of cash. Despite what the folks on Fox tell you, the Republican field painted Romney as a soulless "vulture capitalist." Sheldon Adelson financed the vicious movie-length attack "King of Bain." An already unappetizing nominee came out of the primary process bruised and bloodied.  

Second, President Obama inspires people. (Repeat as needed to internalize this fact.)

I spent election day as a volunteer with Obama for America in New Hampshire. In Manchester, I saw literally hundreds of volunteers, many of them students voting for the first time.  All of them were inspired by President Obama and his agenda to put in eleven to sixteen hour days for no pay. The campaign had similar war rooms set up in every medium to major town in every swing state. 

The Obama volunteer army turned out tens of thousands of voters who might have otherwise stayed home. All the ads and robocalls money can buy couldn't compete with that kind of ground game. Mitt Romney, even in his progressive 1994 incarnation, could have never inspired that kind of free labor force to help pull him over the finish line. Kids can smell a fake.

Because the GOP establishment and the nominee had difficulty processing any of these obvious factors, they kept the nation waiting almost two hours for a concession while they re-did Ann Romney's makeup (which was apparently ruined by shock-induced bawling).

Naturally, I'm delighted we've seen the last of Mitt and his dreadful wife.

But I'm even more excited about President Obama's second term. 

Mr. President, I hope you go big. 

Really, really big. 

You can do it. You have the most progressive Senate in decades. It's time to carpe diem.

Please pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for children of illegal immigrants and that keeps families together here in the U.S. Yes, I mean amnesty. 

Please tackle climate change, and not just by building cleaner cars in Detroit, but also by pushing though real controls on carbon emissions.

Please pass meaningful tax reform. Tuesday's exit polls show a huge mandate on this issue. Let's ease the tax burden on those who work for a living, and jack the capital gains rate up above the top marginal income rate. This would close the hedge fund/private equity fund managers' loophole with a minimum of new legislation. 

While you're at it, please also pass a law to make investment by Americans in offshore blocker corporations, which supposedly exist for the sole purpose of spurring investment in the U.S. by foreigners, a felony. 

And please folks, spare me the nonsense about taxing the job creators. I know plenty of rich people. When rich people get a tax break, they sock the money away for themselves and their kids. They only create jobs when their businesses have enough excess customers to necessitate hiring more help. The best way to insure businesses have customers is to make sure the middle class has more money; they'll actually spend the extra cash on goods and services. On a related note, Mr. President, it seems like a good time to raise the minimum wage.

For those of you still puzzled by Romney's shellacking, and confused about why Mr. Obama inspires such adoration among so many Americans, I highly recommend this clip. It's longish at sixteen minutes, and the last segment (about our democracy's need for two functional parties) is the best part. So, rich, angry white guys, watch, listen, and maybe you can avoid unwelcome (332-206) surprises in the future.

There. All done with Mitt Romney. Forever. HURRAH!

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