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republican recap :: nuts and dolts and angry birds

i'm trying to adjust to life without the american election. after all, being a smartass on twitter and on this blog is what gives my life meaning and, since we're not in the middle of any electoral cycle- at least none that i'm following actively- i'm feeling a little lost.

which is why i thought i'd offer my entirely unsolicited opinion to the american republican party. now, i'm happy that the election results came out the way they did. i'd have been even happier if the democrats had taken over congress and paved the way for unfettered socialism and the mass-scale redistribution of wealth which is so clearly their priority.

but after watching the whole republican nomination process for months on end, i feel a sort of... well, actually, i don't feel anything. i admit i stayed up late on tuesday in the hopes that i'd get to see some of them cry, but i do feel that a democracy functions best when there is an effective opposition to the party in power. also, i just like the sound of my own typing.

i do think that people have picked up on something: it was always possible for the republicans to win this race. it was always going to be a fight and while many polls exaggerated how close the race was in its dying days, they were always in the running. it just so happens that they made a tragically poor choice of which horse to send to the track. yes, it looks on paper like he came close, but keep in mind that the number of voters who actually shift from one party to another is diminishing and a couple of percentage points in the popular vote is a much larger victory than it might appear to the casual observer.

but in order to win this election- and possibly to win any presidential election in the near future- the republican party needed to take a stand. there is clearly a darth vader vs obi-wan kenobe battle for the soul of the party going on and both are pointing the finger directly at the other as the reason for the loss.   the thing is, one side is right.

pundits gave a lot of credit to the tea party patriots movement in 2010 for re-energising the republican base after right round walloping of their electoral backside two years earlier. and there's no doubt they did motivate that base to go out and vote during midterm elections, which are the ones that fall on those even-numbered years in between "real" federal elections and involve voting for a third of the senate and every congressional seat, but not the presidency, so most people don't pay too much attention. the fact that a lot of people don't pay attention makes it really easy for midterm elections to get hijacked by any group that can "motivate its base", meaning get their target audience into a froth because of gays or taxes or gay taxes or, you know, anything that you can still get people in middle america to hate. it just doesn't take all that much to swing the vote one way or the other. [in fact, former gop candidate newt gingrich mastered this political move with the midterm elections in 1994. i'm still waiting for the liberal left wing to figure it out.] this should have been the reaction of most republicans when that happened:

"good job guys, you won back congress. now go play in traffic, or see how long you can hold a plastic bag over your head before people start actually paying attention to the inane shit that comes out of your sound-hole and let us find someone we can send into battle against obama."

THE RANT CONTINUETH THIS WAY...



if they'd done that, they would have done well to choose former utah governor john huntsman, who is the only politician i've seen who i believe could really go toe-to-toe with obama. in fact, in his brief run at the nomination, he distinguished himself by keeping things almost shockingly classy, choosing to promote his own platform rather than just attacking the president. it would have been a fascinating campaign and the greatest danger to democracy would have been that huntsman and obama would have worked out a deal to share power around july and spared everyone the expense and frustration of an election. and the most contentious thing in america this fall would have been that the two co-presidents raised funds for charity by having chris christie and joe biden square off in a drinking contest.

but that didn't happen.

the other path around the tea party would have been more controversial, but might have reaped some long-term benefits when it came to reigning in those cocky suckers would have been to "let the baby have his bottle" and just let the "party base" pick the candidate this time. let them choose their morally upright, financially intransigent pious little dweeb and take their shot. because the only way for that group to learn that they couldn't drive the political party would be to light up the world with their fireworks of failure.

in that case, i suspect that their nod should have gone to rick santorum. you wanna talk about getting the base out. abortion clinic bombers and stingy corporate sponges would have slept outside in the cold for days to have the chance to vote for that guy. after all, he was undoubtedly the candidate who seemed the most sincere in his beliefs. those beliefs scare me, but i never once thought he was putting it on for the yokels.

of course, santo would not have become president, because a lot of women who might have waffled a little on who to vote for would have run screaming into the arms of obama, which is probably a thought that keeps their toothless hillbilly husbands up at night. look at what happened to every member of what i'll call the "rape-ublican" team this year: pecked out of political life because they pissed off the birds.

but while this nomination would have guaranteed that the republicans lost the presidency, it would have allowed their moderates- who i do believe in, although i feel like that's equivalent to saying that i believe in sasquatch- to smack the tea partiers upside their heads and tell them to sit down and shut up. and they'll likely not have such a golden opportunity to do so for a while.

tell me you see him too
after all, this was an election against an embattled but still loved sitting president, a race that the republicans could have sacrificed in order to regroup for a bigger rematch in 2016. they could have saved money and possibly a few down-ticket races and still ended up in the same place they find themselves today.

because neither of these things happened. the republicans did exactly what they always do: they nominated the guy who came in second last time.

and now they're stuck with the same problems, only magnified really, really large. there are still two very visible factions to their party, each publicly blaming the other in a way that makes we observers feel like we're overhearing a married couple discover each other's infidelities in a four-star restaurant. gentlemen, ladies: it's both deeply uncomfortable and undeniably entertaining, but you should know that you're embarrassing yourselves.

so what's going to happen? well, i hate to admit this, but i'm not an expert. i will say that i heard david frum, a great supporter of george w. bush and for a long time someone i'd willingly have locked in a burning building, make an interesting point earlier on cnn. from 1968 to 1988, there were six elections and the republicans won the popular vote in all but one. from 1992 to 2012 there have been six elections and the republicans have won the popular vote in only one. clearly, things have taken a turn for the worse. and if that something is significant enough that i'm nodding my head in agreement with david frum, you'd better believe it's serious.

Comments

Aaron Fenwick said…
It's what you get when your party is run by the shit dribbling down their leg crazy wing and the Conservative fear cottage industry. I am so very glad they harvested everything they sewed
Veuve said…
I'm incredibly relieved that President Obama won re-election and that many Democratic candidates won in the Senate. But the term "left-wing liberal" really doesn't exist in the present Democratic party, sadly. I also have to admit it was kind of satisfying to watch the Republicans continually shoot themselves in the collective foot, over and over. But it was nonetheless terrifying that they even had a *chance* of winning.
Kate MacDonald said…
@Aaron :: I understand that Allen West, living proof that leg-dribble batshiat craziness can cross races, is contesting his loss, so there is at least one who is showing his reluctance to reap the crazy harvest.

@Veuve :: excellent point. One of the things that troubles me about the descent into madness of conservatives is that I believe it actually prevents truly social progressives from being heard. There are so many former conservatives leaping ship to the Democrats that the parties- never that widely separated- are closer than ever.

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