Sunday, November 11, 2012
This is a must read as part of the ongoing discussion of What the Heck Just Happened? Andrew McCarthy begins with the assertion that a lot of people who won't vote Democrat but might vote GOP just didn't show up to vote. This claim, if true, is absolutely essential to understanding the state of US electoral politics. We won't know if it's true until we get more definitive numbers out of last Tuesday. It is not, however, hard to believe. Our president mounted an extraordinarily negative campaign starting early and spending a lot of money. That may well have convinced a lot of Reagan Democrats (or whatever we're calling them now) that Mitt was an unsympathetic rich guy against working people. They weren't going to vote for Obama but they were turned off Mitt as well. If you have a lot of missing working class white voters and somebody spent many millions telling them, don't vote for this guy, you have the beginnings of a testable theory. And one that's a lot more so than, It's The End of the World!, or, Obama is Truly the Kwisatz Haderach!
McCarthy also suggests that the GOP does a pretty terrible job of being the Party of Liberty; they are merely the reluctant progressives compared to the Dems' proud progressives. Between the profligate spending of the Bush years and the in-hindsight disastrous, or at least unprofitable wars, he has a point. A good symbol of this is that Mitt was the author of the beta for Obamacare, a fact we are supposed to have forgotten.
History is very difficult to understand even in retrospect. The idea than anybody has their arms around a Theory of Possible Histories of America, with all the major possible forks in the road going forward, including the road to serfdom, which some suggest we irrevocably got on last Tuesday, is, to be charitable, a bit much to credit. It's buying into the same Obama is the One bunkum that should be unpersuasive to grownups. To me it looks more like he ran a very effective, even ruthless, campaign against a weak candidate who lacked much appeal even for his own base, and who was woefully unprepared for the technological and managerial demands of a presidential race in 2012, let alone after. See the complete disaster that was ORCA, for example. For a guy that was supposed to be Mr Business, pretty lame. Something that must be remembered at every moment going forward is that the authors of the disastrous Romney campaign have every motive to cast blame on demographics, History, He Really Is The Chosen One, or any other explanation than, they ran an incompetent campaign for a fatally flawed candidate, which strikes me as the much more parsimonious explanation.
Can the GOP be the party of liberty? I really don't know. It's a question of whether it would be easier to reform the GOP or create a new party, both very daunting prospects. But the failure of Mitt Romney to get elected President hardly says that liberty is finished in America or that socialism is triumphant. A more plausible suggestion is, the Republican Party is ripe for a hostile takeover. Talk about an underperforming dinosaur with a rotten management.
The future is a very big place and it's hard to say what all can happen there.