Monday, November 10, 2008

They Just Don’t Get It

“In record numbers, Americans voted on Tuesday for a skillful presidential nominee promising change, but "change" should not be confused with a license to raise taxes, drive up wasteful government spending, weaken our security, or give more power to Washington, Big Labor bosses and the trial bar. Americans did not vote for higher taxes to fund a redistribution of wealth; drastic cuts in funding for our troops; the end of secret ballots for workers participating in union elections; more costly obstacles to American energy production; or the imposition of government-run health care on employers and working families.”[1] – John Boehner

Did this guy see the same campaign and election that I saw? In the campaign that I saw President-elect Barack Obama laid out in no uncertain terms what his agenda was and what he wanted to accomplish. There were no hidden innuendos or code words; he stated as a matter of fact what he felt the government’s role was and how he planned to implement that role. And despite Mr. Boehner’s claims to the contrary, the majority of the American public voted to accept this candidate and his agenda. We have seen for the last two election cycles the electorate’s repudiation of the Republican ideas and their tactics and yet they continue to believe that nothing has changed. Many of them feel that the reason they lost was because they weren’t right of center enough. If this continues this Party will be replaced by another one and they will become strictly a regional and rural Party.

My belief is that the Republicans in the Congress are going to become obstructionists as they were during the 90’s. They are exposing to the American people that they are devoid of original thought and so rather than propose they merely condemn. In the current political climate I don’t think the people are going to be responsive to that type of politics. I just hope the Democrats do not respond to this election as they did after the 2006 election with fear and trepidation. If the Republicans goal is to remain adrift in the wilderness then this is the way to do it. Mr. Boehner wrote of Republican ideas to solve the economic crisis but from what I and many of my fellow citizens heard trickledown economics is not going to sell. I think the majority of people are tired of being trickled on, I know I am.

Maybe I am crazy but I thought if you ran on a platform and you won by an impressive margin then you get to enact that platform. Mr. Boehner obviously feels that the margin of victory wasn’t convincing enough. What he refuses to see is not necessarily in the raw numbers of how many, but in who voted for whom. The Republicans may have won the cultural debate but they have lost the intellectual debate. Many of the so-called Reagan Democrats and moderate Republicans voted for President-elect Obama. He won in the 100,000 income group, the 200,000 income group, and with the suburban voters. I have never agreed with the Reagan Democrat lie, those voters are just socially conscious Republicans. If it were not for the die-hard Southerners who many as we know voted on issues besides competence in this election, the rout would have been unprecedented.

President-elect Obama was able to forge a new majority that resembles more of how America resembles. The country is changing and someone forgot to tell the Republicans. President-elect Obama won the Latino vote, the advanced degree vote, and the urban vote. America is becoming darker, smarter, and more urbane and the cultural warfare argument has lost its appeal among these voters. What the Republicans don’t realize is that there are more “other” Americans than there are “real” Americans and that base is shrinking all the time. It’s funny how the Republican apologists have settled on two causes for their defeat and they are the economic downturn and Governor Sarah Palin. I disagree on both counts. While an impending depression does have a tendency to hurt the incumbent party I don’t think that the downturn in and of itself caused the campaign melt-down of Senator McCain. Many point to his small lead in September that vanished with the news of the melt-down. This idea completely ignores two very important facts. The first is that the policies of the Republicans led to this debacle. It wasn’t like this was the result of some unpredictable calamities. The second is that it ignores the response of Senator McCain to the crisis. As far as Governor Palin is concerned granted she was a Hail-Mary but let’s face it McCain was going to lose anyway. This was not the election for two pasty old white dudes to win. That was not what the country was looking for.

So it is my hope that Republicans continue to live in their alternative reality of phony outrage and crisis’s while we continue to offer the new America “a change they can believe in”. I use to think these people were bad people but that is not the case. They just don’t get it and I am not sure they ever will.


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