In a largely unsurprising aftermath to Obama’s re-election, conservative pundit Dick Morris concedes he was ridiculously wrong in his punditry and predictions. But while Morris is no official Fox News/Murdoch or Roger Ailes henchmen, it’s clear what these puppeteers have planned for the 2014 and 2016 elections. At least for the time being. Let’s examine:
The key reason for my bum prediction is that I mistakenly believed that the 2008 surge in black, Latino, and young voter turnout would recede in 2012 to “normal” levels. Didn’t happen. These high levels of minority and young voter participation are here to stay. And, with them, a permanent reshaping of our nation’s politics.
By “reshaping,” Morris sums up in one word the process of old, bigoted views and ideologies dying slowly as their opinion holders themselves die off. Simply put, America is no longer old, white and male-dominated in most facets of its society, and that’s a good thing. Well, good thing for America (and the world), Morris and his ilk no doubt think of this as some terrible tragedy.
But the more proximate cause of my error was that I did not take full account of the impact of hurricane Sandy and of Governor Chris Christie’s bipartisan march through New Jersey arm in arm with President Obama. Not to mention Christe’s fawning promotion of Obama’s presidential leadership.
Here we start seeing the conservative strategy take form: throw Gov. Christie under the bus as fast and egregiously as possible, to prevent any far-right momentum from swinging back towards the center. People like Christie, who behave as responsible adults, are a threat to the far-right ideologies that wish for the USA to be a Christian theocracy. Christie doesn’t fit the racist GOP-run House policy of obstructionism, because he’s willing to work with Obama. Boehner and his cronies? Not so much.
A key element of Romney’s appeal, particularly after the first debate, was his ability to govern with Democrats in Massachusetts. Obama’s one-party strident approach, so much the opposite of what he pledged in his first national speech in 2004, had turned voters off. But by working seamlessly with an acerbic Republican Governor like Christie, Obama was able to blunt Romney’s advantage in this crucial area.
Same old lies from Republicans: they’re the ones willing to work across the aisle, but Democrats aren’t. This is a direct opposite of reality for the past four years, in which only very few Republican senators behaved responsibly and with citizens’ needs and concerns in mind. But note again: Christie, bus.
Sandy, in retrospect, stopped Romney’s post-debate momentum. She was, indeed, the October Surprise. She also stopped the swelling concern over the murders in Benghazi and let Obama get away with his cover-up in which he pretended that a terrorist attack was, in fact, just a spontaneous demonstration gone awry.
More usual spin and lies. Sandy now being blamed, despite Morris’ earlier admission that “black, Latino and young voter turnout” had accounted “fully” for Obama’s victory. Why Sandy? Because that gives them another chance to put blame on Christie, a relative moderate among Republicans.
Sandy, in retrospect, stopped Romney’s post-debate momentum. She was, indeed, the October Surprise.
Sandy happened at the very end of October, when Romney’s post-first-debate momentum had already long ceded ground to Obama again. Every debate except the first one showed a strong, confident President and Vice-President, and a constant position-shifting, plans-not-revealing Republican team. Voters picked up on this well before Sandy, and either Morris is being disingenuous or he’s so out of touch that he didn’t notice this. But it strikes me that in both cases, Sandy is suddenly to “blame” rather than the aforementioned “black, Latino and young voter turnout.”
Morris clearly has no interest in admitting that the GOP’s campaign of hatred and bigotry failed. Their plan remains, it seems so far, to pull on America from as far right extremist as possible, in hopes of dragging the whole country in that direction somehow. For the safety of American citizens and the planet itself, we can only hope they’ll reconsider this approach.
But the main problem with today’s GOP, and its Fox News-driven representation, is their utter disdain for everyone who says something that doesn’t confirm or agree with their views. They got their candidate pretty far by spinning lie after lie after lie, but, it turns out that disdain is a poor way to attract voters. Especially when it’s for almost every demographic except your own.
So I’d like to call on Republicans—voters and leaders alike—to stop, take a deep breath, and consider being a bit more inclusive in policy, messaging and attitude. You got punished harder than you realize or will admit, in this election. Don’t make that mistake again.
Or do. I won’t care too much.