reflections

OK, So Obama won, and pretty much exactly according to my own prediction, which was in turn based almost exactly on Nate Silver’s model, which was in turn based pretty much entirely on the state polling. All the arguments about unskewed polls and national polls and whatnot should be laid to rest now, because this election was not a surprise – the accuracy of the polls was basically mundane and thoroughly predictable, given that it always goes this way.

There is an astonishing amount of Republican/conservative angst about this win, which is disappointing. I won’t nutpick examples – some of which were right here at DW – because that doesn’t solve anything. The best route forward for lefties is not schadenfreude but patience. I’m hoping that the example of Gov. Christie will be an inspiration to the Republicans in office and that we will actually see bipartisan solutions instead of obstruction from here on out.

And for those of you truly anxious about Obama’s tenure, let me ask you this: Is it possible you were not served well by your sources? The existence of a Republican fact bubble was dramatically evident on Fox News last night, where Karl Rove refused to accept the returns from Ohio, and furiously scribbled on napkins for an alternate explanation. Megan Kelly earned my respect for the first time by walking the walk, down to the statheads in the basement and asking them to reply to Rove’s accusations, and did not give an inch when Rove tried to dismiss their arguments. Romney HQ then tried to get Fox to rescind its Ohio call, and Fox stood firm. But this episode should be an indicator that the leaders on the right don’t really have a firm grasp of fundamentals. A Baghdad Bob moment by Rove illustrated that these people just could not accept reality. I think each of you who trusts these people – Rove, Morris, basically everyone at the RNC, and every single person who stood for the nomination – need to evaluate them again and wonder just whose self-interest they really are working for. Certainly not yours. Kudos to Fox News for doing the right thing last night, but they are the also the ones who give these characters a platform to mislead you.

In fact, Obama’s tenure, despite what the Roves et al have told you, has not been bad. He has overseen over 20 consecutive months of job growth. Romney’s numbers implying job loss under Obama require Obama to be responsible for job losses that occurred after his inauguration but before he was able to pass any economic legislation. On the economy: GDP is up. The stock market is up. Unemployment is lower than when he took office, which means that he has erased the losses and made some gains.

Rove would have you believe that Obama is destroying the country, but he saved Detroit’s auto industry, he has managed to get China to play ball on currency, he has with Obamacare actually reduced the deficit (though not the debt, yet. and on that – more later).

Rove is not serving you. He is serving himself.

You ask liberals like me to “open our eyes” all the time, but today the election should give you an opportunity to do the same. Maybe you will retain your opinion about Obama, thats fine. But give him a second chance. He’s your President, too.

UPDATE: Watch Rove try to spin facts to his fantasy.

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    As an ex-Democrat, I spent much of my blogging career from 2000-2008, every single election cycle (including midterms) telling Democrats why I was an ex-Dem and where I thought they were making big mistakes and where I thought they needed to change. Mostly they did not listen and just got angry with me and accused me of all sorts of nasty things. It reached a point where I just hated them and didn’t want to talk to them anymore, although I tried to keep it open. Aziz won’t agree with me, but Bush Derangement Syndrome was just horrible to sit through, really horrible. For all the talk of how Democrats in Congress were supposedly more cooperative with him, they really weren’t; they cooperated with him on one thing early on (No Child Left Behind), then turned around and began attacking him on it. They got scared into complying with him on a couple of things in the wake of 9/11, but then spent the rest of their days opposing him on everything they could think of, and cozying up to radicals and crazies like Michael Moore and others, letting rage fuel them instead of calm reasoned discussion. And although they did not wind up taking all of my advice, much of what they did leading up to 2008 was right along the lines of what I said they actually needed to do. I’m not saying they did everything I said, or even were really listening to me at all (I wasn’t all that important to them, and I’m still not) but a whole whole lot of what I said they should do, they did. And it worked. And it just worked again.

    I wrote a lot of posts early on written to Democrats saying, “This is going to hurt, you aren’t going to like hearing this, but here is what you need to do to recapture the center.” They didn’t listen. They got mad at me instead. Eventually, it appears to me, the likes of Clinton and Obama did figure it out–or maybe they had it figured out all along, I don’t know.

    So here’s my “this is going to hurt, but here’s my advice” for Republicans, speaking to you as an ex-Democrat AND an ex-Republican:

    Republicans will probably need to become more libertarian, and this will help them long-term. But they’re going to have to do something to address the behavior of publicly traded corporations beyond saying “smaller government will fix it.” The up and coming generations of voters, who definitely made themselves heard not just in 2008 but just made themselves heard again last night, aren’t going to believe that “smaller government” will fix all the shit that’s broken–and they aren’t going to believe it because they have no reason to believe it.

    In fact, there’s every reason to believe the opposite is true, and that what you’re essentially doing under the guise of “letting the market decide” and “promoting competition” with corporate behemoths looks more like this:

    “Listen if we have a lot fewer cops, there will be a lot fewer arrests and prosecutions, therefore, obviously, less crime!”

    The Republican Party’s roots were in small business and entrepreneurs. They no longer are. Don’t change the subject and say “neither are Democrats, they’re the Wall Street Party now!” In point of fact you’re largely right about that. SO WHAT? HOW ARE YOU SUBSTANTIVELY DIFFERENT?

    This is painfully obvious to many of us who’ve run our own small businesses and is painfully obvious to more than one small business owner I know. The big corporations go in and do pretty much what government designed them to do (oh did I mention government created and sustained corporations? That’s because they did, which is another thing you guys need to acknowledge when you’re talking about “the free market.”)

    Time and again individuals who would like to be self-employed or actually start their own small businesses (whether they incorporate or not) find the BIG corporations come in and crush them, not through legitimate fair-playing-field “competition” but rather through the brute force power of monopolistic, rent-seeking, and anti-competitive behavior that gobbles these small business up and/or just crushes them, using the sledgehammer brute force of massive wealth accumulation and their ability to operate 24/7.

    Watch the movie “Office Space” and realize that this is the reality countless young people actually live in, and how fucking miserable and dehumanizing it really is. PLEASE watch it. That’s a movie from the ’90s, but today it’s worse than ever, and it’s NOT because we “regulated too much,” in fact, we’re in a period where “deregulation” has been the war cry of every administration between Reagan all the way to George W. (Who I will remind you I voted for, twice, and proudly, no regrets, by the way, although apparently you don’t think that’s significant and I’m just crazy. Whatever.)

    The increasing trend for young people is to see that these corporations view them as DISPOSABLE. You sit there and say “well these corporations are just acting rationally to get a better deal elsewhere,” but what they hear is, “we have no loyalty to you whatsoever, and there is no reason for you to be loyal to us, we don’t even appreciate your loyalty, and the minute some middle management fuck decides she doesn’t like you you’re gone motherfucker. We call it freedom. Go lose your home, uproot your life, watch your kids get sick and know you can’t do anything about it, it’s not our problem. Corporate profit uber alles is the ultimate good.”

    My advice is: become the party of small business and entrepreneurs again, and start turning a much more jaundiced eyes to the corporate monoliths. Most of them are terrible places to work, most of them rent-seek, monopolize, and seek market capture any way they can: if they can’t do it through regulatory capture (and regulatory capture *is* a serious problem, no doubt), they’ll just do it through the old fashioned means that caused the creation of anti-trust laws in the first place. So what is called for is not “smaller government,” it is more effective government, and “smaller” does NOT always equal better, no matter how much you quote Thomas Jefferson and James Madison at me. Yes, sometimes smaller is better. Sometimes bigger is better. Sometimes the size is just fine where it is, it just needs reform and reorganization. “Smaller, smaller, smaller, always smaller is better, period” is an ideology, it’s not a rational argument.

    Guys, I know Romney did reasonably well, but Tea Party candidates took a drubbing across the country, and that’s because “smaller government” is *not* something that impresses, because it’s too simple. What are you going to do in a *positive fashion* to make life better for people who want to be self-employed, who want to start small businesses or partnerships or family businesses, who want a *stable* life for themselves and their children? And what are you going to do to limit the behavior of corporate behemoths to set the agenda for everyone else in the market?

    If you can’t do that, don’t keep thinking you’re going to have the young people on your side eventually. In fact, for the first time in history, for not just one but two election cycles in a row, the youth vote was a major factor, and it went overwhelmingly for Obama. Listen to what Haley Barbour and Lindsey Graham are telling you too, because they’re talking a fuckwad of sense.

    You need, as Republicans, to start listening to these young people and their concerns, and I’m telling you right now “smaller government” increasingly sounds like a shallow, empty slogan from an increasingly irrelevant ideology. Do you have a positive agenda that will help people gain independence that goes beyond “you’re on your own motherfucker?” If you don’t, you can count on continuing to have problems even as they grow older and more conservative, because their “more conservative” view will be to trust less and less to rhetoric that’s based on shit Ronald Reagan said 30 fucking years ago. (And I love Ronnie by the way, with all my heart I do.)

    The negative attitude of making an enemy out of your own elected government, while turning a blind eye toward the corporate behemoths that increasingly control or at least have their tentacles in every aspect of our lives, is not helping you. If you want to be the party of the individual against the collective, then recognize that if government doesn’t enact policies that empower individuals and limit the behavior of collectivist enterprises (*coughlikebigcorporationscough*) you are not going to do better.

    I’m inclined to view those on the right who are now talking about secession and whatnot with the same contempt I viewed the lefty nutbags who were wailing and saying they wanted to secede and/or move to Canada when George W. Bush won in 2004. What a bunch of fucking unpatriotic, pansy-ass motherfuckers. But why do you think *you* sound any different to me at all when you talk like that? If you hate this country so much, then fuck you, there’s the door. Go and find your free market paradise and fortunes in government-free zones like the badlands of Pakistan or libertarian paradises like Somalia.

    But if you want to stay here and make a positive difference for your country (and I hope you do), it starts with having a positive agenda that goes beyond demonizing your own legitimately elected government. Seriously. Grow the fuck up. You lost an election. Don’t be a crybaby. Look hard, learn your mistakes, regroup, come up with a POSITIVE AGENDA THAT MAKES SENSE TO AVERAGE VOTERS, and you can and will win in future contests. But stick with this “Federal Government=bad, Big Corporations=all the wonderful things in life” shit, you aren’t going to win. You just aren’t.

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    Copying a great comment from Elizabeth Reid from another thread:

    “Those of you who are predicting doom and destruction over the next four years? With all due respect, on Monday you couldn’t accurately predict Wednesday, on the most studied subject in the history of ever, with every news channel over the last few months devoting substantial time to that one subject and what was likely to happen. I swear I am not trying to be a jerk, but doesn’t it give you even the slightest doubt about your ability to predict what’s going to be going on in 2014?”

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/cityofbrass Aziz Poonawalla

    FYI heres a comment from the thread at redstate:

    We relied on Ras/Gallup/Gravis and believed their (apparently) ******** Dean Chambers: FU!!! Karl Rove? Ain’t the first time he’s ff’ed us! I’ll stop short of “off with his head,” but really….

    Nationally, Rasmussen polled at 49%-48%. The actual result was (so far) 50%-49% Obama, the reverse of Rasmussen’s poll.

    In Colorado, Rasmussen polled at 50%-47% for Romney. The actual result was 51%-47% for Obama, the reverse of Rasmussen’s poll.

    In Florida, Rasmussen polled at 50%-48% for Romney. The actual result was 50%-49% for Obama, the reverse of Rasmussen’s poll.

    In Iowa, Rasmussen polled at 49%-48% for Romney. The actual result was 52%-47% for Obama, the reverse of Rasmussen’s poll, doubled.

    In New Hampshire, Rasmussen polled at 50%-48% for Romney. The actual result was 52%-47% for Obama, the reverse of Rasmussen’s poll.

    In Ohio, Rasmussen polled at a 49%-49% tie. The actual result was 50%-48% for Obama, a two-point swing.

    In Virginia, Rasmussen polled at 50%-48% for Romney. The actual result was 50%-48% for Obama, the reverse of Rasmussen’s poll.

    In Wisconsin, Rasmussen polled at a 49%-49% tie. The actual result was 52-47% for Obama, a six-point swing.

    In other words, in all the races that mattered, Rasmussen got it egregiously wrong. They didn’t call a single battleground state right except for North Carolina, and even there it appears that they overestimated the margin of Romney’s win.

    See? Rove SCREWED YOU. Rasmussen SCREWED YOU. The conservative punditocracy SCREWED YOU.

  • Thom Emery

    One of the most dangerously seductive temptations in the world is to listen to people because they’re telling you what you want to hear.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/cityofbrass Aziz Poonawalla
  • Thom Emery

    They could always double down on the crazy and declare the *real* problem was Romney’s lack of ideological purity. You know, like the Dems who said Kerry really only lost because he wasn’t liberal enough. Lucky thing Obama didn’t listen to them and positioned himself as a centrist from *day one*.

    (Yeah, yeah, spare me the rants about how Obama’s the “most liberal President in history,” read a fucking book that wasn’t recommended to you by Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity. He’s not even *close* to that, and there are millions of liberals still moaning and wishing it were so.)

  • http://www.jaeddy.com John Eddy

    Fortunately for me, I dislike the government on general principle, regardless of which type of a**hole is sitting in the Oval office ;). I’ll get over it because I have work to do and a family to feed and really can’t waste much energy fretting over it.

    My guy lost. That sucks. Get back to work.

  • queenofallevil

    @ John…exactly. For the record, I care as much about advice from Obama voters as Gore & Kerry voters cared about mine.

    Rove was wrong, shit happens. At least, Romney conceded with class and nobody is yelling thief and demanding the courts fix it. It’s over…Obama inherited his own mess now. Time to man up.