Thursday, November 08, 2012
Will Republicans Accept They Are Their Problem
Barack Obama didn't help much but Mitt Romney was actually taken down by his fellow Republicans. The Guardian's Simon Tisdall says Romney's downfall came from within.
By campaign end, Romney – moderating his tone and positions – was finally connecting with 2012 America... But the Tea Party zealots, the radical evangelicals, the homophobes, the misogynists and the rest of the unthinking, feckless right had already scuppered his chances. It was too late to turn it around.
Evidence that the Republicans are out of line and out of touch crowded in from battleground states, nearly all of which, from all points of the geographical and social compass, went to Obama. So, too, did the popular vote.
The zeitgeist was all Obama's. Liberal causes triumphed in several states that held separate votes on single issues. Maryland and Maine became the first states to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote. Colorado and Washington legalised some marijuana use.
In Ohio, in the heart of America, seen as the ultimate battleground, Obama won handily in the end. A key factor? His decision to bail out the US automative industry, approved by 59% of voters interviewed in early exit polls. Here was another symbolic vote for activist government and state intervention, another body blow for the every-man-for-himself, laissez-faire, free enterprise favoured by the Republican right.
Romney proved a better man than his party deserved. He went up in most people's estimation during the campaign. He was gracious in defeat.
..."Obama-ism" circa 2012 does not mean liberalism, immorality or Godless socialism. Obamaland is where the decent, hard-working open-minded middle lives. There are no signs, yet at least, that Republicans are ready to adjust to the change. A more likely reaction, like that of Britain's Benn-ite left during the Thatcher era, is to lurch ever closer to the political edge in pursuit of political purity and truth.
Tisdall's analysis points to our glaring fact - the Republican Party is toxic. It's broken. Since the 60's when the party shifted to its "Southern Strategy" it has always gone for the low-hanging fruit - the racists, the radical fundamentalists, the homophobes, the radical nationalists and war hawks, and, ultimately, the Tea Party - just about every bunch too odious to do the Repugs any long-term good.
Moderate Republicans speak of party renewal, of attracting blacks, Latinos, women and young voters. But what they're not yet saying openly is what they would first have to do to make that possible. The road back begins by pumping out the crud in the Republican bilges and that crud isn't going without a fight that could leave today's party dangerously gored.