Question #1: “What HAPPENED?”
Let’s be honest, folks— when the election results came in, it was a shocker— a real shocker! For practically everyone except the pollsters, Nate Silver, and the anything-but-credible Paul Krugman… the assumption was: there was no way— no way— that the enthusiasm for Obama this year would be anywhere close to what we saw in 2008.
I mean, come on… back then, the American people could be forgiven for refusing to leave emotion at the door, and voting for Mr. Hope-And-Change-Himself. The man had made it a point for practically his entire political career to be a blank slate. In the campaign four years ago, he spoke in vague terms filled with inspiring terminology and quotable catchphrases to send shivers up the leg of a guy who now is thanking God for Hurricane Sandy. No one but the Right knew what Obama was really about— and furthermore… no one but the Right wanted to know.
This year, they had no such pretext. After four years of what can best be described as bumbling, bungling, and general bloviating about Big Bad Bush— our president now had a record. A bad record. A record that would’ve annihilated the political career of any other politician, today.
So… what happened?
There are three basic, kind-of-connected reasons I’ve managed to dredge up, after reading and listening to all the assessments this past week-and-a-half.
Reason One… for all the enthusiasm we saw for our ticket— all the energy, all the passion, all the excitement— there was still a significant number of Republicans who simply sat out. Despite all the emphasis by people like me on how this was far too important an election to abandon… we still got a lot of people who seemed to think Obama wouldn’t be that dangerous to leave in office, and that Romney was somehow not worth the effort of driving a short ways to the voting booth. Either that, or we got the tired old excuse of “My Vote Won’t Count”.
Reason Two… “Rock The Vote”— and the mindset it brought of “I don’t care who you vote for, just as long as you vote, because it’s your duty to vote, regardless of how much homework you do!” Pathetic… and predictably, it yielded a big chunk of my generation who headed over to the ballot box armed with nothing more than cheap slogans crammed into their heads by the campus culture, the “cool” media (and the slanted ratio of commercials on those channels), and general peer pressure.
(Speaking of peer pressure… few things set me off more, right now— aside from the smug and self-righteous mantra of “Reason and rationality won out, this election!”— than this new narrative by libertarians and moderates on how all social conservatives are somehow Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock— and the GOP must therefore dump our stances on life, etc. News flash: those two guys’ comments made us gag, too — okay? You’re not putting this on us! Besides, you want to dump on the Evangelicals? Well, you’d better be prepared for more and more sit-outs in 2016.)
Reason Three— the most important of them all… propaganda. Nothing more, nothing less. The exit polls were clear: after four years of this president’s failed policies… 53% of voters still…blame…Bush! Ridiculous? Absolutely— but remember the old adage of repeating a blatant and obvious lie often enough so everyone believes it.
Further, the mainstream media committed unforgivable sins of blatant bias— they deliberately downplayed the scandal of dishonesty and double-speak over Benghazi, and they over-played Obama’s pathetically brief tour of the Hurricane Sandy aftermath. Put both together, and you have, “Oh, well, the president isn’t that bad.” And with that— any momentum Mitt Romney had gained with women, Hispanics, and so on… was lost. They again bought into “War On Women!” and “They Want To Round You All Up!”
The Godfather, Rush Limbaugh, suggested (along with Mitt) that a big part of our loss was that the entitlement, “Santa Claus” mentality has at last taken hold of a majority of the electorate. Maybe it has; maybe that’s reading too much into it. Either way… propaganda won out, this time.
Next week— Question #2: “What now?” Until then…