Romney and Ryan don’t seem to have a clue why they lost with both deflecting from reality. Romney in a telephone conference with private donors this week didn’t key on any of his failings as a candidate, rather offered lame and absurd excuses why he didn’t win the election. He immediately went to the dark side indicating that Obama’s “gifts” to specific demographic groups, such as “forgiveness of college loan interest” to voters under the age of 29, “free health care” to African-Americans, “amnesty” to the children of illegal immigrants (to lure Latinos) and “free contraceptives” for young, college-age women were the reason he lost the election. The insinuation was that Obama used these programs to bribe his voting base. Clown Limbaugh characterized Obama as Santa Claus to their lost electorate.
We are confused at this point since these also sounded a lot like issues that Romney embraced during the presidential debates. For example, he pledged to “make it easier for kids to afford college” touting his record as Governor of Massachusetts though he now characterizes college loan assistance as a bribe. And my favorite… In the debates Romney stated that, “Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives.” In his most recent remarks Romney characterizes the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) policy that requires insurance plans to cover birth control for insureds as “free contraceptives” for young women. Romney’s exact quote was, “Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women…” Gads! Can’t you just see the line at the polls, one contraceptive-one vote…
Backtracking through time it certainly appears that Romney is now formally re-embracing his “47%” remarks once and for all unmasking himself as an insincere elitist completely out of touch with reality and that means the majority of the electorate. Oh, and his performance in 2012 vs. McCain’s in 2008? While he still lost them big, Romney actually picked up a greater percentage of votes among African-Americans, young voters and those contraceptive motivated non-married women. He did lose ground with Hispanic voters - 67% to 71% though with a margin of error +-3% we can call it close to a statistical draw overall. We did note what while the Hispanics were 9% of the total vote in 2008 they increased to 10% in 2012. The overall minority-voter base as a percentage of the overall electorate was twenty-eight percent - 2 percentage points greater than four years ago. That percentage will only grow in the coming years – a harbinger of an electorate to come.
A very clear and resolute Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal with an eye seemingly focused on 2016 and beyond criticized Romney for his “gifts" remarks, calling them "absolutely wrong." Jindal continued, "We have got to stop dividing the American voters," and "We need to go after 100% of the vote, not 53%. We need to go after every single vote." Jindal was commenting as the new Chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA) at their meeting in Las Vegas (licking their wounds) where it seems that many party leaders are now predicting that the GOP will lose again if it, “keeps running the same playbook based on platitudes in place of detailed policies.” It looks some are considering a Republican reboot though that begs the question of their sincerity and the degree that they are they going to reinvent themselves to become more palatable to the electorate. A now chastened Romney tried that chameleon act and we see the results.
While Karl Rove was not at the RGA meeting, former Mississippi Governor Haley (Hurricane Sandy did it!) Barbour was, casting doubt on the credibility of the body. Then you have Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell who trying to deflect from Washington to the states, offered that enlightened Republican Governors can advance what Washington can’t, stating that, "Washington is broken.” While that certainly fits the obstructionist Republicans, that’s probably not the message he intended to convey.
Though I thought I would never see it, some (not many) Republicans may apparently, “get it,” objectively analyze and learn from their loss, understand and respect the will of the electorate (in many cases their constituents) and craft an agenda that preserves Republican principles and appeals beyond the mostly White, male voters that are its primary base. As the LA Times opined and cautioned, “The hegemony of the straight white male in America is over.” That said, if the Republicans are really serious in their attempts to reform and make themselves palatable, they need to divest themselves of the right wing extremist nuts that populate its ranks to especially include the Tea Party Teavangelicals and many of those who competed in the sideshow for the Republican presidential nomination. If that splits the party, so be it.
It seems to this writer that however close the margin, the agenda of the new electorate has been assured. Despite all the significant data generated by exit polls, the never ending media analyses, statistics and proclamations – it would appear that those who voted for Obama also trusted his judgment and leadership abilities more and, frankly, liked him better than Mitt who consistently derided and cast aspersions on many within the winning electorate and lied through his teeth during the campaign. The new electorate has spoken decisively and understanding and alarmed by the mission of the far, far right, refused to let science or their government be held hostage to religious or ideological dogma. Hope you’re listening Rick.
Ah, if the voice of reason projected by Jindal starts to resonate and grow in the GOP and they aren’t just talking to themselves, perhaps I can once again ponder my role as a progressive Republican. But, then again…