Wednesday, November 07, 2012
7 Reasons the Republicans Lost and Deserved It
No one person or party represents all of my political views. I agree with Democrats on some issues, Republicans on others, and Libertarians on still others. On yet other issues, no one represents my views.
Nevertheless, my hatred for the political system doesn't blind me to the problems of the Republican party. Here are seven reasons why they lost this election.
1. They made religion center stage.
Official debates and stump speeches were mostly about the economy and jobs, but Republican talking points that made headlines were about God, God, and God. Many Republicans apparently believe that America is defined by its bible-thumping conservatives. It isn't.
America left Europe because they wanted to be free and independent from religion-based government. Over and over some Republicans want to shove Christianity down our throats, from public prayer, to restricted abortion, to who can marry, to the ten commandments, etc etc. Americans do not want religion mixed with government. They want religion to be personal choice.
2. They threatened abortion and contraception
A direct result of the first point, too many Republicans talked about abortion. The idea that 40 years after Roe v Wade American women could lose basic health and human rights was enough to scare millions of women into the Democrats' pocket.
I get that you honestly believe that a fetus is a human; but that's your belief, and it's a religious belief, it's not everyone's belief. If you restrict abortion because of your narrow view of the bible, you become like the fundamentalist Islamic nations that you so rail against.
3. They are out of touch regarding gay rights.
Also a direct result of the first point, the right for all people to consensual love or sex with whomever they want is inevitable and it's sacred. The argument that someone else's private life diminishes some so-called institution of marriage is simply insane. When all of your arguments are based on the bible, you should stay out of American politics.
The arguments against gay rights echo the arguments against civil rights for blacks, and they will not endure.
4. They cling to the trickle down economic model with no government oversight.
The notion that its good to have rich people because they give money to poor people has been proven wrong again and again, but that's still the core Republican economic philosophy. The wealth gap gets bigger and bigger every year.
Too many large companies drive out competition from struggling small companies using monopolistic practices rather than by out-competing. Too many companies practice short term gain without considering human consequences. Republicans push for an economy that acts like a "business", which perforce leaves some people cut adrift; that might work for a business, but it's not a moral position for a country.
5. They clung to made-up pictures of the economy and foreign policy.
Too many Republican talking points about the dire straights of the economy just weren't true. No single number defines the economy. Unemployment is up, but so are jobs. The debt is up but so is manufacturing. Poverty is up but so is consumer confidence.
The same argument applies to foreign relations. America was hated by some and the target of attacks under Bush; it was hated by some and targeted by less attacks under Obama. The Japanese and French now view the US more favorably, the Egyptians and Pakistanis less favorably. Obama is bad for Israel because he has unfriendly relations with Netanyahu and doesn't take the Islamic threat seriously enough; he's good for Israel because he provided record military support and technology like the Iron Dome. So it goes.
Republicans don't seem to be able to handle nuance. They drag out one number, sometimes a made up number, over and over, regardless of the complex reality.
6. They are more defined by what they're against than what they're for.
The Republicans congress is defined by the word "no". They are not seen as a party that unites America. They are seen as politicians who stubbornly cling to every policy, small or large, and never negotiate. They block progress, rather than govern.
We have a country where half the people feel one way and half feel the other way on many issues. It is wrong to insist that every policy go your way. Obama has shown flexibility by conceding some issues and negotiating others. Democrats appear as open to listening. Republicans appear to be intransigent.
Obamacare is perfect example: yeah, it's not great, but the point is not that it's not great, but that Americans want better health care. Republicans are known more for wanting to repeal Obamacare than for introducing something better to take its place; they missed the main point.
Romney was an exception, in that he flip flopped around, making it difficult to know just what to expect from him.
7. They violated Godwin's law.
Godwin's law says that, in any argument, the probability of one party comparing the other party to Hitler or a Nazi becomes more probable the longer the argument continues, and that the party that does so automatically loses the argument. When you come to that point, it means you've run out of the ability to work together to actually solve problems. And you've forgotten what Nazism and Hitler really were.
Sadly, both parties did this during the election campaigning. But the Republicans started all the way back when Obama first took office.