I can’t be shocked that Mitt Romney got his clock cleaned in the electoral college. If there is a bright side for the GOP is could be that they ran a Mormon with a severely moderate track record, who had to contort himself into a right-wing zealot, while still trying to appeal to moderates, but not be a moderate. Romney’s Mormonism wouldn’t come into play here, except that it was less than a month before the election when Billy Graham agreed to remove Mormonism from his church’s list of cults. For a party that considers the religious right to be its wholly-owned property, that is kind of a big deal.
There was the issue of “who is Romney”, or maybe “which Romney are they asking me to vote for, again?” Romney couldn’t be the Romney that ran for and won the Massachusetts Governor’s seat. That much was immediately apparent. His “moderation” was moderate in the way that Rachel Maddow is “moderately lesbian”. He also couldn’t be a conventional moderate Republican, because the GOP is running out of ice floes to push their moderates out to sea on. And he couldn’t be a blatant right-wing champion because it would mean having to explain every one of the massive slate of whiplash-inducing position reversals as a whole, instead of being able to dismiss them piecemeal.
He did, however, do everyone a favor by explaining the official GOP position on the “47 percenters” for us. You don’t make that kind of statement to $50k per plate Republican high-roller donors without a little help. You do it with your campaign team at your right hand. If he did make this long statement “off the cuff”, it makes any of Sarah Palin’s “going rogue” moments look like a Judy Blume book. So if you see him on the street, thank him for clearing that up. If you don’t want to click the link and see Limbaugh’s bloated mug peering back at you, I’ll save you the click:
“Romney, he [Limbaugh] said, had promoted “traditional” values of hard work, which had been rejected: “In a country of children where the option is Santa Claus or work, what wins?”
Ah yes, the old “those people don’t want to work for a living” rouse. Really? I don’t know for sure because I live in Connecticut, and maybe we are so punch drunk from high taxes we don’t notice, but nowhere on my IRS forms does it ask my party affiliation and give me fabulous prizes if I check “Demon-Crat”. We all pay the same fucking taxes. Adherents of neither party are more or less likely to need or avail themselves of Local, State, or Federal aid if they need it. Republicans are not graciously throwing in an extra $2000 with their tax bill and telling the IRS to “keep the change”. The ass-backwards-ness of Limbaugh railing against this shadow demographic while he demands first world accommodations without the tax bill to show for it, well, that’s just Rush.
If there is a bias (and the bias is nowhere near as large as it is made out to be in the popular media) it is that Democrats and Independents seem more likely to acknowledge that giving tax breaks to corporations and the super-wealthy does not create jobs and does not get magically balanced out by… well, you never get an answer to where that money is supposed to come from. The top 1%, and as far as I can tell, the top 10%, haven’t payed lower tax rates in over 100 years. Ditto for corporations. The fabled “job creators”, aka mid-sized and small businesses, are justifiably pissed off that they have not gotten in on as much of this fabulous tax cut action as the mega-wealthy. And since the mega-wealthy would rather not level the playing field by paying their share, you have an outcry for lower taxes on midsized operations and the less-than-tycoon class. And if those guys are getting breaks, why are Joe-Twelvepack and Joe-E-Microbrew and Giuseppe-Chianti paying 35% to Uncle Sucker? In a mystifying coincidence, Local, State, and Federal tax receipts are at an all-time low, creating record shortfalls, and forcing cuts in non-essentials and luxury items like health care, services to the children and the elderly, arts education, parks, transit options, etc…
If you just noticed that the drastic cuts in the tax rates for high-earners and corporations are coincidental with decreased tax receipts, and that the people who cut the taxes now want to cut services depended on by individuals that didn’t get the tax break, all while telling the people who’s taxes they actually did cut that they won’t cut services that high-earners and corporations need… well, an angel just drank a Red Bull. You also just figured out which way the class-war billiard table actually slopes. Have a cookie.
If you are really out in la-la land, you might be concerned that much of American Infrastructure is showing its age, and there is no money to do anything about it. Each year things like bridge repair, railway upgrades, electrical grid modernization, next-generation transit infrastructure, and a host of other things we totally take for granted, get ignored and put into the “luxury” bin. As long as Americans are sold on the idea that they deserve ultra-low taxes, and only communists build high-speed rail networks and bike lanes, nothing will ever happen about this. You don’t have to squint too hard to see what kind of mess you get into if you wait until an interstate highway bridge fails before you recognize the need to build a new one. Or you could scroll up, look at the picture of Romney, and thank your deity of choice that Halliburton isn’t the new FEMA or Fed-DOT.
So no. I’m not shocked by the outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election. I was too busy being shocked by how many pressing issues were taken completely out of the election year dialogue. I was shocked that the two-party system is so entrenched that the candidates are not required to debate each other, or even answer the questions posed to them in the fake debates. I am always shocked that nobody seems to notice or care in any kind of measurable number. I was shocked that the so-called Fiscal Cliff* was put in dry-dock until immediately after the election was decided. I could have been shocked that the only place you could see an interview with presidential candidate Gary Johnson, who was a Republican Governor that chose his own Libertarian** ice floe, was OUTSIDE Magazine… I was too busy laughing at the irony.
For my own part, this is the last time I will vote for a member of either major party in a voting booth. I chose a candidate who might make a few decisions I agree with, over one who would have immediately made many decisions I find morally abhorrent. That’s no way to participate in a democracy.
*Fiscal Cliff: where each of the two major partys get what they want but has to give the other party what they want in order to get it. also see: Congressional Circle Jerk
**Libertarian: American slang for “willfully ignorant, in a wonky way”