What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
The story of the 2012 election is that voters still blame Republicans for systemic problems caused by liberalism, and yet they credit Obama for victories brought about by applied conservatism. Now how does this happen? The answer is both a short story and part of a longer festering narrative.
Consider: during the Republican primary season, half of Mitt Romney's consultants told him to call Newt Gingrich the devil. The other half told him to merely to claim that the devil worshiped Gingrich. Then these same sorcerers all told Mitt to call Barack Obama "a nice guy."
Well, gee, what could possibly go wrong with that plan?
For starters, we still have a country where over 50 percent of the voters think that George W. Bush is at fault for the economic mess and less than 40% think Obama is. Paul Ryan damned near admitted as much in his debate with Joe Biden. Meanwhile, Bush and Republicans are still so tied to the failures of Katrina that her grandchild, Sandy, probably caused just enough disturbance in the force to change the outcome of this election. With Katrina hanging over Mitt, he ceded the stage to Obama and Khris Khristie Kreme for a couple of days, which re-established the meme that Democrats can handle disasters and Republicans cannot.
Meanwhile, our nation's employment situation is so dire that the government has had to totally restructure how it's measured. In doing so, they make Obama look statistically dead even to where he was when he took office, and the Romney/Ryan campaign mentioned this only briefly and never explained it very well. As an aside, GM technically should be in receivership, but we are told it's alive and on the comeback trail.
The country is also under the impression that Obama parachuted into Osama bin Laden's camp and, with a knife clenched between his teeth, took bin Laden out while SEAL Team Six looked on in awe. Romney insulted special ops warriors everywhere by congratulating Barack Bourne multiple times on national TV. And just to top it off, Mitt graciously stood by while the nation bought the Candy Crowley version of Obama and Benghazi hook, line, and sinker. Once again, the truth was murdered on national TV, just as our ambassador and some heroic Americans were murdered on Drone TV. This was also another slap in the face to our actual heroes who died that awful day.
You see, the disastrous loss suffered by the Romney-Ryan ticket on Tuesday was not just a problem of how conservative or how moderate are we going to be -- though that is important. Rather, it was a major problem of just how many misconceptions about conservatism's role in our problems we are going to suffer and hope that America votes for Romney anyway.
Given the somewhat sketchy sampling methods of exit polls, it would be a mistake to put too fine of a point on the exact figures. That is not necessary, however, to understand the problem. In round figures, Americans voted for Obama in percentages roughly equal to those of the people who blame Bush for our economy, and roughly equal to those who think Obama is better at foreign policy. Yes, our media and our entertainment community and our education establishment are to blame for that. I get it. We can't change that.
But what the Republicans can change, and must change, are the party's timid attempts to correct the record. With an economic catastrophe caused by a combination of liberal policies in the areas of domestic energy production and housing, it is important to point out that Democrats, and not people named Bush, are the cause of the problem.
When Osama bin Laden is killed as a result of ten years of very mean-spirited and terrifying black ops information-gathering tactics preferred by people named Cheney and Rumsfeld, it is important not to give credit to a man who opposed every bit of it along the way.
The problems with the government response to Katrina had far more to do with actions by Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco, both Democrats, and it is important to say so. The truth matters, and what our consultant class never seems to understand is that ceding a certain false narrative to liberals in an attempt not to offend the moderates, we feed a narrative always comes back to bite us in the rear end. Always.
The longer story is this: the feckless Romney campaign was built on the shaky foundation of Bush's and Karl Rove's "new tone." Rove finally admitted in 2009 that it was a mistake to sit around for eight years and allow every liberal argument against Bush to stand. Many of us were saying so back in 2001. That of course led right into John McCain's "reach across the aisle" campaign of 2008. With a golden opportunity at the time to demonstrate Democrat ties to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and bankrupt energy policies -- he instead told us that ANWR is gorgeous and that our problem was "unfettered capitalism." Now, four years later, shifting the blame to the rightful owners is going to be exponentially harder.
As if that was not enough, McCain assured us that we had "nothing to fear from an Obama presidency."
So let's add up Romney-Ryan's case against Obama: the economy is Bush's fault. Obama is holding his own with job-creation. He also got Osama. GM is kicking butt. Everything with Sandy is fine and dandy.
Damn. Obama's a nice guy, and he has been so unlucky. He deserves a second chance. Bush, and by extension all conservatives, left him such a mess. Heck, even McCain, Romney, and Ryan say so. Can I vote for Obama now?