Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stuff and "stuff"

I’ll give Mitt Romney this: he has talent.

It takes a lot of talent to give people numerous further reasons to not vote for you more than a week after the election. And that many more reasons to realize what a bullet this whole nation dodged thanks to the Obama landslide.

Romney is saying that Obama won because the Democrats promised them “stuff.”

Even by the high, high standards of stupidity the GOP has set in recent years, this clears the bar with about a foot to spare.

As far as I can tell, the purpose of an election campaign is to explain to voters what you can do for them. When has a campaign ever not promised “stuff” to someone? Even the Tea Party candidates promised to make government incompetent and useless, but at least that was something.

Certainly, the 2012 Republican campaign promised “stuff.” Romney promised lots of “stuff” to lots of people. The only way his campaign differed from Obama’s in that respect was the scope of his “stuff” — way more costly “stuff” to much richer people.

Oh, I see.

“Stuff” doesn’t count if it’s what the rich want. See, they deserve “stuff,” which in turn means it’s not “stuff.” But if the middle class needs “stuff,” then by God it’s “stuff.” And how dare the Democrats pledge to honor the social safety net? And how dare the voters actually consider voting for the party that has helped them and promises to keep on helping them!

I have a theory about the current Republican Party — every plank of their platform boils down to at least one of two things: greed and prejudice.

Try it with any issue.

Economics > supply-side economics > regressive tax cuts > greed.

Abortion > states’ rights > making it illegal > denying women dominion over their bodies > misogyny > prejudice.

Anti-union > pro-corporate > anti-regulation > greed.

Immigration > Mexican border fence > demonization of Hispanics > prejudice.

Abolishing minimum wage > seeking ways to subvert it > hiring via illegal means or outsourcing > greed.

Disgust for social programs > worries about freeloaders > freeloaders meaning poor black people > prejudice.

Military policy > strong defense > endless defense contracts > oil > greed.

Military policy > strong military > American exceptionalism > world’s police > occupation of other countries > prejudice. 

Romney’s groaning over “stuff” suggests that he wanted people to vote Republican despite it not being in their best interest. And he hoped that those people would be too stupid to notice. He expected and demanded votes without regard to loyalty or logic.

That’s greed AND prejudice.

What it isn’t, is presidential. Which is why logic prevailed in 2012.


1) Stop dismissing young and minority voters. They are the future and — guess what — they don’t like you! Why? Because you don’t like them. But if you ever want to get elected again in a country with rapidly diversifying demographics, you’d better start caring.

2) Watch something other than “Mad Men.” That show is popular because it allows us to live through and mock the archaic social conventions of the day. It’s not meant to be a primer on how to treat women in 2012.

3) Also, flip off Fox News. Did you guys really think Romney was going to win in a landslide? I expected you all to say that as a PR measure during the campaign. But the fact that you’re still saying it now makes me think you truly believed it. And that’s just pathetic. You surrounded yourselves with “yes” people when the answer was decisively no. That’s not a winner. And, consequently, neither are you.

4) Redefine your redefinitions. When you claim families making $35,000 are freeloaders because they want health care for their kids, you are not only being heartless, but you clearly have no idea what poor is. $35,000 isn’t a lot of money by most metrics, but way too many American families earn way less. And it’s those who have way less who are less likely to have health insurance as an option to them. So don’t be shocked or angry that these people would be drawn to health care. They get sick too, and you can’t cure that with a bootstrap dipped in elbow grease.

5) Remember what conservatism is. I imagine you’ll say, “We can’t do any of this without redefining who we are!” The thing is, you’ve already done that. You’re no longer the party that stands for low, efficient government spending. Or the party that fosters small business. Or espouses freedom. You can be, and need to be, all of those things. Your current platform, to paraphrase Bill Maher (sorry), is a random collection of kickbacks to your corporate masters and concessions to your most militant religious bloc. And much of it is at odds with what conservatism is supposed to represent. How can a two-party system be honest if half of its members have lost their collective marbles?

6) Change accordingly.

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