U.S. elections 2012 – the mornings after

Written by  //  November 30, 2012  //  David/Terry Jones, Politics, U.S.  //  1 Comment

Down and Out With Ted Cruz and the GOP
As Republicans regroup from electoral disaster, some — including a rising star in the Senate — insist conservatism was not to blame.
(The Atlantic) The debate within the Grand Old Party has begun to take shape along familiar lines. Some call on the party to moderate its positions; others insist it only needs to articulate them more forcefully. Then there are those who darkly foresee the day the American people, having chosen the path of disaster, get their comeuppance.
Amy Davidson: Our Hillary Problem
(The New Yorker) “Hello again,” Hillary Clinton said last week. “It’s so good to see you again. And my husband sends you his very best regards.” She was talking to the King of Thailand, on what was meant to be one of her final trips as Secretary of State, after which she will make some gesture toward retirement. But one wonders if the whole American electorate might, before too long, be treated to the same sort of greeting the King got. Hillary Clinton may be leaving the State Department, but is she really leaving the stage?
… this week more of the news was about Jeb Bush looking like he might run. To the prospect of a campaign, in 2016, of a Clinton and a Bush, two old White House names, one finds oneself asking, Must we? Dynasties doesn’t seem like any way to revitalize the political process. There is something enervating about the idea of sitting around for a couple of years wondering about what Hillary wants, and waiting for her next introduction. Can we ask if it might be time to say goodbye?
26 November
Jim Greer, Ex-Florida GOP Chair, Claims Republican Voting Laws Focused On Suppression, Racism
“The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,” Greer told the [Palm Beach] Post. “It’s done for one reason and one reason only…‘We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us.’” [It should be noted that the source has a slightly dubious background: “Greer served as Florida’s GOP chairman from 2006 until 2010 when he was forced to resign after allegedly stealing money from the party. He was arrested and his case is pending.”]

Absolute best post-election story:
400,000 sign petition urging Macy’s to dump Donald Trump over his views on Obama and ‘sexist’ comments

The Results

Mitt Romney’s Campaign Concedes Loss In Florida — Mitt Romney’s campaign conceded on Thursday that it lost Florida, as votes continue to be tallied more than 36 hours after the election was called for President Barack Obama.
House race in South Fla., 7 other contests drag on
Election Day has come and gone and Republican Rep. Allen West is still fighting for votes – in the courtroom.
All Ballots Counted, Allen West Solidly Defeated By Patrick Murphy
Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) may be vowing that his race against Patrick Murphy is far from over, but as of early Saturday morning, all ballots were counted and legally the result is clear: West lost. [UPDATE Nov 20: In Florida, Republican Concedes House Race — After nearly two weeks of wrangling, Representative Allen West relinquishes his fight and accepts defeat. (Politico) How Allen West blew it]

Florida Election Results 2012: Obama Wins, But Gerrymandering Helped GOP Keep the House

(PolicyMic) For four days, the nation stared at Florida like a pregnancy test as we waited for the damn thing to finally turn blue. Florida’s 29 electoral college votes brought the final count to 332 for President Obama against Mitt Romney’s 206. But by the time the tally was in, no one cared about the numbers.
Romney conceded the state on Thursday, and President Obama already had surpassed the necessary 270 electoral votes needed to win. Instead, Florida generated media attention for once again appearing to be unable to count. Governor Rick Scott’s brazen attempts at voter suppression were Tunisia-like in their disregard for democratic institutional

Few voters expect President Obama to seriously change Washington; most just want him to make it function. – Peter Baker in the New York Times

Divided U.S. Gives Obama More Time

Narrow Victory Includes Near Sweep of Swing States

Barack Obama Victory Speech: ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’

Text of speech
(Huff Post) President Barack Obama scored himself a second term in the White House on Tuesday, nabbing nearly all of the key battleground states and proving, resoundingly, that his message about lifting the middle class resonates with the majority of Americans.
“The task of perfecting our union moves forward. It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope,” Obama said in his victory speech at McCormick Place.
Supporters here had already been screaming for hours before Obama locked in 270 electoral votes. [In contrast to the scene described at Romney headquarters as the defeat of the 1 percent] One by one, he and other Democrats had been winning in key districts and states. So by the time Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their families walked out on stage, the cheers in the hall were deafening.

As Rove and Aides Argued Results, Romney Gave Up
Campaign advisers were urging both not to concede defeat
(Newser) – Karl Rove’s on-air confrontation with Fox News’ projection team, and Mitt Romney’s failure to concede once all the networks had called the race, were two of the weirdest subplots on election night, but the reasons for both are coming into focus. Rove remains one of the best-connected men in politics, and the New York Times reports that top Romney campaign officials were telling him the network had its call wrong, that Ohio was too close to call. Fox, believing Rove had insider info, let him air his objections.

(Foreign Policy Morning Brief) “Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual,” Obama declared in his victory speech. “You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours.” Romney, meanwhile, noted that “this is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.”

Dr. Charles Cogan: An Election Retrospective: Pessimists Are Never Disappointed
(HuffPost) I constantly predicted a win for Governor Romney. As in my last blog (“The Enduring First Debate Effect: They Finally Found a White Man They Could Like”), I felt that the underlying strain of racism was just too strong in this country, viz. the irrational hatred of the president who, by his personality, is not a hate-inducing figure. How else to explain such fanaticism except by this underlying vein of racism?
The most egregious example of this intransigeance against the occupant of the White House was the statement by the Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, that his chief political aim in life was to deny a second term for President Obama.
I stuck to my prediction even as Governor Christie unexpectedly embraced and praised President Obama on the Jersey Shore.
Well, I was wrong. And I’ve never been so happy that I was wrong.

David T. Jones: The American Election Mulling Over the Entrails

Republicans may have “maxed out” the electoral paradigm they have followed for 40 years. They have focused on winning the South, including Florida and Virginia, and mid-West with strategic victories in states such as Ohio, Colorado, and Missouri, while largely ignoring the West, the Northeast, minorities, youth, and single women. In 2012, with solid issues, a respectable candidate, virtually unlimited funds, and reduced Democrat voting, Republicans improved performance over 2008, but their existential conservative philosophy lacked sufficient appeal to sway the final few percent that would put them into the majority. Nor is there any real expectation that it will be more popular in future elections.
(The Métropolitain) The Democrats not only retained the presidency, they increased strength in both House and Senate. Anyone believing Obama will be chastened/more cooperative with this victory should move to CO with its newly endorsed recreational marijuana use law.
Republicans are praying for the health of the conservative Supreme Court members, knowing that another four Obama years could transform a 5-4 conservative decision tendency into a 6-3 liberal majority.
At this moment both winners and losers are uttering ritualized “let’s play nicely together” language; winners (after all they have won) and losers (who know that Amcits hate poor losers). Commentators are happy to inform Republicans that to become relevant they have to become Democrats (or something so close to such that the difference wouldn’t be worth a dime). But the likelihood of serious cooperation is as unlikely as discovering that Obama is an alien from Mars.

What the 2012 election taught us

(WaPost) We’ve been scouring the data for clues as to what we should learn from what happened tonight as President Obama relatively easily claimed a second term. Five of our initial lessons learned are below. Much more to come in the days and weeks ahead.
1. This wasn’t JUST an economic referendum:
2. Republicans have a huge Hispanic problem
3. Virginia and North Carolina are swing states:Obama won Virginia. And, while Romney won North Carolina, he did so very narrowly — less than 100,000 votes out of more than 4 million cast.
4. The youth vote is no longer dismissible:
5. Democrats electoral vote ceiling > Republican electoral vote ceiling
We would add
6. Super PACs, Outside Money Influenced, But Didn’t Buy The 2012 Election

(Huff Post) DIVIDED WE STAND

‘We Have A Period Of Reflection And Recalibration Ahead For The Republican Party’
Tea Party Freshmen Smacked Down.. Dems Gain Senate Seats
Reid: ‘It’s Time To Put Politics Aside.. Work Together To Find Solutions’

Barack Obama’s re-election — A country divided
(The Economist) My basic take is that the stable, narrow, bitter partisan divide in America is a phenomenon driven by an interaction between two major players: the parties themselves, and the media. Political parties have achieved a staggering level of professionalism; the increasing availability of voter preference data and increasing sophistication of recruitment techniques in the age of information technology are likely to result in convergence between their abilities to secure their vote shares. The media, meanwhile, and this can’t be repeated often enough, is overwhelmingly biased towards producing exciting political races. Horse-race reporting gives the media the collective ability to shape the kind of narrative it needs in order to report excitingly. The increasing interaction between mass media and social media seems only to exacerbate this tendency: both mass-media analysts and private social-media contributors are rewarded for sharply divisive characterisations. We’re seeing market segmentation in which a number of players have an interest in keeping the segments at equal sizes. …
Setting aside the policy issues we’re facing over the next four years, I think the most immediate need is for Americans to find a way to live civilly with each other. “This American Life” brought on a pair of writers, liberal Phil Neisser and conservative Jacob Hess, who’ve written a book (“You’re Not as Crazy as I Thought (But You’re Still Wrong)”) about their efforts to find a way to talk to each other and agree to disagree on fundamental philosophical and moral issues. There need to be a lot more similar efforts along these lines. This election has put Barack Obama back in office, and returned him a Democratic Senate and a Republican House. Over the next four years, legislative battles are going to continue to be savage and hard-fought. Neither conservatives nor liberals are going to change their minds en masse about fundamental issues of political philosophy. The top priority is for Americans to figure out a way to keep these divisions from dividing the country into two hostile armed camps that are incapable of talking to each other.

Sherrod Brown: ‘Karl Rove Had A Bad Night’

Obama, buoyed by election win, faces new battles

(Reuters) The most urgent focus for Obama and U.S. lawmakers will be to deal with the “fiscal cliff,” a mix of tax increases and spending cuts due to extract some $600 billion from the economy starting early next year, barring a deal with Congress. Economists warn it could push the United States back into recession.
Obama has pledged to increase tax rates on Americans earning more than $250,000 as a part of his “balanced approach” to deficit reduction – something Republicans still vow to resist.
In remarks to reporters, House Speaker Boehner struck a conciliatory tone but stuck to the Republican position that they will consider boosting revenues to help reduce deficits, but only as a “byproduct” of tax reform that lowers rates and eliminates loopholes and deductions.

Three Reasons Why this Republican is Cautiously Optimistic (and One Reason Why He’s Not)

I voted for Romney (and most know why) and I agree (mostly) with an opinion I read in the UK’s Guardian: “The Tea Party zealots, homophobes and misogynists hijacked Romney’s campaign,” the article says, adding that “Romney proved a better man than his party deserved. He went up in most people’s estimation during the campaign. He was gracious in defeat.”
Though the night didn’t turn out quite the way I’d hoped, I’m not at all bitter. Quite the contrary: as a moderate Republican, I’m cautiously optimistic. Part of the reason is that I never bought into the narrative that Barack Hussein Obama was some out-there socialist heretic. He’s no Hugo Chavez. He’s not even a Howard Dean or a Bernie Sanders, and it’s nice to see that most of the country gets that. Truth is, in the grand scheme of things, he’s pretty much a centrist.

(The Economist) Disappointment may loom. Mr Obama’s second term will see him thrown into almost immediate confrontation with Congress over taxation and spending. Optimists predict that Republicans in the House will have less to fear from a president who cannot run for office again, and so may give some ground on taxes to help cut the deficit. More gloomy sorts will wonder whether a defeated Republican Party with no clear leader will be more concerned with an existential internal fight over its very future.

Robert Reich: Why John Boehner May Have More Leverage Over the Tea Partiers in Congress

The Speaker came close to agreeing to an increase in tax revenues in his talks with the President in the summer of 2011, but relented when Tea Partiers in the House made a ruckus.
But Tea Partiers may be more amenable to an agreement now that the electorate has signaled it doesn’t especially like what the Tea Party has been up to.
Tuesday wasn’t exactly a repudiation of the Tea Party, and the public’s rejection of Tea Party extremism on social issues doesn’t automatically translate into rejection of its doctrinaire economics. But the election may have been enough of a slap in the face to cause Tea Partiers to rethink their overall strategy of intransigence. And to give Boehner and whatever moderate voices are left in the GOP some leverage over the crazies in their midst.

Nicholas Kristof: Can Republicans Adapt?

(NYT) … it wasn’t the Democrats who won so much as the Republicans who lost — at a most basic level, because of demography. A coalition of aging white men is a recipe for failure in a nation that increasingly looks like a rainbow.
Schadenfreude may excuse Democrats’ smiles for a few days, but these trends portend a potential disaster not just for the Republican Party but for the health of our political system. America needs a plausible center-right opposition party to hold Obama’s feet to the fire, not just a collection of Tea Party cranks.
So liberals as well as conservatives should be rooting for the Republican Party to feel sufficiently shaken that it shifts to the center. One hopeful sign is that political parties usually care more about winning than about purism. Thus the Democratic Party embraced the pragmatic center-left Bill Clinton in 1992 after three consecutive losses in presidential elections.

Why Mitt Lost — He couldn’t separate himself from the Republican Party’s growing extremism

… The GOP now faces the challenge of self-examination and internal reform that Democrats began to undertake after losing twice to Ronald Reagan. It desperately needs the kind of centrist reform movement that was led on the other side by the Democratic Leadership Council, which paved the way for the election of a centrist Democrat named Bill Clinton. Without that sort of renewal movement, the 2012 election may come to be seen less as a fluke than a harbinger.

(Slate) … even a clumsy candidate might have beaten Obama if not for a simple factor that could not be overcome: the GOP’s growing extremism. The Republican strategy of making the election a referendum on the president’s handling of the economy was perfectly sound. The problem was that the Republican Party couldn’t pass the credibility test itself. For many voters disenchanted with Obama, it still was not safe to vote for his opponent.
This failure began with the spectacle of the extended primary season, which was dominated by candidates with views far outside the political mainstream. Rick Santorum rejected the separation of church and state. Newt Gingrich challenged the notion of judicial supremacy. Michele Bachmann claimed the government had been infiltrated by radical Muslims. Donald Trump refused to recognize the validity of Obama’s birth certificate. Rick Perry wanted to take down more parts of the federal government than he could successfully name. In the debates, the country saw the GOP talking to itself and sounding like a bizarre fringe party, not a responsible governing one.
Romney is not a right-wing extremist. To win the nomination, though, he had to feign being one, recasting himself as “severely conservative” and eschewing the reasonableness that made him a successful, moderate governor of the country’s most liberal state. …
Romney’s pandering to the base made it possible for the Obama campaign to portray him as a right-wing radical from the start of the campaign. Fear that he didn’t have the base locked down kept Romney from moving smoothly to the center once he had secured the nomination. It further encouraged his choice of Paul Ryan, a popular figure with the Tea Party. And when Romney tried, much too late, to move closer to the center, Republican Senate candidates, like Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana, kept popping up with disgusting reminders of the GOP’s retrograde views on gender issues.

Take the Money and Lose
Why did Republican super PACs waste so many millions on bad TV?

Dan Balz: Can the same president build a new landscape?
(WaPost) After a long and arduous campaign, a newly reelected President Obama confronts his next challenge: binding together a deeply divided nation and turning from campaigning to governing.
The irony is that the most expensive election in American history produced a status-quo outcome.
Now the question is whether it will change the status quo that has governed Washington not just during Obama’s presidency but for most of the past decade.

Two different views of the same reality

William Saletan: The Power of Truth
(Slate) In the 2012 election, reality overwhelmed pretense, gamesmanship, and self-deception.
Every four years, the race for the White House ends in accusations of deceit. Each side says the other spent millions of dollars to lie and skew the outcome. This year’s post-election accounts of backstage calculations and fateful turning points continue that tradition. But if you read these accounts carefully, you’ll find a happy surprise beneath the spin and recriminations: Lies failed. Truth prevailed.
The first two things that went wrong for Romney, according to Jeff Mason of Reuters, were the uproar over his unreleased tax returns and the video of his “47 percent” comments. In Mason’s story, Obama campaign officials gloat over these wounds. But no tactical genius was necessary to inflict them. Romney’s tax stonewalling hurt him because he was hiding information. And the video hurt him because it wasn’t an ad. It was just Romney speaking freely behind closed doors.
Next came Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic convention. Numerous accounts, including David Jackson’s in USA Today, credit the former president with the healthy bump Obama got from Charlotte. How did Clinton do it? By delivering a simple, rational, factual appeal.  It wasn’t hope and change. It was arithmetic.

The Real Loser: Truth
By Kevin M. Kruse, professor of history at Princeton, and the co-editor, most recently, of “Fog of War: The Second World War and the Civil Rights Movement.”
(NYT) Venomous personal attacks and accusations of adultery, miscegenation and even bestiality are as old as the Republic. Aaron Burr was the sitting vice president when he killed Alexander Hamilton.
But while the line between fact and fiction in politics has always been fuzzy, a confluence of factors has strained our civic discourse, if it can still be called that, to the breaking point.

Barack Obama’s election 2012 win: the world reacts

Countries around the globe have welcomed the re-election of the US president. But there are some notable exceptions.

(Foreign Policy Morning Brief)  World leaders have been quick to press the president on their issues as they congratulate him on his victory. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the U.S.-Israeli alliance was “stronger than ever,” while Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he was “glad” the winner of the race was “not someone who considers Russia enemy number one.”

Dominique de Villepin: Obama’s Second Chance

America’s choice and Europe’s choice – our choices- are only a part of the solution. They have a common cause: globalization. In the last thirty years, there has been an unprecedented wave that swept over the world, that has led to unify, to compare, to simplify the world. Massive powers have been unleashed, among which greed that has broken the traditional balance of the elites within each culture. Now, the very rich of this world seem to enter a time of secession, where their only goal is to live together apart from the rest of the world, apart from their own people.

America’s, Europe’s and China’s choices must be the cornerstones of a major global choice between anarchy or common good : this means rebalancing globalization, defining institutions for a worldwide governance and tackling the common global challenges of this century, for Latin America, for Africa, for South-East Asia.

2012 must become the second chance of the world, not only for America.

John Moore: A crack in the Bell jar

In recent years I have written extensively about the alternative universe U.S. right wingers have devised for themselves. It’s a self sustaining belief system sealed off entirely from the real world with caulking made of paranoia. Those who breathe the increasingly stale air inside believe trickle down economics works, that Jimmy Carter caused the economic meltdown of 2007 and Ronald Reagan never raised taxes. They have their own economics, history and science.

… Like a conspiracy theory, any external attack is merely further proof of its integrity.

This alternative universe sustained conservatives through the Bush years and the perceived aberration of Obama’s first term. But the prospect of a second Obama term caused a disturbance in the force. In the face of aggregated polls agreeing on an Obama victory Romney supporters relied on dissenting numbers provided by Rasmussen, a firm that seems to have been largely created to make Republicans feel better about things not going their way. The other polls were a liberal scheme to tilt the table for Obama.

Obama Plans Drastic Cabinet Shake-Up

Clinton, Geithner, Panetta, Holder all could be gone

(Newser) – After a first term almost devoid of Cabinet shakeups, President Obama is now working on plans to replace virtually his entire team. Hillary Clinton and Tim Geithner have both publicly announced their exits, but Leon Panetta, Eric Holder, Ray LaHood, Steven Chu, Ken Salazaar, and Lisa Jackson are all expected or rumored to be departing, too, insiders tell Politico. Replacements have been bandied about in secret. “They haven’t even made calls,” one source said. “They’re more like targets than potential nominees.” But here are the targets the rumor mill is focused on:

The prohibitive favorite for Treasury secretary seems to be Obama’s chief of staff, and ex-budget director, Jack Lew. But there’s also been speculation about Erskine Bowles, who, Bloomberg points out, would reassure Wall Street that a fiscal cliff deal is coming. And the New York Daily News has an intriguing, if unlikely, suggestion: Mitt Romney.No matter what, Obama wants at least one Republican, [emphasis added] the New York Times reports. One possibility: retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe, though it’s unclear for what post. 

Ordinary people: the middle class aspirations that give the Obamas their appeal
(The Guardian) In an America still riven by racial prejudice, the first family live by values that the whole nation can recognise and applaud
Not everybody approves of the Obamas, of course. The president got 51% of the popular vote while Romney got 48%. Some Americans just do not think he is the right guy to run the country while others are openly hostile, describing him as “a racist with a Marxist agenda”. Interestingly, a poll carried out by Associated Press in October revealed that 51% of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes compared with 48% in a similar 2008 survey.
In her book What’s the Matter With White People? Why We Long For A Golden Age That Never Was, Joan Walsh says that as the “browning” of America continues, “Americans will have to learn how to talk about race more sensibly. We now live in an America in which you can have an African-American mayor, a Chinese-American school supervisor and a Puerto Rican teacher. This idea that whites have all the power is simply wrong. When we talk like that, it is no wonder working-class voters feel excluded because that’s not the whole story. We need more empathy.”
The American dream at its best should be colour blind, she says, and the Obamas, are “the genuine American story”.

One Comment on "U.S. elections 2012 – the mornings after"

  1. TC Jones November 11, 2012 at 9:20 pm · Reply

    We’ve been through a lot of elections. After each presidential election, we just hope and pray the elected president will have a wonderful successful term – for the sake of the country. You are absolutely right that the Republican Party needs some serious rebooting and if they want to ever hold power again, they have to evolve. Otherwise, they can remain dinosaurs but true to the ideologies of the minority.
    The big challenges lie ahead – such as the fiscal cliff. furthermore, the world is not a safer place – especially with Iran’s nuclear capability.
    Europe has enough challenges as their social contract involved an element of “take care of the hoi polloi and they won’t march you to the lanterns.”

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