Archive for the ‘Presidential Campaign 2012’ category

11.11.12 What to do about the Red States

November 11, 2012

Didja here where Peter Morrison, treasurer of the Hardin County, TX GOP, has called for Texas to secede from the Union in response to the election?

I say, let them go! In fact, I think embossed invitations to depart should be sent to every state where Romney got 55% or more of the vote. (This includes, in order of Romney win percentage: UT [73%!], WY, OK, ID, WV, AL, AR, KY, NE, KS, TN, ND, LA, SD, TX, MS, AK, MT, SC.)

Let them institute the Christian equivalent of Sharia law, require kindergarteners to carry assault weapons, abolish public education, stone female adulterers (but not the guys: they can’t help it, the poor fellas), prosecute masturbators, parade  homosexuals down main streets in stocks, outlaw emergency-room health care for the poor, torture immigrants, and require poison to be dumped in all lakes and rivers (except those that drain into our country).

Let us, in turn, institute very liberal immigration policies for political refugees from our regressive neighbor.

If we can’t get the evil states to leave, the least we can do — all progressives — is to boycott them. From now on: unless you have relatives there whom you have no choice but to visit, let all good-hearted folks swear never to spend another dime that supports fascism.


©2012 Keith Berner




11.11.12 Mandate?

November 11, 2012

I assumed there would be no mandate from this week’s election. Even as it became clear (to all except those in the Fox News Bubble) that Obama was going to win and the Democrats were going to hold control of the Senate, I was focused on Obama’s failures (being the political pessimist I am). Even on election night, I was celebrating the aversion on a great catastrophe, rather than achievement of a great victory. The tiny margin of Obama’s popular vote edge hardly spelled triumph to me.

Over the next couple of days, the significance of this election has become more apparent. The fact that the Democrats increased their margin in the Senate (55!) – beating every single wing-nut in competitive campaigns – and Obama’s near complete sweep of the swing states (except for North Carolina) meant something. And the Dems picked up seats in the House. Sure, the GOP held control there, but this says more about the power of incumbency and the gerrymandering out-of-existence of competitive elections. It has nothing to do with ideology.

Even the small popular-vote margin for Obama hides a more fundamental truth: it is only the huge run-ups of Romney votes in deep red states that kept that vote close. As I wrote a couple of days ago, it hardly matters what the red states and their Neanderthal voters think. They don’t matter!

The churning inevitability of demography (oh, those poor angry white men!) and the fact that a billion dollars of broadcast lies didn’t buy very many victories for the rabid right, prove the point: this week marked a profound victory. This victory was hardly about Obama or (unfortunately) an endorsement of progressivism, more broadly. But it was an enormous rejection of a return to medieval social values and the right-to-wealth and dominance of plutocrats.

None of this means Democrats can relax. Demographic change is unstoppable, but it is way too early to predict that lies and cash can’t win elections. Further, we cannot forget how spineless, inarticulate, and corrupt so many Democratic elected officials are. If any party can figure out how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, it is the incompetent Democrats.

But there is no doubt that a particular weltanschauung (view of the world) was defeated this past week. For that, we can be very thankful.

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Didja see where. . .

. . . Karl Rove is still advertising what a great job he did?

. . . Karl Rove is accusing the Democrats of vote suppression?

. . . Donald Trump called the election results illegitimate (and seems to hint at armed revolution as the solution)?

. . . Ann Coulter (who is apparently more in touch with reality than Rove and Trump) declared that there is no hope for the future?

. . . Nobody gives a shit about what Romney is thinking, feeling, or planning?


©2012 Keith Berner

11.08.12 Why we need the GOP to deal with reality

November 8, 2012

A major reason for Barack Obama’s victory this week was the continuously increasing share of minority voters. Notwithstanding intense voter-suppression efforts (or, perhaps, in reaction to them) Latinos and African Americans stood in line for hours to plant their ever more important stake in the ground of the US body politic. The white share of the electorate is dropping, to the extent that one analyst says – barring other factors – the GOP loses an additional 1.5% of the vote every election cycle.

As the GOP licks its wounds, we are hearing from some  in the tiny “reality-based” wing of the party that they had better do something to expand their base in coming years. Even some of the folks firmly rooted in a world without science or truth are making some of these noises. They’re toying with how to adjust their brand to make people of color more excited. The thing they are missing is that, except in the Deep South and the great unwashed rural stretches of the country (where are aren’t very many people of color to start with) people don’t want to buy what they’re selling.

(None of us should care about increased sizes of GOP victories in places like Alabama, Idaho, and Oklahoma. These people are a different species from us. They will never be able to accept freedom on conscience on social issues or communitarian economic values. Frankly, I wish we could just kick them out of the union and issue them tourist visas when they want to come visit.)

The GOP cannot revive by tweaking its campaign tactics or adjusting its messaging. It can only come back if it is willing to actually change its policies. There will be a huge battle in ensuring months and years between those in the GOP who get this and the huge majority in the GOP who don’t.

There is another way the GOP could spring back to life: if the Dems nominate bad candidates, continue to be utterly incompetent, and become increasingly corrupt.

And this is why we actually need a coherent, center-right party that is rooted in truth and presents a realistic alternative and its own worthy ideas. Maryland is a perfect example of what happens when the Dems control a one-party state: worst gerrymandering in the country, a tiny machine (think State Sen. Mike Miller) running a totally closed and corrupt political spoils system, a governor in thrall to the gambling industry, highways (the ICC) built at huge environmental and fiscal cost (without providing any clear benefit), an ensconced top election official (Linda Lamone) who has singlehandedly prevented the institution of a paper-trail voting system in the state for a decade. You get the idea.

Sure, it would be fun to watch the GOP continue to marginalize itself  and lose elections (and I predict it will do so for at least another four-year cycle), but I have to wonder if that is really what we want in the long run.

©2012 Keith Berner

11.08.12 Citizens United, revisited

November 8, 2012

If you’re like me, you assumed that the Citizens United case would make the US permanently, deeply red by allowing unfettered corporate-elite dollars to drown out all other voices. As it turned out, though, the billion dollars spent by the ultra-wealthy to destroy US democracy produced almost nothing.

Sure, all those dollars made a big difference during the GOP primaries (by keeping Newt Gingrich afloat long after his expiration date, for example). To that extent, the money permanently damaged Mitt Romney’s brand-of-the-moment, rendering him unelectable.

In the general election campaign, though, Obama swept all the battleground states except North Carolina and every single right-wing senate candidate in a close contest lost! Even in the House, two-thirds of GOP candidates who outspent their opponents in close races lost.

Bottom line: these brilliant magnates made not one, but a whole series of terrible investments.

Was all this money  in politics a good thing? Of course not. As delighted as I am about these plutocratic wing-nuts waking up poorer yesterday, with nothing to show for it, all that money meant that all candidates had to spend more time coddling special interests and fundraising, as opposed to doing the people’s business.

Here’s a potential reason why all that money didn’t buy any victories: it merely made the rubble bounce. (If you don’t get that analogy, it is from warfare: once you have bombed a location into smithereens, additional bombs make no difference, because all they do is shake the rubble.) Think about this: If you were in Ohio, watching one negative ad after another, day after day, week after week, what are the chances that you actually paid any attention to them after a while? The message bombardment failed to land, because the targets had long ago been saturated and made up their minds.

Don’t get me wrong: Citizens United still must be overturned. And the GOP might still find away to make nonstop advertising work for them in a future election. But this time it just plain didn’t work.

©2012 Keith Berner

11.08.12 Schadenfreude (cont’d)

November 8, 2012

Adding to my schadenfreude list:

  • Sheldon Adelson (the gambling magnate) who single-handedly underwrote Newt Gingrich’s campaign and also spent millions of dollars on his subsequent pal, Mitt Romney.
  • The neocon crazies who were chomping at the bit for an Israel-initiated, US led war in Iraq, not to mention aggressively hostile policies vis-a-vis China and Russia. Here’s hoping these utterly discredited Neanderthals crawl back in their caves for good.
  • Bibi Netanyahu, who suddenly discovered on Wednesday morning that his meddling in the US campaign might not work out as well as he planned.

©2012 Keith Berner

11.07.12 Schadenfreude

November 7, 2012

Schadenfreude from the German, means literally “pain joy, ” or joy at someone else’s pain. There is indeed great joy to be found after a brutal election campaign against the Forces of Evil. While I am indeed celebrating the positive outcome for marriage equality (in four states) and the Dream Act (in Maryland) today, my feelings about Obama leave me celebrating the other side’s loss more than his win.

Here are some of my schadenfreude targets:

  • Mitt Romney, who ran one of the most disgusting campaigns in history. The NY Times and WaPo endorse Democrats for high office, so their endorsements of Obama were hardly surprising. What is remarkable is that the editorial boards of both papers wrote separately about Romney’s incessant lies and his lack of belief in anything other than his own right to be president. He is a truly despicable man and we can only hope he is crying today over the hundreds of millions of dollars put into his despicable campaign.
  • The Koch Brothers.
  • All billionaires.
  • Homophobic preachers.
  • All men who love rape. Especially all male politicians who do.
  • Grover Norquist.
  • Karl Rove, who even by mid-evening last night was still trying to peddle his view that Romney was winning and that the networks had gotten it wrong by calling Ohio too early.
  • All the right-wing pundits and politicos who have been carrying on for weeks about supposed bias in polls that showed their boy losing. Of course, this is part and parcel of the GOPs war on science and truth. If you are a Republican and the evidence doesn’t support your theology or plutocracy, what do you do? Declare it invalid, of course!
  • Newt Gingrich.

Locally, I am getting special schadenfreude from Fred Evans’s loss in the school board race. To be fair, I have heard even from folks who recommended support for Rebecca Smondrowski (the winner) that Evans is a decent guy. My beef is not with him (he is not evil), but with his staff who created an email spam campaign, second to none. When their first non-opt-in email arrived tying Evans to Prince of Darkness Doug Duncan, I rolled my eyes and decided not to vote for Evans. Then another email arrived to a different email address of mine. Then another. Then another. (I maintain a number of email addresses that I use for various purposes. I rarely use more than one in any given context, meaning that it is not easy to find my other email addresses by knowing one of them.) Before it was over, Evans’s machine operatives had uncovered seven of my email addresses and spammed me at each and every one. I wrote to the campaign manager separately and told him to wipe all remnants of my existence from his little black book. Nice.

Another note: I have been as paranoid as anyone that the GOP regularly engages in vote theft through ownership of voting machines. Certainly, there is nothing to stop them from doing this in a world with proprietary “black-box” voting machines with no paper trails. But it is clear to me now that they did not engage in vote theft in Ohio yesterday. Of course, voter suppression efforts from the fascist-friendly GOP will continue unabated unless we all fight back hard for years to come. (Suppression will be their only hope, given the huge demographic changes that bode ill for a rump white-man’s party.)

We dodged a horrendously scary bullet with Obama’s narrow win yesterday and with Democratic gains in the Senate. Now it is time to turn back to pressuring the president not to give away the store when he tries to “negotiate” with the Tea Party House in coming weeks. We cannot forget that Obama is the same guy who took 2-1/2 years to realize that the other side is not interested in negotiating.

©2012 Keith Berner

11.06.12 Could This Be the Last We Ever Hear of Mitt Romney?

November 6, 2012

Just about four years ago this time, I blithely predicted that John McCain had made himself so unpopular in both parties that we would be spared his bloviating henceforth. Alas, I had neglected to consider the fact he was a sitting senator with a lifetime free pass for war-mongering and other mischief, along with perpetual access to media microphones.

If Nate Silver’s brilliant poll analysis holds up, Mitt Romney should be at home licking his wounds quietly tomorrow, making plans to move out of the state that — having bequeathed him on us in the first place — has voted against him 75 to 25. The entire GOP will blame him for his loss, declaring him to have been too moderate. Who (other than his personal friends who own Nascar teams and Olympic horses) will ever talk to him again or give a shit what he’s thinking? Wouldn’t that be grand?

At 4:55pm EST on Election Afternoon, I am not yet celebrating, notwithstanding Nate Silver’s analysis that Barack Obama now has a 92% chance of being reelected.

Why not? Answer: Ohio (where I was born and bred)!

A substantial number of voting machines in Ohio are owned by right-wing firms. The GOP also holds many state offices and has been in all-out voter-suppression mode. There has been rampant speculation that the GOP stole the 2004 presidential race for W, when his win there was way out of alignment with exit polls (which, historically, have been nearly as accurate as actual vote counts). So how did Obama win Ohio in 2008? Easy: the GOP underestimated the number of votes they would have to annihilate to send their man over the top. They are less likely to make that mistake this time.

My gut sense (with no data to back it up) is that any Democrat must win by a good 5% statewide in Ohio to come out with a 1% victory.

The good news is that Obama may surpass that tonight. Further good news is that Obama can win the election without Ohio (which Romney can’t).

Whatever happens, we can sleep poorly knowing that our Great Nation — the greatest ever in human history, according to the entire GOP and most idiot Democrats  — doesn’t have a clue about how to run transparent, (small-d) democratic elections and where one of the two Great Parties is deeply opposed to (small-d) democracy from the core of its being.

©2012 Keith Berner