From the night he was elected in 2008, I never once doubted that President Obama would be re-elected. Not when his midterm approval ratings were in the toilet. Not when he slept through the first presidential debate last month. Never.
I say this not out of any rah-rah cheering for him. I’m the ultimate political neutral. I posted my political leanings as Whig on my Facebook Wall. I’m liberal on some issues (mostly social and foreign policy) and conservative on others (mostly economic). I think Obama has done a good job in some aspects of his first term and a lousy job in others.
In fact, the reason I knew he’d be re-elected has nothing to do with him. It has everything to do with the Republicans. They can’t get out of their own way. They continue to make the same mistakes over and over again and then act shocked when they lose. This is now four of the last six presidential elections that they’ve lost, and had it not been for some blind/dumb voters in Florida in 2000, it might have been a Democratic clean sweep of the six. The Republicans had a chance to unseat Obama this year, and they blew it.
So I know Karl Rove is still arguing the results, but since everyone else in America has moved on, I’m going to list an action plan for Republicans to get their mojo back and maybe win something important in the future:
1) Find a candidate who at least doesn’t look the part of a white male CEO – After Abraham Lincoln, who resembled a starving lumberjack, virtually every Republican presidential candidate since has looked like a guy who just walked into a board of directors meeting. The two exceptions to this rule were Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and people can say what they want about their politics/intellect. But is it a coincidence that both Dubya and Reagan were re-elected? I doubt it. Perhaps the worst example of a Republican called from Central Casting was your most recent candidate – Mitt Romney, a guy who’s physically incapable of sounding like anything but the corporate CEO we all love to hate. For one night (the first presidential debate) Romney was kidnapped and replaced by a cyborg who seemed to actually care more about people than money. And then that Mitt Romney disappeared, never to be seen again, replaced by the one we all know and distrust, the one who builds elevators for his cars, who calls corporations people, who gets caught saying he doesn't giving a shit about 47% of the country when he thinks nobody’s looking. There are Republicans out there who actually look and sound like real people. Marco Rubio. Chris Christie (if he doesn't eat himself to death before 2016). Mike Huckabee. And you Republicans would be wise to choose one who does as your next candidate. Remember, Republican Party, despite what Mitt Romney may think, corporations don't vote. People do.
2) Move on from abortion and gay marriage – What you fail to understand, dear Republicans, is that all the right-wing conservative voters are already in your fold anyway. They’re not going to stray. Who else are they going to vote for? Stop being so anal. But the independent voters – that third of the country that ultimately decides every election, because one-third votes Democrat no matter what and one-third votes Republican no matter what – are not going to base their vote on a candidates’ abortion or gay marriage stance. There are always bigger issues. Yet you continue to jam the abortion and gay marriage planks of your party platform down everybody’s throats, even when many of your own party members are pro-choice and pro-gay rights. It’s baffling that the self-proclaimed “party of less government” somehow seems to need more government when the issue switches to our bedrooms. Also, here’s a neat little bit of trivia for you: what do Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois and California all have in common? That’s right. None of those states have voted GOP since 1992, when you Republicans first went all-out on your family values crusade. That’s 152 electoral votes – more than half the amount needed to win the presidency – that barring a complete Democratic candidate meltdown you have no shot at winning. Is that a smart idea of a dumb idea, Republicans? Seems pretty dumb to me.
3) Stop blaming the mainstream media for your problems – It’s also bewildering how the self-proclaimed “party of personal responsibility” constantly uses the media an a convenient excuse when they lose an election, and continually condescends to the voting pool by telling us we believe everything the mainstream media tells (or doesn’t tell) us. Are there occasions of liberal bias in the mainstream media? Yes. Definitely. But that’s counterbalanced by FoxNews, which is basically a p.r. agency for the Republican Party. So it’s a wash. This just in, Republicans: people have brains and can critically evaluate a news piece and formulate their own decisions. When you bitch and moan about the media, you insult everyone and that only hurts your chances to win everyone’s vote in the future. Take personal responsibility in your actions, Republicans. You didn’t lose last night because of liberal media bias. You lost because you had a lousy candidate.
I’m not posting this because I like Republicans or want the nation to go all red-state. I’ll admit that I do appreciate the Democratic Party’s commitment to civil liberties and opposition to endless military interventions in other countries. But I’ve never been on board with the Democrats’ need to throw taxpayer money at every single one of the nation’s problems. And for that reason, I want a choice. I hope you read this, Republican Party. Because if you don't, we may only be a one-party nation going forward.