Mercifully the 2012 presidential election is finally over.
After all that money was spent, and the countless speeches, it ended up being a massacre in the Electoral College, 332 votes to 206, in favor of President Barack Obama.
We all knew Ohio was the state that had to be won. But Obama taking Virginia and Florida showed how far off-center Romney and the Republicans had wandered.
Not everyone must agree with the president’s politics, but there is no doubting Obama’s sincerity in wanting to guide America to a more prosperous tomorrow.
Ultimately that was the difference in this campaign. After spending five years running for president, Mitt Romney was unable to demonstrate what he stood for.
It was all mixed messages.
In Massachusetts he was pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-universal health care, but as a presidential candidate he reversed these positions.
Who knows what the man really believes.
The closest evidence we have is Romney’s off-the-cuff remarks caught on film at a private fundraiser in May, where the former governor argued that 47 percent of Americans were “victims” who were “dependent” on the government, and advocated that Republicans should write them off.
It’s hard to underestimate how damaging that recorded statement was. The Romney campaign never fully recovered from it because it crystallized the perception that the GOP candidate was an elitist.
Car elevators, Bain Capital, refusing to turn over his tax returns; the Obama team made sure Romney suffered through a long summer, and the 47 percent comment was the gift that kept on giving as it arrived in a commercial-ready clip that could be shown again and again with the candidate himself delivering the damaging commentary.
Romney dutifully tried to stop the bleeding in the debates by assuring watchers that he wanted to help all Americans, but it was too late.
The trustworthiness of Romney’s character had been called into question.
A case was there to be made against Obama for how slow the economic recovery had been, that unemployment remained high, and the level of deficit spending had increased.
A successful campaign could have been waged against just that set of issues, but Romney wasted months trying to explain away Bain Capital, offshore tax shelters, and why he would not release additional tax returns.
Then Romney introduced an incomplete and non-functioning health care alternative to the “Affordable Care Act,” along with a budget proposal and tax strategy that didn’t pass the accounting test. The numbers never added up and Romney steadfastly refused to provide the specifics for where cuts would come from and what deductions would be eliminated.
While these were deficient as policy proposals, the frameworks did point out Romney’s bias towards the wealthy.
As a defensive measure Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was added to the GOP ticket, in an attempt to shore up the far right and give Romney’s conservatism some credence, but the Wisconsin congressman was put on a short leash and silenced towards the end of the campaign.
This multitude of missteps together told a story about the GOP candidate, and fed into an overall narrative about his campaign.
Romney lost his message by trying to placate the Tea Party, and neither he nor the Republicans ever established a legitimate case for why anyone should vote for them.
Without a candidate that stood for anything, their entire campaign boiled down to complaining about how awful Obama was, and a plea that the America people should vote against the president.
I could have told Romney that was a doomed strategy back in January and saved Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson $300 million, plus the rest of us all the pain from watching the hundreds of negative 30 second ads from both candidates.
You can’t run on nothing, and Romney was an empty suit.
There were no skewed poll numbers or liberal media bias. It wasn’t Hurricane Sandy or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s praising of the President.
Romney was a flawed candidate, who ran a flawed campaign, and the Republicans mistakenly allowed the direction of their party to be controlled by extremist views.
As a result Romney received fewer votes than Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in 2008.
As former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on the Today show this week, “The president won an extraordinary victory. And the fact is, we owe him the respect of trying to understand what they did and how they did it.”
When your party is based on an ever narrowing demographic of middle-aged white males, Republicans can’t afford to alienate Latinos, African-Americans, women and young people.
I don’t want to hear how Republicans need to say things differently next time. This isn’t about pushing your KKK hoods farther back into the closet. The GOP needs to stand up to the fringes of its party on the far right and tell these knuckle draggers that this hateful mentality will not be tolerated.
It was Republicans who made abortion such a large part of this campaign. Democrats aren’t telling anyone they must get an abortion, or use contraceptives or birth control. It’s about people having the freedom to make informed decisions. It’s about people unquestionably having the right to abort a pregnancy in cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother is concerned.
Republicans need to stop trying to legislate behavior for other people and restricting freedoms. It completely nullifies their base argument for wanting smaller government and limiting intrusions.
As an individual, if you want to live in a pro-life house and raise your family to that ideal – no problem, but don’t try and legislate your beliefs upon others.
Republicans went out of their way to exclude people from this election by disenfranchising voters, legislating morality, fracturing family units, discriminating against anyone not white and straight – these were all acts perpetrated by Republicans in the general election.
Binders full of women?
This is no way to set an example, nor is it any way to govern.
Republicans also seem to have this peculiarity for wanting to disregard independent evaluations, science, and data, especially when it is not convenient to their cause.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but change has arrived.
Demographically our country is rapidly shifting; economically we have gone global; our energy sources must be balanced between fossil fuels and green fuel sources; and climate change will soon force the redrawing of several state borders due to rising ocean levels.
While it is amusing to watch Republicans collectively stick their heads in the sand in an attempt to return our social, political and demographic ideals to where they were in the 1950s that is not a solution.
So much has changed about life in America over the last 30 years, and it is Democrats who are broadening their stance to embrace change and be inclusive.
Obama and his team ran an impeccable campaign. Senior Advisor David Plouffe, Senior Strategist David Axelrod, and Campaign Manager Jim Messina, ran the best campaign in American history. Their strategy and micro-targeting of precincts and counties crushed the Republicans. It was specific, long-term, unwavering, innovative and like nothing that has ever been seen before.
A special thank you goes out to Michelle Obama, Joe Biden and Bill Clinton.
That being said, there was no huge mandate won here either.
America needs jobs, and we have the ability to create them. Things like the “Affordable Care Act,” protecting personal freedoms, and funding education and research, are all items that will help create jobs and get people back to work.
While our intelligence community will be working overtime to keep America safe, we need out of Afghanistan, and must take care of our returning soldiers who are battered and weary from war.
We need to raise taxes and cut spending to decrease our deficit and balance our budget.
President Obama must step up and lead this country. His ideas are bold and they present long-term solutions.
People like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell needs to either join the fight or get left behind.
McConnell lost big in this election. He had visions of becoming Senate Majority Leader and sending Obama home as a one-term president. Not only did both of those objectives fail, but the Republicans lost an additional two seats in the Senate.
It is up to Congress to find a way to work together and repair the economy. America remains strong, but we can only be truly independent when we are not beholden to foreign influence and pay our own way.
Both parties need to realize it doesn’t matter who is responsible for getting America back on track, everyone will benefit and as a result both parties will flourish.
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One aside from the 2012 election; of the 219 million Americans eligible to vote, only 121 million cast ballots. That is 55 percent; so 98 million Americans didn’t vote.
Please get involved and vote. The stakes have never been higher and every vote does matter.
Also a big thank you to Candy Crowley, who moderated the final presidential debate, for delivering that devastating fact check to Mitt Romney on the Benghazi affair. Poor Mitt was left a victim of the “unfair and unbalanced” reporting on Fox News.