I don’t have time to be cute, and neither do you. Let’s get to it.
1. The Media Was Wrong.
I love that conservatives of all stripes flail away at the “liberal media” golem like it’s a Batman pillow and they’re a 10-year-old boy. To Republicans, the liberal media means and includes anyone that doesn’t cow-tow to their self-immolatingly tunnel-visioned world view. Only the liberal media would have the gall to ask what comprises legitimate rape, what exactly separates a taker from a maker, why the obscenely wealthy should be asked to shoulder a smidge more financial load when blue-collar Americans have to work two or three jobs just to pay the rent or put Hamburger Helper on the table. This rant, by the way, is brought to you by General Mills.
It’s BS, and here’s why: the so-called liberal media operate with precisely the same goal in mind as every other media outlet. Namely, to generate revenue. That means cable ratings, book sales, web traffic, etc., which means as much money dumped into the coffers of Rachel Maddow and Martin Bashir as S.E. Cupp and Sean Hannity. That’s why each side spent so much time and energy constructing a narrative — efforts stemming, granted, from varying motivations — that framed this as a close race. Make no mistake, when Romney came out strong in the Denver debate, the reactions of network executives at both Fox News and MSNBC fell somewhere between sighs of relief and salivation. A blowout is no fun; a back-and-forth is money. At the risk of pushing the metaphor, consider which fight is more memorable: Bernard Hopkins vs. Kelly Pavlik, or any of the Arturo Gatti/Mickey Ward bloodbaths. Legends, indeed, are forged in the heat of meteoric rise. They are hardened, however, in hell.
This one wasn’t even close. It never was. Despite the narrative, the umpteen cable news segments speculating masturbatorily on the possibility of a 269-269 electoral split, Obama absolutely and conclusively laid waste not only to Mitt Romney, but to the Republican party as a whole. Which brings us to…
2. The United States Has Turned a Corner
And it is a left turn. I know, I know: Obama still lost among the glaring white demographic, and in fact only won the popular vote by a few hundred thousand, but still. Results are results, and you can’t argue with what on paper and in reality is a nearly 130-vote-margin electoral ass-whooping. The country as a whole heard what the Republican party and its mouthpieces had to say — that women should have little to no say regarding what happens with their own bodies, that the impoverished are, without exception, lazy, entitled, handout-collectors, and that universal healthcare is somehow the final Atlantean crashing of some grand Socialist tide — and voted emphatically against it. Obama won. Gay marriage was legalized in every state that had it up for referendum. Marijuana use was legalized or decriminalized in several states. Of all Senate seats up for grabs, there was only one Republican gain. Many more seats were snagged by Democrats, including those of (it gives me great pleasure to say) former-nominees, and current pieces of human refuse/rape apologists Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin.
The country is listening, both to facts and to its own heart, and that’s what frightens Republicans the most. Gone are the days when you can shout “Communist!” and “Secular!” from the rooftops, and bank on citizen ignorance. It’s why they fought tooth and nail to try and repeal Obamacare before this election — once people begin to see how widely and positively it impacts their lives, only a small, very predictable minority of the voting public will be left to skirmish against it, why the majority of voting Catholics sided with their own consciences, and not with gay-bashing bishops. And briefly, on that note, Christian leaders should be rejoicing, if they know the first thing about their own faith: Americans have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a nation focused on assisting the poor and the infirm, regarding everyone as equal and assuaging the suffering of all. And when we show kindness and mercy for the least of men, remember who else we show it to.
3. Republicans Have Learned Nothing
Most of them, anyway (more on that in a second). And I’m not talking about the knee-jerk vomitorium that Twitter became in the hours after the results were in; talk of “the death of freedom,” “spiritual suicide” and “SECEDE!” among the general public is, by this point, so much white noise.
I’m talking mostly about conservative pundits. Why am I talking about them? Because they are the ones primarily responsible for the direction and tone of the conservative zeitgeist and dialogue. In the days following the election, Ann Coulter asserted that we now have “more takers than makers” in this country. Bill O’Reilly took to implicitly reaffirming Romney’s “47 percent” comments by saying that the majority of Americans “want stuff.” And recently on Fox News, syndicated conservative columnist Cal Thomas depicted Obama voters as “moochers” who “sleep till noon.”
I won’t waste time debunking those claims. It speaks, however, to the absolute refusal of conservatives to see the writing on the wall that their narrative has not changed one iota.
4. Civil War Is Coming…
But not the kind you think, and not the kind that people who stockpile mountains of fertilizer in a barn want. If nothing else, this election has stricken a clean divide in the Republican party: the establishment conservatives, like John Boehner, who have expressed a willingness — simpering and fraught with double-speak though it may be — to work with the president, and the wingnut base, characterized at the top level by people like Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann and fans of rape.
This, more than anything else, is what poses a long-term problem for conservatives in general. The party is going to divide, perhaps later than sooner, but the time is past when they simply corral their nuttier elements and try to seem halfway sane. The competing post-election narratives among varying factions of the party doesn’t just imply that, it screams it to the heavens. The party is marginalizing itself, and there’s nothing they can do about it.
Appropriate, I suppose, that Halloween only recently wrapped up, as it underscores the GOP’s unwillingness to evolve (ba-zing). If they had only watched as many horror films as I have, they’d know that splitting up is never a good idea. You Might Also Like: