I want to make it *VERY* clear before we begin that Barak Hussein Obama is a *terrible* president, and what I’m about to say here is in no way an endorsement of him, nor of the Democratic party, either as a whole or in part. Rather, what I’m going to discuss represents, I think, a very serious problem within our party itself.
Here’s the problem as I see it:
1) We’re going to lose
2) We have no viable candidates
3) We’ve taken no steps to develop any viable candidates in the previous four years.
Now, losing is no surprise. I called it more than a year ago on another website, and I’ve seen nothing to change my mind since then. In fact, I’ll even refine my predictions: our party (Republicans) will lose by a margin of between 3% to 6% of the popular vote. It was also very clear in 2008 that we were going to lose, but in that case, it was for different reasons. Our loss this time out will be simply a case of bad leadership.
Remember back in 1984 when the Democrats ran against Reagan? They knew they had no chance of beating him, so they put up basically only a token candidacy. They used it as a high-profile PR thing to get them some notoriety. They nominated Geraldine Ferraro for VP, which solidified their hammerlock on the middle-to-left female vote. Don’t think for a moment that the Democrats expected to win, but since they figured they were going to lose, they figured “Why not?” They threw a chick on the ticket to offset Reagan’s fairly outspoken opposition to Abortion. It was a fairly shrewd move, politically speaking, as it cost them little but netted substantial long-term rewards.
It was a fairly shrewd move when we (Republicans) did it four years back. The higher ups in the party knew full well we were gonna’ lose, and by a substantial margin. It was a foregone conclusion. Bush II was much reviled by the middle-of-the-road voters, the economy was in the crapper, the wars had no end in sight, it was very, very clear that we weren’t going to win.
Now what do you do when you know you’re going to lose? You’ve *got* to run someone, but you generally only get one shot at the white house. If someone who’s really promising runs in a campaign where the opposition could run a slowly melting pile of string cheese and win, his (Or her, but realistically just his) career is blown. No White House for you. So rather than pick someone who had a bright future, you pick someone who’s career is winding down, if not already trashed. Thus McCain, just like Walter Mondale before him, was selected to fall on his sword for the good of the party as a whole. Thank you, Mr. McCain, I greatly appreciate your sacrifice.
That was then, though, and this time it’s different.
Remember the stupid campaign the Democrats ran in 2000 when they lost to Bush II? It was total entitlement, as though Gore were president already and the election were just a tedious formality. Granted, it was a close election, but let’s not forget: Gore ran a very ‘why bother’ campaign. (And if you’re curious as to why there was such an upset in Florida, it’s the fault of Ralph Nader (Green Party) and a little radio station called WMNF, which spearheaded a *massive* recruiting campaign for the greens. This siphoned off the most radical Democrats, and there you have it). Remember the pathetic campaign Kerry ran in 2004? Once again, it was a ‘Why bother to run’ campaign, as the Democrats - with their typical condescension and arrogance - knew, just *KNEW* they could run an one-armed compulsively masturbating orangutan, and they’d still win. (That’s not to say Kerry was a one-armed compulsively masturbating orangutan, of course. I presume there were none available at the time, so they went with the next best thing)
Both of those were ‘entitlement’ campaigns. Those are always dangerous. The Kerry campaign was particularly disastrous because it was an “Anyone but him” kinda’ thing. That, too, is dangerous, because no matter how bad the president is, you can’t gurantee a victory against him. Nixon’s unexpected comeback in 1968, and his re-election in 1972, despite being much hated, to pick one example. Obama is not a popular president, granted, but our party is proceeding under the “Anyone but him” assumption. In essence, we’re doing the same exact thing the Democrats did in 2005, and just like them we’re gonna’ lose.
Now, the party has become increasingly partisan since Reagan left office. He was really the last leader who really knew how to play the opposition, to make them feel involved, and hence not resentful. He’d promise 10 things in public, but in private, with the other side he’d say “I only really need five of these, the others I don’t care about, so pick *one* you feel strongly about, and I’ll see to it that my supporters don’t oppose it. Thus you can get something you really need, appear to be effectual, and I get what I need, and nobody gets embarrassed.” Bush I wasn’t very good at this. Then came Clinton, and somehow the party went crazy. We - myself included - just wanted him defrocked, disgraced, disemboweled, dead. In retrospect, after four years of Obama, I can’t really remember what I was so upset about. In actual fact, if you want to know the thing I hate most about Obama, it’s this: He’s made Clinton seem like a loveable rake by comparison. Grrrr.
The Democrats went nuts and vandalized the white house when they left in 2000, and we had to put up with nearly a decade of shrill “Bush II didn’t win” crap, which some of ‘em are still parroting. They went even more nuts after 2004, and when they finally regained the office, they became just offensively condescending and Pellosi-like. Conversely, we (Republicans) have become strangely pigheaded and pathetic, much like the Democrats were when George II was in office.
I’ll give you an example: We’ve spent most of the last four years blocking any kind of Obamic legislation we can. This is all well and good, but we haven’t picked out battles, we just oppose anything, knee-jerk. Yes, this slows them getting what they want, but it isn’t really furthering our agenda any either. “You can’t have that” is not a valid political platform. “What I’m going to give you” is. This has had the net effect of making us look like a bunch of bloated self-interested plutocrats, and it’s also had the effect of making Obama look like a sympathetic and beleaguered figure, rather than an ineffectual dope. This is bad for us. And in order to offset our bloated, selfish, plutocratic appearance in this time of economic depression, who are we gonna’ choose?
A guy with elevators for his cars.
Again: We’re gonna’ lose.
Another reason we’re gonna’ lose is because we’ve spent exactly zero - zippo - time developing viable candidates. Romney is *not* a viable candidate. There are any number of people what could be tailored for the big office, any number of young up-and-comers that should have been groomed, but the party did *nothing* to develop anyone. Newt Gingrich was the best we could come up with? Really? Dig up Nixon’s bones and I’d vote for them before I’d vote for an oily guy like Newt.
I’ve discussed these concerns with my fellow Republicans in the last year or two. The responses I’ve gotten from the faithful border on lunacy: “It’s not for the party to promote candidates” and “Planning out your strategy is the kind of thing Democrats do, so we don’t want any part of it” and crap to the effect of “disorganization is a virtue.” I’m paraphrasing, obviously, but it’s not far removed. In fact, even the merest suggestion that maybe we wanna’ be a bit more focused is met with suspicion and insult. It’s just weird. This isn’t the optimistic, forward-thinking party from the mid-eighties. Pretty much the only issue we seem unified on is rage, and that’s never a good plank in your party platform, even at the best of times. These are not the best of times.
Now, demographically speaking, the reason we lost last time out was because we’d lost the faith of the middle-of-the-road voters. The moderates, the swing-voters. We have *not* regained this. Granted, these same people are pretty upset and dejected by the overwhelming ineptitude of the Obama administration, but we’re not really doing enough to enfranchise these people. They may not *like* Obama anymore (And I know a lot of people who voted for him last time out that don’t), but they still view him as the lesser of two evils when compared to….say it with me….the bloated, selfish plutocracy that our party has aquired. I mentioned this to someone on a hard-right site. The reply was “They’re nothing but splitters. They’re disloyal. Who needs them?” Well, we do if we’re gonna’ win. A *LOT* of people don’t seem to realize this, though.
Which brings us to Romney himself. A lot of people will say my opposition to him is because he’s a Mormon. This isn’t true. In fact, my boss, R1, is a Mormon. Every president has claimed to be a Christian in some capacity (Excepting Lincoln, oddly enough), and none of them have shared my exact beliefs, so I’ve gotten used to having people I don’t theologically agree with in office. It’s a non-issue for me.
That said, it is *NOT* a non-issue for everyone. Extremely hard-right Christians - and there are a *lot* - will not vote for Romney because he’s a Mormon. Some people are seeing this as a replay of the “Kennedy Catholicism” thing back in 1960, but in fact it’s a much sharper divide this time out. Numerically, will it make a difference? Yes. We can not afford to throw away a single vote this time out, and yet we just chucked several million right off the bat, because of the church the guy belongs to. Is this fair? Probably not, but it *is* the way things are.
As to his policies, exactly how conservative is this guy, really? I talk to hard right folks, politically, and they’ve already taken to calling him “Oromney” or “Obomney.” Again, this does not indicate a particularly good choice of candidates, in that it’s alienating the Paranoid Hard Right Black Helicopter-Believing voters, which - alas - make up a disturbingly huge percentage of our numbers. Assuming we manage to pick up some swing voters, we’ve also managed to alienate many of our own steadfast.
So, as I say, we’re gonna’ lose. And we kind of deserve to because the way we’re handling 2012 has been fundamentally misguided from the getgo. A good campaign slogan for Romney might be “Romney: He’s Our Kerry!” or perhaps “Piss Our Chances Away With Romney.” Or “Romney: Four More Years for Obama.”
Now, keep in mind that *NONE* of the people we ran through the primaries were what I’d call viable, but I’d say the man is a low card in an overwhelmingly disappointing hand.
So I say: don’t vote.
I mean, vote for state and local offices, obviously, I’m not saying don’t vote for that. That’d be idiotic. What I do say is don’t vote for president. Or if you like, write in “Ian Sutherland.” Actually, that might be a better idea, since it can all be traced to one ‘movement.’ So: vote none of the above, or vote for Ian. Don’t vote for me, I don’t want the job.
My point is that we need to send a message to the leadership of our party that they’re doing it wrong, badly, badly wrong, and that it’s costing us what even 18 months ago looked like a gimmie election.
We’re *going* to lose, so it’s not like your votes are going to help Obama. Not unless 18 million people read this website, which I seriously doubt is the case. But what our non-votes (or votes for Ian) can do is send a message to the party that they’ve screwed up, and we’re not amused, and we’re gonna’ clean house unless SERIOUS changes are made ASAP. Voting for Romney out of a sense of loyalty or frustration is simply rewarding bad behavior on the part of the party. That makes about as much sense as your kid throwing a tantrum because he wants a cookie, and then giving him a cookie after he calms down. You’re just encouraging that kind of behavior in the future.
Our party has let us down, badly. We need to send a message. So send it. Don’t vote.
Or, y’know, maybe vote for Ian.