5 Conservative Explanations for Romney’s Loss
From Ben Adler’s latest.
1. Romney was too moderate.
“As I wrote would happen, Mitt Romney tried to blur lines with Barack Obama. He did not defend social conservatism, but let those attacks go unanswered. He did not articulate strong fiscal conservatism and he never repudiated Romneycare, thereby failing to make any credible attacks on Obamacare.” —Erick Erickson, RedState (11/12/2012)
2. The American people are a bunch of stupid, mooching jerks.
“The demographics are changing. It’s not a traditional America anymore and there are 50 percent of the voting public who want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama.” —Bill O’Reily, Fox News (11/06/2012)
3. It was the media’s fault.
“I don’t believe the Republican Party has the ability to rebrand itself against the mainstream media machine that blatantly works to support this president and other liberals as well as the Democrats and works blatantly to try and tarnish the brand of what the Republican Party stands for.” —Herman Cain, Focal Point With Brian Fischer (11/07/2012)
4. We didn’t really lose.
“Obama won a smaller percentage of American votes in his reelection than in his win in 2008.America gave him less support after watching him govern for four years than when he ran promising hope and change. Normally a reelected president expands his margin of support.” —Grover Norquist, National Review (11/07/2012)
5. We only lost because of Hurricane Sandy.
“The president was also lucky. This time, the October surprise was not a dirty trick but an act of God. Hurricane Sandy interrupted Mr. Romney’s momentum and allowed Mr. Obama to look presidential and bipartisan.” —Karl Rove, The Wall Street Journal (11/07/2012)
Despite constantly banging on about personal responsibility, many conservatives seem to have a lot of trouble accepting responsibility for their failures.
"Conservatives cannot govern well for the same reason that vegetarians cannot prepare a world-class boeuf bourguignon: If you believe that what you are called upon to do is wrong, you are unlikely to do it very well."
political scientist Michael Wolfe, quoted in Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine (2007)
Image: Leif Parsons NY Times
The heart of social Darwinism is a pair of theses: first, people have intrinsic abilities and talents (and, correspondingly, intrinsic weaknesses), which will be expressed in their actions and achievements, independently of the social, economic and cultural environments in which they develop; second, intensifying competition enables the most talented to develop their potential to the full, and thereby to provide resources for a society that make life better for all. It is not entirely implausible to think that doctrines like these stand behind a vast swath of Republican proposals, including the recent budget, with its emphasis on providing greater economic benefits to the rich, transferring the burden to the middle-classes and poor, and especially in its proposals for reducing public services. Fuzzier versions of the theses have pervaded Republican rhetoric for the past decade (and even longer).
There are very good reasons to think both theses are false. Especially in the case of the Republican dynasties of our day, the Bushes and the Romneys, success has been facilitated by all kinds of social structures, by educational opportunities and legal restrictions, that were in place prior to and independently of their personal efforts or achievements. For those born into environments in which silver spoons rarely appear — Barack Obama, for instance — the contributions of the social environment are even more apparent. Without enormous support, access to inspiring teachers and skillful doctors, the backing of self-sacrificing relatives and a broader community, and without a fair bit of luck, the vast majority of people, not only in the United States but throughout the world, would never achieve the things of which they are, in principle, capable. In short, Horatio Alger needs lots of help, and a large thrust of contemporary Republican policy is dedicated to making sure he doesn’t get it.
The Taint of ‘Social Darwinism’ by Philip Kitcher [NY Times]
A Message to the 53 Percent
Congratulations on successfully mastering a condescending tone. I have some news for you, though: you are part of the 99 percent. I am part of the 99 percent. My neighbor in his brand new Prius is part of the 99 percent. Our grievances are wide-reaching. Our stories and backgrounds are vastly different. [more]
A great take on this.
from PP’s post below the fold:
“The richest 5 percent of households obtained roughly 82 percent of all the nation’s gains in wealth between 1983 and 2009. The bottom 60 percent of households actually had less wealth in 2009 than in 1983, meaning they did not participate at all in the growth of wealth over this period.”
This is the problem with the “53%” tagline: they don’t realize just how badly they are being fucked. If the distribution of wealth in this country were more equitable, you wouldn’t have to work as hard. How is it rational to simply be complacent when we know from historical data that it doesn’t have to be this way?
This is my main issue with Conservatives who seem to believe that greater effort in one’s affairs, much like tax cuts, will always solve your problems. The answer always seems to be “work harder.” Really? What intolerable ignorance. There is currently 1 job open for every 5 job-seeking individuals. Everyone who is newly unemployed since 2008 had a job before the recession hit. These individuals are not unemployed because they choose to be.
And 100 hour work-weeks? Great for you. I’m sure every American would be proud to work 100 hours a week without complaining, right? That’s entirely reasonable. I mean that’s medically healthy, right? I mean, this country didn’t literally have extended periods of labor-related violence over work conditions of that nature, right? And when it comes to starting a small business, surely anyone can start a business when banks aren’t willing to loan you capital, right? But of course, to start a small business, you should probably learn how, meaning going to school, and taking on student loan debt, which will count against you when you go to take out a business loan, making banks even LESS likely to loan you capital to start a small business, right?
People living in hunterer-gatherer societies don’t even have to work this hard to survive. If you have to work 100-hour work weeks to make ends meet, you’d literally be better off stripping naked and running into the woods to live among the wolves. To be complacent in that sort of situation, and expect others to be as well, is self-defeating and absurd.
None of these protesters are complaining about a 60-hour work week; I’m sure many of them would view such a commitment as onerous, but I haven’t seen a single sign that says this is one of their central issues. I haven’t met anyone that supports these protests who feels you shouldn’t be willing to work more than 40 hours/week to be successful. They’d probably be happy to just find a job that paid them enough to make ends meet. And that’s why the sort of hyperbolic nonsense on display here completely misses the point. These so-called “99%” aren’t complaining because they’re not willing to work hard. They’re not complaining because they’re just “sitting on their ass.” They’re complaining because they played by the rules, and now they can’t make ends meet. They’re complaining because the same system under which they have tried to make a life for themselves seems to benefit some people much more than others. If you’re working 60-100 hours a week at a middle-class salary, do you honestly feel that a Corporate Executive who makes $10’s of millions of dollars a year is working harder than you? The attitude which says “there’s nothing wrong with this, suck it up,” is not only patronizing to people who want to work hard but can’t find work; it’s outright irrational and self-destructive.
(Source: , via christianjoseph-deactivated2011)
The Tory and tabloid attitude to getting a job no matter what, even if there ostensibly aren’t enough to go around reminds me of an anecdote my sister told me about university.
During a photography project she arrived to set up the exhibition space a few minutes late and there was no more mounting space at which point the tutor told her ‘well if you’d got here earlier you’d have got a space’ which led her to think ‘but then someone else would be without a space’.
If there were 20 people on the course there should be enough space for 20 people. Even if everyone walked in the door simultaneously, bang on time, someone would have to go without in this bizarre system.
As with job hunting, people should not be punished and labelled as ‘lazy’ for not ‘finding’ a job when there aren’t enough jobs to go around, even if everyone tried really really hard, went to 10 interviews a day and sent (*vomit*) flowers to their interviewers there would still be loads without a job because there just aren’t enough.
An Open Letter to David Cameron’s Parents
Dear Mr and Mrs Cameron
Why did you never take the time to teach your child basic morality?
As a young man, he was in a gang that regularly smashed up private property. We know that you were absent parents who left your child to be brought up by a school rather than taking responsibility for his behaviour yourselves. The fact that he became a delinquent with no sense of respect for the property of others can only reflect that fact that you are terrible, lazy human beings who failed even in teaching your children the difference between right and wrong. I can only assume that his contempt for the small business owners of Oxford is indicative of his wider values.
Even worse, your neglect led him to fall in with a bad crowd.
There’s Michael Gove, whose wet-lipped rage was palpable on Newsnight last night. This is the Michael Gove who confused one of his houses with another of his houses in order to avail himself of £7,000 of the taxpayers’ money to which he was not entitled (or £13,000, depending on which house you think was which).
Or Hazel Blears, who was interviewed in full bristling peahen mode for almost all of last night. She once forgot which house she lived in, and benefited to the tune of £18,000. At the time she said it would take her reputation years to recover. Unfortunately not.
But, of course, this is different. This is just understandable confusion over the rules of how many houses you are meant to have as an MP. This doesn’t show the naked greed of people stealing plasma tellies.
Unless you’re Gerald Kaufman, who broke parliamentary rules to get £8,000 worth of 40-inch, flat screen, Bang and Olufsen TV out of the taxpayer.
Or Ed Vaizey, who got £2,000 in antique furniture ‘delivered to the wrong address’. Which is fortunate, because had that been the address they were intended for, that would have been fraud.
Or Jeremy Hunt, who broke the rules to the tune of almost £20,000 on one property and £2,000 on another. But it’s all right, because he agreed to pay half of the money back. Not the full amount, it would be absurd to expect him to pay back the entire sum that he took and to which he was not entitled. No, we’ll settle for half. And, as in any other field, what might have been considered embezzlement of £22,000 is overlooked. We know, after all, that David Cameron likes to give people second chances.
Fortunately, we have the Met Police to look after us. We’ll ignore the fact that two of its senior officers have had to resign in the last six weeks amid suspicions of widespread corruption within the force.
We’ll ignore Andy Hayman, who went for champagne dinners with those he was meant to be investigating, and then joined the company on leaving the Met.
Of course, Mr and Mrs Cameron, your son is right. There are parts of society that are not just broken, they are sick. Riddled with disease from top to bottom.
Just let me be clear about this (It’s a good phrase, Mr and Mrs Cameron, and one I looted from every sentence your son utters, just as he looted it from Tony Blair), I am not justifying or minimising in any way what has been done by the looters over the last few nights. What I am doing, however, is expressing shock and dismay that your son and his friends feel themselves in any way to be guardians of morality in this country.
Can they really, as 650 people who have shown themselves to be venal pygmies, moral dwarves at every opportunity over the last 20 years, bleat at others about ‘criminality’. Those who decided that when they broke the rules (the rules they themselves set) they, on the whole wouldn’t face the consequences of their actions?
Are they really surprised that this country’s culture is swamped in greed, in the acquisition of material things, in a lust for consumer goods of the most base kind? Really?
Let’s have a think back: cash-for-questions; Bernie Ecclestone; cash-for-access; Mandelson’s mortgage; the Hinduja passports; Blunkett’s alleged insider trading (and, by the way, when someone has had to resign in disgrace twice can we stop having them on television as a commentator, please?); the meetings on the yachts of oligarchs; the drafting of the Digital Economy Act with Lucian Grange; Byers’, Hewitt’s & Hoon’s desperation to prostitute themselves and their positions; the fact that Andrew Lansley (in charge of NHS reforms) has a wife who gives lobbying advice to the very companies hoping to benefit from the NHS reforms. And that list didn’t even take me very long to think of.
Our politicians are for sale and they do not care who knows it.
Oh yes, and then there’s the expenses thing. Widescale abuse of the very systems they designed, almost all of them grasping what they could while they remained MPs, to build their nest egg for the future at the public’s expense. They even now whine on Twitter about having their expenses claims for getting back to Parliament while much of the country is on fire subject to any examination. True public servants.
The last few days have revealed some truths, and some heartening truths. The fact that the #riotcleanup crews had organised themselves before David Cameron even made time for a public statement is heartening. The fact that local communities came together to keep their neighbourhoods safe when the police failed is heartening. The fact that there were peace vigils being organised (even as the police tried to dissuade people) is heartening.
There is hope for this country. But we must stop looking upwards for it. The politicians are the ones leading the charge into the gutter.
David Cameron was entirely right when he said: “It is a complete lack of responsibility in parts of our society, people allowed to think that the world owes them something, that their rights outweigh their responsibilities, and that their actions do not have consequences.”
He was more right than he knew.
And I blame the parents.
We have a dysfunctional element in our Congress. While America strives to “form a more perfect Union”, the Tea Party is out to dismantle the social safety net, default on our Country’s obligations, and pathologically create a crisis where there is none in order to “ransom” a “hostage” that is our Government, which is “we the people”.
Never forget. #2012RecallRepublicans
Face it. All of us know someone like this.
"I think in America from time to time we have to go through some difficult times — and I think we’re going through those difficult economic times for a purpose, to bring us back to those Biblical principles of you know, you don’t spend all the money. You work hard for those six years and you put up that seventh year in the warehouse to take you through the hard times. And not spending all of our money. Not asking for Pharaoh to give everything to everybody and to take care of folks because at the end of the day, it’s slavery. We become slaves to government."
Texas Governor Rick Perry, explaining being freed from government slavery as the silver lining of the most devastating financial crisis since The Great Depression.
I’m sick of privileged, rich white men claiming they’re “enslaved” by taxes. Seriously? Slavery - You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
I really don’t know what to say any longer…