Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post No. 182: The Morning After – Part 2: Where We Think the Republicans Went Wrong in 2012

© 2012, the Institute for Applied Common Sense

We constantly re-visit posts to see if our views change. Although we occasionally find grammatical mistakes, the underlying thought process generally remains the same.

There is one post we never re-visited, and we are not going to do so now. It’s irrelevant. That post, The Morning After, was written hours after Obama was elected the first time.

On the other hand, there is an article we re-visit far more than others. It accurately outlined what we expected Obama to face in the event he was elected in 2008. Why I am Concerned that Obama Might Win (October 25, 2008), noted that the global economy was in bad shape, predicted it would continue for years, and that Obama would be blamed for not pulling the U.S. out of the economic doldrums quickly enough.

That was a no-brainer, but we re-posted that fluff piece 28 times, and each time a bunch of people exclaimed, “Amazing!”

Politicians, like lawyers on corporate payrolls, are necessary evils and part of our current governance model. But politicians have a significant problem apart from trying to act like money does not influence their decisions. In the real world, to solve problems it is far more efficient and effective if one’s analysis in addressing them is a thing apart from one’s values. Just imagine an ER doctor taking into consideration whether the patient was at fault before providing treatment, or how much money he or she will make if the patient lives or dies. Unfortunately, politicians have the dual, often conflicting, goals of defining what they stand for (depending on who they’re talking to), and ultimately getting re-elected.

Many Republicans are already heading down the wrong road today as they emerge from last night's limousine, caravan pile-up. They claim their message and mission are still on point; implicitly suggesting they were “right” all along, but that they picked the wrong driver for their vehicle.

Actually, Romney could have been the right man, and probably would have been in an earlier version of the Party. Our sense is that he is a good and decent man, with nothing but the best interests of our country at heart. Additionally, America could really use a business-oriented technocrat right now.

However, truth be told, the man never was as extreme or angry as the loudest elements of his Party wanted him to be. The most vocal and angry members of his Party out-shouted the thinking members.

This is a preview of our common sense presentation to the RNC on where the Republicans went wrong, and what they need to do to get back on track:

(1) You threw everything in the kitchen sink plus all of the crap in the outhouse at Obama. By doing so, you lost credibility with sensible folks, and your message became, per Marvin Hagler, “odiferous.” (College students simply held their noses.) If your positions on a few key issues were really that strong, you didn’t need all of the other stuff, or the Donald Trumps of the world.

Last week, someone sent us a chart outlining “Almost Every Obama Conspiracy Theory Ever.” The visual representation overwhelms you. It did not matter whether every single allegation was true. The President is an Incompetent, Dangerous, Treasonous Retard Side Show ™ was simply “over the top,” suggested something kooky was going on, and more importantly, unnecessary.

(2) The relatively small, extreme, fringe elements of your Party high-jacked the larger Party, in much the same way as the relatively small, extreme, fringe elements of Islam have high-jacked their religion. The Democrats also have such folks, but they shut the muck up. Your problem was that heretofore sensible, thinking members of your Party joined the fringe chorus, because they thought it was their ticket to Disney World. As the Laughingman often says, “If you think that hitchhikers you pick up are going to pay for all of your gas, you’ll probably never reach your destination.”

The Party needs to expel the kooks and extremists. Right now, there is no other club where they can hang out. Take some of that Koch Brothers / Super PAC money and build a third club house, where the bigots and narrow-minded can go party. They are pulling you down, in very much the same way Islamic terrorists are hurting their religion.

Deep down inside, your Party as presently constituted scares not all, but many, thinking people.

(3) The leadership of your Party abdicated responsibility and went on the road with The Fringe Circus. That suggests you don’t really have any leaders. It looked more like a revolutionary movement. Someone needed to take control, show some non-kooky qualities, and get the ship out of the rough seas. No one did that. The Good Governor didn’t want to do that. That’s not who he is.

(4) Our last point is the same one we made in October 2008. Economists predict another 5 – 7 years of economic sluggishness, GLOBALLY. Your Party asked us to believe that one man was supposed to turn around this giant ship in the middle of the ocean after both Parties had charted the same route for 30 or so years, AND you expected us to ignore all of the past trips where you collected bounty.

In 2016, you need to clearly articulate that your solutions will yield (not would have yielded) better results than those achieved during the preceding 8 year period, without making it seem as though you are the Virgil Starkwells of the economic world, who want to Take the Money and Run.

Quite frankly, the middle class never really believed that you cared about them.

You just looked greedy and disingenuous.

This is not to suggest that Democrats do not have significant comparable problems; just that they proved to be the lesser of the 2 evils this time around.

To the RNC Chair-Person [?], you need some new image consultants for the next round. We here at the Institute will gladly assist you, at a rate 1/1000th of what you were paid by your largest campaign contributor. Give the Koch Brothers our telephone number.


  1. I don't have time to follow the links right now, but I will.
    Bravo, once again.
    Your points 1-4 are spot on, and I tried (much less eloquently) to explain that to some of my right leaning pals to no avail the last couple of years.

  2. Thank you Bulletholes. Just keep checking us out regardless of whether you agree with our stance on issues or not. All views are well here.

  3. 1992 - George H.W. Bush visits Hurricane Andrew destruction right away and is criticized by the media for interfering and using it for a photo op.
    2005 - George W. Bush does not visit Hurricane Katrina devastation because he didn't want the criticism his father got; he was criticized by the media for not caring enough to visit.
    2012 - Barack Obama visits Hurricane Sandy devastation and is lauded by the media for caring, looking presidential, and getting praise from Governor Christie.

    There are many things Republicans could have done differently but it wouldn't have mattered.

  4. Well put (and practically a blog post in itself). I especially like point #8. And this (which preceded it):

    In our opinion, that's what this last election should have been about: how to ignite an explosion of creativity, inventiveness, and innovation. Most things "good" flow from that..."

    I agree. But politics is not about that, it is about winning; and painting your opponent(s) in a bad light is the way one often does that. I think the last election exemplified this.

  5. Great comments below.
    i sent this post to one of my more level headed Republican friends...or at least he used to be until a few months ago when he started to exhibit a tendency to parrot what he was hearing on Fox news, and he started to frquent the wierd Breitbart, Blaze, WND and News Before its News site.
    I thought yo you might be interested in his response...
    "The problem with the Common Sense blog is that it is anything but. First he wants me to believe that the "kooks" on the Left are somehow less threatening (or more relevant) than the kooks on the right. The most intelligent woman I know, who was genuinely undecided until the last minute, cratered and voted out of fear. Next, the author says "sensible folks" and "thinkers" voted against the GOP message. That's horseshit. Mitt was the right guy at the right time with the right message, but he ran a wimpy campaign. He allowed OFA to define who he was. He let Obama skate on so many things for fear it would alienate the coveted middle. Exit polls tell the story. BO did very well with single women, minorities, specifically Hispanics, and folks in states that got a lot of bail-out or stimulus money. Add in the under-30 vote and you have just enough to win. He ran a brilliant campaign on reflection. He convinced over half the voters to ignore the fact that he's a shitty president. No small feat."

    It seems to me Inspector, that the problem with the Republican party is that there are too many Republicans!
    They run around hollerin' they want to take their country back, and seem to not realize they have lost the popular vote in the last 5 out of 6 elections.
    Like you say, they had a viable candidate, but the platform is so 1950's.
    Its 2012.
    The country is hugely diverse.
    This is America.

  6. Thanks Douglas. Sometimes we get carried away in our comments, and the stuff just flows. Although we frequently convert them into drafts of potential blog posts, we rarely refine and edit them resulting in publication. We suspect that this one will be different since it summarizes lots of stuff.

    On the issue of painting one's opponent in a bad light, we once posed the question to our readers regarding whether they preferred a noble loser or a winner who used perhaps less than noble methods to win. They liked the "winner."

    We'd be curious as to what our readers think about this issue now that this most recent campaign has concluded.

  7. On the "painting" issue, it is politics today and it was politics in a number of other periods in our history. We do like the "noble loser" (let's call him "the good sport") just not as much as we like winners. But liking winners (regardless of how they won) is something done in hindsight. We like them because they won, we probably didn't like them while they were using those "less than noble methods." And I don't recall that working for George Bush, not even after he won. Just food for thought.

  8. "Actually, Romney could have been the right man, and probably would have been in an earlier version of the Party. He is a good and decent man, with nothing but the best interests of our country at heart. Additionally, America could really use a business-oriented technocrat right now."

    I don't see Romney in the same light, he sold his soul for political office. His track record shows he can't be trusted to make the right decision for the right reason. His constant flip-flopping and worse, his propensity to lie so easily. Romney lied continually, without remorse or care for the consequences. Even when called out on his lies, he doubled-down and repeated them with more vigor.

    Good and decent men don't act this way, especially someone who wears their religion on their sleeve as he does. Good and decent men have a code of ethics and moral core they stick to, no matter what. Good and decent men fight for good causes such as uplifting the poor and protecting the downtrodden. Romney is none of that.

    I'm relieved the majority of Americans saw the Romney Ryan lies for what they were, and said no thank you.

  9. Paul Chess, it is good to hear from you again. It has been awhile.

    We absolutely agree with you that Mitt Romney "sold his soul for political office," but so have all of the candidates who ran for that position since Dwight Eisenhower, with the exception of James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, and people to this day claim that he was a crappy leader.

    Unfortunately, and we are sad to have to acknowledge this, if candidates want to WIN, they are "forced" to behave as you described for 3 reasons: (a) we citizens are such a widely conflicted and diverse people; (b) we only have 2 real parties, and candidates have pigeonhole themselves in 1 or the other; and (c) there is only 1 president to represent the interests of all of the citizens.

    If we had 7 or 8 parties of relatively equal strength, power, and money (or totally public financing of parties), then a candidate would be less likely to sell his soul. Additionally, if the country were run by executive committee, consisting of perhaps 7 co-presidents, we would significantly reduce the issues about which you expressed concern. This stuff is built into our system, and institutionalized. It fosters disrespect for the individuals who run for president and disrespect for the institution of the presidency.

    The political reality is that someone who is true to form and DISPLAYS the good and decent side of their beings will never WIN the presidency, and will be regarded as weak. The best that we can hope under the current system is that we can venture and look under the costumes, masks, and make-up of the actors who run, and try to find some honesty and decency.

    We think that the reason that Romney reflected the worse in flip-flopping and political pandering is that there were few unifying themes on which the members of his party could agree. On the Democratic side, there is a widely diverse group of people who may disagree with one another internally, but are more tolerant of the constituent complexity within their group. That is not the case on the Republican side. It is much more of an "either you are with us or against us" mentality, because the Republicans think in terms "moral clarity."

    The simple answer is to change the structure. This governance model no longer works efficiently or effectively. We are too diverse a people with too large a population with dramatically conflicting values and priorities. It worked reasonably well when we were much smaller and there was more homogeneity (or many citizens were marginalized and effectively did not have a say). It's time to change the system, or divide the country in half. Like incompatible members of a married couple, business partners, sports teams, etc., we cannot go on like this. It doesn't make any sense.

    There are many built in “systemic tensions” in our governance model, but like a rubber band, there is only so much pulling that can be done before it snaps.

    Come back and visit us regularly. We always appreciate your contributions.

  10. I quote IC. "We're on a path of self-destruction through implosion.
    We suspect that no elected president will ever be able to satisfy a minimum of
    60% of the citizens again, UNTIL the global economy comes roaring back and the
    benefits spill over to the common man and woman."

    I believe growing cost of energy and diminishing cheap oil will prevent the
    economies everywhere 'roaring back'. But it is very very sad that you, and so
    many people, think that your people would not be significantly impressed by a
    leader able to force the haves to allow a flow rather than a trickle of the
    increasing wealth down to the very people who will create it. (NOT the wealth

    The energy, inventiveness, dynamism, and courage of your rather gullible
    people have been sufficient to push the US to the greatest nation ever.
    Technology has allowed it's owners to create this real wealth with a fraction
    of human labour previously needed, and by relocating to areas where
    friendly dictators can force their masses to work under conditions you are not
    comfortable with, are you IC?

    I ask you personally because it would be great to hear your magnificent
    voice speak for the disadvantaged among you - and against the motivated right
    to which you seem to lean. The American worker can produce a cake
    large enough for everyone to have a filling slice, with no-one begging for
    crumbs. But
    your rich want it all but crumbs.

  11. CorfuBob:

    You really challenged us this time around Bob - to the point of forcing us to have an Institute board meeting regarding how we should respond to your inquiry. Pigeonholing our spokesperson as leaning toward the "motivated right" further complicates our response.

    We'll get back to you shortly after our discussions concerning the appropriate response are concluded. In the mean time, we came across an article yesterday which suggests part of what we are thinking. If we are able to locate the electronic version of "Gin without the Tonic" by Susan Cheever of Newsweek, we'll post it as an "Article of Interest" within the next hour.

    Thanks as always for forcing us to think further about the issue addressed in our forum. Your perspective and contributions are definitely valued here.

  12. Well here we go CorfuBob. We decided to limit the amount of time within which to respond to your thought-provoking question, so that we will get it done.

    First of all, based on what we've read, you are right on the money about "the growing cost of energy and diminishing cheap oil" as an obstacle to economies everywhere roaring back. That's why we maintain that the U.S. will only grow in the 2-4% range (sluggish) over the next 5-7 years. While the Chinese and Indian economies may grow much at much faster rates, those countries will also be the primary drivers in the higher price of energy with so many people becoming middle class.

    Second, the reason that it took us so long to respond to your inquiry is because we consider ourselves to be pretty optimistic and positive people here at the Institute, and yet we are not delusional. Your question caused us to confront a negative reality.

    You asked us to speak for the disadvantaged among us. Furthermore, you stated that "the American worker can produce a cake large enough for everyone to have a filling slice, with no-one begging for crumbs, but that in your view, the American rich want it all but some crumbs.

    Oops, ran out of time. To be completed when we return from a meeting.

  13. In the body of this post, we made reference to a then recent article entitled, Almost Every Obama Conspiracy Theory Ever. There is a recent article which appeared in the Washington Post, entitled, An Exploration of the Many Weird Rumors Surrounding President Obama.

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