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November 08, 2012

Four miscellaneous thoughts on the election

1. "Mitt Romney Concedes With Class": "He showed no bitterness, offered no excuses, and made no complaints." On the whole I'd rather Mitt was a bad winner than a good loser, but dignity, class, and grace under pressure are always valuable and beautiful. And they endure. 

2. Ben Stein, "A Painful Night":

Finally, this seems like a terrible fate. But our party has faced far worse. We were pronounced dead after JFK stole the 1960 election in the cellars of the Chicago City Hall. We were in the morgue after the Goldwater defeat. We were dead and buried after Watergate and the 1974 Congressional elections, when the GOP was just a nub in Congress. We always come back because our principles are better suited to human dignity and human happiness than the other side's. We will come back stronger than ever this time, too. We are not afraid and we shall overcome. Our best days as a party and a movement lie ahead. We will rest, regroup, and fight for our beliefs, and next time, it will be different and better. Truth crushed to earth will rise again . . . 

3.  Long ago, a British man, discouraged by British reverses in our War of Independence, wrote Adam Smith, "If we go on at this rate, the nation must be ruined." Smith wrote back, "Be assured, my young friend, that there is a great deal of ruin in a nation." (See also Milton Friedman's approving comment.) Adam Smith was as astute an observer of society as I know of and he was right about a lot. I hope he proves right again.

4. And thinking about the Americans who voted to re-elect this administration brought to mind a few minutes of the absolutely best TV I have ever seen. Carmela Soprano is married to a criminal. She realizes that marriage to such a man is destroying her life. But she hasn't gotten close to the courage she needs to break with him. So she sees an elderly psychologist. She is full of self-pity and self-drama and she aches for someone to tell her how noble she is. But the psychologist doesn't play along. He tells her to divorce. Immediately. Now. Her husband has blood on his hands and she can never have a decent life until she leaves. She protests: that would be difficult, what about her children, what about her religious faith? The psychologist argues with her a bit but soon becomes resigned because he has heard similar rationalizations and excuses before. But before she goes he looks at her and, in the tone of an Old Testament prophet, says: "One thing you can never say: that you haven't been told."

Comments

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TheBigHenry

"One thing you can never say: that you haven't been told."

Yeah; I feel like shit right now. But this prophetic thought of biblical proportions does have therapeutic value. At least it reminds me that I gave it my best effort to persuade whoever was willing to listen to me that Obama is the worst possible influence on what is best about American society that has ever come to light.

I won't look forward to saying "I told you so". But knowing now that I did gives me a much needed lift.

Thanks, Craig.

Tom

This loss is an indictment of the GOP. The GOP is generally better on the economic side of the house but lose on the social side. Who really cares about gay marriage, access to abortion, and illegal immigrants? If you do care about these issues, do you care more about them then you do the economy? I certainly don't. Those are the issues that won the presidency. If politics is about practicality, then the GOP need to move towards the Libertarian side; at the very least, at the federal level move towards states' rights to choose on the social issues.

Ben

The Republicans have to win back Independents. In the entire US voting block, roughly 40% will always vote Republican, 40% Democrat, and 20% will go back and forth. I count myself in the 20% after 20 years of being pretty much Republican. The Republicans have to go back to the 3 R's - Representation, Reputation, and Reason.

1. Representation: Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, TEA party fundamentalists aren't winning any Independents. They're clowns. Admit it and remove them. Fox News is a bad mouthpiece. Our first black president could have been Colin Powell, but he was likely too reasonable a man to bow down to the fundamentalist right. (Agree with Tom on social issues - they're a distraction, not a purpose.)

2. Reputation: George W Bush inherited a surplus budget. We can debate how it got there (Clinton, Internet Economy, Congress), but that's what he inherited. He blew it. Plain and simple. Blame 9/11 all day long, but Bush was in charge and trashed the balanced budget with no apology.

3. Reason: Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill were polar rivals but not bitter rivals. These two rivals compromised on budget policy in the end with much less acrimony than exists today. The TEA party absolutism has got to be retired. There has to be some reasonable "give" on the revenue side, defense budget reeled in, and defense contractors have to be curbed in their excesses. Eisenhower warned of the Military-Industrial Complex, and most assuredly, we are there. And yes, both parties agree entitlements need serious and sustained review.

If the Republican party would stop eating its young in the primaries, they could field a timely candidate. John McCain was better in 2000 than 2008 (Google George Bush, 2000 South Carolina Primaries), Mitt Romney was more convincing in 2008, than his flip-flopping in 2012.

kyle8

I don't agree with most of what you wrote Ben. The electorate is overwhelmingly in favor right now of big government. That is why they vote for it. Now, if you ask them as individuals you might not get that idea, but it is the truth. When you ask conservatives if they want small government they say yes, but then they want to control what their neighbors eat, smoke, or who they screw.

Some say they want small government but then they want a big military.

Even some libertarians are not immune to this. They want open borders, but fail to see how much government mush necessarily expand with such a policy.

I have never seen Fox news as a mouthpiece for anyone, instead they seem very conservative only because in comparison to the rest of the media. Certainly they are no more a "poor mouthpiece" than the ridiculous MSNBC is for the left.

You are also VERY incorrect when you say both sides want entitlement reform. I have not heard any major democrat say anything of the sort. They have defended the status quo like pitt bulls.

The whole sad mess is going to hell in a hand-basket, and the collapse will be a horrible thing to behold. There might be a lot of ruin in a nation but four more years of these deficits, unlimited immigration, wars and reprisals, left wing justices, Union transcendence, and the continued war on the middle class and small business will go a long way to that ruin.

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