Thursday, November 15, 2012

Aftermath

Saturday morning brought the news that Barack Obama had won a majority of votes in the state of Florida. That might be the very definition of “anti-climatic”, coming as it does five days after Election Day. Still, for Obama supporters such as myself, it’s gratifying news. Icing on the cake, you might say. An important swing state swung again for Obama.

In an election season filled with drama (or maybe more melodrama), the end itself couldn’t have been more theatrical. The Democrats didn’t just win, they won big. And the reaction from the opposition party was riveting, entertaining and sometimes even tragicomic.

With the tally from Florida finally completed, Obama won 332 electoral votes (62%), well beyond the 270 he needed to win. Speculation until the last minute was that - while Obama would win the Electoral College easily - he would lose the popular vote. He came out ahead there, too, beating Romney by almost three percentage points (50.5% to 47.9%).

In Georgia, naturally, it was a different story. It was Romney who won big in the Peach State (53%-45%), and really big in my home county (81%-18%). My vote was only one of the fewer than two thousand cast locally for Obama.

While the popular vote nationally might have been fairly close, the electoral vote was decisive. Or, in the nuanced, dispassionate terms probably favored by some Democrats, it was an “ass-whooping”.

You can forgive some Obama supporters for a little “ball-spiking”. (I tried my best to restrain myself.) Obama won by a landslide, if you go by the criteria of infamous GOP operative Dick Morris, who had predicted a 325-213 “landslide” for Romney. Not only did the Democrats win the presidency again, they wrecked any Republican hopes of regaining the Senate by defeating 23 GOP candidates and strengthening their control of the Senate by two seats. Tea Party favorites Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock were beaten handedly, presumably paying for their sins of gross rape insensitivity.

The sweetest victory was Elizabeth Warren’s in Massachusetts. When Warren, a strong advocate for consumer protection, was denied by the GOP the chance to run the new government agency set up for that purpose, she decided to run for Senate instead. Now, with Warren able to weld the much more imposing power of a US Senator, Republicans might wish they had allowed her to take up the job of a mere bureaucrat.

Besides Warren, eleven other women won their own Senate races (including one Republican), bringing the number of women in the Senate to an all-time record high of twenty, a fact that by itself speaks volumes about the shortage of women in Congress.

On the other side of the Capitol, the Dems won a net gain of eight seats in the House, though this does nothing to change the balance of power in that body. To be honest, the overall balance of power will be practically unchanged in Washington. Despite a welcome re-election, Obama still faces a tough next four years.

That prospect certainly didn’t dampen the ball spiking and waves upon waves of Schadenfreude washing over some rejoicing Democrats. A Tumblr site somewhat snarkily called “White People Mourning Romney” features pages of photos showing GOP supporters on election night looking absolutely glum, downcast, dispirited, weepy, sad, and simply shocked, dumbfounded by the reality that, against all their Heavenly ordained expectations, Romney did not win.

I admit, part of me felt a bit of glee looking at these images - after all, these are doubtless some of the same folks who have been relentlessly vilifying Obama since 2008, often in the worst possible way.

On the other hand, I do feel for them. The people in these photos are having a very bad day. It hurts to lose, and especially to lose badly when any outcome other than winning was simply inconceivable. Not all of them were Tea Party fanatics, and some had probably honestly been voting for Romney and his policies (as misguided and dishonest as they were) and not simply against Obama, or worse against a black man.  

It is a bit unseemly to ridicule such ordinary Romney supporters just because they were shell-shocked by Romney's utter defeat, even if they should have known better. Public opinion polls had been clearly showing Obama likely to win (the New York Time’s sage of statistics, Nate Silver, was giving Obama a more than 90% chance of re-election). But Romney’s supporters, like his campaign itself, dismissed those polls as “skewed”, and preferred the rosier predictions of their own polls.  Reality was a freight train they never saw coming.

While it’s one thing to ridicule some people’s simple heartfelt disappointment over the election, it's fair game to poke fun at the hyperbolic and comical reactions of some other really sore losers. (The hubris of Romney’s hapless campaign, however, and the GOP pundits (read: Karl Rove) who cheered it on deserves nothing but ridicule. Pile it on!)

The prospect of four more years under a Democratic president has provoked reactions that border on the silly and insane. A few widely publicized tweets show just how far around the bend some people have gone:

“A thousand years of darkness begins tonight.”

“I’m moving to Australia, because their president is a Christian and actually supports what he says.” 

(I assume that before this person, a Georgian by the way, actually went as far as booking her flight to Sydney she was told that Australia has a prime minister, not a president, that “he” is a “she”, and that she is well-known for being an atheist. Hope so. The tweeter was a teenager anyway, so maybe we should cut her some slack.)

The most jaw-dropping tweeting came from some the nation's most celebrated (and irrelevant) drama queens.

All-purpose clown Donald Trump: “He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!” (He later deleted this tweet.)

“Saturday Night Live” has-been Victoria Jackson: “America died.” and “Thanks a lot Christians, for not showing up. You disgust me.”

Disturbed guitar player Ted Nugent: “Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters hav [sic] a president to destroy America”

Plus, you had Glen Beck urging his viewers to start accumulating farmland and ammunition for, well I guess, for surviving the“thousand years of darkness” that’s coming.

Or maybe the ammo's for something else. In some 30 states, petitions are underway for secession from the United States. Secession! Seriously, how many people can there really be who’ve been inflamed by anti-Obama whining to the point of rebellion? In Georgia, that would be the 25,000 people who've signed one such petition so far.

All this because a Democrat was re-elected to the presidency? Even a president who instituted a so-called “socialized” health care program? I have to say, such dramatic overreaction, even if it’s only rhetorical, really is stupid, if not a little frightening.

Some folks, apparently so aggrieved that Romney will now not have the chance to repeal government-run “Obamacare” have threaten to leave the country and move to that Ayn Rand paradise to the north we call Canada. I wonder what kind of health care system they have up there. I hear it’s good.

At least those hordes of Republicans forever disillusioned with America are not planning to  escape to Finland. As far as I know. 


Notice posted by a Tea Party group with a flare for the melodramatic.

2 comments:

  1. Most Republicans would probably enjoy at least visiting Finland. All of those nice, white faces. That's the basis of Republican political power these days: racism; along with religious fanaticism and gun mania. The Republicans have relied upon that tripod to prop them up electorally for decades.

    At some point, though, many Republican states will veer leftward and leave the racist Republican Party in the dustbin of history, where it deserves to be.

    And, yes, I was one of those people who had a great time on election night. But I was not one of those who resisted "spiking the ball". Hell. I'm still there in the end zone dancing on Romney's political grave.

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  2. "Reality was a freight train they never saw coming."

    They watched Fox News - they deserved it.

    "Most Republicans would probably enjoy at least visiting Finland. All of those nice, white faces."

    Yeah, but we're still a bunch o' for'n commies speaking a heathen language. Which they'll thankfully never be able to learn, making it impossible for their racist asses to become citizens.

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