The Morning After
What does the Obama victory mean?
© Bryan Zepp Jamieson
November 7th 2012
While last night’s victory was hardly a smashing victory for liberalism, a lot of liberals are crowing with delight today. It’s not because it was a big win, but because what was defeated was so utterly vile.
First, there was Mitt Romney himself. The man seemed to have no concept of truthfulness, or any basic core values. Politics is known for attracting flip-floppers and con men, but he stood out, smarmy, empty, so vacantly dishonest that it was hard to tell if he cared, or even knew, when he was lying.
Then there were the Teabaggers. They had a bad night last night. Their chief harridan, Michele Bachmann, was able to get reelected, but only by the slimmest of margins, and in an area redistricted to her advantage. Had it been the same configuration that she got elected in three previous times, she would have lost. Others from the teabag fringe did worse: Alan West, Mourlock, and Akin are all gone. Scott Brown is gone. So are quite a few of the remaining Blue Dogs.
Faux News took a ringing slap to its credibility amongst its faithful viewers. It had been promising a Romney landslide for the past few weeks, with various pundits projecting Romney getting between 300 and 365 Electoral Votes, and up to 16% margins in the popular vote. When it didn’t turn out that way, Karl Rove effectively had an on-air melt down. He managed to stop just short of screaming “But this can’t be happening! The fix was in!” but it was pretty clear that he believed his own prognostication of 330 Electoral Votes for Mittens. Despite what his own polls were telling him.
Donald Trump pretty much cemented his title of Clown Prince of the Whack-a-doo right by calling for a revolution in the wake of the election returns. Why anyone other than Faux puts that pompous ass in front of a camera is beyond me.
Rush Limbaugh moaned, “We’re outnumbered. We lost the country.” He couldn’t believe it. To him, it’s inconceivable that promoting unpopular views and policies could cause you to lose elections. When all the Right People are behind you with billions of dollars, it shouldn’t matter if you want to grind people’s kids up and make cat food out of them.
Newt seems to be the only one who gets it. He said, “We were wrong.” I’ve always thought that Newt was shrewd, but very, very cynical. I still do.
The fringe supporters lost their minds, not that they had much to lose. Ted Nugent howled that “subhuman varmits” re-elected Obama, and there was an apparent protest riot at UMiss.
Despite billions of dollars, a vast propaganda machine, and a neutered corporate media, America rejected these bastards, and that was a victory for America.
The GOP will probably have a civil war now. Plutocrats versus the Know-Nothing right the plutocrats had carefully been cultivating since the 1960s. One can’t win without the other, and I hope this fight ends in divorce. The teabaggers feel the plutocrats abandoned their heroes, Akin and Mourdock and West, and the moneybags crowd are wondering how they can get the lunatic fringe out of the public eye without alienating the lunatic fringe. Neither group are people you want controlling your government.
But for all the despairing howls coming from the right about now, not much has changed. Dems still only have 54 seats in the Senate, which means the filibuster remains king. Republicans still control the House. Not much will change. Obama will be less conciliatory, but the GOP will be intransigent no matter what.
A lot of by-elections turned out well. Two states legalized marijuana, two more recognized gay marriage. But California rejected the GMO food labeling proposition, showing that money can still be used to instill fear and cause people to vote against their own interests. The era of the teabagger seems to have crested, but not the era of corporate domination, and that may be the more significant threat to American freedom in the long run.
The markets were down sharply this morning in the wake of the election, with the Down down over 300 at one point before bobbing back up to 250. No, that’s not a trend. They don’t fear Obama all that much. Most of them know that their own propaganda is bullshit, and they don’t buy it. But they are disconcerted that Citizens United didn’t put the country in their pockets. And now the nation has bought time to regroup and destroy that horrible ruling. Barely mentioned in the media was a huge groundswell of indignation and disgust at the tidal wave of sewage dumped into thousands and thousands of dishonest and vicious political ads by amateurish hacks who, as often as not, repelled as much as instilled.
It means too, that Obamacare gets a fair chance, and people can see how it benefits them. Maybe the House Republicans will realize that it’s pointless to continue sabotaging the economic recovery because Obama will never be running for President again, and will be in office until January 2017. I think they realize that impeachment isn’t a viable option—it failed dismally against Clinton—and Obama doesn’t have the zipper problem Clinton did.
So even though I’m feeling a great deal of schadenfreude toward the vicious crybabies of the right this morning, I’m not feeling any deep sense of victory. Instead, I’m feeling deep relief.
We didn’t make a huge advance. But we did dodge a bullet.
We bought time.