Monday, November 19, 2012

Thinking Up A Really Good Campaign Strategy After the Election

“But most people on public assistance don’t have a character flaw. They just have a tough life. I want to create more jobs. The focus should be on creating more jobs, not demonizing those who find themselves on hard times.”

Ah, it’s nice to be vindicated. I’ve been saying some variation of this since the first time I saw some hammerhead babbling about forced drug tests for welfare recipients. If I weren’t so inured to the vindictiveness of people who hate aid recipients (and their aversion to reading actual news stories), I would have been amazed that people continued to babble about it even after such a program in Florida uncovered a tiny percentage of drug users and ended up costing the taxpayers more than if they’d done no testing at all. So nice job, Florida. By the way, Midnight Oil called and they want their lead singer back.

Anyway, vindication. The quote at the top of this entry is not from any bleeding-heart liberal but from Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Republican, in response to Mitt Romney’s mind-boggling public statement that Obama won the election because voters essentially thought they’d get more “gifts” from a Democratic administration. This is a silly statement for anyone to make (particularly someone who was purportedly the best candidate available on the Republican side), equally silly for anyone with critical thinking skills to believe. I wouldn’t claim that no such voters exist, but I’d bet there are fewer of them than voters who went for Romney because they thought a second term for Obama would bring about an apocalypse.

Point is, Republicans are now, almost two weeks after the election, beginning to distance themselves from Romney’s “gifts” remark, and his speech about not worrying about “the 47%,” and everything else he did to make it clear that his campaign was aimed at a rich, white, male America. My question is Why? Why now? Aren’t there people whose jobs are to help candidates run a sensible campaign? Wasn’t there anyone who could suggest that “You know what? What do we have to lose by trying statesmanship? Can you do that? Can you at least act like you want to be president of all the people?”?

And, seriously, when someone in your party is painting poor people with such a broad brush—making them seem lazy and devious instead of just struggling to make a living—isn’t there someone else who can say “Knock it off”?

Before the election?

* * *

Couple more random thoughts.

I’ve seen moderate Republicans complain about how the religious right has “hijacked” their party, but I would caution these folks to remember that you invited them in back during the Reagan years—and you did so because you needed some dupes to think you gave a crap about abortion while you were working against their economic interests. So if there was a coup, it was a coup from within.

Also, I couldn’t resist. On the left is Florida governor Rick Scott, whose drug-testing program cost the state more than twice what would have had to pay those who failed the test. On the right is former Midnight Oil lead singer Peter Garrett, who is a member of the Australian Parliament and whose politics are considerably to the left of Mr Scott’s. Now that I think of it, I should have put Garrett on the left, and—oh, never mind.

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