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First, fellow Americans, let us put aside differences and plug-ugly Facebook posts to unite in congratulating those who fought so hard on our behalf to represent our best interests, and those who fought even harder and won. They all, each and every, deserve our thanks for stepping up to the precipice of public service, where the mighty can fall and the fallen can fool to rule again.
While crafty Karl — President George W. Bush’s vaunted ex-Brain and now-Fox Newsanalyst – probably still is roving Ohio’s returns in hopes his man Mitt Romney still might win the election, the most honest, self-aware and unself-serving of Republicans, fighting a hangover, are offering sober, candid assessments of what went so wrong with the right.
Past Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, at the close of MSNBC’s Nov. 7 Morning Joe, summed up succinctly one over-riding reason for the GOP going kerplop: “Every month, 50,000 Latinos come of voting age. What are Republicans going to do about that?” The re-elected President Obama, according to one source, commanded 75% of the Latino vote, a tres-a-uno margin.
The Dems, in retrospect, also trumped (forgive me, The Donald) their opposition by parlaying some epically infelicitous comments uttered halfway across the country into a Republican “War on Women,” which fired up the Democratic base big time.
Put together a critical mass of votes lost both from a rapidly changing American demographic and from an entire gender, and you’re eating dust in no time flat, while your arch-rival is rocketing to 270 at the speed of sound.
Tuesday night on NBC, prominent Republican strategist Mike Murphy, who always is refreshingly straight-up and non-delusional in his political assessments when he appears as a regular on Meet the Press, predicted “intra-party fistfights,” ideologically and strategically speaking (I assume), when Republicans circle their wagons post-election to figure out where they go from here.
To a visitor from another planet, where, let’s say, there exists no gravity or politics, if Democrats appear, according to stereotype, as “bleeding hearts” who want everybody to take care of everybody else, Republicans might appear to the interplanetary interlopers as self-appointed moralists who insist on telling everybody what they can NOT do with their lives out of one side of their mouths while the other side is saying government shouldn’t intrude in individuals’ lives. Some aliens might see that as hip, while other aliens might coin a word for such an ideology, and spell it h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e. Okay, so maybe there IS politics on other planets.
Moral of the Story Part I: If you dis enablers and are pigeon-holed as disenablers, electability is elusive.
Romney’s chronic hedging on wedge issues his past several years on the stump were worthy of a magician’s “now you see it, now you don’t” sleight of hand, and nothing if not true to his party’s penchant for sophistry. (Good place for my disclaimer that I am registered with no party, also known as Unaffiliated, for reasons apparent in this commentary having to do with being a journalist and being a firm believer in the humanistic philosophy of “people first, we’ll party later.”)
If all this reeks of painting both major political parties with a broad brush based on the very doctrinaire and narrow-minded views of selected spokespersons on either side, that’s how these things – and elections — go.
Losing doesn’t at all mean the Republicans should summarily abandon the best of their intentions and policies and ideologies. It means their strategies are not pragmatic and resonant enough for enough of today’s American electorate who can swing elections.
Moral of the Story Part II: It wasn’t so much the Democrats behind their incumbent won a resounding triumph (that was four years ago) as that the Republicans — through the wrong kind of oversight — squandered a ripe opportunity to ride resentment toward the President’s polarizing policies all the way to the White House.
So make that two defining In numbers the Outs fell far short of reaching: 270 and 1600.
A word about analysts, whether it’s MSNBC, Fox News or a “hyperlocal” news channel on a screen near you. The very term analyst presumes at least a nominal objectivity, which means no formal connection to any candidate and no official role within any political organization. Those are blatant conflicts of interest if analyst is your appellation. Journalists ethically are bound not to participate directly in the political process – only to observe and report or comment -and are not permitted ethically to pay to attend political events whose purpose is raising funds for a candidate’s campaign.
So for any media outlet to parade in front of it audience analysts who stand to personally gain in some way from a particular candidate’s election outcome is a sham, not to mention a sad symptom of the low-information amateurism that afflicts much of today’s media rank-and-file and management.
By pretending to be news channels even as they showcase strident, one-sided commentators, MSNBC and Fox News per se define down the textbook definition of news. That in turn stigmatizes journalists who attempt to be objective in their analyses, and gives way to political operatives who disredit them wholesale as biased and of dubious credibility — at least when the journalistic commentators’ views don’t conform to their own.
As publisher of a weekly community newspaper from 2006-2011, I would be quick to tell card-carrying members of the Media Bias Brigade, “You are absolutely right that there is bias in the media, because everybody who consumes media comes to it with a built-in bias that predisposes their reaction to a story.”
I like watching certain programs on all the cable news channels — from Fox to MSNBC to CNN — just to get a broader perspective on how they treat the same stories night after night. Karl Rove was by far the lead money man for the Romney campaign, so Fox’s labeling him an analyst is as credible as its over-heated parody of a promotional tagline that it, alone, is “fair and balanced.” Sure it is, if your name is Alice and you live in Wonderland, where everything is topsy-turvy. By the way, having an analyst who is a factotum for the other side doesn’t alleviate or eliminate the matter; it’s just doubly phony.
It has nothing to do with whatever I think of Mr. Rove’s politics. By way of comparison, Mount Kisco resident Ari Fleischer — who was Press Secretary for President George W. Bush and is a highly partisan GOPer — is very measured, insightful and fair-minded in his analyses.
I can’t vouch for whether he’s on any politico’s payroll currently (as he is on CNN’s), but where Mr. Rove can lapse into buffoonery, as he did Election Night seriously questioning the hard facts staring him and everyone else in the face, Mr. Fleischer is a real pro presenting himself as a serious, highly intelligent, bona fide analyst.