In its seemingly endless search for scapegoats after Romney’s defeat, Republican Party manages to look right past the elephant in the room
It’s funny that a party with an elephant as their symbol can’t see the elephant in the room. That’s the real issue following the stunning loss for Mitt Romney in the general election.
Republicans are looking everywhere for a scapegoat, and they have found plenty of them.
The scavenger hunt began with Karl Rove on Fox News during the election trying to dispute the math that gave Ohio to Obama. He fiddled madly with his calculator trying to re-crunch the numbers while the Fox team used their computer models to correctly project the outcome. He blamed the exit polls for being somehow biased in favor of Democrats. He was wrong!
The next possible scapegoat came from the failed candidate himself, Mitt Romney. In a conference call to his big money supporters, he pawned the loss off on the Obama administration giving “gifts” to minority constituents. In Mitt’s universe affordable healthcare is strictly a “poor folks” issue. That would be the 47 percent again.
Fox News host Bill O’Reilly agreed on this point, saying that the new majority of Americans who are not old white guys, apparently wanted “stuff” and Obama was willing to give it to them. Again, there is absolutely no data to back any of this up, but that has never stopped O’Reilly or Fox.
Meanwhile, Mother Nature was not exempt from the finger pointing. Haley Barbour, former Republican governor of Mississippi, put the blame squarely on the superstorm. Somehow a natural disaster stunted Romney’s momentum. Never mind that some would call the super-storm an “act of God” and the religious right has been strangely silent on that front.
Ron Johnson, a Republican senator from Wisconsin, blamed stupidity for the loss. According to him, the voters who defeated Romney didn’t understand “the very ugly math facing this country.” This is part of the failed “Obama is a big spender” tactic the GOP tried. The truth is Obama spent less in federal money than any president since Eisenhower. I guess Sen. Johnson never studied “pretty math”?
One commentator this past weekend blamed the lack of “brown faces” in the GOP. Apparently all the Republican Party needs is a face lift.
Add a few Hispanic surnames, a few darker-skinned folks and BINGO — you have a winner! Romney even tried it when he got a super-dark spray tan to speak in front of a Hispanic audience. They really believe it’s all about appearances. Tell that to Allen West, who lost his seat in Florida, even after a recount. Window dressing won’t win votes; the American people are smarter than the GOP thinks.
And that brings us to the real issue and that is the issues themselves. The whole GOP platform is the problem. It seems they are unable to look inward enough to see the real cause of the loss since that would mean re-examining their trajectory. As they moved further and further right, they lost more and more votes. Add to that a lackluster candidate — and Romney is a poster child for that — and you have no enthusiasm from any moderate voter and downright disgust from independents.
The GOP has been living in a fantasy land, and now reality is giving them a “bitch-slap” wakeup call. They have believed Fox News, forgetting that it is a propaganda machine, not news. They have bought the whole idea put forth during the Dubya years that “we create our own reality.”
In case you don’t remember, here’s the excerpt from an article by Ron Suskind in the New York Times Magazine in October 2004:
“The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ … ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued.
‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’”
And so here we are, studying what they did, only this time reality is a little bigger than anything they can manage or create, and that’s the elephant in the room.
Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and board member for the Woodhull Freedom Alliance. His blog is at DungeonDiary.blogspot.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 23, 2012.