Sitting down with a group of Republicans, I asked what song they would use to sum up the recent election.
“Are you running with R.E.M.”, I asked.
“I like R.E.M.”, one guy answered. “Which one”?
“For you guys, how about It’s The End of The World As We Know It”?
My friend Howard offered Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.
Obladi, Oblada life goes on.
Like Karl Rove, I wanted to wait till every vote was counted before I prepared this post mortem. But Ohio’s provisional ballots are still a week or two away and there may still be some people standing in line to vote in Miami, so it is time for a few thoughts from me.
California Governor Jerry Brown was quoted in the current Esquire:
I had a political-science teacher who wrote about power and how the essence of democracy is for the individual citizens to exercise power – that is, control over his or her life and the institutions that affect that person.
The recent election proved the teacher’s point.
I watched MSNBC and FOX on election night. MSNBC provided joy and context. FOX provided an insight to an alternate reality. It was early in the evening when Megyn Kelly and her fellow anchor, Bret Baier, discussed exit polling as the initial states were called. They were amazed to learn that a majority of those polled favored smaller government, but the Republicans were losing.
Smaller government, on FOX, means limited business regulation, lower income taxes, and lots of intrusive social legislation. It turns out that many Americans view smaller government as less government involvement in both our personal lives and our business lives. The Republicans spent most of the last two years discussing how much they wanted to control our lives and institutions. The conflict is obvious.
Even people who are only nominally pro-choice were shocked by questions of “legitimate” rape and the lack of concern about the life of the mother. There are a number of Americans who believe that life begins at conception. That would make abortion and even some forms of birth control problematic. That belief could motivate attempts to change in the law. But there are also people who believe that life, ANY LIFE, is a gift from G-d. This is a gift that can not be returned or exchanged. That belief can not be legislated. And that is the GOP’s problem. The Republicans have attempted to legislate a religious belief.
Whether we look at the U.S. House of Representatives or states such as Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin, wherever the Republicans garnered a majority in 2010, we saw an avalanche of legislation designed to end abortion, unions, and voter access. Even if you weren’t impacted by any of these new laws, you had every reason to wonder when you, too, would be in the Republican cross-hairs.
Thanks to Nikki Ferrell of the Beachwood Patch, we now know that Mitt Romney lost nine of the ten Beachwood precincts. Some people find that unsurprising. After all, Beachwood is a highly educated, traditionally Democratic leaning city. The shock was that Josh Mandel, a Beachwood High School alumnus, underperformed Governor Romney. Not only didn’t Mandel carry any precincts, but his opponent, Sherrod Brown, actually received more votes than the President. It only took two reprehensible campaigns for Josh Mandel to wear out his welcome. It will be interesting to see what kind of campaign he mounts two years from now.
There were some people who truly loved Mitt Romney and were excited to vote for him. Honest. There are still some people who view Barack Obama as a transformational figure. It is my experience that most of us were underwhelmed by our choices up and down the ticket. We would like to be forced to choose between two excellent public servants. We can do better. Until then, we will do the best with what we’re given. I even voted for Mary Rose Oakar.
Obladi, Oblada life goes on.