10 November 2012

After Tuesday: Big Tent or Pup Tent?

It looks like my prediction for a sweep left some in the dust.  Well, in my defense, I think I have mentioned on more than one occasion the deep sea of red filter that exists in Indiana, and here in the deep end of the pool in Republicania County, may in fact have hampered my abilities to call this election clearly.

But now I'm just sounding like a whining right wing talk show host making excuses for a pathetic showing Tuesday by the GOP.

So-I got two wrong.  The President won re-election and Joe Donnelly coasted into a Senate seat held by one of the most respected and well-loved Republicans ever to have set foot in the Senate chambers.  If you ask me, serves us right on the right.....well, the far right.  But how was I to know that Mourdock would have committed political suicide by speaking out of the right, far right, side of his mouth in the debate?  This is what happens when you put someone with infinite lack of skill into a position where they struggle to come up with the politically correct thing to say to pander to their base.  While I'm not certain Donnelly would have lost (he had a whole lot of Lugar votes I'm sure), Mourdock's misspeak didn't do him any favors.

But I think the real story to come out of the Indiana elections is the narrow margin of victory the GOP had in the governor's and second congressional district races, and the race that no one seemed to acknowledge-Ritz beating out Bennett in the Superintendent of Education's race.  Or let me put it this way.....a DEMOCRAT who won a state-wide seat in this red among red states.

If you look at how close the governor's race was, followed by Ritz's victory.....one can only draw the conclusion that this was a referendum on Mitch Daniel's extreme education reforms, which I give a big fat F.  The sad fact is Ritz's victory will mean essentially nothing to making Indiana's schools work again.  In fact, as if Mitch would be continuing in the driver's seat, he indicated that it would not undue any of his reforms and in fact only more reforms would be coming.  I predict with a super majority we will see the end of public education in the state.  But more on education in a later post.

The other interesting race was the second congressional district race which pit Jackie Wo against Brendan Mullen.  Jackie-whose name has been plastered all over northern Indiana for years now, eked out a less than 2% victory against no-name Mullen.  Jackie, who panders to the Tea Party and made so many absurd statements about her time in Indy during the election, was hand delivered a solidly red base with redistricting this past year.  So why in all of Indiana's other Republican congressional districts did the victor win by more than 10% and Jackie less than 2%?  That's gotta be a downright embarrassment to the GOP.

But, as with the governor's race, a win is a win.

So let's talk about the GOP losses on the national stage.  Though they still held on to the House of Representatives, the GOP lost seats there and in the Senate (no thanks to Mourdock!).  And of course, they lost the throne.  And that's one big seat.  The election wasn't a blow-out.  I don't think we've had a real blow-out since Clinton's first win.  But a win in this sluggish economy by a sitting Democrat speaks volumes to not only a changing voter demographic, but also the general perception the public has of the GOP........and it ain't good.

Now, you can tell me it was a battle of ads and misleading statements that made the other guy look bad.  But that plays both ways.  Until Citizen's United is overturned, I think this is the new normal.  I nearly typed moral instead of normal.....  I listened to Republican strategists after the election and they seemed to be more honest with themselves than the talk show hosts, or my R & TP FB friends the next day.  The strategists' solution was to eliminate the far right sticking points (abortion, gay marriage) and court the Latino vote.  The fact is-keeping those in the GOP platform, and doing nothing to address them, keeps a chunk of your base coming back.  And I'm sorry-but if you start to court the Latino vote, I have this feeling that the bigots, who say they're not, will also cross from the red border.

I heard it put this way-the split in the GOP is between those who can count votes and those who cannot.  I also heard this from the "christian" Rush Limbaugh on Focal Point.....evangelism is the key to electing more Republicans to office.

Funny, because I remember Christ saying those exact words in the Gospel somewhere.


There was one very clear image I was left with on Tuesday night (early Wednesday morning) as I was watching Romney's speech, and then Obama's.  There were only white faces, mostly older, as far as the eye could see gathered to hear Mitt throw in the towel, after Carl Rove gave permission of course.  But at the Obama party there were people of all ages and races.  We (the GOP) can continue to think this is a lily-white protestant country, but the fact of the matter is that we are very diverse and while it seems we are equally divided right now..........if the party doesn't find a heart, we will feel the effects of minority status soon.  We're not the big tent.....we're just a pup tent.  And I think I need some air because it's beginning to smell bad in here!

1 comment:

Jim said...

That's a pretty good analysis. I like especially how you bring in the latino angle. The NYT had an interesting article today about just that and how the GOP is missing a giant oppportunity by continuing to frame themselves as the party of small govt. The point, the article said, was that latinos and some other minorities don't think government is inherently bad, and that it can actually help them succeed, supporting their hard work. The article said that the GOP ought to reframe itself as the party of hard work.

Interested to read a post on your education thoughts. The idea of the end of public education is just too radical and I can't imagine how that would come to pass.