Monday, November 05, 2012

Where did we go after 2008?

Four years ago today, I posted an entry named "Where Do We Go From Here?" which, apart from citing lyrics from an Alan Parsons Project song, spoke to what I wanted to see both sides do after the 2008 presidential election.

Four years later, did anyone take my advice?  (Heck, I rarely take my own.)  Let's see.  (Disclaimer:  I edited some portions of my own post for brevity.)


1. Now is the time to congratulate President-Elect Obama. Pray that God blesses him, and all our country's, and our world's, leaders with much-needed wisdom.

Well, some of us did that, others...not so much.  I'm gonna have to call this one a no.  Graciousness and politics rarely mix, and they certainly didn't mix for a lot of bitter Republicans.

2. That doesn't mean that there is not room to oppose the policies and programs desired by an Obama administration. Of course there's room for that. But there's a way to oppose a policy without tearing down a person. Our party absolutely lost that way with President Clinton, and the other side threw it back at President Bush fourfold.

I would say that opposition to the Obama Administration policies found its loudest voice in the Tea Party.  I will also definitely say that while I have seen some individuals making terribly racist remarks, most in the Tea Party, and Republicans in general, have opposed the policies without demonizing the opposition.  I'm gonna call this one mostly a yes, though I know that many, many people on the other side will disagree with me on this.

3. As several people have said, it is time to figure out what this party is going to stand for. The Contract with America was a concise message that resonated with voters in 1994. There was no message this time, and I would argue that what resonated with the base of the party this cycle was Sarah Palin.

I still don't think the Republicans know what they are going to stand for.  Mitt Romney was the "safe" choice and also benefited from the fact that the more conservative candidates for nomination either cancelled each other out or fizzled out due to incompetence or character issues.  Regardless, there is still an obvious schism between the economic conservatives and the social conservatives, and there is definitely also still no consensus among the economic conservatives as to what needs to be done.  Hopefully we don't have another 36 years to spend in the wilderness before we figure it out.*

4. And that leads to the next action item: do not let the MSM and quasi-conservative pundits tell you that the road to redemption starts with throwing Governor Palin under the bus. This is also not the time for finger-pointing; it is the time for action.

Absolute, utter failure on this point.  Sarah Palin was the one bright spot in the 2008 race, and for that, she was left to wither without support from any national Republican organization.  (Luckily, she had the savvy to start her own organization.)  And I've documented enough on this blog, for those who want to go back and relive the past four years, how many Republican pundits totally threw her under the bus and followed that up by insulting those people who agreed with her.**  Yeah, y'all are right up there with the MSM, guys.  Good job.

5. Like it or not, the other side holds a better hand at this time. There will be opportunities to work with them on items that are important to both sides. Don't capitulate on your basic beliefs, but work with Democrats to help this nation, 'cos things won't be any rosier on 20 January than they are now.

I would say that this was done sparingly, mostly on items like extending the tax cuts in 2010.  Mostly, I don't think either side wanted to consider anything put forth by the other.  Granted, a lot of the propositions put forward by the Democrats were anathema to the Republicans (and to me, really); those would not have been what I had in mind four years ago when I wanted Republicans to work with Democrats.

6. Absolutely, positively, don't be jerks about it. Yes, half the country disagrees with you. That doesn't mean they're any less intelligent or more evil, or that they hate this country. Do not sink to the level to which the other side descended four years ago. 

Again, some were gracious about it, some weren't.

7. Are you still relying on the MSM for news? If so, why? Seriously. There are few reasons left to continue to take a daily paper. Channels such as MSNBC have given us the likes of Chris "thrill up my leg" Matthews and Keith "get a shovel" Olbermann. Why watch them? Stay informed, of course, but understand that there are many sources of information other than the usual suspects.

To be sure, online news sources have mushroomed since 2008.  Heck, I'm not completely sure that I had even heard of Twitter at all in November 2008.  And that mushrooming is a good thing, given the reticence of most MSM sources to cover any portion of Benghazi.  But, honestly, there is still far too much genuflecting toward the altar of old-school media.

8. Hey, 2012 candidates? Don't take public financing!

Apparently, Mitt Romney did not take public financing.  And I think that helped him quite a bit.  Regardless, I guess spending a whole lot more money than in even recent years is the way to go in presidential elections nowadays.


1. Yes, by all means celebrate this win. You earned it, in all seriousness.

Oh, they did.  A lot.  Quite a few tried to dance on the Republicans' graves.

2. Remember that it is possible for people to oppose your policies without being evil capitalistic pigs. And while you're remembering that, phase out the use of the oh-so-original "rethuglicans", "republiKKKans", and the like. Now, please.

Absolute, total failure on this one too.  The last four years, unfortunately, have brought even more wonderful terms into the public square:  terms like "teabagger", "teatard", and the like.  GROW UP.

3. Please stop telling our party what positions and candidates we should support. (For example, I don't know how many times I heard some of you saying McCain should dump Palin because I lost count.) I mean, come on. I haven't seen any of our party telling you that you should run Dennis Kucinich and Michael Moore.

This still happens.  I seem to recall a ground-swelling of support for Jon Huntsman...from the MSM talking heads.  That would be the same Jon Huntsman who, when he exited the Republican race, basically disowned the Republicans en masse.  The same man whose daughter Abby now blogs for the incredibly left-leaning HuffPo.  (As always, HuffPo gets no link from me.)  And yes, I'm counting what the MSM does with what the Democrats do because, honestly, there's little difference between the two.

4. I know this will come as a surprise to the MSM, but bipartisanship does, in fact, include taking some ideas from Republicans. It's not a one-way street.

Nope.  Obamacare passed without a single Republican vote (though I will remind the reader that as some Democrats opposed it, it did have bipartisan opposition).  And who can forget our president saying "Elections have consequences, and I won," as he blew off Republican concerns?

5. Again, do not be jerks about it. And don't go around telling us our viewpoint is invalid because our side lost this one.

A mixed bag.  Some Democrats, to be sure, have also been gracious toward Republicans, but others have certainly not:  accusing every person voting against Obama of being a racist, of not caring about whichever the interest group du jour is...basically, the standard demagoguery.  And I certainly heard enough people saying that the Republican Party was dead in 2009 (though they ate their words in the midterms), and that those people who still dared to support conservative values were jerks, stupid, or whatever.  For that matter, I've read comments in the past month looking forward to when all these older generations who have the audacity to be conservative finally die off.  Charming.

So, how did things play out?  Way too much demonizing, not enough valuing of those who disagree as people.  Pretty much what we've come to expect, sadly enough.

* It could definitely be argued that our 40 years began earlier, when a very Republican Congress decided that taking President Clinton down at all costs was more important than reforming the federal government.  If no one else is saying it, I sure will.

** As I have said more than once, there were definitely those--and still are--who put all things Palin above everything else.  But that didn't and doesn't justify discounting the principles she has espoused.