A republic – my thoughts on the 2012 presidential election

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

“Posterity! you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.” – John Adams

Anyone who knows me or my political leanings has an idea of how I’m feeling right now. But as I watch Obama supporters celebrate, I’m not angry or annoyed – I’m just sad.

The results of this election are not like watching your team lose a playoff game – this was an election that had very real and serious implications towards whether our country can endure. $16 trillion in debt and counting and this president and the Democratic party as a whole have given no indication that they intend to do anything about it. We’re not special. We’re not immune to the course of the history: the only difference between us and Greece is that there’s no one around big enough to bail us out when we fall. But Americans don’t seem to care, so long as we get our goodies in the meantime.

Results aside, the fact that the vote was even that close after four years of this presidency is just sad for the USA. Divisiveness and demagoguery won the day. Americans were pitted against each other and the ruling class won.
Where do we go from here? We can keep fighting, but the electorate has been “fundamentally transformed.” Welcome to Ameritopia. Get ready for more reckless spending and consolidating power in places where the people can’t reach it while the Constitution is flouted. We may recover, but we may have lost our last chance at a republic.

If the electorate is this deluded, we might need one (or several) major “I told you so” events for conservatism to have a real shot again. By then we may be like Greece, and our republic might not be able to be saved.

One thing is for certain: This candy-assed, watered down conservatism has to stop. Moderates can’t win in today’s America. John McCain and Mitt Romney are fine men that would have been good presidents, and certainly much better than Obama, but men like them can’t run against someone like Obama who relies on deception and shallow promises to win the hearts of the American people. We need to get nasty. Not underhanded or vicious, but we need to bring the fight to the other side. Get off the defensive, and make a clear case between our America and theirs that can appeal to all of our better natures. It can be done – Reagan did it. Is it hard? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely. Our kids and grandkids are depending on it.

America as we know it may have been lost this election. But until we know for certain, we conservatives are going to keep fighting. That’s a promise.


21 thoughts on “A republic – my thoughts on the 2012 presidential election

  1. – “Divisiveness and demagoguery won the day. Americans were pitted against each other and the ruling class won.”

    You say that and then you proceed to call everyone who didn’t vote for the guy you wanted to win ”deluded”. Who’s the divisive one, again?

    Fun fact: The Democratic Party brought together Whites, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, women and men, young and old and people of many different religions. The GOP, on the other hand, is left with this http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/cfd885f1-de00-4c37-bf8d-c1660a837be6.html

    From President Obama’s victory speech:”I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America.”
    ^^^^Look at Obama being all divisive and stuff…

    – “One thing is for certain: This candy-assed, watered down conservatism has to stop. Moderates can’t win in today’s America.”

    Which is why so many Republican senators, who kept spewing insane stuff about rape, lost against Democrats? Is that why Tea Party darling Allen West, who labelled congressional Democrats as Communists, lost too? (If calling your opponents ”Communists” is not divisiveness and demagoguery, then what is it?) Were all these people ”moderates” to you?

    Romney didn’t lost for being moderate. He lost for being a colossal flip-flopper and vulture capitalist. Go and re-watch the primary debates. Everyone from Rick Perry to Newt Gingrich pointed this out about him.

    The country is changing. Check any U.S. Census report and you will confirm that. If the GOP hopes to survive this great cultural shift, they are going to have to look at themselves honestly and revise their program. Targeting issues with women has backfired, going further right has backfired, ignoring Blacks and Asians has backfired and allowing the party to be hijacked by the Tea Party has grossly backfired. Even Sean Hannity is slowly realizing this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/08/sean-hannity-immigration-pathway-to-citizenship_n_2096255.html

    If the Republican Party does not want to risk extinction, they are going to have to be a little less the party of Reagan and reclaim the title of the party of Lincoln.

    But if you really think that ”going nasty” will help you in 2016, then Please, proceed. Just don’t be surprised when the last moderate Republicans become Independents or even leave for the Democrats.

    • I don’t think you understand the word “divisive.” The Obama campaign pandered to every minority group under the sun. Hey poor people, they’re trying to take away your welfare! Hey women, they’re trying to take your Birth control! Hey Latinos, they’re tying to deport you! Hey black people, they’re trying to “put y’all back in chains!” Etc.

      Big issues like the national debt were ignored for small, petty things. Yes, I’ll say the electorate was deluded. As a whole, it was.

      Romney lost because he was a moderate. The senate candidates we had didn’t lose because of policy positions, they lost because of stupid statements that the other side was able to twist into the lie that we’re somehow going to transport women back to the 1950’s. Again, divisiveness, demagoguery. We don’t need to eschew Reagan – Reagan won in two landslides! We need to be more like him and communicate that conservatism is a philosophy that promotes all individuals, not something that pits one group against another. The leadership of today’s GOP sucks at communication.

      • -”The Obama campaign pandered to every minority group under the sun.”
        If by pander you mean actually listened to them instead of shunning and vilifying them.

        -“Hey poor people, they’re trying to take away your welfare!”
        That is true.

        -“Hey women, they’re trying to take your Birth control!”
        So is this. Heh, even the comic shows it.

        -“Hey Latinos, they’re tying to deport you!”
        This is also true.

        -“Hey black people, they’re trying to “put y’all back in chains!”

        The truth is that during the course of these campaigns, folks like to get obsessed with how something was phrased even if everybody personally understands that’s not how it was meant,” Obama said.

        Obama said Biden’s remarks referred to what would happen if Republicans succeeded in getting rid of restraints on financial institutions.

        “In no sense was he trying to connote something other than that,” Obama said.

        But, hey, keep misquoting him, It’s not like the number of Blacks that still vote for GOP can any further decrease.

        “Big issues like the national debt were ignored for small, petty things.”
        Those issues are certainly not small and petty things if you’re Black, Latino, female, etc.

        -“Again, divisiveness, demagoguery.”
        Indeed. Those GOP senator were spewing division and demagoguery against women, which is why they rightfully lost.

        -“We need to be more like him and communicate that conservatism is a philosophy that promotes all individuals, not something that pits one group against another”

        Good. So you’ll stop waging your war on women, and racial and sexual minorities? Or will you continue to blame everything on moderates and liberals?

  2. Just like you were so sure that Romney would win and that everyone else is wrong? Sorry, bro. It’s YOU who’s terribly wrong. But hey, go on, start chasing out moderates from the Republican Party. Replace them with rightwing extremists that will spew even more bile on everyone who is not white and male. Be even more divisive. Just don’t act surprised when the GOP will lose horribly in 2016, AGAIN.

    • How do conservatives “shun and vilify” minority groups? What policies do we have that target blacks, Latinos, women? In what way were we trying to take away welfare or birth control? And what GOP candidates actually support simply rounding illegals up and sending them back home? I know that’s the rhetoric, but I’d love some evidence. Even if you can find examples within the Republican Party, Milquetoast Mitt sure didn’t make any sort of hard line position. The Democrats made issues bigger than they actually were using deception and demagoguery.

      And when it comes to “listening” to people, what about businesses? Investors? You know, people who actually higher people and create jobs. The stock market took a major dive after the election: why do you think that is? Business owners have had to lay off workers because they can’t afford the new insurance costs for employing them – was Obama listening to them?

      Oh, I’m “misquoting” Biden, but Richard Mourdock absolutely thinks that God wants women to be raped. Never mind that he said he didn’t. And even if you take Obama’s words at face value, how is telling people that financial institutions will “put them in chains” NOT demagoguery?

      I don’t understand how not telling women they’re inadequate without the government stepping in to help can be classified as division and demagoguery. Seems like the exact opposite to me. I’d love to hear you explain your side of it.

      It is small and petty, if you’re willing to let the country be destroyed for it. It’s not like women can’t get birth control. It’s not like blacks can’t be successful without handouts. It’s not like Latinos (or anyone else) can’t come here legally.

      Again, in what way are we waging a war on women, or any race? I’m dying to know. You never hear a GOP candidate say or intimate that blacks or women or Latinos are the problem – we have a universal message. The problem is that in recent years most prominent Republicans suck at communicating the message.

      The last two elections we’ve nominated our two most liberal options and have lost. The two elections before that we had a president that was only conservative in the case of one bout of tax cuts and on foreign policy – he barely squeaked by. The president before that was also about as moderate as it gets and he only won because he was riding on Reagan’s coattails, and was a one-term president. Reagan wore his conservative principles on his sleeves and provided a clear contrast between philosophies, and won two landslides. I think the pattern is pretty clear.

      It may be that the electorate has changed to where these arguments no longer have any sway. If that’s the case, then congratulations: have fun while it lasts. The fact of the matter is that we’re not special. The only difference between us and Greece is that there is no one big enough to bail us out when we collapse. Democratic governments have never persisted for long. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and just because you manage to win enough votes (and not by much, if you look at the popular vote) doesn’t mean you have an intellectual or moral edge. I’m not arguing because I support my side instead of yours, I’m arguing because I think if we don’t change course soon we might reach a point of no return – even if we do decide that we want to save ourselves.

      • In the intervening four years, the Republican message against Obama has been nothing but one long racist tirade.

        Muslim. Kenyan. Foreign. Hussein. Doesn’t share our values. Obamaphones. Black Panthers. “Moochelle Chewbacca Obama.” “Entitlement society.” etc.

        Did they think African-Americans wouldn’t notice? Did they think only white people could hear those dogwhistles and outright racist primal screams?

        Did they think Latinos wouldn’t hear the last four years of vitriol thrown at them and their families by Fox News and the fever swamps on the AM dial? The hostile stance that Mitt Romney took on immigration during the primary race for the Republican nomination, when he talked about “self-deportation”?

        Frank Sharry, director of the immigration reform group America’s Voice, pointed out that Latinos were a sizeable presence in four of the seven key battleground states – Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia.

        “The common theme in the growing Latino electorate in these states was that they don’t like to be disrespected by Republicans calling them ‘illegals’ and talking about ‘self-deportation’,” he said.

        Did they think that Asians could be subjected to this -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTSQozWP-rM hateful nonsense and not know exactly where they stood on the GOP’s totem pole?

        Did they believe that young people wouldn’t notice that Republicans wanted to saddle them with Vouchercare, keep them off them parents’ healthcare plans, burden them with massive student loans and spit upon every social value of equality they hold dear?

        Did they believe that women would forget that the GOP platform wants to force them to carry their rapists’ babies, and insist that they continue to cheated out of 25 cents or more on every dollar in the workplace? Did they believe that they could smear Sandra Fluke and that young women wouldn’t know exactly what to do about it?

        Did they believe that they could reject wholesale every piece of sound science on reproduction, evolution, climate change and economics, use the word “Professor” as an insult during debates, and that educated Americans of all stripes wouldn’t react as if their lives and safety depended on it?

        Sure, Barack Obama has lost some of the glitz and allure of his 2008 candidacy. The ugliness and realities of politics will do that, and Obama’s insistence on compromise above all else hasn’t helped.

        But did the Republicans really believe that women, youth, minorities, and educated folk wouldn’t recognize a visceral threat to our existence when we saw it? That we wouldn’t turn out to vote? That we wouldn’t do everything in our power to prevent the measures of our lives from being determined by these people? http://whitepeoplemourningromney.tumblr.com/

      • LOL, I was waiting for the “dog whistle” phrase to crop up. You notice how many “racist” comments need interpretation in order for the racism to be seen? The only thing racist about the Republican party is the fact that the left keeps repeating that we’re racist over and over and over and over. Division and demagoguery.

        So much of this has to do with phrases/messaging, and very little has to with ACTUAL Republican policies. You’re proving my point. I could address some of your other assertions (women getting paid 75% being a myth and the “help” with student loans actually increasing tuition, etc.) but honestly, why is either of us wasting our time?

  3. It’s incredibly hilarious and ironic that your first comic after the election is about birth control. Your view that you show in that comic are why women ran to vote Obama. Look:

    …according to preliminary results, women accounted for the lion’s share of Obama’s current 2.5 million vote lead. Obama racked up astoundingly large margins among several subgroups: single women went for him by a 36-point margin, Latinas by a 51-point margin.

    Not only did women voters positively affirm their support for pro-women’s rights candidates and policies, they also rebuked the GOP for its multi-pronged assault on women’s rights. Down ballot and state contests offered more proof that the 2012 elections were a mandate for women’s rights. New Hampshire’s Tea Party standard-bearer, Ovide Lamontagne, a far-right Republican opponent of abortion and the state’s gay marriage law, admitted just a few weeks ago that he opposed equal pay laws. Democrat Maggie Hassan won the governor’s office with a 22-point margin among women.

    Republicans can chalk up their failure to win control of the Senate to their abundance of clueless and loquacious gray-faced men: Todd “legitimate rape” Akin and Richard Mourdock, who seemed to think that God plays wingman for rapists, both lost races they would have won but for speaking out of church about their true beliefs on women and rape. The lesson here is that even in quite conservative states, voters reject anti-woman extremists.

    The Republican party would do well to heed the message and take stock of its unpopular assault on women’s rights. Consider what might have been had Romney “Etch-a-Sketched” sooner to close his gender gap – if he had said, “heck yes, I support equal pay for women,” instead of rhapsodizing about “binders full of women”; if he had condemned Rush Limbaugh’s attacks on Sandra Fluke; or if he’d stayed out of the GOP’s birth control panic or not cut ads for Mourdock.

    • “The only thing racist about the Republican party is the fact that the left keeps repeating that we’re racist over and over and over and over. ”

      You couldn’t be more wrong:
      Lee Atwater, a political strategist for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
      “”You start out in 1954 by saying, “N*gger, n*gger, n*gger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N*gger, n*gger.”

      • Um, that comment was talking about how the racial problem was disappearing one way or another. Atwater was talking about the cutting message being abstract, not as an excuse to go against blacks. This answer was in response to a question asking if Reagan’s policies would appeal to Wallace (i.e. racist) voters, not whether the policies were racist in and of themselves. But you didn’t feel like posting that context.

        You’re again proving my point by showing that the actual POLICIES do nothing to target blacks. It’s about the messaging that has been assigned to the policies.

    • Their birth control was never in any danger – the Constitution protects their right to purchase it. What we were trying to prevent was the government forcing businesses to cover insurance that went against their religious beliefs. The status quo.

      The point of my cartoon is that we’re forgoing protecting the Republic over petty issues. Women can still buy birth control, and most insurance plans will cover it! You don’t need to elect Obama and risk the future solvency of the nation to get it.

      Again, you’re proving my argument that the election was won on messaging rather than actual policy. Nothing in Mourdock’s or Akin’s platforms did anything to hurt women – I know Mourdock in particular had the exact same position on abortion as Donnelly – but because the other side was able to paint it as “attacking women’s rights,” they won.

      What the GOP needs more than anything else right now are effective communicators, and cut through the bogus rhetoric of the other side like Reagan was able to do. I can’t tell you how many times I was frustrated when Romney would give a weak answer in a debate rather than actually undercut one of Obama’s premises. Republicans in general are stuck on defense, and that needs to change. We’re not going to out-pander the Democrats.

  4. Wow, You aren’t even reading my posts. Guess what, you’re proving MY point that the modern GOP doesn’t care about people who aren’t white and male.

    Michael Steele, former head of the RNC, on the Southern Strategy:
    “”For the last 40-plus years we had a “Southern Strategy” that alienated many minority voters by focusing on the white male vote in the South. Well, guess what happened in 1992, folks, “Bubba” went back home to the Democratic Party and voted for Bill Clinton.

    -“What we were trying to prevent was the government forcing businesses to cover insurance that went against their religious beliefs.”
    In a rational world, a woman’s boss would have no influence whatsoever over how she conducts her sex life. But hey, keep denying it to women. I’m sure they’ll understand your point… And then vote Democrat.

    And from my previous post that you completely ignored:
    Ovide Lamontagne, a far-right Republican opponent of abortion and the state’s gay marriage law, admitted just a few weeks ago that he opposed equal pay laws.
    Unequal pay is also part of the status quo?

    -“What the GOP needs more than anything else right now are effective communicators.”

    THIS. I absolutely 100% agree with you. You’re a perfect example of a HORRIBLE communicator. The GOP is finished if you and other extremists chase out the moderates. And your latest comic will only give women yet another why the Democratic party actually cares about them.

    PLEASE, never stop drawing comics featuring your liberal straw women. Go and start your witch hunt on RINOs. Double down on social conservatism. Keep telling how women, blacks, hispanics, homosexuals are wrong and you are right. I’m sure they’ll like it and vote Republican… NOT.

    Buh bye. It was fun seeing you flail around on the ruins of Romney’s campaign. Now if you excuse me, the entire planet is celebrating VICTORY over right wing extremists such as you. Just look at this huge collection of newspaper frontpages. http://theobamadiary.com/2012/11/08/rise-and-shine-the-international-front-pages/

    • Michael Steele is a perfect example of the moderate GOP. Using him as evidence for not being as moderate doesn’t really work.

      In a rational world, the government wouldn’t have control over what types of health insurance an employer was able to provide. It has nothing to do with a woman’s sex life, only because the Democrats made it ABOUT a woman’s sex life. Birth control wasn’t an issue since 1965 until Democrats MADE it an issue in 2012. You can still buy birth control, and most insurers will provide it! Again, demagoguery.

      On the equal pay myth: http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2012/04/16/its-time-that-we-end-the-equal-pay-myth/ The “equal pay laws” such as Lily Ledbetter don’t actually equalize pay, they just make it easier to sue. Trial lawyers love it.

      How exactly did you interpret my comic? I’m confused now. I’ve already explained what the point of it was. If you think that the comic was supposed to be in support of denying birth control, then maybe I really do need to work on my communication. But something tells me this is a problem on your end.

      Again, if factual arguments based on fundamental values of individual liberty and responsibility can’t win, then Americans have already lost. Enjoy winning, while it lasts. I just hope we can wake up and stop things before we wake up and are Greece.

      • jesus christ if you want to make a good ancient society parallel please stop saying Greece, it makes a lot more sense to talk about the Romans, ya know, the ones who ACTUALLY HAD A REPUBLIC instead of a loose collection of CITY STATES.

  5. @Farthington I’m actually talking about modern Greece. The country that went bankrupt and needed the rest of Europe to bail them out.

  6. I do enjoy how you keep mentioning that we as a nation are not special, when the Republican party has attacked Obama constantly on the suspicion that he doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism. Do you really not believe that America is special? Or is it only special when its democratic process goes your way?

    • American exceptionalism has to do with the principles and temperament that have made our people the most productive and helpful in the world. When I say that we are not special, I’m saying that we are not special by default, and I’m also speaking in terms of the natural course of history. If we abandon the things that have kept us from going the same way as other great nations, then we are obviously no longer exceptional.

  7. As I can tell many of the comments are of the rage filled variety, with little actual content, I’ll just say my honest opinions here:
    As my father was conservative and, up until around 2009-2010, I considered myself a Republican. Granted, I really didn’t know anything about politics compared to what I do now, but I still would have voted R over D if I could have. However, what should be noted is my dad is more of a libertarian conservative: He does not believe that the government should punish people for drug use in and of itself, nor does he believe that the government should tell people they cannot get married because of there sexual preference, or they cannot get an abortion (though, he would like to see it completely privatized.) Even before I changed my political standings, I carried these opinions with me, but didn’t really know much about them.

    I think I’ve said this in the comment section here before, but I have always loved Science, particularly Animal Sciences. There are many prominent Republicans (especially ones who represent my own state) who don’t hide the fact that they don’t “believe” certain fields of Science (Evolution, Climatology, Embryology, Immunology, etc.) I know there are likely many who consider themselves Democrat/ Independent who feel the same way, but few of them seem to be as important in policy decisions, or as open about it. Most Anti-Evolution groups are more likely to have some affiliation with conservative groups than liberal ones.

    Because of these opinions on Science, I already was a leaning to dislike the Republican Party (Heck, only around 9 percent of American scientists identify as Conservative). I also received better education on how the government actually operates, and understanding issues more, I began to feel more strongly about social issues that are deemed “liberal”. Its not some much that I think Democrats actually support them, rather, Republicans made it very specific they would not support them. Because of this combination of effects, I felt I agreed much more with Liberal polices than Conservative ones, though I am registered independent. I still have some hope that these issues the Republican party seems to be so behind on (specifically science and LGBT rights) will a some point no longer be considered “issues” and be more like racial/ gender equality where there is a near universally agreed upon”right side” and “wrong side”.

    TL;DR, or the ultimate message here: The last thing I want to see is the Republican Party to become is “nasty” or abandoning moderate candidates. It was the reason I and many other people left it. My dad, though he is a registered Republican, says the party’s biggest problem is its opinions on social issues. The issue of voting for “goodies” oversimplifies things. My dad, despite being as I described, works for the City of OKC, and is not ashamed that he gets federal subsidies because he owns farm land. If not for him having a city job, my family might not have health insurance and we would probably be in some form of debt, as both my brother and myself had to go the the emergency room for various different afflictions (Asthma, potentially serious Staph. Infection). Despite all these things being seen by some as “government hand outs”, he still feels very conservative. Although my ideas on the world and the economy are different than they were in 2008, I feel that I would be much more willing to agree or listen to conservatives if not for their strict ideology about social issues (I am well aware that not all conservative agree about these things (especially libertarians), but many of them are explicitly stated in the 2012 Republican national party platform.).

    TL;DR that…
    I disagree with you on some issues, but we can still be friends.

    • Always happy to make friends!

      I think in a large respect science-y issues have little to do with the relationship between a people and its government. What does evolution matter when it comes to what kind of taxes we should pass?

      As far as social issues like gay marriage go, to me it has a lot to do with constitutional government. I have much less of an issue with gay marriage in and of itself than I do with people discussing as if marriage is a fundamental right that should be guaranteed by the government… Marriage isn’t a right at all, any more than healthcare is!

      Republicans have a horrible communication problem. By “nasty” I don’t mean “mean,” I just mean that they should grow some ‘nads and shouldn’t be afraid to actually argue their positions in an open and substantive way. Take back the narrative, man! There’s a lot more I could say on that, but I really don’t want to get into it right now. I have post-election apathy that probably won’t wear off for another few weeks.

      TL;DR: I respectfully disagree with your views, with an emphasis on “respectfully.” Thanks for not raging.

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