Friday, November 09, 2012

Random takeaways from the elections

Some things could change a little, depending on final vote counts here and across the country, but here are a few thoughts on the elections, in no particular order -

- Big, anonymous, money, rooted in the infamous Citizens United decision, played a huge part in 2012's elections.  It didn't buy the presidential race, but that took hundreds of millions of dollars in small donor contributions and one hell of a ground game to fend off.  Down-ballot races and referenda weren't so fortunate - here in AZ, at least two ballot questions, 121 and 204, had a ton of "dark" money expended against them.  Perhaps not coincidentally, both were defeated.

- On a related note, Karl Rove and the other Republican/corporate "kingmakers" spent hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising for their candidate and against Barack Obama in swing states, only to see Obama win all but one.  Wonder if anyone will do a study on what kind of economic impact that spending may have had?  Wouldn't it just be a pisser if turns out all their spending helped the economies in those states enough to actually help the President win?  Note: "pisser" is New England-speak for "ironic".  Trust me on this. :)

- I hope the Republicans aren't reading this, but they deserve our thanks for the Democrats actually gaining seats in the Senate, when pretty much everybody expected them lose seats.  The Republicans keep nominating uncompetitive candidates in competitive races (O'Donnell in DE and Angle in NV in 2010; Mourdock in IN and Akin in MO in 2012).

- There will be a record 20 women in the US Senate starting in January.  The floor debates on the Republicans' anti-choice, anti-contraception, and anti-equal pay proposals should be interesting.  To say the least.

- While the pundits have been going on (and on, and on) about how this election signals a demographic shift, one that spells long-term trouble for the Republicans and their anti-ethnic and racial minority agenda.  However, the re-election of Barack Obama signals that one truism about presidential politics hasn't changed:

The candidate that voters would prefer to sit down and have a beer with (i.e. - the most relatable, or more personable, candidate) tends to have a leg up in the presidential contest.

With Barack Obama, you have a man who could sit down and talk sports over a pitcher of beer, or even talk about how to brew a good beer.

With Mitt Romney, you have a man who could sit down in a luxury sky box and talk about how to buy a sports team or brewery.  But not about what goes into the makeup of a good team or beer.

It's been true since Reagan v. Carter in 1980 -

Reagan was more personable than Carter in 1980 and Mondale in 1984.

Bush was more personable than Dukakis in 1988...OK, not really, but Bush won because of people voting for a third Reagan term, and Reagan was more personable than Dukakis.

Clinton was more personable than Bush in 1992 and Dole in 1996.

Baby Bush was more personable than Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004...and cheated better in both years, too.

Obama was more personable than McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012.

Not saying that the "more personable" one in each race was a better human being, just better at connecting with people.

- Speaking of Mitt Romney, in the aftermath of the election, a number of Democrats and supporters were making "nice" talk about Romney, how he is a "good and honorable American", blah, blah, blah.  There is even talk of giving/creating a cabinet position for him ("Secretary of Business", anyone? ).

Not buying it.

He has built his life - financially, socially, intellectually, and emotionally - on a dislike and even a contempt for the vast majority of society.  He got what was coming to him.

He deserves nothing more than the rest of society returning the dislike and contempt.

- The race for 2016 has already started, as Public Policy Polling has already run a poll in Iowa on potential 2016 Democratic candidates.   At this point, such polls are less about preference than name recognition, so it was to be expected to see Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden come out on top of this poll.

- Speaking of Hillary Clinton and 2016, some people (and I don't mean Clinton people) have been talking like she has already wrapped up the nomination and that the primary season will be a mere formality. 

There was talk like that in 2007 too.

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